DickWhalen, the son of Navy parents, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii just weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor. His career as a marine artist had its beginnings duringWorldWar II when, as a youngster on cross-country family trips to visit his father, returning from the Pacific Theater for ship repairs, he sketched sea battles under the watchful eye of his mother. Many years later, he would paint each of the vessels in which his dad had served. These early maritime portraits collectively represented his first major efforts of portraying the sea in a manner best rendered by those who have lived life on the bounding main.
Self-taught and self-styled, Dick sketched his way through high school in Norfolk, Virginia as a newspaper editor. Prior to graduating from the Naval Academy in 1963, he contributed a wealth of art to the institution's rich heritage, including the official "crest", gracing the rings of his Academy classmates. He went to sea on graduation where he developed his "seaman's eye" for marine authenticity over the next thirty years on deployments around the world.
Dick's bold compositions pay tribute to the rugged existence and spirit of the seagoing profession. He works in all mediums and each of his highly detailed canvases is the product of extensive research on site and through studies of engineering drawings. He is frequently sought to render portraits of newly constructed vessels and his works have appeared as covers of numerous national magazines.
His marine portraits are maintained in public and private collections across the country, including by a U.S. President, Defense Secretaries, and Chiefs of Naval Operations. Additionally, his works are displayed in museums such as the United States Naval Academy, the Ronald Reagan Museum, and the City of Mobile Museum, which maintains the Commissioning portrait of Aegis Cruiser USS MOBILE BAY, in which Dick served as the vessel's first Commanding Officer. He is particularly pleased and honored whenever commissioned by former Navy Sailors seeking lasting remembrances of their time at sea, serving the nation.
Dick retired from the Navy in 1993 as a captain and is currently military director for Old Dominion University in Norfolk. He
resides near the coast in Virginia Beach, permitting him ready access to ever-changing sea and sky conditions, so vital to his
marine panoramas. Dick and his wife, Marti, have three grown sons, including two with naval service, and one an architect
who inherited many of his dad's artist talents.
|Return to:||Navigate to:|
Pride & Tradition