Northumberland Avenue – Original Painting
About the Image
Did you know that obscured within London is the world’s largest urban forest?
London and Northumberland Avenue are full of trees, although it may appear that the only things growing are spires of glass, steel, and concrete. Upon closer inspection, it is surprising to learn that so many trees have put down roots and scaled heights in London that it is technically a forest. According to a United Nations definition a over the forest is anywhere covered by at least 20 percent trees. The UK capital boasts 21 percent.
Northumberland Avenue Canopy
Cathy Read’s painting of broad Northumberland Avenue accentuates the expansive foliage of a dominant lone tree. It firmly stakes a claim to a quarter of the image. Nearer one third if you include the awning of the plant’s neighbour.
People may try to constrain the tree – restrict its space and limit its spread. But as soon as the branches reach above the grasp of man and his merciless machines, nature breaks free, displaying her glory and strength for all to witness. And what a glory it is! The branches and foliage add vibrant life and colour to concrete.
Unlike some other urban jungles – Paris for example – London has preserved abundant trees and greenery right in the heart of the metropolis. The painting glows with deep green leaves speckled by sunlight and defined only by a few crinkled strokes. The main tree stretches out as far as it possibly can. Although constricted at the roots, nature’s force makes its presence felt and casts shadow pools across the tar.
Sunshine breaks through transparent leaves morphing them into living swirling gold. Ink blooms form to break up some of the intensity but never overpower. Golden light bleaches the building’s stone facade and a staircase leading up to another unseen level. But the tree appears to transcend above and beyond another concrete slab.
People go about their lives blending into the surroundings. Some with bags and bicycles heading home at the end of the day. A few individuals walking there may recall that Northumberland Avenue is a pink property in the UK version of the classic Monopoly boardgame. But in this Cathy Read painting, the beautiful green tree monopolises the scene as a testimony to the forest that blends within the city, hidden from unsuspecting passersby.