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Deep Impressions Underwater Art



An interview with diver and artist Kim Vaudin by Jeff Goodman

‘We create underwater paintings to inspire and remind people of their own personal experiences by capturing the essence of the sea’.

Many years ago, I was taught to scuba dive, while at Plymouth College of Art & Design, by John Vaudin. Great times. Diving was all so new and exciting and all though my career I have never lost that excitement, that thrill of being underwater and interacting with the marine environment.

A short while ago I came across Deep Impressions Underwater Art and was delighted to find out that Kim was in fact John’s daughter and has the same passion for the underwater world. Kim and her mother Kay have been painting together for over 20 years and have a studio in Plymouth, Devon. I thought the artwork was superb and got in touch with Kim to ask her first of all how her dad was and hearing that he was fit and well moved on to ask about the underwater art.

Jeff: Hi Kim, delighted to meet you. I am guessing that your love and inspiration for diving came from your dad. How did it all start for you?

Kim: Hi Jeff, great to meet you too!

Growing up, our kitchen was often full of divers (as Dad was an instructor) and they’d sit around the table drinking my Mum’s home brew and revelling in their tales of wrecks, enormous lobsters and practical jokes on each other. And I so wanted to be a part of this mysterious and fun world, it sounded so exciting!

Every summer, us kids were always in the sea, swimming and snorkelling, we couldn’t keep out of the water.  I think that I knew even back then, subconsciously, that being in the sea was the key to my long-term happiness and well-being.

Jeff: Can you remember your first dive and the moment you decided that underwater art was going to be your future?

Kim: My family spent every summer in Guernsey and when I was 14 my Dad encouraged me to try a small dive off the harbour wall with him. It was absolutely nerve-wracking but at the same time utterly amazing! And a few years later, I travelled around Australia, and I was determined to dive on the Great Barrier Reef. This was my first dive on a coral reef and it blew me away. I clearly remember it as if it was yesterday, I was on a high for days. I only hope that my nieces and nephews get to experience the same thing when they’re older.

It wasn’t until years later and after I’d gone back to Art college, that the penny dropped, and I knew that I wanted to combine my creativity with my love of being in the sea.

The most rewarding part of painting is that my art seems to strike a chord with other people, as it seems to remind them of their own experiences and what the sea means to them.

Jeff: I read on your Facebook page –

‘The thrill of diving is not knowing what you might see. Every dive is different, even if you dive the same site a hundred times. There’s always the hope that this will be the best dive ever! The one you don’t wanna miss and this keeps us going back in, time after time’.

I feel exactly the same. Do you have a favourite site where you get most of your ideas from?

Kim: There are so many dives all around the world that really stick out in my mind and so many times when I’ve thought, I must try and paint that! It could be a rock formation, a particular sea creature or just the way the sun hits the reef and the colours explode.

But I have several favourite local sites where we always find something interesting and if we’re really lucky and all the good conditions come together, you know it’s going to be a memorable day.

Jeff: I see from your website that you take a photo first and I assume draw and paint from those images. Are the photos exact blueprints for your paintings or are they just inspirational guides?

Kim: I take a lot of photos underwater, but I’m not very good at it. But it doesn’t matter to me as they are just a reference to use as part of a bigger picture or backdrop. They are a great way to remind you of a dive and that does trigger my inspiration to paint.

Jeff: Do you have any favourite animals you like to paint?

Kim: I really love to paint mantas and cuttlefish, probably because they’re my favourite creatures to see underwater.

Jeff: Have you ever tried sketching while underwater?

Kim: No, I’m normally focused on my camera and the dive. I don’t think my buddy would be patient enough to wait for me if I got out a sketchpad as well!

Jeff: I find it almost impossible to dive without my camera. Are you the same or are you happy at times to just look and enjoy the experience?

Kim: I hate being without my camera! We always see the most amazing stuff when I haven’t taken it in. We were on the Mewstone Ledges last summer and we came across a really big common octopus and I’d forgotten to put my SIM card in my camera. I was beside myself and had to frantically delete the ten internal memory shots to free up some space, but luckily he stayed long enough and I managed to get some decent photos. Mum did a beautiful painting of him too.

