Contextual Research CPS Painting Research Studio Practice Term 2

Contextual post – Laurence Stephen Lowry, film on Netflix

Laurence Stephen Lowry also known as L.S Lowry or Laurie, was a British artist who did paintings and drawings based around his hometown, Pendlebury in Lancashire and surrounding areas of Salford. He is famous for his industrial landscape paintings which feature human figures resembling “matchstick men” but a lack of lighting, weather conditions and shadows of the figure led to a lot of bad reviews from critics about his work.

I have decided to research L.S Lowry as I find his style of painting architecture very captivating yet also very simplistic, almost like a children’s book illustration. The limited uses of colour is fitting since he lived in an area which was very industrial so I like his realistic portrayal of the place he was capturing.

Netflix film: Mrs Lowry & Son:

This film focusing on Lowry and his relationship with his mother and painting came out in 2019 and had a duration of 1 hour and 31 minutes. It was directed by Adrian Noble and its description was “British painter L.S Lowry tries to pursue his passion for art while living with a bitter and bedridden mother who takes a dim view of his vocation”.

The film focused a lot on how Lowry’s mother resented him and his father for the way her life ended up since his father got into a lot of debt and they both weren’t successful businessmen. It was clear that this affected Lowry a lot as it was his ambition to pay off his fathers debts and make his mother happy.

In the film it was clear that Lowry’s mother had an issue with his painting and wanted him to be a successful businessman rather than following in his fathers footsteps and becoming a debt collector. Many times she refers to Lowry’s art as a “hobby” and says that he doesn’t have artistic attributes and so will never be an artist, which he disagreed with since he went to art school for several years.

The film mentioned an art critic’s (Mr Denby) opinion of Lowry’s painting ‘Coming from the Mill’ which caused further vexation with his mother. The painting was made in 1930 and is oil on canvas with dimensions of 42cm by 52cm. It features an industrial scene with many figures walking in different directions presumably after work from the title of the piece.

From the paper, his mother read the critics opinion which was; “An ugly painting. The painting by Mr L.S Lowry, ‘Coming from the Mill’, is confusing and appears to have been painted by a child. The figures, if we may call them figures, are nothing but smudges, ridiculous marionettes suspended in a squalid industrial scene. If this is Mr Lowry’s vision of the Lancashire landscape and its people, I feel very sorry for him. It is a most unsatisfactory picture, and an insult to the people of Lancashire.”

Throughout the film, there was a lot of things Lowry says that explains his reasons for painting, processes used and insight into how it makes him feel. I found this interesting as it allowed me to see his viewpoint and it was captured with a lot of emotion.

This is a painting which Lowry’s mother’s neighbour liked which influenced her to like it too. This painting was created for his mother as a “gift of the past” which he painted from his memory of being on the beach in Lytham with his mother when he was 7 years old. His mother liked ir so much that she paid 2 shillings for his work to be entered into an amateur artist competition but it didn’t win. However, Lowry also entered the painting ‘Coming from the Mill’ without telling his mother which someone wanted to buy for £20, this caused his mum to have a bad reaction as her favourite wasn’t chosen. Then she told Lowry that she didn’t like any of his paintings which made him destroy a lot of his work. Then he revealed that every painting he ever did was for his mother. everything he does is for her, for love.

His mother died in 1939 and later that year he got his first exhibition in London. He was offered several British honours including an OBE and a knighthood but turned them all down saying “there seemed little point…once mother was dead.”

Quotations from the film:

“I paint what I see, I paint how I feel, I am a man who paints. Nothing more, nothing less. Every picture I paint begins the same way – begins the same colour (white) Flake White.”

“I paint to fill in the time, I paint for something to do. I’m not fit for anything else. Night after night, I sit up here in the attic. Nothing in the house stirs. The smell of turpentine, the hiss of the gas jet, Outside, one solitary star watches over me. This is my world. I’m safe here. Alone. I paint, and I paint. A smudge here with my finger, a stroke of the brush there. I see light and atmosphere in the bleakest of places, a railway arch, a stone viaduct. There’s a beauty in everything. A man just has to open his eyes and look. Observe everything. Life. What does that make me? Am I an artist? What would you call yourself Laurie?”

