“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

~Ernest Hemingway

I mentioned in a previous post about ‘Water Cans’ (HERE), my ongoing fascination with folk art, which is based on a desire to find a visual language to develop my own version of the inland waterway boat man’s decorated Water Can…

I’ve done many posts on Water Cans over the years (HERE), anyone new to these posts, the illustration below shows the kind of traditional Can I’ve been looking at…

Buckby Cans

I hope to take the aesthetic of traditional Cans as a starting point and then to devise a style of painting to decorate what I’ve tentatively called ‘Journey Cans’. The hope being to create a painted can that in some way stands as a memorial to (and celebration of) The Journey.

I’m currently painting up a small tin ‘coffee jug’ in gloss paint and enamels. The theme is a boat journey last Summer made with The Boys up the Oxford Canal from Lower Heyford.

I’ve been helped enormously in settling on an initial style of painting by two sets of painted ware in my collection. One is a huge red tin teapot (30cm tall, dia. 30cm) which I bought at the Rickmansworth Festival a couple of years ago:

For a big old teapot this is painted surprisingly delicately, with forget-me-nots and daisies…
The side of the teapot carries a ‘bouquet’ of small white roses with marigolds, daisies and more forget-me-nots…

and more recently a small group of painted ‘horse brasses’ found by my mum when clearly the loft of a great aunt who’d recently passed away.

Are these horse brasses? Links in part of the halter perhaps? I love the exuberance of the ‘firework’ flowers swirling and spinning…
A ‘clover’ design or the ‘four of clubs’?
Flicks and darts of colour bringing the ‘inert’ metal to vibrant life…

These small paintings, in reality about 8-10cm in length, show a range of marks and colours that has really encouraged me to return to the coffee pot and have a go…

“The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what’s in between, and we took great pleasure in doing just that.”

~Norton Juster

After all it’s a relaxing way to spend a Wintry evening, in my mind I ‘re-live the days’ whilst I paint.

I’m planning to keep things simple, using just four colours (grass green, bright red, cream & black) on this first test piece.

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”


IMG_5900 (3)


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