When you're aboard the G Expedition, you're sharing space with plenty more than the ship's crew. There are also naturalists, scientists, conservationists (and sometime-BBC stars) and a variety of artists, including a musician, photographer, and artist-in-residence. Yvonne Ankerman, a South African painter and illustrator, has recently held the latter position, painting polar landscapes and penguins aplenty from the deck of the G Expedition. We spoke with the artist about her time aboard the ship.
Q: What’s the biggest difference between working on the ship and working in your studio?
A: On the ship I work only with watercolour paint and pen and ink, on watercolour paper and in sketch books. These are easy to take with you when travelling, and I like to encourage my art pupils — also known as G Expedition passengers — to continue to sketch and paint, on their future travels. I also decorate the ship's nautical charts, which are raffled off for Planeterra (see below).
Q: What is your favourite thing about being on the ship? Why?
A: My favourite thing to do is is to sit in a spot ashore and drink in the landscape and quietness — or, sometimes, the noisiness of hundreds on penguin chicks running after their parents demanding food!
Q: Tell me about a memorable experience you've had on the G Expedition with a person (or an animal!).
A: We have encounters with animals daily, be they birds, seals, penguins, or polar bears. Last season, in the Arctic, I met for the first time a scientist by the name of Tom Smith. Tom is our firearm safety master on board, and is also a specialist on polar bears — and an artist to boot! His knowledge is incredible, and, when looking at my paintings of polar bears, he would know instantly what was missing. Just a line or a curve often made all the difference.
Q: Has anything about your life changed since becoming an artist-in-residence aboard the G Expedition?
A: I never thought that there were positions available for artists to work aboard ships! So when this opportunity to work on the G Expedition came along, I jumped at it: I love travelling, adventure and imparting knowledge on other. When I'm back home, I am often asked to give presentations on painting and working in Antarctica or the Arctic.
Q: Why would you recommend a trip aboard the G Expedition?
A: Most passengers have traveled all over the world before they decide to travel to the polar regions. Not only does the G Expedition offer passengers a trip of a lifetime; it also features the opportunity to chat with — and learn from — scientists, naturalists, and a resident photographer, musician and artist, all while on board.
Ready for a trip aboard the G Expedition? Check out our Expedition cruises — which include trips to the Arctic and Antarctica — here.