I found these quotes really interesting and it related to my project through capturing the atmosphere of Leicester through studies of the buildings, though I haven’t considered incorporating figures into my work this is something I could try out at some point.

Overall, the film was very interesting and featured a lot of information and quotes which are really helpful in allowing me to identify some of the ways I can approach my studies of Leicester.

Information I got from video above:

In 1938 Daisy jewel persuaded the director of the LeFevre Gallery in new Bond Street London to show some of Lowry’s paintings. In early 1939, attracting many reviews in the national press his mother was not impressed but the Tate Gallery was, and they bought dwellings Ordsall Lane for £15.00 but they didn’t display for 20 years which Lowry took personally believing that they didn’t really want the painting. His mother died in October 1939 and Lowry painted the bedroom in Pendlebury in memory of the long hours he spent looking after her. After she died, Lowry lost all interest and continuing to paint was his only Salvation. Lowry was 52 when his mother died and for the next nine years he stayed in the house alone. He had no wife, but he did adopt several young female companions who he mentored and paid to go through art college. He referred to them collectively as Anne. A young girl called Carol Lowry of no relation was one of these girls. She had written to him in 1957 saying she had an interest in art and since she shared a surname would he offer her advice. He took her to gallery’s and paid for her education throughout college. Years later Carrol said he always behaved immaculately; he was always invariably extremely circumspect in his behaviour towards her. In the 1940s, he became an official war artist as he drew the ruined shelves of bombed outbuildings and was strongly affected emotionally. These paintings sold for as much as £60.00 each. You could see from his pictures how his own loneliness is reflected in his paintings but by 1948 he was earning good money as a painter, so he moved to a new house to the more affluent village of Mottram in Longdendale near Manchester. He began collecting works by other artists that he admired particularly the pre-Raphaelite painter daunting Gabriel Rossetti. In 1951 he confessed to a psychiatrist friend how he would stare for hours at empty houses with empty windows standing in isolation on derelict streets. He saw in those desolate buildings an image of himself.

How Lowry’s work inspires me in my project:

As Lowry focused on painting scenes where he lives, I felt I could easily relate to him as my project is focused on Leicester, the place I have grew up in and lived my whole life. I find his processes and colour palettes very simple yet effective and they easily demonstrate his difficult relationship with his mother, I can see how he felt isolated and alone through his paintings with a lot of the figures not interacting with each other. I find the ways he paints buildings very effective as they have a lot of detail yet are simple at the same time, reminding me of children’s book illustrations or small cartoons. This combination of realism and playful characters is something I have been exploring in my work as I feel it can really bring out the qualities of a place, even subtlety. I find the ways people reacted to his art over the years very interesting in a sense that I feel sorry for him with his passion being looked down on by strangers and even those close to him. I feel that I have been judged by people in the past for taking an artistic education rather than academic but I can’t comprehend what it must have been like back in Lowry’s experiences. I feel that his work truly captures what industrialism was like and I am going to continue to use Lowry’s work as inspiration throughout my project.

Websites used:

CPS Professional Development

CPS – Online Exhibition

I used the software artsteps to create my own virtual online exhibition as a means of getting my work into the world in the current situation with covid. I felt that the software was often quite laggy and took a while to load but I really like the overall final exhibition and am looking forward to seeing if I get any comments/suggestions of improvement.

artsteps website

I wanted to portray a wide selection of my work including large scale pieces and sketchbook work. I made the walls of my exhibition blue to make my work stand out as well as adding frames to the pieces for more of a professional look.

Wall of exhibition

I decided to keep the exhibition in the open to go along with the architectural theme of my project as the flow worked well. I feel that the blue of the wall and the blue of the sea outside of the exhibition add a lot of contrast. I may consider adding work to the outside walls of the exhibition to add more to the experience, even if it is online.

Wall 2

I made sure to space the pieces out nicely so that each one could stand out individually yet still allowing them to be collectively interesting. I especially like the fact that certain pieces have subtle colour schemes and others pop more to add areas of interest and contrast.

Back wall part 1

I felt it was effective adding sketchbook pages to my exhibition but I felt it was necessary for them all to be quite large scale so they could easily be looked at. I feel that the sizing works really well though and would be interested in making my sketchbook pages larger in prints for an actual exhibition as it would work a lot better than using them at their original A4 size.

