Barry Race, quality manager for Sheffield engineering firm Tinsley Bridge Group, talks about his passion for oil painting.
“I am a trained engineer and have worked within heavy industry all my working life. Discovering that I had a passion for oil painting in my mid forties was a surprise to me and my family.
“Even more of a shock was how my efforts have been received, as I have exhibited at the Great Sheffield Art Show on a number of occasions now.
“Ten years ago I was on holiday in Cornwall and walked passed an art shop that had a postcard in the window that stopped me in my tracks. It was The Singing Butler by the Scottish artist Jack Vettriano.
“The shop was closed but my wife and I went back and I ended up buying it. On returning home I purchased a small canvas and some acrylic paints as well as a book to read up about painting techniques.
“I found out Jack Vettriano was a miner who then became an artist. He was self taught, so I thought if a miner can do it a steel man can.
“Interestingly enough, the panting came out well and my wife encouraged me to persevere. A decade later I have discovered a great way to de-stress and am now deep into a consuming and fulfilling hobby.
“In the last decade, I have concentrated on copying paintings by Jack Vettriano and Mark Spain, both well-known and whose paintings sell for thousands, but now I feel confident enough to develop some subjects of my own.
“I am learning Adobe Photoshop and have just renovated a Gentry kit car (a replica of a 1953 MGTF). So I am putting together a computer canvas of a woman sat inside a French café window and have used a photograph of my car parked outside the café window in order to paint my own composition.
“I paint at home and also when visiting my caravan on the East Coast, sitting in the doorway that overlooks fields and a fishing pond. I am known there now and sometimes I find it difficult to progress with paintings as so many people come and chat. I tend to produce up to three a year and now paint in oils. I have even sold some of my copies.
“I had great satisfaction from a recent visiting Australian relative. I had showed him a book of Vettriano’s work one of which depicted Donald Campbell’s Bluebird land speed car. He said how much he liked the subject and colours. Before his nine-month stay in the UK expired I presented him with one I had painted specifically for him.
“I think perhaps my engineering training, and my time as a draughtsman, that requires accurate drawing, has helped me develop a skill for copying.
“I never let my painting become a mission or a chore. If I am not in the mood I walk away and come back when I want to. It’s a pleasure and a pride to see my finished work that mostly adorns the walls of my home and those of my family and friends.”