Jeff: Do you do commissions?

Kim: Yes we do. Usually our customers will give us their favourite photos and we’ll build a painting around their ideas and sometimes they even want to be in the picture.

Jeff: I was scrolling through your pictures on your web site and was awed by the amount of work you have done. Is there an average amount of pictures you get done a year?

Kim: Since we’ve moved into our studio (a couple of years ago) the amount of artwork we’ve created has really increased. I guess we paint around 20-30 artworks a year between us, depending on the size and amount of detail we include.

Jeff: When photographing potential subjects do you use artificial light or prefer to stay with natural lighting?

Kim: I use a strobe as it gives your subject far more colour in the close-up shots, especially at depth. But in very low light I will turn it off sometimes for a more atmospheric shot.

Jeff: Are there occasions when you do a painting without the influence of a photo. Something totally made up and inspirational.

Kim: We’ve both been developing our styles recently and we’ve been exploring different art techniques and ideas. So our work is changing in that it’s become far more abstract and loose. Our paintings still have the ocean theme but it’s not so important to get every little detail absolutely right any more. I love this new freedom, it’s much more exciting and fun. You never know exactly how a painting will turn out, very much like diving really.

Jeff: Thanks Kim and good diving.

Kim Vaudin is one half of a mother and daughter team who have been painting together for over 20 years. As snorkellers and divers (and coming from a diving family), they love to be in the ocean seeking inspiration for their art and taking photographs to use as reference.

Their artwork is designed to reflect peoples passion for the sea and to enjoy their own connection to it, while at home.

To find out more about Deep Impressions visit their website by clicking here.

Jeff Goodman is the Editor-at-Large for with responsibility for conservation and underwater videography. Jeff is an award-winning TV wildlife and underwater cameraman and film maker who lives in Cornwall, UK. With over 10,000 dives to his credit he has dived in many different environments around the world.

Dive Training Blogs

Dream Dive Locker Build Out Part II: Blank Slate (Watch Video)



I owe you all an update on the dream dive locker build out! We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to build my dream dive locker/scuba classroom/office. In this installment, I’m going to answer your questions and comments from the first video in this series.

Scuba diving is my passion and to have a dedicated space for all my dive gear, as well as a hang out spot for my students, is a dream come true.

Let me know your color choice! 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5!

Thanks for watching!



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Miscellaneous Blogs

The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Stephan Whelan



Next in a new series of podcasts shared by our friends Gemma and Ian aka The BiG Scuba Podcast…

Ian and Gemma chat to Stephan Whelan.  Stephan is the Founder and Publisher of His passion for the underwater world started at 8 years-old with a try-dive in a hotel pool on holiday that soon formulated into a lifelong love affair with the oceans and led him to become one of the leading figures in the diving media industry.

Stephan got bitten by the diving bug early in life. His first scuba experience was a try-dive when he was eight years old on a family holiday in Europe, and from that moment, he was addicted. He learned to dive properly with BSAC (British Sub Aqua Club) as soon as he could at school and then did his BSAC Assistant Instructor when he turned 16. By the time he was heading to university in 1996, he was hooked on teaching and diving as much as he could.

By the time he started studying at university, he decided to have a go at flexing his web-design skills by publishing some of the stories he had built up about various ‘challenging’ students and dives he had encountered, and so (as it was known then) was created. He published numerous personal stories until 1998 when other writers began enquiring about contributing to the site with their tales, and it was at this moment he decided to make it more like a magazine format and began asking for volunteer helpers. He got a couple of editors on board, and plenty of writers began contributing. (or DB as it’s become to be known) is now one of the most-popular diving websites in the world and has grown to publish over 9,000 articles covering all sorts of topics like Freediving, Scuba Diving, Ocean Advocacy, and Diving Travel all the while keeping over half-a-million passionate divers from the diving community connected every month through the forums, large social media following, mobile app, and recently launched podcast.








Find more podcast episodes and information at and on most social platforms @thebigscuba 

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