David Thimgan: painting the light
who was david thimgan
An oil painter of historical marine subjects, Thimgan specialized in recreating scenes from America’s seafaring past, with emphasis on the West Coast and the Pacific Ocean. He was also interested in trade on the western rivers and the naval aspects of the American Civil War as well as the “Old Steam Navy.” He painting professionally since 1978 and was an Artist Member of the American Society of Marine Artists since 1981. His reputation as one of America’s leading historical marine artists grew rapidly. His work appears in important private collections around the world, and major corporate collections including Goodyear and Security Pacific National Bank. Some of Thimgan’s major exhibits included the Mystic lnternational, the Mystic Invitational and the American Society of Marine Artists National Exhibition.
David Thimgan was born in Inglewood, California in 1955. A self-taught artist, inspired and mentored by his father, he began painting and drawing ships as a child. Few artists painted the rich and varied maritime history of the West Coast with the devotion and passion of David Thimgan. Thimgan painted the Mendocino coast and its environs perhaps more than any other location, often traveling as an historian with camera, topographical map sketchbook and tape recorder in hand. He visited and examined those places up and down the West Coast that had once thrived with coastal maritime trade activity in order to conjure up what they must have looked like in the Age of Sail. Although his paintings were well researched and unique, it is the ethereal light and intoxicating Pacific Coast air that seem to pervade his work that earned him a special place among American marine artists. Mr. Thimgan passed away in 2003.