Saturday, 29 June 2013

Chaos in Corsica

Not only is Andy Murray doing well at Wimbledon, but it's the start of the historic 100th Tour de France - happy days!  Even though Wiggins is out.

The opening stage was, for the first time,  in Corsica ("European murder capital"), and was fairly uneventful on the winding roads until 40km before the finish.

 The Telegraph

That's when news came that the Orica-GreenEDGE tour bus was stuck under the finishing line.  Really.  Drama!! 

The Telegraph

Can you believe it??

With 18 minutes to go until the riders were due to reach the finish - sprinter Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) being amongst those with dreams of the Yellow Jersey - it looked like the huge bus was going nowhere and was well and truly jammed.  Panic set in amongst the Tour organisers. The driver sat with his head in his hands as the field of the Tour de France pounded inexorably towards him at speed.

Race officials then made the snap decision that the finish was in fact at 3 kilometres.  On a bend.  Well, fine, but how to tell the large, bunched-up peliton that?  Even with team radio, it looked like a total mess.  Tension mounted.  The riders tried to position themselves to meet the finish at the new distance.  Well, the ones that knew about it did.

Then there was a massive crash in the bunched field.  Down went the sprinters who were expecting to be in contention for the Maillot Jaune, including Cav.  The big names including Peter Sagan (Cannondale) lay sprawled over the road.

Then the bus suddenly got unstuck, and slowly reversed down the course, eventually pulling off to the side.  So the finish changed back to the actual finish line, whilst AndrĂ© Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) appeared to suffer a mechanical breakdown, leaving the field wide open.

Now, usually if a crash occurs within 3km of the finish, the riders all get the same time.  But because the crash was within 3km of the 3km, which for a few minutes was the finish, they don't lose time.

German Marcel Kittel crossed the finish line in an unexpected win.  (That's the actual finish line, on a straight bit, not the 3km one on a bend.)  Apparently Kittel didn't even know about the temporary finishing line stuff, so some riders were racing for a completely different finishing line than others.  Yes that's right - a race where no-one knew where the actual finish line was.

Thanks Corsica - you certainly know how to organise a Tour!!

What with that, and the seeds dropping like flies on the 'dangerous' grass at Wimbledon, it's a very unusual sporting year!

Friday, 28 June 2013

Summer Holidays Start

The school summer holidays may have started (which explains the torrential rain), but while the weather's bad, I've still managed to finish a couple more paintings.

These are both of Keswick in the Lake District, where I visited very recently.  It was an absolutely beautiful day when I was there, so it's a nice reminder of a bit of sun.

Distant Sail, Derwent Water (Oil, 10 x 10)

This is the island in the painting, with Catbells in the background on the left.

Two Yachts, Derwent Water (Oil, 10 x 10) 

The trees on the right of the painting are on Friar's Crag.   There's a bench among the trees there, with a lovely view down the lake (looking down to the left of the painting).

Very peaceful.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Lowry on the Radio

I blogged earlier this month about the new L S Lowry retrospective at the Tate.

Linking in with this, there were two interesting programmes today on BBC Radio 4 about the artist.

The first was the Afternoon Drama, Mrs Lowry and Son, which you can listen to on BBC I-Player here. 
Written by Martyn Hesford, this didn't make for easy listening. Middle-aged batchelor Lowry lived with his bed-ridden mother, who resented Lowry's father for the reduced circumstances in which they later found themselves (but which were the making of Lowry).  She also resented Lowry for even being born and, as she saw it, thwarting her creative dream of being a concert pianist.

Whilst he painted endless paintings trying to please her, she belittled him and loathed the pictures.  She resented that he was living a creative life, the expressive, artistic life which she felt was denied to her through having to look after a child.  He had manacled her to domesticity in his childhood, so she did the same to him in his adulthood.

She also perceived the paintings as epitomising the lower class situation in which they found themselves.  In fact, they blatently advertised their poor surroundings.   Mrs Lowry longed to be middle class and respectable again, and detested her son's working class paintings

It was a Freudian minefield of a play.  His mother was portrayed as such a demeaning, over-bearing woman, that Lowry came across as a saint not to have popped some arsenic into his mother's vanilla slice.

It was a sad and rather disturbing play.  Lowry hid in the attic and painted at night, despite the constant brow-beating and active dissuation from following an artistic path.  How many people have failed to achieve their potential because of similar circumstances?  How many artists have been crushed at the first hurdle, that of gaining family approval and support?

