I am not quite sure when I first became aware of Newland Avenue.I think I was taken there by my sister, crossing it briefly, and being aware that there was something quite special about it. I was taken with the shops, the cafes, and wished I could live there. So, as I do when I want to immortalise a place in my soul, I decided to paint it. And that work continues and grows.
We can start at the entrance to the avenue, at the old bridge, narrowing defensively, funneling traffic and then opening up. The trees provide shade, the metalwork rusting gently in the briny air of the Humber.
Once through there is life, shops, traffic, the whiff of bacon butties and baking. The Victorian architecture fascinates me too, and, if I close my eyes and imagine hard enough, I can hear the pianos of old pubs and gin palaces.
Streets veer off, with smaller houses, Victorian too, and each with a tale to tell.
I head for one of my favourite cafes, the English Muse, quirky, arty, fun, and friendly. I liked it so much I decided to paint it too.
I am also fascinated by post-War architecture, those hopefully cuboid shapes, little reminders of childhood, with large windows and smooth walls, flat roofs and unloved faces. But I love them. And I noticed the Grafton Hotel, very much of its era, and I painted that too, intrigued by the trees and the sky and the nostalgia of the building.