I spotted this fascinating array of painted ware recently on a boat on the off-side residential moorings close to Cropredy Mill. Despite being in a bit of a state, with paintwork peeling – perhaps following a Winter on the cabin top – nonetheless they retain a weathered authority. They seem to show the skills of three different painters using a range of distinct styles: the left-hand (smaller) can is an example of the tighter ‘knobstick’ style, whilst the right-hand (larger) can displays a confident and more flamboyant Braunston-esque style. Though little of the dipping bowl can be seen, it seems to be in a more hesitant amateur style, and is one I’d like to look at more closely..

This can was photographed in the porch of The Great Western Arms at Ayhno.It looks a professional job with confident flourishes; in working on my own Can I’ve really come to appreciate the length of time and practice needed to acquire the graphic confidence to achieve such seemingly effortless results.
Though a seemingly rapidly executed job – I so wish I could be as confident with my own brushwork, as this can captures the energy of the painter’s gestures beautifully.
Mmm, and here’s my ongoing effort. It looks very hesitant and ‘still’ in comparison. Having decided to continue with variations on the theme of flowers around the remaining panels, I’ve gone for this highly stylised design for the upper panels either side of the handle. I’m not pleased with the rather clumsy green flourishes – just too thick! – and they’re going to be painted over, once I can remember what grey I actually used as the primer for the Can – it’s been so long since I started it!
The lower panels either side of the handle are also finalised, in sketchbook form if nothing else, and will feature a posy of red and white flowers. As can be seen, with only the background of the leaves sketched in and the flowers simple chalk marks there’s a long way to go yet…

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