Today I went to the Manchester City gallery once again with a friend who had come to stay. I saw quite a few new and exciting exhibits this time, including a stunning Vivienne Westwood wedding gown opposite to an authentic 18th century dress, a beautiful Victorian doll's house and a fascinating retrospective of South African photographer Roger Ballen.
The two pieces that really stood out to me though were a painting by James Dickson Innes called Bala Lake and the work of Valette, which I had never seen before. Bala Lake is in North Wales, where my father is from and that I have visited many times, and was painted in 1911. I love the broad, fluent brushstrokes and bright colours, which perfectly capture the lushness of Wales. The combination of burnt orange and muddy teal blue are so beautiful along with the dark lilac, three colours I would never put together.
Valette's work really fascinated me too. He perfectly captured the miserable, yet atmospherically beautiful nature of Manchester's streets and canals and it was fascinating to see paintings of All Saints park all those years ago. My favourite paintings were of the canals on their tall rectangular canvases which seemed quite modern for their time. I hadn't realised Manchester had it's own impressionist artist, but the more I think about it the more perfectly suited Manchester is to Impressionism.