Back wall part 2

I like that I have included collages and paintings in the exhibition as I didn’t limit myself and allowed it to be really exciting. I am very pleased with this exhibition.

Side wall

I feel that including pieces of different sizes was really important to add variety to the exhibition. It also allowed ,e to show off interesting areas of detail of pieces.

Final wall

This is the last wall of the exhibition so far. I would like to add one piece on either side of this one to fill up the space more as I like that in the other pieces. The blue walls work really well in my opinion.

Artist Talks CPS

Artist Talk – Sam Francis Read

Sam Francis Read decides to include his middle name when talking about himself as there are a lot of Sam Read’s in the world and so he wanted his name to be more distinguished and unique. During the artist talk, he mentioned that he isn’t in touch with anyone from his BA degree. He is currently doing a masters course at Leeds. He liked the fact that if you search up your name into google and add artist to it, you usually find a landscape artist.

Sam Francis Read is an artist who enjoys working with memory and animated elements. His focus is on drawing and digital compositions that extend to print, sculpture and moving image. He likes to use imagery to show him new possibilities of collections of the rehabilitation of cultural detritus trivia and phantasmagoria, as these categories really resonate with him.

After he graduated from DMU, he went to Two Queens which is one of the best studios and artist led galleries in Leicester. He joined the summer school program and they helped him identify his unique voice. He got to exhibit his work in a small space which involved contemporary ideas of collected mythology. This is where his love of fantasy and niche media began. He made a woodcut which he explored a catastrophe of a post apocalyptic situation which was the reason for the inclusion of steel girders and everything being in black and white. He decided to branch out by including primary colours (blue, red and yellow). The use of primary colours in his work was evident in his solo exhibition at Collective in Nottingham. Since then, this has been renamed. There is a space called IK Sheds in which you are able to wear party hats whilst walking around the gallery, these hats also had a sculptural function. The hats had interesting pop colours and shapes.

Sam Francis Read Work

Sam Francis Read had an exhibition in Flat 5 which is another artist led space based in their front room. This isn’t very well known as they don’t publicize events a lot and so it is based heavily on social networks. You can apply for a residency there and it is known as the sofa residency as you are based on the sofa for most of your time there. Sam had a dual exhibition with Craig Parr focused on Blue Monday which is an allegedly depressing day of the year. During this time, companies try to sell package holidays to cheer people up. He wanted to turn this idea on its head and create an alternative to the holiday, getting away from the idea of what an holiday is. They called it Red Monday so instead if it being sad/miserable, they had a party in the space and the windows/signs were inspired by January sales due to the time of the exhibition, with everything closing down. They decided to use vinyl as this is usually the material in shop windows and formed machines for that. There were drawings and paintings on the wall and moving image which was the reason for projections. He enjoyed working with Craig as it was funny and an unsubtle piece of advertising.

Sam Francis Read Work

He did a project where he worked with found objects and took them apart and changed them. After he had changed the object, he then photographed it and uploaded it to google images which gave a different image result. He then edited the image in photoshop and made it so you couldn’t tell what the original object was anymore. He then drew from these images. This process was very creative and shows how you can look at one object in a range of ways.

Sam Read made clear the importance of working with other people in collaborations which is something I would like to do to better myself and have a lot of connections in the art world.


CPS Week 6 – Planning

CPS Professional Development

CPS – Professional Development Post – Teaching

I have always been unsure of what I want to do after University but I have considered becoming a teacher afterwards, most likely at GCSE level or higher but I’m not entirely sure. I decided to do some research into what becoming a teacher involves and research into some educational courses which could benefit me in the future.,Diploma%20in%20Education%20(PGDE).

Responsibilities of an Art Teacher:

  • Encourage children to develop their skills and express themselves
  • Teach lessons, write projects, demonstrations, discussions, workshops
  • Involve the uses of different mediums
  • Prepare assignments, exams, continuous assessment plans, marking work, creating reports
  • Keep good order and deal with misbehaviour/handle discipline
  • Administrative work such as conducting registers of pupils
  • Prepare for and attend parent-teacher meetings, staff meetings
  • Supervising out of hour events or outings
  • Meeting with other departments to plan interdisciplinary projects


  • Working in a classroom, workshop or studio
  • Average working hours are 35 per week, working within the classroom from 9-3.30 and then making up the rest of the hours with planning and marking
  • Preparation and planning may be necessary to do in the evenings or weekends
  • 13 weeks holiday each year but a lot of this would involve planning for next term
  • Work evenings to attend parents evenings, staff meetings and extracurricular activity
  • Teaching is mentally and physically demanding.

