Monday, 6 August 2012

Oil Painting 31 - President at the Black Country Museum

The Black Country Museum has good secure moorings and facilities right alongside. I'm sure this means absolutely nothing to the majority of readers but that alone makes it a favoured destination for boaters. You can only gain access to the moorings by foot with use of a magic golden BW key. Every boat owner has one, and it unlocks almost every door, water point, shower room, launderette and elsan on the waterways network. What's an elsan then? Such a graceful name for what is essentially a direct line ... Change of mind, I am going to leave talk of this side of boating on this blog... Google 'elsan' if you feel you have to.

I introduced myself to the staff of the  Black Country 'Living' Museum, asking permission to paint and they showed me around the dry dock and wharf they have contained within the museum grounds. Moored at the wharf is the oldest working steam powered narrow boat called 'President' and it's butty Kildare. President is quite a celebrity (as far as narrow boats go) having his own fan club - The Friends of President.

It turns out I have already seen him once before in 2012, from afar, cruising down the Thames as part of the Queens Diamond Jubilee River Pageant when I was painting Oil Painting. A famous boat, that took part in the flotilla, moored in the marvellous setting of the Black Country Museum, is enough temptation to make me get the paints out and so you get Oil Painting 31. 

It took 3 separate sessions to complete, the last being glorious sunshine changing quite a dull gritty industrial scene into a high contrast sun blasted painting. You come away from the BCLiving Museum smelling of smoke as all the volunteers and costumed staff are stoking up coal fires, even in blazing sunshine to illustrate our dependence on them before electricity.

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