After a short walk away from the Manchester Art gallery, we arrived at the private gallery called Contemporary Six, which was showing the work of the Northern Boy; who are nine of the North's best 'plein-air' painters. Although each member has his own style, they are united in their love of painting outdoors and in all weathers. This gives their work a distinct feel of the moment, and yet still appear timeless.
The work was impressive and what was even more interesting, was that a lot of the scenes were of Manchester many of which we had walked through on recent trips to the City Centre. Thankfully, the growth of groups such as this and the Urban Sketchers, show how healthy the art scene is, in the UK.
However. this makes me think of the decline of art in schools where the focus and energy seems to be dwindling. This is no fault of the dedicated teachers who try to inspire but are hindered by the constraints put upon them by a Government who show no interest in developing this part of the curriculum.
My #Manchester paintings
I have painted several scenes from Manchester but mostly from watercolour sketches or with the help of photographs as reference material. I started by capturing the rise of the modern shopping centre from 1979, when the Arndale opened and before the Trafford Centre was even an idea.
My paintings, in a way, are an historical documentation of the changes in Manchester, as large stores took over from smaller outlets.
They also show how the Arndale changed from a darker space into a brighter one, as they opened up the roof. Some of these shops and attractions are no longer part of the Arndale setup. In my paintings below, I have tried to capture the hustle and bustle of the shopping centre and the painting in the left hand corner, reminds me of many of the backgrounds painted by L S Lowry in his paintings
I do a lot of sketching from life, however, I am more comfortable sitting in a quiet corner observing people and my surroundings. I haven't yet plucked up the courage to spend time, stood amongst the busy crowds, painting my oils!
Maybe, one day, there will be an addition to the Northern Boys! You never know, in the future, there might even be a Northern Boys and Girls group! I would like to think so.