Between Memory and Water

September 04 2016

A Great Place to Visit and Experience!

Stoke Bruerne was a great place to visit for a family day out when I was a kid. You could see all the barges with their bright colours, have an ice cream and even watch the locks being operated.  

The Blisworth tunnel was closed when I was a child but today you can go straight through and on down the Northampton arm of the Grand Union Canal to the centre of Northampton. After that, the canal joins the Nene River, and from there it meanders through the valley and past my home in Irthlingborough. 

A Horse towing a canal boat.

Canal Life

The canal has probably been a part of most people’s lives in one way or another and is certainly one of our counties great treasures. This is why I decided to paint a picture, using the words of a poem by Ian McMillan called ‘Canal Life’. 

Since about 2004 myself and my friends have taken an annual trip from Gayton in Northamptonshire to Milton Keynes and back. We always go in September when the school year has started and  the first sniff of autumn makes the air crisp and fresh. It gives us a chance to  slow down and its reminds us of nature, especially when the sun makes the water glisten as the boat gently glides along the canal. 

Its a breath of fresh air, to be out and away.

This is the Life!

On our trips along the canal, I have often made drawings in my sketchbook to capture what I saw, so I thought it was time I made a painting. Ian McMillan's poem 'Canal Life' captures what the canal means to me and so I combined the poem into my latest text painting. 

Between Memory and Water

Phrases, such as 'Between memory and water'  and 'The canal tells you stories, The canal sings you songs' really captures for me the joy of being in a boat, going through the locks and being away from the hustle and bustle of life. When you are on the canal you feel like you are somewhere else and everything seems more peaceful.
Canal Life by Jamie Poole. Text Poem Painting

Glimpses of Another World

When I am  not on the canal and out in the car, I often catch glimpses of the canal and even see boats slowly cruising along.  The water, birds and the natural beauty always makes me curious to see more.

But if you don't have the opportunity to get out on a boat, here are some places you can go to enjoy the canal:

Market Harborough

The restored Union Wharf in Market Harborough is home to red-brick warehouses, most of which have been converted to trendy waterside apartments and arts and crafts workshops.

Stoke Bruerne 

The Grand Union Canal at Stoke Bruerne is an idyllic picture of passing boats and local wildlife. It's a relaxing and lovely place for a day out.

Blisworth Tunnel,  Blisworth 

Tunnel is one of the longest in Britain. 3076 yards long and broad throughout - so that two narrowboats can pass.

Foxton Locks 

An idyllic canalside location to explore. Sneak a peek at the colourful boats, count the locks at the really long Lock Flight, take a boat trip, or just sit back and relax at the pubs, café or picnic spots.

Welford Wharf 

Once busy with barges laden with limestone for nearby lime kilns, Welford Wharf is now a picture of rural tranquility. It’s a great place for country walks and spotting wildlife.

To find out more visit The Canal and River Trust website.
Milton Keynes canal bridge

The Alfred East Art Gallery, Kettering.

This September my painting will be exhibited at the Kettering Alfred East Art Gallery as part of the Open Studios exhibition. 

If you like the painting and want your own copy, prints can also be purchased at my ETSY shop.

Texting on the Flying Scotsman

August 28 2016

Steam trains are full of nostalgia and carry a wonderful presence and atmosphere with them as they thunder through the countryside. The clatter, clatter of the carriages on the rails, the chuffing of the powerful engine itself, not mention the whistle as it approaches imbue a wonderful magnificence.

Northamptonshire’s heritage is deeply rooted in these, awesome machines from that bygone era and we can see evidence of them everywhere in the Nene valley, just go for a walk down at Stanwick or Irthlingborough lakes. The various railway museums in the area at Irchester, Rushden and further afield in Lamport are all testimony to the immense impact and scale of the industrial era in Northamptonshire.

This June hundreds of people came out to witness the legendary steam locomotive the Flying Scotsman pass through the Nene valley.  The ‘Nations Favourite Locomotive’ as it is known was completed in Doncastor, 24 February 1923 and designed by Sir Nigel Gresley for the London to Edinburgh rail service that started in 1862. The train has been fully restored over ten years at a cost of 4.2 million.

Below are some photographs that show how I made a text painting from the words of an article about the Flying Scotsman and its history. If you look closely you can read facts about this marvelous locomotive in the artwork.

As a local artist in Irthlingborough, I was inspired by remarkable drone footage of the Scotsman, as it crossed the scenic Harringworth viaduct, to undertake a new text based painting; text is taken from the website and i used it  to create a collage of this awesome train. 

As part of Open Studios 2016 , I will be exhibiting this artwork and selling prints at Kettering train station, platform 1 in the Civic Societies, 'Time Travellers' room throughout September.

If you would like your own signed print please contact me at , or visit my ETSY store where you can make an order!

The Flying Scotsman by Jamie Poole


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