"Life on the Water" oil paintings by Odd Andersen
The seafaring tradition runs deep in Odd Andersen's blood. The New Jersey resident, son of a Norwegian merchant seaman, spent almost three decades as a dockbuilder where he worked on such projects as the construction of the Tappan Zee and Throgs Neck Bridges and docks at Port Newark, Port Elizabeth and the Brooklyn waterfront.
Born and raised in a Scandinavian neighborhood in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, Odd began drawing cartoons at an early age.At 15 he studied painting for about a year and has been painting for about 50 years, mostly after retiring when time was more available. He also studied for a year in the 1980's at the Ridgewood New Jersey Art School, but mostly he is self taught.
Drafted into the Navy in 1955, he spent two years on small boats in Delaware. Andersen's father was born in Norway and went to sea as a teenager, making two voyages on whaling ships to Antartica before he was 16. For 20 years the elder Andersen worked on square riggers designed for full ocean voyages.
Andersen has exhibited his works at the Belskie Museum in New Jersey at the “Ship Ahoy” exhibit. Presently his paintings are on exhibit at the Heritage Hall Museum of the Norwegian Christian Home & Health Center in Brooklyn presented by the Norwegian Immigration Association. In 2009, Odd exhibited over 50 paintings at the Melville Gallery of the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City. Today he works out of a studio in his garage next to his home.
Many of the subjects of his maritime paintings come from black and white photographs. Andersen says his process is as simple as seeing a photo, generating an idea, and then painting it. The paintings are never replicas of the photographs, but rather adaptations with personal changes and additions.