The boat moored alongside our ‘Eileen’ in ‘the Arm’ in Banbury is perhaps best described – charitably – as a project boat. It’s a project that has seemingly stalled. It’s a boat in decline. With it’s restoration becoming, year by year, still more challenging. More expensive. Hope erodes.

It’s paintwork has bubbled, blistered and lifts as water penetrates beneath enamel and the steelwork oxidises and corrodes.

A doomed project? Certainly a gloomy prospect.

However, the erosion the rose designs that once graced the cabin sides has been a revelation. The vigour of the underpainting has been revealed. The confidence of a paint-loaded brushstroke. It’s a surprising intimate portrayal, an x-ray, of the painters craft… and a lesson in process, confidence and skill.

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