Interview with marine painter Brian Byrnes from Ireland

Finnish 6mR yacht Toy by Brian Byrnes – For sale by artist, €650.


I recently spotted some very nice paintings of classic yachts by the Irish marine painter Brian Byrnes on Facebook. What specifically caught my attention was that some of the paintings were of Finnish classic yachts, set in what looked like Finnish landscapes (well, seascapes). The combination of an Irish painter and paintings set in Finnish waters was so intriguing so I contacted Brian to find out more and now I have the pleasure of having him here at Sail in Finland for a small interview.

Sail in Finland (SiF): Welcome Brian, nice to you have here you with us!

Brian Byrnes (BB). Thank you Håkan for giving me an opportunity to tell your readers about my passion for the Classic yachts especially those sailing in Finnish waters.

6mR yacht by Brian Byrnes


SiF: Tell us a bit about yourself!

BB: I have always been an Artist. I operate a Studio in the heart of Dublin, Ireland where as well as doing my own painting I teach others the how to paint in oils, watercolors and acrylics. (Editor’s note: you can find Brian’s studio on Facebook at Brian Byrnes Art Students).

SiF: Classic yachts seem to be the favorite subjects of your paintings. Are you a sailor or where did the interest for classic yachts stem?

BB:Yes, I was up to recently very much involved in sailing, I built and raced 5-0-5’s, then Condor catamarans and up to recently a Dragon. Unfortunately there are no classic yachts here in Ireland.


German 6mR yacht Lillevi (originally built in Finland) by Brian Byrnes – For sale by artist, €650


SiF: Some of your nicest (at least in my mind) paintings are of Finnish yachts and set in what looks like a realistic Finnish setting. Have you actually been painting then in Finland?

BB: No, never! My forte is to be able to paint any boat and place it in any weather conditions and in any given coastal situation, no matter what country. Obviously I use research to place the yacht.

SiF: Wow, So have you never sailed in Finland?

BB: No, I have never been there. You must realize that Finland has the largest collection of beautiful classic 6-meters in the World.

Finnish 6mR yacht Alibaba II by Brian Byrnes


SiF: In the days of the sailing ships, painted ship’s portraits were quite popular. Are boat owners today interested in paintings of their boats?

BB. Very much so. You must remember that most of these boats – I speak especially of the 6-metres – have been around for over 60 years and some even 100 years. They have a long history in their timbers, they have numerous prizes and awards, they have been in some cases lost, found and restored lovingly by their present owners. These boats are regarded highly and therefore a painting of their moments of success is very desirable.

SiF: If someone wanted a painting of their – preferably classic – sailboat from you, would you be interested in commissioned work?

BB: That is my greatest pleasure! I can guarantee that any such person will be completely satisfied with a beautiful commission.

Finnish 6mR yacht Elinore by Brian Byrnes


SiF: Cool. So how much would such a painting cost and how would someone interested contact you?

BB: An Oil on Canvas Painting measuring approx.  20”  x  30” (50 x 75 cm)  with only one boat would start at about €650 and as they say the sky is the limit !

To contact me, simply e-mail with your request and we take it from there. I will then ask you for details of the commission including any info on sail colors, crew details, and the sea area that you would prefer etc. (Editor’s note: If you are interested in the paintings that are still for sale, send your inquiries to Brian at the same email address)

SiF: Thank you Brian. Wishing you good luck with the paintings and hope to see you sailing and painting in Finland some time!

Irish marine painter Brian Byrnes