Picture this as Sunderland fans are celebrated on Tyneside

One of Ray Bradshaw's paintings.
One of Ray Bradshaw's paintings.
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ARTWORK celebrating colourful Sunderland fans is on display in the shadow of rivals Newcastle United’s St James’s Park.

Ray Bradshaw, from Moorside, draws inspiration from home games for his football-themed paintings and recreates characters he sees on the streets of Sunderland in his Lowry-esque paintings.

Artist Ray Bradshaw in his studio at Marlow Drive, Moorside, Sunderland.

Artist Ray Bradshaw in his studio at Marlow Drive, Moorside, Sunderland.

Gallery bosses have been so impressed with the retired nurse’s efforts that a number of his pieces are now on display in gallery space at Eldon Gardens, Newcastle, just yards from the Magpie’s home ground.

Ray, 56, said: “I was very surprised when the North East Art Collective invited me to show my paintings at their gallery in Newcastle.

“Given that two of the paintings shown to them were of a Sunderland AFC theme, I never thought that they would be placed on a wall in the heart of Newcastle and in the next room to art dedicated to Newcastle United.”

He added: “The gallery owner told me that Steve Bruce had been in the gallery the week before I delivered my work to them. Apparently, Steve asked where all the Sunderland football related art was. At the time there was none.”

Ray, a former senior nurse for the Primary Care Trust, picked up his paintbrush after retiring from the health service.

“I had studied art at A-level, then I worked in the NHS for 38 years,” he explained. “I took it up again on my 50th birthday and then more seriously on my 55th birthday, once I’d retired.”

As well as people-watching in Sunderland for inspiration, Ray also enjoys landscape painting and has had some of his work exhibited in Yorkshire.

He said: “I have a love of the countryside and fell walking and I started with landscapes, but I realised there were a lot of people who were better at landscapes than me. I then started putting figures into my paintings and a gallery owner suggested that’s the route I should go down.

“I like observing people. Quite often I’ll take a camera with me to matches which I use for the background, then I draw the characters from my imagination.”

Click here to see more of Ray’s work visit

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