You need to have:

  • An interest in how children learn and child development
  • Patience and adaptability
  • Confidence and enthusiasm
  • An assertive approach when necessary
  • Good organisation
  • Positive outlook and a sense of humour

You need to be able to:

  • Encourage students and hold their attention
  • Be independent and work as a team
  • Stay calm under pressure
  • Get on well with others

To become an Art Teacher you need a degree in Art and Design based subject, GCSE grade C/4 in English, Maths and a science based subject, and a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).

I decided to apply to a teaching advice service that gives me advice about becoming a teacher and teacher training as I felt this could provide me with more information regarding teaching and possibly reinforce in my mind that it is what I want.

Update on the phone call – During the call I was given some advice as to what courses to look into for when I finish my degree and encouraged to email if I had any questions or needed any help. They even gave some interesting tips as to what to write on my application form and in my personal statement to demonstrate my passion in helping others as well as my passion for the subject. As I’m not too close to applying yet, I wasn’t assigned a Teacher Training Advisor but I was encouraged to call again nearer the time so I could have more tailored advice.

Teacher training courses will offer:

  • Qualified Teacher Status that is needed to teach as a qualified teacher
  • Classroom experience in at least two schools, 24 weeks of school experience
  • Training to meet the Teachers Standards, including classroom management and make your subject accessible to students
  • Expert academic and practical guidance from mentors/tutors

To fund teacher training I could receive a tax free bursary of £26,000, tuition/maintenance loans and could also earn a salary whilst training.

For Art and Design teaching, the bursary isn’t available but I will still be able to get the tuition and maintenance loans to cover the costs.

To find the right teacher training course:

Tips on choosing the teacher training course:

  • Do your research – once you have an idea of the courses available, you can start researching individual providers in more detail via their websites or by attending a teacher training event. 
  • You can also find out more about individual schools using Ofsted’s inspection reports, compare and contrast official university undergraduate teacher training course data at, and get greater insight into completion and employability rates from different training providers in the initial teacher training performance profiles report.
  • Use your school experience – gaining school experience will help you develop a better understanding of the different options that are available, and the teachers you meet may be able to tell you about other training providers in your area.
  • Remember, if you need to commute or relocate to be able to undertake your training, it’s important to consider the logistical and financial implications. For example:
  • the cost of public transport and length of commute; do you know where your chosen providers’ placement schools are?
  • what are your accommodation options if you need to relocate, and are they within your budget?

Since signing up to the Get into Teaching website, I get regular emails inviting me to attend Virtual Teacher Training events which I feel is really helpful as it will allow me to have more understanding of what is expected of me if I do become a teacher and hearing other people’s experiences will be beneficial.

Within the process of applying for a Teacher Training course, I will have to write a personal statement and arrange references which I will ask the helpline for advice about if I do decide to take the teaching route. I feel that this research has been really helpful as it has opened my eyes to the different routes I can take, and as I have always been uncertain about the future, this helps to settle my nerves. I am hoping to get a job doing art as it has always been something that I have loved.

CPS Professional Development

CPS – Exhibition update

In an email I got informed that the exhibition which I applied to starts from the 2nd of December and features my work on the website. I made the prices of the work fairly low as they are small pieces and didn’t take much time. Since I haven’t sold my work to people who aren’t family or friends before, I was unfamiliar with the process. I am not too fussed about if they get sold or not, I am just happy that my work is included in this exhibition as it feels good to have my work out there in some form.

My work in the exhibition

Seeing my work on the website is a really thrilling experience and I look forward to searching for more opportunities in the future. I am glad that I have more experience I can put on my CV as it was quite bare before.

CPS Professional Development

CPS – Professional Development Post – Exhibition Opportunities

During week 3, we discussed different areas we could look into for our projects including Exhibitions, Curation and MA Study. It was good to be able to think about these things individually and collectively.

