Lowry was always irritated by people who thought he was an amateur painter, self-taught and untutored. Far from being a naïve Sunday painter, Lowry was an artist looking for his own distinctive way of painting and drawing – and for a subject matter he could make his own, preferring eventually the view from the Technical College window to that of the posed model.
Lowry felt that drawings were as hard to do as painting. He worked the surface of his drawings by smudging, erasing and rubbing the pencil lines on his paper to build the atmosphere of the drawing. He was always doing quick sketches on the spot on whatever paper he had in his pockets. Lowry carefully composed his pictures in a painting room at home and took great care over placing each figure.
Lowry used a very basic range of colours, which he mixed on his palette and painted on the white background. Looking closely at the surface of Lowry’s paintings shows us the variety of ways
he worked the paint with brushes (using both ends), with his fingers and with sticks or a nail.
Just when Lowry began to have success he was moving away from the subjects that everybody wanted him to paint. Some of his most powerful pictures are deserted landscapes and seascapes. Some of the most difficult pictures to like are of solitary figures and downs and outs.