Tuesday 24 November 2015


I made this drawing at the end of May 2015
I strolled down to the Hertford Union canal this lunchtime on my way to Fish Island Labs. It's the first time I've visited the canal since September when I collected what was left of my 805 steps exhibition.

When I made the drawing above there was an enormous warehouse/factory building behind the blue 1980s style fence. I can remember at the time wondering what kind of industry went on this building. Presumably there was a lot of nothing going on in there because this was the view I saw today just six months later.

Monday 19 October 2015

Show's over!

The last two exhibits: Monday 19 October 2015
A pattern of thieving has developed since I installed the posters just over three weeks ago. I've been checking the site regularly and I've had some help from friends who've trekked down to the canal to see the exhibition and they have reported how many posters were left. The posters have been removed at the weekends and not during the week so I presume that the new owners have day jobs to go to.

I'm happy that the posters have been removed and I was surprised that they hadn't been defaced by the graffiti artists. I assumed, following the pattern from the last few weeks that the last two posters would have gone by the time I got back to the towpath at lunchtime today, Monday. Surprise, surprise there were still two remaining so I decided that I would take them home with me. Now the wooden doors are available for their next coat of paint and I'll look forward to seeing what they look like when I next visit the canal.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

This waning exhibition

This poster had been removed by the time I visited on Monday 5 October
As a general rule, when you organise an exhibition, you know when the start date and end dates will be. I had chosen the installation date towards the end of September because it marked one year since this project's inception. I had vaguely thought that I would remove the posters about one month later if they were still there.

I had also sort of hoped that passers-by might take them down and maybe display them in their homes. So far six of the posters have been taken away and it's always been around the weekends. Of course I have no idea where they might be: they could have been tossed in a bin, or been sent floating down the canal for all I know.

I visited the exhibition site again last Wednesday, 7 October and the remaining four posters were still all there. I have visited again today Tuesday, 13 October, and the two posters below have gone leaving two left. I would guess that they will have been taken by next weekend. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday 4 October 2015

Poster watch

I installed the eight posters just over a week ago. I walked passed the site a couple of days later and they were still all there and unmarked by spray paint. We walked passed the same spot yesterday, five days later, and lo and behold the following three posters have been removed. It's been done very carefully because there was no sign of any of the panel pins remaining or bits of torn corners so the mystery is where have they gone? And how long will the others remain?

So, those interested people who were planning a bike ride down to the canal to see them had better get there quick.

Reeds and wind

View from the bridge

The White Building

Monday 28 September 2015

Now for the exhibition

My test poster which someone kindly added graffiti to      Photo: Graham White
While I have been drawing my way along this section of the canal it has always been my intention to exhibit some of the sketches somewhere and somehow. Since I have been responding to the tow path during the spring and summer I realised that I wanted to record something about the canal before it is handed over to the developers and the area changes for ever.

During this time I've got to know some of the people who regularly use the tow path and I thought they might find it interesting if I displayed some of the drawings in the same setting in which they were produced so they could be seen as part of a series. I also liked the idea of sharing one of the spaces that are regularly used by graffiti artists.

This led to a protracted period when I was trying to find out who owned the building I wanted to use so that I might get permission from the owner to display my work. This involved getting in touch with the Canal & River Trust who then, in turn, put me in touch with the National Grid who own the building.

Having been granted permission I then had to decide how to reproduce the images and I chose to have them made as small posters. Then I had to work out how to fix them to the wooden doors of the building. I used my test poster above to experiment with and I discovered that glue wouldn't work as the poster simply slid off the door. My staple gun wasn't working so I had to throw that out and then I found the simplest solution was to hammer panel pins into the doors and they have worked very well.

I chose to install the posters last Saturday, 26 September as this marks a year since I began to work on the idea. We had glorious weather and I was joined by my husband and three friends who all supported me while I put the images up on the doors. I will leave them up for the next few weeks assuming that they haven't been ripped off in the mean time.

Here's a map if you fancy a trip along the canal

There are eight images on display out of a series of 20 drawings

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Merchandising my drawings

Over the last few years I have gradually produced a collection of greetings cards from my artwork. I have just received these samples from my drawing series 805 steps. I'm really happy with them and they are quite different from the bright colours of my other cards.

Thursday 20 August 2015

Here is the final sketch

The site where the abandoned Top o' the Morning pub on Wick Lane used to stand
We've just got home from a month's holiday in Canada and clearly quite a lot has been going on while we've been away. The Top o' the Morning pub is no more and I expect the site will be used for a housing development so maybe this is the beginning of the gentrification on this side of the Hertford Union Canal. Then I walked along the canal for a short distance and I spotted a planning development notice taped to a lamp post. As far as I could tell it concerned an existing property and not the former pub.

The end of the line at White Post Lane
I continued on my way and almost immediately bumped into my 'friend' the motor mechanic who was walking his boss's dog in his lunch hour. I took the opportunity to say goodbye because I had decided this would be my last sketch of this series of drawings. He told me that the business he works for will be moving out by the end of the year. He wished me good luck and we parted company.

Life on the canal is always changing and at the same time seems changeless. The boats continue making their way through the locks and passers-by stand and stare. Runners keep on running and dog walkers keep on yelling at their canine companions.

I've relished recording my responses in the form of sketches, over the spring and summer, to this short length of canal that will probably change out of all recognition over the next few years. I've enjoyed experimenting with my drawing and have been happy to publish the successes and the failures along the way. But now there is a hint of autumn in the air it is time to bring this project to a close.

I leant on the bridge over the canal at White Post Lane to make this drawing

When I began this composition I imagined that I would only use pencil to start with and then I would finish it in pen and ink. Part of the way through this process I realised that it needed to be completed in pencil. From this view you can see the River Lee Navigation ahead and the Hertford Union Canal just on the right hand side.

Although this is the end of the series of drawings it is not the end of the project or the blog and I will be posting developments in the next couple of weeks so please check back later.