Paul Winner admits he has got something he calls ISS. Irritating Scribbling Syndrome. It has made him a very prolific artist.
But he is now putting it to the best possible use, with a fund-raising exhibition in aid of Cancer Research UK at Chichester’s Oxmarket Gallery. The Art of Paul Winner: Every One’s a Winner runs from February 13–18. Artist Paul, who lives at Warningcamp near Arundel, is donating 50 of his watercolours for the cause. The mounted paintings feature local landmarks and scenes, including Arundel Castle, the Black Rabbit pub, the Arundel Festival and the Arundel-based Hanover Band, acknowledged as one of Britain’s best period instrument orchestras. They are expected to sell for between £50 and £500 each.
Paul carries his sketching materials and watercolours wherever he goes, and over the years he has amassed an extraordinary collection of sketch books, paintings, drawings and prints, chronicling the places he has visited and the personalities he has encountered.
Having set up two public relations firms, stood for parliament four times, been a magistrate for a quarter of a century and served on numerous political, business and charitable committees, Paul insists he isn’t a proper artist. With no formal training, it has never been his main occupation. Hence he labels himself a “pretend” artist. But it has always been a huge passion.
“And it is that artistic side of my brain that has enabled me to build up a reasonably-successful career.
“This exhibition now is happening because I suggested to my lovely wife Mary that I would not like to leave my 4,000 watercolours and 900 sketchbooks for her to get rid of when I depart! And so I undertook to use them to help as many local charities as possible. Cancer Research UK have got 50 pieces, and if they sell them, I would hope that other local charities will think that it would be worthwhile as I will be giving them the proceeds from the sales. The works include views of Arundel both watercolours and pen and ink sketches. There are also views of Sussex landscapes, places like Goodwood, and also pictures of sailing at Bosham and Chichester. There are also some pictures that I did for the Holocaust Memorial.
“Also a lot of my pictures are of concerts that I have attended and that I have found very exciting and stimulating. I did a whole series for Music at Boxgrove. There are a couple of hundred of them. Some of them are of the Hanover Band. I was asked to be artist in residence for them. And there are quite a few pictures of Petworth Festival concerts. There are one or two of North Stoke Church and South Stoke Church.”
It all comes back to that ISS, Paul explains: “When I relax, I always find that sketching the scene in front of me is a great joy. It is one of the greatest pleasures of my life.”
His hope now is to share that joy - though he concedes that even as his collection dwindles as he gives it away, he will certainly still be adding to it by continuing to paint and sketch.
“I just enjoy doing it. Mary said ‘Before you give them away, I want to see what ones I want to keep.’ She said she wanted to keep eight which reminded her of happy days together. It is about bringing back happy memories, and I hope my paintings might also bring a smile to other people.”
For more details about Paul’s work, visit http://www.paulwinnerart.co.uk