Arts & Music

This is an evolving gallery of professional artists inspired by the Oxford Canal. Our initial selection includes two Oxford based artist and one artist who lives in Coventry. All of these artists have kindly given the Oxford Canal Heritage project permission to include their work in our various publications and publicity about our events and we thank them for this.

Colin Dick

Colin Dick (b 1929) has spent many decades painting pictures of various aspects of the Oxford Canal as part of a larger interest in ‘outsiders’. He was also interviewed for the Oxford Canal Oral Histories and recounted stories about working boaters including Rose and Joe Skinner who he painted when a young man in his 30s. This painting of their boat Friendship that was pulled by Dolly, a mule, was used in the Oxford Canal Heritage project events brochure. The story also inspired one of our shortlisted radio play writers who has written a 10 minute play featuring Dolly.

The gallery of Colin’s paintings and sketches includes his painting of St Barnabas and a rare watercolour of the Oxford Swing Bridge in its glory. Sadly it has deteriorated over the intervening years and it is currently the focus of a large restoration project by the Oxford Preservation Trust.

Colin’s prolific output was captured by the artist Richard Yeomans who wrote Seeing Life which was published in 2011 by HobbsMcLaughlin. A description of it appears on but you can watch Colin talking about his work on You Tube


See more pictures by Colin Dick

Valerie Petts

Valerie Petts lives in Jericho and has drawn and painted scenes of the Oxford Canal for many years. Her professional background and first career was as a medical technician and she worked for some years in clinical research in both London and Sydney.
However she is now established water colour painter, and has exhibited in Tokyo and Cape Town as well as showing extensively in Oxford where she is a member of the Oxford Art Society and also does a little teaching. Her work has often been featured in local media hence for some years Valerie painted each month for the Oxford Times prize-winning magazine ‘Limited Edition’. Valerie’s lovely paintings of St Barnabas Church and Aristotle Bridge have been used to illustrate two of the places of interest in the Oxford Canal Heritage Guide.


See more pictures by Valerie Petts

Katherine Shock

Katherine Shock is a painter and garden designer who lives in Oxford. She works in water colour and oils and has a wide ranging portfolio of subjects and places. However her love of in her home city of Oxford has inspired her to produce a growing body of art that seeks to capture to capture many different aspects of the university’s dreaming spires, the city’s bridges, and green spaces.

Katherine recently worked in collaboration with John Ellinger, the award winning poet, to produce That Sweet City Visions of Oxford (2013, Signal Books). Each page offers a poem illustrated by a quick fine pencil sketch that she has followed with a swish of colour and then inked in the detail.
Examples of canal themed art can be seen in the gallery including a beautifully detailed Isis bridge which features in the Oxford Canal Heritage Guide.

See more pictures by Katherine Shock



The Bold Navigators by John Kirkpatrick et al can be obtained from Fellside Records :

Navvy's Wife by Mick Ryan can be obtained from Wildgoose Records :

Where The Working Boats Went by Life & Times can be obtained from them via their website :

Mist on the Water by DPN+1 can be obtained from Dave Illingworth. Contact link at the bottom of this web page :

Recordings by Keepers Lock can be obtained from their website :

They're Coming Back to the Water can be obtained from Benny Graham via his website :