Born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1951, Gordon Bauwens' deep passion for ships and their environment was clearly kindled by his proximity to the River Clyde. As a schoolboy, he could often be found cycling among the River's docklands and shipyards - birth place of many of the world's greatest ships. Early paintings based on these images won him gold and bronze medals in regional schools art competitions. In his mid-teens, Gordon regularly cycled the 30 mile round trip to Clydebank to watch progress on Queen Elizabeth 2, the last great Cunarder to be built on the Clyde. Witnessing her launch in 1967 from the river bank opposite John Brown's Shipyard, left a deep and lasting impression - and a burning ambition to one day stand on those famous decks.
When employed in Y.ARD Ltd, a marine engineering consultancy, Gordon's keen interest in ships helped him develop his own distinctive style in ship illustration, while gaining qualifications in technical graphics. Later, as a graphic designer for Education, he could clearly see the cranes of the former John Brown Shipyard from the studio he managed in Clydebank. Inspired by this, old passions resurfaced and Gordon started painting marine subjects again in his own time for pleasure, and as his work became known, on a commercial freelance basis. Encouraged by world-wide sales of his work, Gordon finally severed his 16 years of graphics employment in 1997 to concentrate full-time on his first love - maritime art. By then, he and his wife Christine already had several years' experience of running their own company, GB Marine Art, on a part-time basis.
Gordon Bauwens has earned a reputation for accuracy and meticulous attention to detail - qualities greatly valued in maritime art. Through his painting he has fulfilled many long-held ambitions and been honoured to meet some eminent figures in the maritime world. Among these have been the late Sir John Brown, chief designer of the original RMS Queen Mary & Queen Elizabeth, and Stephen M Payne OBE, chief designer of Queen Mary 2, with whom Gordon closely liaised to produce Cunard's official QM2 artist impression in 2000. The then-Chairman of Cunard, Sir Eric Parker, purchased the original painting, Welcome Home QE2, for his personal office in London to mark Cunard's 150th Anniversary in 1990. The artist was also welcomed aboard QE2 for the first time by Captain Robin Woodall to present the liner with a framed print during the liner's Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1994. Since then, Gordon has fulfilled his lifetime ambition by sailing transatlantic aboard QE2 and QM2 and also regularly carries out signing sessions for his art prints aboard the Cunard Queens. The artist is especially grateful to Captain Ian McNaught, QE2's last Master, Stephen Payne and Michael Gallagher for their kind support during the research stages of several of Gordon's paintings.
Various examples of Gordon's work have hung in prominent positions in Cunard's offices and reproductions of the artist's works have been purchased by customers in over 30 countries around the world to date. Prints also retail aboard the current Cunard Queens, RMS Queen Mary, the former Royal Yacht Britannia etc, and in galleries and museums throughout Britain and overseas.
Gordon Bauwens undertakes commissions for both private and commercial clients. Shipbuilders and shipping lines commission his artwork to publicise their planned new vessels. He regularly produces Artist Impressions of ships, both Merchant and Royal Navy, before they are built, his technical background enabling Gordon to work from naval architects' plans. In 2000, the artist received a prestigious commission from Cunard Line to produce their official Queen Mary 2 artist impression. QM2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth permanently display 18 pieces by Gordon Bauwens in their public areas including QM2's Grand Lobby. In 2013, Gordon received a commission for an original painting of QE2 in New York to hang in the renowned International Maritime Museum in Hamburg, Germany.
(For samples of commissioned paintings, please see our Commissions Gallery).
Gordon Bauwens' aim in his painting is to record some of the outstanding events in 20th and 21st Century maritime history and to pay tribute to the lives and skills which gave the world its finest ships.
On a personal level, the artist as a Christian gratefully acknowledges the supreme Creator God as the ultimate Artist, Designer and Giver of all life and skills.