About Jessie Douglas - The yacht artist
I grew up around boats all my life, having set sail at the age of two on my parents 33ft sailing yacht, from the UK to start a new life in Ibiza in the Balearics. I had a child seat strapped to the mast, where I was sat whilst my parents navigated their way down.
After growing up in Ibiza until the age of 13, we returned to the Uk, to carry out my education in the English schooling system.
I continued to be involved in boating, gaining my powerboat and fishing boat captain qualifications.
After graduating with a first in design and Illustration from the university of Plymouth In 2009, I fancied a complete change in direction. I Started working on commercial fishing boats, finally gaining my STCW95 and completing my Superyacht course at Flying Fish in Cowes Isle of Wight in 2013.
From here I flew out to start a new life in the South of France, following all the other keen and eager wannabe “Yachties” in Antibes. I was looking to be a female deckhand, a hard task it turned out, as it was a mainly male dominated side of the industry, with yachts usually looking for female stews, not female deckhands.
However after 3 months of looking I got a lucky break. I met Veronica the relief captain on a yacht called Harle.
It was so refreshing to meet a lady captain, and she lifted my spirits and gave me day work.
After that with a renewed sense of purpose I continued to push forward, dockwalking between Marseille and Genova.
I ran out of money after 4 months and returned home, having joined all the crew agencies I could.
After two weeks of being back in UK I got a call from Veronica, who had a months worth of work for me in Ibiza on Harle to cover one of the deck crew during a busy Charter season.
Arriving on the 7pm plane, back to my home island, I was thrown in at the deep end, given my uniform and straight onto the passerelle greeting high profile guests and taking their Leboutin heels for safekeeping, before they boarded Harle for an all night party.
Crawling into my bunk at 9am the next morning, with my alarm set for 1pm to start a wash down, I was well and truly “living the dream” and loving it!
Whilst I was working on Harle, the yacht next door, M/Y Blade caught my eye, with its eye catching sleek lines and blue hull. Captain Veronica informed me they were actually looking for a female deckhand, and leaving for Monaco the next morning. I had a very quick interview with the German Captain and I was packing my luggage to move onboard that evening!
Full of excitement and anticipation, we woke early for “ropes off” at 4am.
It was all a bit of a whirlwind, but before I knew it we were on our way to Monaco, 4 hours on watch and 4 hours sleep.
I stayed on Blade until early 2014 when the time came to leave due to my mother developing a chronic illness, and I returned home to help care for her alongside my elderly father.
My yachting career was cut short, by unprecedented circumstances, but my passion for the yachts, the crew and the industry burned within me. I still kept up all my qualifications, incase my situation changed.
I found myself searching for a new purpose, now finding myself stuck in my home town, in a factory job I hated.
I’d not drawn or painted anything since leaving University in 2009, and was very much suffering from “Artist Block”
One of the local fishermen brought his new boat into the harbour, and I asked his permission to paint it. He asked to see the finished painting, and subsequently bought it from me for £200. It was 7 days work and I felt like £200 was way too much...but he insisted. He suggested I put a photo of the painting up on a fishermen Facebook page called “Fishing News” asking if anyone else would be interested in having their fishing boats painted.
Within a week I had 7 orders....
Nearly 5 years on, I find myself in this position where I have over 6 months waiting list for paintings.
This year I decided to market my work within the yachting industry as @theyachtartist on Instagram.
I had an old yachting contact who asked me to paint their boat M/Y St David for the captains wedding present.
Off the back of this painting, I had loads of crew enquiring about costs, and two secured orders.
M/Y Neoprene and a Sunseeker yacht both into charts.
As they say, the rest is History.
I continue to work through my growing list of orders, made up of both fishing boats and Superyachts. I have a continuing list of Superyacht orders from crew, and some from owners themselves.
I’m so very privileged to be in the position I’m in today, and I hope to continually grow as an artist, and I strive to have my name recognised within the yachting industry.
I offer a high quality, personalised service for clients. Total confidentiality if needed, for new build painting enquiries, and express international shipping and chart costs are included in the total price.
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