The Times
Of course, it could be that conversely, the very act of family disapproval makes the goal of becoming an artist even more keenly fought for.  Certainly, Lowry never stopped, not for his mother, not for criticism of him as a 'Sunday painter'.  Perhaps he was almost primed for that wider dissaproval because of the barriers he met at home.  But, like his constant craving of approval from his mother, he also craved the approval and affirmation of the art world.

The play also made plain the ordinariness of creativity.  People often think of artists as leading exciting, bohemian lives, of being other-worldly free spirits, constantly creative and at the whim of inspiration.  If they paint 'real life', it's the gritty artistic reality of the Moulin Rouge with a glass of absinthe, not clocking on at the factory.  Lowry bursts the myth, pricks the bubble, shows the uncomfortable truth that artists can also be rent collectors, and creativity has to be planned, shoe-horned amongst the mundane, the routine, the family life and the tax returns. 

LS Lowry contemplating Stockport.  Photograph by Crispin Eurich, 1962

So there was Lowry, spending his days collecting rent,  and coming home to make soup and cups of tea for his mother.  Painting was done at night in the attic.  Barbara Hepworth bemoaned the number of sculptures that were left unmade because her triplets went down with childhood illnesses simultaneously.  Even Van Gogh must have had to stop painting sunflowers, multi-million pound masterpieces, just to go out and do the shopping.

The other programme on this afternoon on Radio 4 about Lowry was Lowry Revisited. 

Presenter Michael Symmons Roberts grew up in Manchester.  He even recognised some of the figures from Lowry's paintings as real people he had seen locally (such as the war-wounded crippled man on the skateboard to the right of this painting).

L S Lowry, The Cripples (Oil on canvas, 1949)

Lowry Revisited is an exploration of the working class/middle class divide which was the basis of the Mrs Lowry and Son play, and also of the north/south (of England) divide.

Mrs Lowry, as I have said, disliked her son's working class paintings because they were at odds with her perception of herself as middle-class.  Is the division of critics over Lowry's worth and legacy also because of this question of class?  Is Lowry too ordinary, too 'northern' to be a 'proper' painter and hang on walls in the south? 

L.S.Lowry Outside his House, Mottram-in-Longdendale 1962.  Photograph  by Crispin Eurich

(It always makes me laugh how far south the 'north' is.  It takes me four and half hours to drive down to Sheffield...)

The programme talked to art critics such as Nick Clark of the Independent.  How do they feel about the Tate, a gallery at the Metropolitan epicentre of all things arty and southern,  being taken over by a rent collector from the north?  Is all this talk of Lowry's amateurishness just snobbery?  

Or is he simply just not up to the grade?  Certainly, he is not widely represented in major collections outside the UK.  Or has he just not been fully appreciated yet, and is yet to be recognised as a social commentator, a documentor, someone who painted real, ordinary people in the way that Van Gogh did?  

L S Lowry, Shapes and Sizes (Lithograph, 1967-8)

Vincent Van Gogh,. Peasant with Walking Stick (Black Chalk, 1885)

There was a lovely section at the end of the programme, where the photographer Dennis Thorpe talked about how he knew Lowry.  In 1976 he went to see Lowry's house (in Mottram-in-Longdendale, Tameside) just shortly after his death.  He arrived, upsettingly, to find it being stripped of all the paintings.  He asked the people to wait, so that he could go inside and take some photos to record how the interior looked.

Inside, he took photos of how Lowry had lived, how he had hung certain of his own paintings on his wall, the Pre-Raphaelite pictures which adorned his bedroom, and the coats hanging by the door.  A short while later, it was all gone.  His house and dining-room studio were stripped apart in a careless way that would shock us if it was Van Gogh's Yellow House or Monet's garden at Giverny.  

Here's the house today, complete with blue plaque. 

There's an article here which talks about the house,  and has a word from my distant relative Nick Bridgland of English Heritage, who says  “LS Lowry was a major figure in 20th century British art and his work is found in many major collections internationally." (Mostly in the basement, it has to be said.)  “His house, traditional and modest, echoes the subject matter of his work."  So there you have it - Lowry is traditional. Apparently he hated the house, even though he stayed there for 28 years.

