Urban painting of an ambulance called Emergency Run by Cathy Read ©2016 watercolour and acrylic ink painting

Everyday Drama in an Urban Painting

Speeding through the City Street.

An ambulance on an emergency run dominates this urban painting. The bright yellow and blue vehicle hurtles past, on the opposite carriageway, heading to a shout. Its yellow paintwork reflecting on the surrounding walls. Although it doesn’t seem to hurry at all, does it? Frozen in time, it’s ever on its journey, suspended in motion and destined never to arrive.

Grubby Reality filled with life

In a gritty grubby scene with an industrial backdrop, the former mill looms over the traffic travelling the main thoroughfare. We can see this is a busy street, but there’s more movement in the buildings than on the on the A road. Cars and vans linger. A few pedestrians stride around; one dodges the traffic, another held up at the crossing, and a third loiters on the corner watching.

Called to Serve

The ambulance, driven by an unseen driver, holds his course ready to arrive at the scene and to carry out the job. No, that’s not right. It’s not a job but a public service. One that he’s dedicated his life to carry out. Another day, another call. Familiar, and yet each call out is unique. There’s no such thing as routine for the paramedic. Yes, he may have routine tasks, but each time he performs a task, the patient will add an element of surprise, that requires a unique response.

Life in a Northern Town

This urban scene finds us heading down Great Ancoats Street in Manchester. I keep remembering it as grey, maybe that’s because my mood was grey, returning home from Manchester after a funeral. These things colour your mood, and yet it’s a scene that bristles with life, ordinary, everyday life in a northern town, to quote a song. A song that repeats in my mind as I look at this urban painting. Full of details and colours: Cracks, flaws, dirt, missed lines in the masking process, the Pay and Display sign at the car-park entrance.

Like the man standing on the street corner and watching the world go by, we’re onlookers, not part of the drama. A reality performance seen through a dusty car window. The only thing missing is sound, but then, I imagine the sounds. The wailing sirens, a rumble of engines and occasional horn blast, with the hiss of brakes, and maybe even the revving of a motorbike as it weaves between the stationary traffic.

Industrial Architecture

In the distance, the chimney on the old factory appears lost in lifeless trees, Or is that smoke? No, there’s no smoke here anymore. It’s probably a good thing. The rest of the building has seen its fair share of smoke in  years gone by.

Now, it’s getting late and the temperature’s dropping.

Time to carry on the journey!

Urban painting of an ambulance called Emergency Run by Cathy Read ©2016 watercolour and acrylic ink painting

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