I discovered canal art during my first narrowboat holiday on the Ashby canal. Garlands of painted roses and daisies decorated not only items on the roofs of the boats but also the boats themselves. As we sailed passed those boats that were moored, I also noticed pictures of majestic castles surrounded by mountains and rivers painted on the back doors and side hatches: a floating gallery of artistic expertise.

So many boats were painted with this type of artwork that I looked into the history of the waterways and discovered that canal art is a recognized traditional art form. Canal art can trace its roots back to the beginnings of the modern canal era in the 18th century when boats began to be painted with roses and castles designs. I have always loved drawing and painting, so decided to have a go myself.

I have been very lucky to be mentored by one of the Masters of the Waterways Craft Guild who has helped me tremendously in the use of colour and techniques required to style my artwork in the ‘traditional’ vein, using colours and motifs that have become synonymous with canal art. The photographs in the section below show some of the styles of roses I paint and typical castle scenes.


Melanie Clare Accredited Journeyman in Decorative Painting Waterways Craft Guild

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