I was trying to put together a photo collection of the complete Stratford-upon-Avon canal for the Photos by Canal section of the website, using material from my photo library . But when I took stock of the photos of the locks taken previously I found that most were taken in dull weather – not my scene!

So, it is that I awaited Tuesday (23 April 2013) with joyous anticipation, as, for several days the weather forecasters had predicted sunny weather and above average temperatures. The morning arrived and the revised weather forecasts for the day predicted an overcast afternoon. Oh dear! Throwing caution to the wind I set out for Lapworth. What the heck, thought I, let’s take a chance!

Well the forecasters were wrong (again) and the afternoon was pretty well perfect for canal photography – a large majority of blue and some light white clouds.

I have visited the Lapal Locks many times in the past – well away from my city residence in Birmingham and just 18 miles into rural and leafy Warwickshire – and always interesting to see the comings and goings through the 25 locks.

Surprise view spotted from the bridgeParking the car near a lock I peered over the bridge and spotted an artist with easel and a subject sitting on a balance beam.

There’s no way down from the bridge to the towpath, so cursing thinking I would have to find a way down somewhere else. Luckily, I figured there must be a way nearby and so there was – just 10m along the main road running parallel to the canal.

Now I wondered who the artist and subject were and why this was happening?

I pointed at the IWA emblem on the subject’s jacket enquiring if he worked for them.

To my surprise it was Clive Henderson the recently retired Chairman of the IWA. The artist was Rob Pointon. Both had been in the news recently.

Rob in action while Clive relaxes in front of his homeClive is very well know to canal aficionados. He has been a member of the IWA since 1984 and held various Regional Chairman roles and was National Chairman from September 2009 until retiring in October 2012. He steered the IWA through the formation of the C&RT and is now an elected member of its Council representing Private Boating.

Rob Pointon has hit the news of late for his year long trip around the canal network in a narrow boat painting scenes along the way. He has exhibitions of these works opening in Birmingham on 26 April and later in Manchester, Leicester and Weston Park, near Shrewsbury.

That’s the who, now the why.

Canvas completed today

Rob had been commissioned to create a canvas of Clive which he was to donate to the CRT who would then present it to Clive in recognition of his time as IWA chairman and his two years on the board of British Waterways as an observer. The scene is outside Clive’s house which out-dates the canal which runs through what used to be part of the front garden.

I sneaked a photo  of the nearly completed canvas as shown here.

Rob and the IWA should be very pleased with this very atmospheric and fitting tribute to Clive.

And I’m sure Clive is thrilled with the very fitting and imaginative picture.

Later that afternoon I was walking passed Lock 15 just north of Lapworth Junction and encountered some international holiday makers.

Ric and Shelagh and the flagsRic and Shelagh Stacey from Vancouver and two companions from Australia (taking a rest) were in the middle of a cruise from Rugby taking in Birmingham and Coventry on the way. This they would follow up with a tour of north Wales by car.

The boat is proudly sporting the Australian flag topped by the Canadian one.

Surprising how often people from the far the reaches of the globe make for our beautiful canals!