Artist Tony Noble says he would be terrified to cycle around West Yorkshire’s busy and pothole-strewn roads, but admires those who do.
In fact, bicycles of all shapes and sizes exert such a fascination for him that he has spent literally hundreds of hours fastidiously capturing them in oils.
Over the past four years he’s built up a large body of work in the realist style featuring bicycles and is hoping that the summer’s Grand Depart of the Tour de France in our region will stimulate interest in the paintings.
Next month a small collection of his bicycle paintings will be shown at the Harrison Lord Gallery in Brighouse, the rest can be seen in his Batley studio at Redbrick Mill and on his Facebook page.
Just last year the former schoolteacher was inspired to paint a group of bikers of a quite different kind – motorcyclists from Batley. The resulting group portrait, The Roadhouse Crew, was selected for the BP Portrait Award Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.
Tony has built a solid reputation as a portrait painter but also enjoys capturing local landscapes. He recently learned that a painting of Batley Carr has been chosen for the John Moore Painting Prize Exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool.
However, it is the detailed bicycle works that will capture the public’s eye this summer. His first, Yellow Bicycle, was painted after a visit to France in 2010 and won the Meynell Fenton Prize at the IBG Discerning Eye Exhibition in London. Others in his collection were inspired by bicycles he saw while on a visit to Minorca. And he recently returned from Amsterdam, the city of the bike, where he’d gone to find more machines to capture on canvas.
“I am not a cyclist, because I’d find it terrifying with the condition of the roads and the amount of traffic,” said Tony. “But I like the look of bikes – the simplicity of the engineering. I am more concerned with the elegant, economical, practical structure of the machine than I am with racing, though I love to follow Le Tour on TV and have the utmost respect for the athletes involved.”
Reflecting the time involved in creating his extraordinarily detailed paintings, Tony’s work sells from £500 upwards.