So is Lowry a world-class talent, a Van Gogh or a Monet, as yet not fully appreciated and recognised?  Or is he just an insubstantial stick-man of an artist?  And if he's so bad, why not just ignore him, why does he polarise such opinion?  

Can someone be a really bad artist and a genius both at the same time?  As I showed in my blog here, Lowry could draw beautifully, learnt from years of studying at art school (even if, to the art establishment, none of his art school education actually counted because it was in the evenings), but his paintings are often dismissed as poor and 'childish'.  

However, there's a difference between being a poor painter, and choosing to paint in a seemingly poor or childish way.  The first is your only choice, the second is an informed choice.  Picasso famously said, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

Pablo Picasso: Dog (drawing)

By that Picasso meant to draw well, you must draw without inhibitions, preconceptions and prejudices.  As an artist, you must see beyond those things, or else that is all you draw.  

L S Lowry, Woman and Dog (Pencil, 1952)

Lowry could have made a beautifully detailed 4H pencil drawing of the crippled man on his skateboard (for example), with all the detail of the Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces that he so admired, but it certainly wouldn't be in a retrospective in the Tate if he had.  

That's because he would have made the crippled man into something he wasn't, something suitable for a middle-class drawing room, something processed and sanitised.  Instead he's not processed, not judged, not sanitised, not pitied, just recorded, in exactly the same way as everyone else in Lowry's scenes, because he was a real person whom Lowry knew and saw on the streets every day.  The 'childish' way in which Lowry paints gives the scenes and the people a truth.

Usually the famous bad artists are good self publicists, showmen spreading their thin talent as far as people with money are willing to let it go.   

As Damien Hirst said in an interview in 2009, 'I've always thought that art and crime are very closely related. Crime is incredibly creative. There's the bank. If I buy that site next to the bank, I can dig a tunnel, break up the floor, take the money out, go back through the tunnel, and no one would know I was there. That is exactly what art is like.'  (Mr Hirst's comments are of course a clunky reworking of the rather snappier "Bad artists copy. Good artists steal.” from the Bank of Picasso.)  

Is Lowry, then, just some clever self-publicist?  Lowry liked to create mischevious, misdirecting mythologies about himself.  Has he also pulled the wool over our eyes, passing off childish work as real art in some audacious art crime?  Is he simply just a bad artist after all? Or are our opinions of him to do more with prejudices within ourselves, about art, taste and class?

Listen to the programmes.  See the show at the Tate.  Make up your own mind.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Autumn Sunlight, Hampstead Heath

If you missed out on my Hampstead Heath paintings at the recent Affordbale Art Fair in London, you might like to know that there's still one in the series for sale. 

It's on show in the Summer Exhibition at the Lime Tree Gallery in Bristol.

Autumn Sunlight, Hampstead Heath (Oil on linen, 12 x 12)

If you'd like to see more, please click here.

If you're interested in the painting, you can email the gallery here.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Another Trip to the Lakes

At the Affordable Art Fair at Hampstead last weekend, I sold one of my paintings of Derwent Water in the Lake District, which I painted at Easter time.

Catbells from Friar's Crag, Derwent water (Oil on linen, 20 x 20)

During the recent good weather, I paid another visit to Derwent Water at Keswick.

It was great to go back to the same spot at Friar's Crag, and to see how the seasons have changed the view.  Obviously there are leaves on the trees now, so at the spot where I did the scene above, you can't really see the hills in the distance at all!

However, there are some really lovely shapes of the boats on the shore, their orange colour contrasting with the blues of the sky and the water, and some lovely yachts with their white sails on the lake.

It certainly was a beautiful day.  Hopefully there'll be a few more paintings in the pipeline!

And it looks like the wildlife there have very discerning palates....

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Good News at Hampstead!

It seems that my Hampstead and London paintings went down a treat at the Affordable Art Fair at Hampstead over the weekend, which is great news!

Apparently the damp weather didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the art buyers, leading to plenty of sales.  Hurrah!

And according to this article in the Telegraph, people in the 18 to 34 year bracket are turning to art as a form of investment, with nearly a third of those in this age bracket having purchased paintings, sculptures of photographs worth under £4000 apiece (the ceiling price for the Affordable Art Fairs) in the last 12 months.

