Jan, touring the canals Jan, touring the canals

Meet Jan, touring the canals

I've lived aboard my boat for the last eight years and I work as an artist travelling around the canals. When I'm not moving the boat, I split my time between painting and selling my work. I like to paint waterscapes, they've been my best sellers this year. People call my way of life 'living the dream'. I would say, I make my living doing this, and once you decide that you're making a living it can be hard work - but it pays for food and the upkeep of the boat. 

Jan's Art Boat

I travel in the boat to waterways festivals and events to sell my work. I'm based in the North West and my home water is in Macclesfield, so that's where I usually go in the winter.

I haven't always been a roving trader. I used to run a business in Chester. After that I did a degree in art and drama, and I had a family later. When I first decided to get a narrowboat I moored it at the bottom of my mum's garden and my children had their bedroom on board.

Prints for sale

Now, the Art Boat is my home, studio and gallery. I have to store my work safely aboard when I'm on the move, and because I make my own prints I have to find space for the printer as well. That means with the tight space inside a narrowboat I have to try to keep my living area separate so that I can invite people in for a cup of tea!

Jan, touring the canals