Patrick Chevailler

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Patrick Chevailler

October 13, 2011 - 23:23

Patrick Chevailler was born in Bordeaux, France, in July 1946. All during his teen age years, he admired the paintings his father created as a hobby, thinking he would never be able to paint like his father did. Chevailler received a diploma as a medical doctor in 1972 and settled in the countryside of southwestern France as a general practitioner. Since his childhood, Chevailler always enjoyed sailing.

"Glasseye School" by Patrick Chevailler

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A few years later, Chevailler’s father painted a miniature oil painting of two old fighting frigates as a gift to decorate his son’s boat, and Chevailler kept asking his father to paint another one in order to have a pair. But his father was a busy man, and the painting was never made.

One day, while reading a book on naval history, Chevailler stopped on a print of the Trafalgar battle, and just thought: “Wouldn’t it be ideal as part of my pair?” Then he thought, “If Dad is able to paint what he paints, why shouldn’t I be able to paint too?”

With a basic oil set, Chevailler began to paint a reproduction of what he saw in the book. It took him a month to complete a 5”x 8” highly detailed copy (you can even count the number of cannons on the battleships!) of the large scale original painting. Chevailler found out that he liked doing it so much he began painting other images of naval battles.

Without any knowledge of the basics, he developed his own technique, and little by little, freed himself from copying. Over the next twenty years, he painted as a hobby, about 150 oil paintings of all sorts of old time sailing ships. They usually ended up being sold or given away, from time to time, to friends and family, directly or through some casual exhibitions.

In 1996, Chevailler resettled on Palm Island of St Vincent and Grenadines in the West Indies. There, he was commissioned to paint a large underwater scene (8’x4’) by a fellow diving fan. Since it was so large, Chevailler had to paint it outside and was amazed by the interest shown by people passing by. In all respects, he had a lot of fun painting this new kind of subject matter.

Chevailler then painted some smaller underwater scenes, which sold immediately. Since then, the painting hobby has turned into a real job, and his medical practice (he still practices as an emergency sailing doctor) has turned into a secondary activity. Chevailler barely succeeds at painting enough to complete the many commissions he already has and keep a minimum stock.

Chevailler’s technique is very classic: oil paint on (now assisted by a digital camera with housing) and a lot of various documentation about fishes, corals and sponges... for the details.

Chevailler’s work is now displayed in many galleries in most of the Caribbean islands, Mexico, Florida and other US states in a gentle but constant expansion of exposure. From his original oil paintings, Chevailler produces high-end limited edition giclée prints on canvas in three different sizes as well as ceramic or glass mural tiles, which are custom made to the dimensions desired. Six dozen different subjects are now available. ■

For more information or to order originals, giclée prints and tiles, please visit: canvas. He uses both his own diving experiences

Originally published

on page 92

X-Ray Mag #11

May 22, 2006 - 19:37

Patagonia, Argentina. El Hierro, the Canary Islands, Coral Bleaching and Global Warming. Crossing the Atlantic on a research vessel. The Conveyor Belt, the oceans global circulation. Building reefs on the Maldives. Cosmetics for Divers. Leigh Cunningham: The Wake-up call. Travelling with Camera Equipment. Japanese wrecks off Palau. Portfolio: Patrick Chevalier.