The Fair has moved from its October/November slot of the last two years to this year's summer slot of June.  It was a bit of an unknown quantity, but it seems that this move has been to the benefit of the Fair, moving it away from clashing with the Affordable Art Fair at Battersea in October, and creating an event which is more in keeping with the numbers of summer visitors to the Heath.  The result has been an event going like...well, a fair!

It's going to be a June date for 2014, so put it in your diaries and see you all there!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Shipbuilding on the Clyde at the Maclaurin Open Fine Art Exhibition

I was over in Ayr at the weekend to see my paintings which are currently on show in the Maclaurin Open Fine Art Exhibition.

Rozelle House, where the exhibition is hosted, is set in the middle of a fine park, which at this time of year is full of lovely rhododendrons and azaleas in full bloom.

It's a really good show, selected from entries from all over Scotland.  Here's my painting, and I was really pleased to see that it's in 'pride of place', with a really good position on the end wall, so you see it as soon as you go in.

The painting is "Shipbuilding on the Clyde", and was taken from a viewpoint at the back of my friend Matt's house.

The ship featured is of special significance, as it is the Type 45 Destroyer HMS Duncan, built at BAE Systems, Govan, and the last to be built and launched down the slipway on the Clyde.  So it's a pretty special ship, and rather sad.

Photograph: Murdo Macleod

Read an article about the launch here. 

I remember being taken to see the launch of the QE2 on the Clyde in 1967.  I wasn't entirely clear what was going on, but I'd never seen such a vast crowd of people.

Photo: Paul Strathdee

If you'd like to read about the launch or anything else about the QE2, one of the truly great Clyde-built ships, then there's a whole load of really interesting information and photos (including ones of her at present in Dubai) on my friend Rob's website The QE2 Story.

You can see my painting in the Maclaurin exhibition until the 7th of July.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Art on Hampstead Heath

I gather things are a little English-summer-damp at Hampstead at the moment, but all the more reason to get into a big tent and look at a little quality art.

The Affordable Art Fair is on today on the heath in its big white tents on the Lower Fairground, finishing tomorrow.  It's a fair that's all about young and emerging artists, hence the 'affordable' price-tag.

I'd love to be there today and see how my work is going down!  I've got my fingers crossed for my paintings of the autumn trees on Hampstead Heath.  I really like them and I hope someone at the fair will too....

Paths Meeting, Hampstead Heath

Friday, 14 June 2013

Neil Young in Glasgow

Last night I saw Canadian rocker Neil Young and his band Crazy Horse in Glasgow.  Of course, it's not the first time Mr Young has played Glasgow. 

Back in the 70s, a Glasgow film crew tailed Young as he arrived in Glasgow for a concert, looking for some funky footage.  They captured the moment that Neil sat down outside the Gordon Street entrance of Central Station and started playing The Old Laughing Lady.

Click here for video of Neil Young busking in Glasgow, 1976

The film is hugely nostalgic not only because it captures a Glasgow I remember, but a Glasgow you find you've forgotten.  It looks unbelievably far back in the past - grimy, old-fashioned (not least because it's in black and white), full of socialist newspaper headlines, women in headscarves, slick-haired businessmen, flatcapped workers, thin long-haired teenagers and very bad glasses.  

People don't immediately recognise or appreciate Neil Young at all, sitting right there down on the pavement on the street corner (except for one young woman who sits beside him like an acolyte).  So it's a strangely meaningful little bit of film, working on a number of levels.

But last night, a rather older Mr Young and his band were at the huge aircraft-hangar-sized hall of the SECC, where everyone knew very well who he was and had paid a lot of money to be there.  Age has not wearied his voice - never the most melodic of instruments, it is nevertheless fresh as a daisy, as vulnerably fragile, emotive and expressive as it ever was.  

However, what differenciated this concert from the usual slickly-timed, ultra-staged performances-in-a-soulless-shed of megabands such as Rush (whom I saw at the same venue last month) is that this felt strangely intimate, even spontaneous  (although I was in the cheap standing section down at the front - the view from the seated area away at the back must have been very poor in comparison).

Walk Like A Giant lasted 20 minutes, with guitars roaring.  At times the set was so storming and inventive, it felt like what it must have been like tripping at Woodstock (in fact the Woodstock Festival logo was on a banner at the back of the stage at one point).  Neil was strumming the guitar, hitting it, blowing it, coaxing, chastising it to get the notes out. 

