Travels With My Art

A compilation of Chris's humorous and entertaining travelogues, revealing some of the pitfalls and frustrations, as well as the joy of being a professional artist. Hoping that his efforts abroad will continue to bring in a daily crust to continue supporting his family at home!

25 Nov 2010

‘A Street in Northleach’ by L. S. Lowry 1947

 (This painting is a copy by me, in acrylic paints on canvas)

Which is in fact ‘The Green, Northleach’ featuring Tudor House, home to Fothergills Gallery for 15 years from 1994 to 2010, to the left hand side of the painting!

This painting by Lowry came to light recently in Christie’s auction house, and sold for around £265,000. So what you may ask? Well I was tickled to think that our old shop was painted by Lowry at all.

I knew he had been to Northleach and done a charcoal sketch of The Green, as I had seen a copy of it, but I didn’t know he had gone on to do a painting.

It is set in the bitter winter of 1947, with children playing in the snow. I was so taken with the scene that I decided to paint a copy of Lowry’s original. Stretching a canvas to the original size of 18” x 21.5” I painted a thick layer of titanium white over the canvas in a rough texture as one might artex a ceiling. Then painting in the outlines with ivory black I began blocking in colours and putting in figures, then painting around them, and adding thin colour over thick, then more white. I studied the paintwork on the original (online!) and Lowry obviously worked back and forth in all sorts of ways. I found out that he only ever used five colours in oils; flake white, ivory black, vermillion, Prussian blue and yellow ochre. Getting into the mind of another artist is never easy, and I only used acrylics instead of oils so that I could accomplish the painting quickly and the thick paint would dry fast.

It was a fascinating exercise, and I was pleased with the result, which on the face of it is quite similar to the original. I put a thinnest watery grey wash over the top afterwards to age the thick paint, and some button polish near the edges to give a mucky patina.

Great fun, but I don’t think I’ll get £265,00 for it! The Ox House Wine Company in the Market Place, Northleach might just hang it in their Wine Bar though, it should make a good talking point!

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