Cathy Read - Artist Fire Escapes Painting

Fire Escapes painting and the value of serendipity in Art

The value of serendipity in Art

It’s taken me a while to “meditate” on this painting. Fire escapes was created in 2012, when I was exploring more abstract architectural views.

However well planned and considered a work of art, there comes a time when serendipity plays a part. In all creativity, the artist has to rely on a degree of instinct, but that’s not the same as throwing something together. It’s about understanding the medium and working with it, not against it. Taking a risk and trying something new. Art this point there’s a leap, the work is taken to a whole new level.

Fire Escapes was a painting that made that leap for me.

It’s still one of my favourites. Time and effort goes into the painting process and I’m usually pleased with the results. Occasionally one disappoints, and sometimes it exceeds beyond my wildest expectations. The picture was captured on a walk through the Northern Quarter. I love these old fire escapes. They are quite common and you’ll find them tucked away in alleys all over Manchester. Like in so many cities, of any age, in the UK.

Like much of the Northern Quarter, it has character and I was equally taken with it as I was with the old faded shop sign, George Makin & CO. I had a friend with the surname Makinson and I saw a similarity in my head.

Fire Escapes was created in the days when I hand drew everything, without tracing. It was a headache to draw, but I’ve never been more pleased with the result.

Embracing Serendipity

The drain pipe was another feature that turned better than I expected, with weathered paint and brickwork providing contrasting colours. These days my painting process is reliant on a large amount of serendipity. You may even say that I rely upon it. To start with, I may guide the paint or ink but then the art develops a mind of its own. Taking me to new and suprising places. So, I’m always grateful when the finished results exceed my expectations.

Fire Escapes - ©2012 - Cathy Read - Watercolour and Acrylic Ink - 40x50cm

Fire Escapes is Part of an Exhibition at Naturally Empowered in Hale.

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