For 8 weeks now we have been on the Artists on the Canals Tour and we will be for an other 4 weeks. It feels a lot longer as we have been organising this tour for months.
The tour started in Atherstone where we had a long week-end poppingUP our galleries.
It makes a nice difference to tour together, helping, sharing, cooperating most of all getting inspired.
Right before the start we had engine problems, I mean real engine problems with alarm bells going right left and centre. Repair after repair did not solve the problem so here we were cruising with from time to time the engine giving a right big scream showing red lights telling us turn me of much too hot here in the engine-room.
We were going in the locks together us without a running engine and the other boat moving us, lucky we were at a part of the canals with double locks.
After some cooling down we followed our companion into the tunnel with a not so good engine, ready to shout and horn blowing for them to reverse to come and get us when all would go wrong.
All went fine exempt for the nerves.
While in popUP mode we don’t need the engine much as we have the solar panel for our electricity, only for the hot water we need fossil power.
It isn’t just nice for when in trouble to work together, doing something together we add to the other artists work and they add to our work. When you come along you see many different art forms and artistic expression not just one, new styles, new subjects all on narrowboats.
The advantage of being in one place for a while you meet other very interesting and creative people. Tony Robinson who makes a lovely garden along the Aylesbury Canal, is one of them. He is well over 80 years old and do the gardening with what people donate to him, when the sun shines you will find him there. Nobody owns the garden, yet all enjoy it, thanks to a man who took time and initiative to create.
The garden has some of our plants and rocks in there and all he wants people to do is water it when dry, leave the rest to him, it is his ‘painting’ after all.
In between the popUP and exhibitions we have time for pure enjoyment, when the engine keeps going. The good thing of travelling with a narrowboat from place to place is you experience the environment in details. You hear the birds, you smell the flowers, you see the rocks.
So we went to the next spot to popUP again, even we are together we stay totally separate while our studios and work link up along the towpath.
In Berkhamsted we linked up with a canal site pub we remember from last year. The Rising Sun is right next to the lock. In summer it feels like you locking through the pub as the customers taking their seats right next to the lock.
After us the floating theatre would play one of their acts right next to the lock.
On the moment we are moored in Hemel Hempstead meeting up with other artists like the Angry Boater the comedian. Tomorrow I link up with a woman to work together on a poetry-film.
We even share our exhibition space with musicians and comedians in the Cellar Club at the Old Town Hall. Our art gives a very different background to their performances linking visual art with a different audience.
In Aylesbury we had an exhibition in The Queens Park Art Centre a lovely community art centre. Heidi Siggers one of the artists from Artists on the Canals linked here up to get her fantastic ceramic work fired in their kiln. It will be hard to accommodate a kiln on a narrowboat.
We moored up at different spots giving a very different perspective and inspiration. Discovering new places with new inhabitants, not only the people who walk past with their dogs. People enjoying the towpath in many different ways, cycling, running, jogging, talking and now experimenting with art.
We had so many talks with people who got inspired by our work, not many galleries give you the experience to talk with the artists and see them at work.
We also get inspired by these new environments and their individual beauty, to get a special place, one day, in the different floating galleries.
We will be moving on again next week towards Cassiobury Park at Watford where we will have an exhibition in The Cha Cafe. On Saturday 18 July we will be making a Spiral in the park with the locale community. At the same time the Watford and Busky artists society will come and express the landscape in drawings, paintings and other art-forms.
It will be a great way to end the Artists on the Canals Tour.
Hope to see you there or here.