YOU might say it was a lucky break which led 85-year-old Edwin Wraith to start painting back in 1980.
He had been forced to take six months from work after slipping and snapping his ankle. And the now-retired milkman decided to fill his time by picking up a pallet.
“I’d never even thought about art before,” he says. “But I was sitting all day and needed something to do.”
This week – 33 years, several exhibitions and countless sales later – every single piece he has ever committed to canvas has gone on show at Rotherham’s Old Market Gallery, in Corporation Street. There are 80 in all. They fill up the 6,000 square foot space.
“I remember about three years after I began, a teacher at the old Earl Marshal School in Fir Vale saw one of my paintings in the milk float,” explains Edwin, of Pringle Road, Brinsworth, Rotherham. “She said to me ‘Have you bought a painting, love?’ I said ‘That’s mine’.
“After that I ended up exhibiting there because, as a milkman, all the children knew who I was.
That was 1973. And he’s been receiving praise – and exhibition requests – since.
“I never get bored of hearing it,” he says. “I came to painting so late in life but people still say they don’t believe I’ve had no training. I’m just glad they like it.”
Show runs until May 9.