Now the results of his studies have helped raise funds for both a charity and a local church.
He exhibited 30 pictures in media ranging from watercolour and oil to pastel and sold nearly all of them.In total some £380 will be divided between the church and Will’s chosen charity, the National Deaf Children’s Society.
Will, who is also a horticulturalist, environmentalist and former teacher, said he had always been keen on art but took it up seriously just a decade ago. He said: “I wasn’t encouraged at school but I thoroughly enjoyed it and possibly should have pursued it, but I didn’t.”
He continued: “I started out doing acryclic paintings. I’ve experimented with all medium ... But I was spurred on during lockdown. I decided to take online courses with the London Art College and I had deadlines – you were expected to submit work in reasonable time. Although it was online it was a discipline I was able to keep. It was a big incentive.”
Will had also joined drop-in art classes with Preston based artist Terry O’Toole and on a holiday in Italy gained the confidence to draw and paint outdoors. He said: “When I went to Florence in 2017 it gave me confidence to sketch in the street and restaurants beceause Florence is just full of art and everyone seems to draw.”
In total half of the pictures in the exhibition were painted during lockdown.
After training in horticulture at Myerscough College, near Preston Will later did an environment management degree and social history MA at UCLan.
Music at the art exhibition was provided by Bob Barnes and Fiona Frank. Preston poet Christine Billington also sold copies of her poetry book.
A raffle and refreshment stall at the event organised by the church raised a further £200 for church funds.
Will has now set up a studio at his home and hopes to have another exhibition in the future.