At one point he even stuck his hand through the giant amp to twiddle on some knobs to get some even more mind-grinding acoustic distortion on the cosmic soundscape.  Combined with snatched, fragments of screened images of the band in their younger days, it was as if he was altering the actual time/space continuum with his guitar.

 photo by Leticia Nischang

At times during the set, it was like listening to the later parts of Yes's The Gates of Delirium in all its apocalyptic visceral crunching and grinding. 

As for stage effects, at one point newspapers and old plastic bags blew and swirled around the stage. A bit like the entrance to Central Station in 1976.

There was certainly a wide cross-section of audience members down at the front rocking out - the guy in front of me had brought his mum and his gran, and a creche of urchins jumped around at the side - some of whom were probably not even born at the beginning of the set.

In contrast, in the middle of the show, came a simple acoustic guitar and harmonica section with the beautiful Heart of Gold ("and I'm gettin' old" sang the 67-year-old ironically named Mr Young, poignantly)

and Blowin' in the Wind.  Then it all kicked off again, raging into Powderfinger, Cinnamnon Girl and Hey, Hey, My, My. 

When you go to a concert, you don't want to feel that you are part of some huge sausage factory experience, consuming a soullessly repeated show that will be the the same tomorrow night to another audience.  You want to feel some sort of a connection to the person on stage, and however naively, you want to feel that they are connecting to you. 

In an age of stadium venue concerts, Neil Young and Crazy Horse was a surprisingly intimate and life-affirming show.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Paintings Rhododendrons

Sometimes I think I've got a very strange job, and this thought was certainly crossing my mind as I was crawling through the undergrowth of Pollok Estate this morning in the sunshine.

My mission was to photograph the beautiful azaleas, magnolias and rhododendrons that grow there, with a view to (of course) painting them.

These flowers come to you courtesy of Sir John Stirling Maxwell, one of the founders of the National Trust for Scotland, and owner of the Pollok Estate in the south of Glasgow, which he left to the people of Glasgow because of his belief in the importance of green open spaces in a city.  

It's now home to the Burrell Collection, Pollok House, a herd of Highland Cattle and many magnificent acres of woodland, all right on my doorstep.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Hampstead Paintings Go To London

My new Hampstead Heath paintings have just arrived in London, in time for the Affordable Art Fair starting there on the 13th of June.

I have a whole range of paintings of the trees on the heath in the autumn sunshine, from this large one which I've shown you before...

Paths Meeting, Hampstead Heath (Oil on linen, 32 x 48) these smaller ones...

Edge of the Wood, Hampstead Heath (Oil, on linen 12 x 12)

Into the Woods, Hampstead Heath (Oil on linen, 12 x 12)

Spreading Branches, Hampstead Heath (Oil on linen, 12 x 12)

Path Through Autumn Trees, Hampstead Heath (Oil on linen, 12 x 12)

...and the study for the big painting....

Paths Meeting, Hampstead Heath (Oil on linen, 12 x 12)

The Affordable Art Fair at Hampstead was in November last year, but this year it's been moved to 13-16th June, and it will also be in June next year.  

Very excited to see how my paintings are received at the location where they were painted!  If you manage to get along to the Affordable Art Fair Hampstead, then you can see my paintings (and other new work of London) on the Duncan R Miller Fine Arts stand.

If you're interested in any of the paintings that you see here, then they're at the gallery at the moment, so please contact  Duncan Miller Fine Arts and they'll be pleased to help. 

If you do go to the fair, let me know what you think!

Monday, 3 June 2013

And the Answer Is...

Well, hardly any point in saying, since it was guessed in about three minutes flat!

However, for those of you who didn't get it, the artist who drew this.... also the artist who drew this...

...and who painted this...

L.S. Lowry, Coming from the Mill, 1930 / © The Lowry Collection, Salford

Yes, it's Mr Matchstalk-Men-and-Matchstalk-Cats-and-Dogs himself, L S Lowry.

(cover image of L. S. Lowry: A Biography by Shelley Rohde)

There's a new exhibition opening in Salford called 'Unseen Lowry', which displays over 100 previously unseen drawings, sketches and paintings by the artist.  It opens on 22 June, and is meant to show facets of the artist's character and painting style that have been previously overlooked.  There is also to be a major London exhibition at Tate Britain.

