• David McEown paints in St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia Island

    Curious king penguins check out David McEown's easel as the artist paints in St. Andrews Bay on the subantarctic island of South Georgia. (Photo: Daisy Gilardini)

In the spring/summer 2018 issue of Canadian Geographic Travel, available across Canada April 16, David McEown, artist-in-residence with One Ocean Expeditions, discusses what it’s like to work in the Antarctic. Watch McEown at work as he captures in watercolour vast colonies of penguins, shimmering icebergs and stark expanses of snow and rock, then read about and see his three favourite paintings from the continent.  

David's favourite paintings

From Danco Island n.1
Errera Channel, Antarctic Peninsula, December 2012

A dramatic sky and snow squall lifted to partially reveal the Gerlache Strait and the shape of iconic Cuverville island, which I captured in a few watercolour marks. Those marks at the top left were created by blowing snow, which added its signature to the painting.

Antarctic Sound #2
Antarctic Sound, looking toward the Weddell Sea, February 2017

Conditions were ideal for a rapid series of paintings done on the deck of the ship. There was a partial eclipse of the sun poking through a storm, and the combination of expressing that surreal light and the having that flash-freeze effect on the paint was a career highlight.

The Gathering at Gold Harbour

South Georgia Island, November 2011

Painting is often a synthesis of all of a session’s highlights, and there were many this day, from the mist shrouding the hanging glacier to the perfectly positioned pair of courting king penguins in the foreground.