Sunday 7 December 2008

Paint Roses and Castles

Paint Roses and Castles by Anne Young
Book Review

A "how to" guide for aspiring waterways artists.

This is a great book for boaters looking to apply their artistic talents in a watery environment. It explains, in a step by step fashion, how you can create a reasonable rendition on the roses and castles theme.

Visit any gathering of narrowboats and you will find examples of vernacular waterways art, echoing the liveries and decoration which adorned the working boats on the 19th and early 20th centuries. For some the retro look is all a bit too twee but in my opinion, a painted tradition feature here and there enhances any canal boat, and adds colour and life to the whole canal scene.

Anne demonstrates that painting roses and castles doesn't have to be difficult and is within the grasp of most amateur painters. What is more, there was never one style of painting and the images produced varied across the country. The local variations can be attributed to the house styles of individual boatyards and the tendency for the apprentice to copy the style of the master - thus perpetuating a particular style. So it dosen't matter if your "stye" is a bit different form Annes - or any one else's for that matter. Have a go, create your own variation on a traditional theme and put the end result on display for everyone to enjoy.

The author has lots of ideas about things you could paint and use to liven up to your boat, everything from the traditional Buckby Can through to coasters and house numbers to remind you of the waterways when not actually afloat.

Perhaps my favourite application are ideas on how to paint roses and castle on raised panels, which can be completed at home and then applied to my boat doors when complete. This approach has the added advantage of allowing me several attempts to follow the instructions and "get it right" before putting my efforts on display for all to see.

This is a good book for crafty types willing to experiment during the long winter months, emerging blinking into the spring light armed with new artwork for the first trip of the year.

ISBN 0 7153 1618 -4

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