The gateway to Smithfield market is now the Chinese Cultural Centre. Gateways in paintings fire my imagination. This one was the home of Manchester’s fish market. I have vague memories of passing it, and a strong fishy smell. One which remained for some time, even after it closed. Well, maybe that’s just my imagination taking flight.
Gateways are portals that tell us so much, if we will take a moment to consider. This one is elaborate, overly decorative to my mind. I see curls and swirls and circles and decoration on every square inch. It’s like the creators just couldn’t stop themselves. This painting was created before I started using trace down to transfer the image to the paper. So I became familiar with ever every twisting swirling curve. Sometimes redrawing them so many time, I lost count and the paper wore thin. And, to this day, I wonder how I remained sane. Then again, maybe I didn’t.
The Gateway reminds me of a story my Mum often told me of walking with my Dad and older brothers while she was pregnant with my youngest brother. Long before I came on the scene. It was a winter’s day with ice on the ground. My Mum was walking carefully, fearful of falling in her heavily pregnant state. In front of her, my Dad, a tall man, was striding like a giant with a son hanging on each arm, as he swung them forward one after the other. They squealed with delight at each giant step. Dad oblivious to any fear of falling and thoroughly enjoying playing with his boys.
Funnily enough, I don’t remember Mum mentioning the fishy smells.
It’s that age old phrase. If only they could talk. What stories would they tell? The years of trading fish in the early hours of the day. I don’t remember seeing the trading, but I wouldn’t expect to. It happened in a different world to the one I knew. By the time I’d pass by, all the trading was over for the day.
I often wonder what it was like. This type of wholesale Fish market still exist. Maybe one day I’ll head there and discover. Hmm, but then there’s that fish smell.
In the meantime, maybe I’ll enjoy the gateway to my Smithfield wanderings and start a gateways in paintings as part of a portal series…