Lemonade Dawn in Leith
By Artist Unknown

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Media
Printmaking
Subject Matter
Animals - Landscape
Reg. Number
G1408
Size
74 x 91 cm

This urban landscape in a summer dawn gives the impression of a wide deserted area, with spaces for people and markings for traffic, but no sign of either. The only living creature is a solitary dog by a lamp-post.

The painting shows a pavement corner at a broad road junction. Opposite there are buildings, probably high stone tenements, with a lower, possibly more modern or temporary, structure in front. On the left, trees can be seen in the centre of the road leading into the distance, probably Leith Walk.
As the title suggests the dominant colour is lemon yellow. This is the colour of the sky, the pavements, and the low modern building opposite. The light colour wash indicates the brightness of the morning. This, as well as the absence of traffic and people, suggests a midsummer dawn, possibly four or five in the morning.

The curved edge of the pavement in the foreground is surrounded by a band of cadmium yellow - possibly a double yellow line. This line and the railings emphasise the idea of a barrier, something to keep pedestrians away from traffic. The other shade of yellow in the painting is the greenish yellow of the three trees on the centre left. A sign of the natural world perhaps, in an otherwise rather bleak scene. The perspective of the trees also suggests a longish road receding into the top corner of the painting.

The other dominant colour is black, which is used for the traffic lights, the railings, two tall modern lamp-posts on the other side of the junction and the older buildings opposite. The strongest area of black is the dog standing on the pavement near the traffic light. Its shape isn't clearly defined - we assume it is a dog because of the context, and its only distinguishing mark is an area of white round the neck. The shadows, which dominate the bottom left of the painting are long and black in the bright dawn light coming from the right. Grey is used for broader areas of shadow on the road and pavement.
While the yellow paint is applied thinly with the use of a "scribble" effect of the brush, some of the black paint is applied more thickly, possibly with a stiffer brush or stick. Although there are some more precise details - for example the triangular road marking - much of the painting is atmospheric, contributing to the slightly unreal cityscape without people.