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What a dark and dismal life you led, failing to reach the considered acceptable level of competence, rejected at an early age but striving nonetheless. Constantly seeking recognition, particularly from the one who mattered to you most of all.

Always living with your parents, you tried to find your individual style, most important in your business, and when eventually you did just that it was not for everyone, but then art seldom is. Still, that further dented your fragile self esteem and, despite your growing recognition, your self worth could not follow.

When your father died, suddenly and unexpectedly, bad enough, but your mother consigned herself to bed, leaving you as her long term carer. Wonder not then at the black mood that constantly emerged in your own sparse time, dictating the desolation of your latest creation.

When eventually your mother died, your pain showed clearly through your work, desperate and dark. Many waiflike characters depicted together but somehow looking lonely and alone, with only a few examples of colour inspired by occasional lighter moments in your hapless life.

And the sea, always the sea, featureless and empty in the way of your loveless existence, except for your bedroom where you surrounded yourself with images of beautiful women. But not painted or drawn by you. No, your view of women was clouded by the relentless but quiet control of your mother, whose approval you never received, closure never reached. What a sad existence.

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I wrote this following a visit last year to The Lowry Centre, having been moved by what I learnt about the artist, L S Lowry’s life. He was famous for his depiction of the Northwest of England, particularly his style of painting dark industrial scenes with matchstick men and matchstick cats and dogs. He even inspired a song of that name, matchstick men.

If you’d like to know more, check out the Lowry website at http://www.thelowry.com

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L. S. Lowry
Laurence Stephen Lowry (1 November 1887 – 23 February 1976) was an English artist born in Stretford.

Ken Balneaves wrote, The Greatest Gift, available at http://amzn.to/QF7RLd (US), http://amzn.to/O12kgX (UK)