Nelson photographer and Atawhai resident Tim Cuff painted the DOF-owned supply ship Skandi Hercules as a finishing touch to an artwork he had been sporadically working on for several years.
An anchored ship near Nelson during lockdown provided inspiration to a local photographer’s slow-burning art project – and its crew were sold on the results.
The offshore supply vessel Skandi Hercules, which is owned by Norwegian company DOF, has been a fixture in Tasman Bay since late March.
The 109.42 metre-long vessel had previously supported the deep sea drilling rig COSL Prospector, off the Taranaki coast.
A changing crew had been on board throughout the time was anchored. After leaving for New Plymouth several weeks ago, the vessel is now back in Tasman Bay.
* Oil supply ship anchors up in Tasman Bay
Like many Atawhai residents, Tim Cuff has become fascinated by the new addition to the view from his Marybank home in recent months.
“I just got more and more intrigued by it – and started photographing it too.”
When Cuff found himself short of work following the start of the nationwide lockdown, the ship provided the finishing touch to an artwork of the Tasman Bay and Nelson Haven panorama he had been sporadically working on for several years.
“I dug it out and thought I’ll finish it off – but the Hercules was parked right in the middle of it so it made a lot of sense just to pop it into the picture.”
“When I was painting it, I got to appreciate it more – when you’re photographing it you look at it generally, but I was able to see it in detail – especially with the light changing, in the morning the ship looks quite scupltural.”
Cuff’s curiosity had also extended to contacting the vessel’s owners to find out a bit more about it.
The company obliged with information on the ship’s specifications and operations, while he struck up a regular line of communication with DOF’s representative in Australia.
Once the painting was finished Cuff sent a photo to the representative for appraisal.
The response was unexpected.
“We were talking about something else, and then he goes ‘oh, by the way the managing director wants to know if we can buy the painting to hang it on-board’ – which I thought was quite nice.”
Cuff was unwilling to disclose what the artwork sold for but admitted he was “not giving up the day job just yet.”
Cuff personally delivered the painting to the crew by boat – which afforded a closer look at the vessel and a chance for some photos, although he was unable to get on board.
“They’re just a lovely bunch of blokes – amazingly, about half of them are from Nelson – maybe that’s why they moored up here , because it’s home for so many of them.”
As well as documenting a regular sight on the water during the Covid-19 days, it has also prompted Cuff to further his artistic endeavours.
As a result of getting his old canvas out again, he recently joined a weekly oil painting class, run by Caroline Jones at NMIT.