Eldred Clark Johnson was born in Asheville, North Carolina. In 1957 he left a successful career as a free-lance artist in New York to pursue his first love, painting, in Palm Beach, Florida.
Johnson emerges from a long tradition of American marine painters-a tradition which holds fast to realism and clarity of vision. His panoramic compositions create a special ambiance which suggests the majesty of the sea and the mighty ships that once proudly sailed it. Whether he is depicting the great clipper ships under full sail in the bright noonday sun, or the famed Tall Ships at rest in harbor after a hard day's sail beneath a serene sunset, his eye is ever sharp, his strong, realistic lines sure of their subject.
Although he draws on a great tradition, the past lives in Eldred Clark Johnson's art in more ways than one. When the Tall Ships were climaxing an exciting Bicentennial season for our country, Johnson was there-recording the historic event on can- vas after canvas for future generations to treasure. From the decks of two different yachts, he drew and painted for three days, capturing the drama and splendorous beauty of the Bermuda-Newport leg of the Tall Ships race. His efforts were not taken in vain.
Today these vivid depictions of this living Americana are highly prized by collectors of maritime art. The human figure rarely intrudes on the briny terrain that Johnson has made his own. It is the ships themselves, boldly set against the clear blue skies, that remain at the center of his work. His strong, loose brush strokes capture the foamy energy of the sea and create a fine, dramatic tension when placed against the clean, delicate lines of the ships themselves. These paintings are a celebration of these classic clippers and frigates and The glorious historic era that spawned them. It is a time that may be all but past. But thanks to the loving craft of Eldred Clark Johnson, it will not soon be forgotten.