Manchester Cityscapes by Norman Long

Under Great Northern 1 by Norman Long

Under Great Northern 1 by Norman Long

Norman Long is an oil painter based in Lancashire, UK, whose work includes portraits, figurative paintings, still life, and plein air cityscapes of London and Manchester. Owing to my own musical preferences, let’s take a look at the last group.

Bridge, Castlefield by Norman Long

Bridge, Castlefield by Norman Long

I’ve never been to Manchester and, although I have a distant fascination with that place based on so much excellent music that seems to have come from there, I’m not sure that I really need to visit. From the music, it seems bleak, and the above paintings certainly reinforce that.

If you’ve read Morrissey’s autobiography, you’d think that the sun never shines in Manchester, but take a look at Long’s cityscapes, painted on-site on what appear to be quite lovely days:

Great Northern Car Park Ramps by Norman Long

Great Northern Car Park Ramps by Norman Long

Though not completely devoid of people, the city’s streets seem lonely. Maybe that’s why it’s been the birthplace of so much brooding music over the years — New Order, Joy Division, The Smiths, and then later Morrissey solo.

Market Street Morning by Norman Long

Market Street Morning by Norman Long

Mitre Cafe by Norman Long

Mitre Cafe by Norman Long

Printworks by Norman Long

Printworks by Norman Long

Then again, Manchester was also home to the ecstasy-fueled Madchester scene [Happy Mondays, et al.], which was maybe a reaction to its bleak environment. In these paintings, the city seems sleepy, but not exactly bleak:

Alone on Canal Street by Norman Long

Alone on Canal Street by Norman Long

Check out the rest of Norman Long‘s work on his site.

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