Lowry is of course characterised as the simple man who painted honest, hardworking people in a naive style.  However, his style developed from his art school training in formal Edwardian methods, as shown in the portrait head of the woman at the top of the blog, to a more naive style.  It then later developed, claims the BBC article here, to become more obsessional and sexualised - more Matchstalk-Girls-In-Matchstalk-Corsets-and-High-Heels.

L S Lowry: Girl in Bows in a Formal Interior

(I guess talking up the 'sexualised' content of your art show won't harm visitor numbers.)
Lowry himself was a man full of contradictions, a mischevious person who liked to obfuscate and misdirect, and generally tinker with the truth for his own amusement.  (It doesn't sound like there was much amusement in his life, though.)

Born in 1887 in Stretford, it was a difficult birth.  Lowry was the only son, and his mother never took to him, it seems, but he was desperate to please her.  She later ruled his life when she took to her bed, devastated by the change in family fortunes which meant they had to move down the social scale from leafy Victoria Park to grimy Pendlebury.  However, it was the making of him artistically.

In 1905 he began evening classes in antique and freehand drawing at the Manchester Academy of Fine Art and at Salford Royal Technical College. Records show him still attending classes in the 1920s. He studied under the French Impressionist Valette - here's one of Valette's pictures, painted at the same time that Lowry was studying.

 Pierre Adolphe Valette, Albert Square, Manchester (Oil on canvas, 1910)
 See any parallels?
L S Lowry View of a Town (Oil on canvas, 1936)

Lowry worked as a rent collector (something he didn't like to boast about), and observed the life in the streets and factories as he moved around the city doing his job.  He made on-the-spot sketches and drawings on scraps of paper, and then at home he worked up the paintings, using a white ground which he had left to go a creamy colour.  This made for the stark, industrial effect that he was after.  When he holidayed alone, he would sit in the corner of the dining room in hotels, sketching other diners and their families on the back of old envelopes, serviettes or tickets (such sketches are now worth thousands).

His pallette was very limited.  "I am a simple man" he said, "and I use simple materials: ivory, black, vermilion, Prussian blue, yellow ochre, flake white and no medium (e.g. linseed oil)."

So that's these colours..


 Prussian Blue

Yellow Ochre

plus a creamy off-white, a white and black.

"That's all I've ever used in my paintings." said Lowry,  "I like oils... I like a medium you can work into over a period of time".  He not only used both ends of his paintbrush in the work, scratching into the paint surface, or scoring it with sticks or nails, but he also used his fingers to apply the paint.

In 1932, his father died, and Lowry was at the beck and call of his bedbound mother.  He could only paint when she was asleep.  He was depressed and isolated.

She died in 1939 just as Lowry had his first London exhibition and began to be successful - although it is often said that he also derided for being just a 'Sunday' or hobby painter.  However, Salford Museum & Art Gallery had begun collecting the artist's work in 1936, work which now forms the core of its collection in the building which today bears the artist's name and celebrates his art.  Lowry also became an official war artist in 1943, was awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree from the University of Manchester in 1945, and in 1953 he was appointed Official Artist at the Coronation.

By the 1950s, he was quite famous, and grew tired and irritated by people approaching him or visiting his house. There is a story that he kept a suitcase by the front door so that he could pretend that he was just leaving for the station, should someone call. He lived alone in a house was filled with clocks set at different times, and was secretive and mischevious, telling tall stories and anecdotes.  

He presented himself as a 'simple man', but owned works by Dante Gabriel Rosetti, and was up to date with all the latest in contemporary art (though he didn't understand Francis Bacon). He was alone, and seems to have been shy and have had difficulty with social interaction, but also had many friends, some of whom he was close to and supportive of all his life.  He was called a 'Sunday painter', but had a professional passion for his work, and was lauded and recognised in his lifetime; a man who wanted to present himself as open and  'simple', but who was complex and quite dark and repressed.  

He was full of contradictions, with as many layers as his paintings sometimes contained.

L S Lowry, The Man with Red Eyes (OIl on canvas, 1938)

He retired from rent collecting in 1952, and died of pneumonia aged 88 in 1976.  He had been heaped with honours and recognition, and now has a huge arts centre dedicated to his work.

In June, both the Lowry and Tate Britain will add to the list of recognition with their major exhibitions, no doubt to huge public interest.