There are many websites online which list artist opportunities in Leicester including artrabbit and artnet. These websites include exhibition opportunities as well as workshops which could be very interesting.

I enjoyed seeing the different places available to arrange an exhibition in Leicester and seeing the past students work was very inspiring. I would like to do things that will build up my CV yet also things that I enjoy. I will get in touch with people on my course to see if they would like to set up an Exhibition as a group attempt as I feel it could be very fun and may even get some of our work sold. I could also submit my work into competitions online to see if my work could be selected to go into an exhibition that is already set up, there are lots of opportunities online that could be beneficial for me to get involved with.

I found an exhibition called the 36th Annual Open, which you could submit three pieces of work that are being exhibited online from the 25th November 2020 to the 31st January 2021. The entry to this exhibition was free and gives me a chance to sell the pieces that I have submitted. I feel that this will give me more experience and build my confidence with getting my work out there.

Screenshot of Application
Screenshot of response

As I am currently busy with University work, I feel it could be beneficial for me to apply to some competitions over the summer as some of them have very specific briefs such as the competition above in which you have to create an artwork based on one of the ten given songs and so I feel these sorts of things would be better to do once I have more time on my hands.

Curator Space Website – Opportunities

On this website, I really liked some of the opportunities and so I decided to sign up to the newsletter to see if I would get sent any information about new opportunities for later in the year or next year when I have more work, more time and more money.

I am going to look for other exhibition opportunities to help me build up my CV and experience. As some exhibitions have entry fees, I feel that I would be in a better position to apply to more when I have the finances to do so but for now I will look for free competitions and exhibitions.

I also decided to look into videos and websites with tips for how to get accepted into an exhibition or how to get myself known in the art world.

This video opened my eyes to how many different places there are for exhibitions, including auction houses, contemporary art museums, art galleries, cultural centres, art fairs/festivals, art markets, artist residencies, art cafes, alternative private locations and outdoor public areas, some I hadn’t even considered before. A lot of places have a fee to apply to exhibitions which is definitely something I will have to consider when it comes to applying.

This video gave me some ideas as to how to promote my work and build up an established audience for myself. I feel these tips could help develop my confidence and having feedback from people on my will definitely help me in the future.

CPS Professional Development

CPS – Artists CV

In CPS this week, we went through the different areas of research we could look into for this module. I liked the ideas of working with groups of people for a workshop, being children or teenagers but with the current situation I would have to look into that further to see if that would be possible. I also think setting up a show could be interesting to discuss with other people on the course.

We were told to write a professional CV for career opportunities. As I don’t have much experience with exhibitions, publications, collections or commissions my CV is quite empty and simple right now but I am hoping to build this up in future.

Image of a professional CV I did on Microsoft Word

My CV:

Gemma Sly

  • Email –
  • Mobile number – 07505934835
  • Currently studying BA Fine Art at De Montfort University and involved in developing my painting practice.
  • Live in Leicester


  • BA Fine Art DMU, 2019-2022, still in progress
  • Foundation DMU, 2018-2019, Distinction
  • Extended Level 3 Diploma in Art and Design, Leicester College, Triple Distinction*
  • GCSE’S, Fullhurst Community College: Art and Design – A*, Core Science – B, Additional Science – B, Maths – B, Geography – A, English Language – A*, English Literature – A*, French – B, Level 2 diploma in P.E – Distinction.


  • Southpark Gallery open exhibition
  • Foundation show
  • College end of year shows, Leicester College

Publications: N/A

Commissions: N/A

Collections (sales): N/A

I decided to look on different art opportunity websites, being opportunities purely in Leicester, the East Midlands, the UK and even internationally. I found a lot of art competitions and exhibitions starting entry from next year which I made a note of as it could be good to start to get my work out into the world. With the Covid situation, physical exhibitions may not be possible until next year so looking into online exhibitions could be beneficial.


Welcome to CPS

This year we are creating CPS blog posts to demonstrate a path of careers we can go into, both to make money and to continue our personal artistic careers. I am looking forward to exploring the different paths I could take in my future as that is something I have been uncertain about for a while. We are also going to be creating a range of contextual posts and artist talk posts which will help in my development of projects.