Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Gates at lower lock

The girl on this boat told me how much she just loved all the graffiti on the wall behind me
I settled on the gates of the lower lock as my subject today and I spent quite a lot of
time eating my lunch and watching the world go by before I put pen to paper. I was sitting right in front of a wall covered from top to bottom in what I think is really uninteresting graffiti. As far as I can see its only redeeming feature is that
it is very colourful and it is always being repainted. I seem to be very much in the minority here. I was interested to see how many passers-by made a point of photographing sections of this colourful mess or having their photo taken in front of it - it is clearly a tourist attraction and all I was doing was getting in their way.

There was quite a lot of boating traffic too, going up and down the canal which I found much more riveting. The boat above moored up and waited patiently while a Thames barge came through the lock. I observed the whole process for long enough to see how slowly the lock filled with water once the sluice gates had been opened and how this determined the pace at which canal life proceeds. I was also struck by the physical effort the boating crews have to exert to open and close the gates and how many single people work the locks on their own which must be quite an art.

I used pen and a wash of Indian ink for this sketch

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