At the start of January while I was back in my home town of Manchester in The UK, I spent sometime with family members in visiting the Lowry Gallery in Salford, Manchester, UK.
Lowry is a much loved English artist, particularly in the North west of the UK, being born in Stretford, Manchester.
Here are some basic details about him,
Laurence Stephen Lowry was born 1 November 1887 in Barrett Street, Stretford. His father, Robert, worked as a clerk in an estate agent’s office. His mother, Elizabeth, was a talented pianist. By 1898 the family were living in Victoria Park, a leafy suburb in south Manchester, but in 1909 financial difficulties necessitated a move to Pendlebury, an industrial area between Manchester and Bolton. Lowry’s mother hated it, and so did Lowry, but, ‘After a year I got used to it. Within a few years I began to be interested and at length I became obsessed by it.’
After leaving school Lowry took a job as a clerk with a Manchester firm of chartered accountants, Thomas Aldred and Son. In 1910, after being made redundant from a second job, he became rent collector and clerk for the Pall Mall Property Company and stayed there until his retirement in 1952.
As a child he had enjoyed drawing, and he used part of his income to pay for private painting lessons with the artists William Fitz and Reginald Barber. In 1905 he began attending evening classes at Manchester Municipal College of Art. His tutor in the life drawing class there was the Frenchman Adolphe Valette, who brought first-hand knowledge of the Impressionists, such as Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro to his classes. ‘I cannot over-estimate the effect on me at that time of the coming into this drab city of Adolphe Valette… He had a freshness and a breadth of experience that exhilarated his students.’
By 1915 Lowry had begun attending evening classes at Salford School of Art, based in the Royal Technical College on the edges of Peel Park. One of his tutors there, Bernard Taylor (art critic for the Manchester Guardian) advised Lowry that his paintings were too dark. In response, Lowry tried painting on a pure white background, a technique he was to retain for the rest of his career.
Peel Park, and the views across it from the Technical College windows, appear regularly in Lowry’s work. He had begun to see the possibilities of painting what he saw on his doorstep, rather than more conventional landscapes based on the countryside nearby. The best known story Lowry told of how he became interested in the industrial scene described how, after missing a train at Pendlebury station, he saw the Acme Spinning Company’s mill turning out, ‘I watched this scene – which I’d looked at many times without seeing – with rapture.’
A closer study of Lowry
Over the next few days and weeks I want to take a much closer look at the paintings and drawings that Laurence produced, looking at the subjects that he worked with and the technique’s he used to record his world.
As an artist he has been labeled and stereotyped as a naïve “Sunday painter”, based on the way he painted his landscapes and drew people along with animals.
During this visit to the Lowry Gallery however and with the help of the guided tour, it became very clear just what a complete artist Lowry was. Having a chance to see a collection of his work from his very early days at night school, until the final works of art he produce has helped to show me just how diverse and skilled an artist he was.
The areas of his work I want to study can be seen in his work I have selected below, including (Life drawing, pencil sketches, oil paints, landscape and city scape work), I will enjoy very much looking at his art work and I hope to learn a great deal from him, for my own efforts at drawing and painting.
Art works by LS Lowry
Joseph McWilliams PPRUA
I am taking time this week to do a study of some landscape artists/photographers who’s work I very much like very much.
I feel the need to take a look at the work of the artists I know of again, who use the landscape of Ireland both North and South along with the British Isles, in there drawings and painting and Photographs.
I first came across the art work of Joseph McWilliams when I visited an exhibition called “Landscapes north and south”, the the exhibition was held at the Glebe House Gallery, County Donegal.
A little about : Joseph McWilliams PPRUA
Joe McWilliams was born in Belfast in 1938. He studied at the Belfast College of Art and at the Open University. Later he lectured in Art Education at the Ulster Polytechnic in Belfast and was Senior Lecturer and Senior Course Tutor at the University of Ulster. Since 1986 he and his wife, artist Catherine McWilliams have managed the Cave Hill Gallery, Belfast. He has had numerous solo exhibitions and has been represented in major Irish group shows both in Ireland and abroad; Recently his work was seen in an exhibition entitled ‘Dreams and Traditions: 300 Years of British and Irish Painting’ from the Ulster Museum Collection which toured the USA in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute, Washington. His work is held in numerous collections including: NI Arts Council, Queen’s University, Coras Iompair Éireann, the Department of the Environment (NI), AIB, the National Self Portrait Collection of Ireland.
McWilliams is a regular lecturer and broadcaster on the Visual Arts in Northern Ireland and has been invited to speak on the Arts a number of times in Boston, USA. He has also published articles and reviews on the subject. He has written many scripts for BBC radio and has presented, his own script “The Way that I Went” which was seen on BBC world services as well as locally and in Britain. His own work has been exhibited at a variety of venues in Ireland, Britain, Europe and the USA. He is perhaps best known for his paintings of ‘The Troubles’ evidenced in exhibitions such as ‘Art for Society’ Whitechapel Gallery, London; ‘Documenta 6’ Kassel, W.Germany; ‘A Troubled Journey 1966-1989’ and ‘Colour on the March’ both at the Cavehill Gallery, Belfast.
I liked Joseph’s paintings very much for both their painting style and the fact that he used the world around himself for subjects to paint, even using his own back Garden for much of his work.
Here I link to his web page http://www.josephmcwilliams.com/, for some of the painting I like the most.