Narrow Boat With Red Door



For 40 years Iíve looked across Rochdale canal in Todmorden at some dark turrets - and never visited them. One Saturday afternoon I decided to have a wander up to them but found them to be part of a personís house but unused. Passing a rusty grid I lifted it to see deep raw sewage flowing in slow-motion down to the canal. I put the grid back and decided to walk down along the canal footpath. Many year ago I was walking along this canal when I saw an unworried cow stood in the deep water. A girl was shouting to her boyfriend, ďDo something - do something!Ē I doubt he could pull half a ton out of the water but it eventually waded to a shallow bank and left the water itself. Iíve never seen in a cow in a canal before. I once found a dead Yorkshire Terrier and donít think Iíll ever forget it.


I passed a narrow-boat moored up on its own and was thinking how the red door didnít fit well the pale blue colours when I decided on impulse I thought I would paint it. I think I must be getting old as Iím not really one for painting canals and roses in vases and apples in bowls (I really must be getting old as I donít mind the taste of Brussel sprouts so much these days, quite like watching The Waltons and have some beige shoes.)


So hereís a painting of the narrow boat with the turrets in the background. Iíve never painted reflections on water before but it all happened quickly and I was soon signing the canvas. Must admit I was on the edge of boredom painting this and was glad to finish it. I like paintings with a narrative that spurs the viewerís mind.


I wasnít sure if there was a difference between a barge and a narrow-boat....had to look it up: a barge is too large and too wide for most canal locks and is used for carrying cargo; a narrow-boat is typically 60 feet long and about 7 feet wide (and the Vikings used longboats.) So the thing here with a red door here is a narrow boat.


This isnít my kind of painting. You see these regularly in local art exhibitions and spend less than four seconds glancing at them as you stride along to the exit. Iíll put this in the attic and give something the spiders to cover in silk.