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Artist Mike Moore swapped a life as an engineer for one as an artist when he followed his dream after retirement. Now Mike, who specialises in portraying animals is building a new business selling his work. Simon Irwin went to meet him

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When you visit Mike Moores immaculate home in East Preston there is nothing at first to suggest that you are visiting the home of an artist.


Mike himself is conventionally dressed and not wearing the paint spattered clothes you see artists wear in the movies. The clue to his passion comes when you look at the walls.


My first thought was that he also took art photographs when I saw the magnificent shot of a cheetah hung above his bookcase (see opposite page).


After a while I broached the subject and he delightedly invited me to take a closer look.


Its not a photo, its a painting in acrylic, he said.


I got closer and indeed it was a painting. On inspection you could see the brush strokes but at a distance it was so lifelike it was almost alarming.


Before embarking full-time as an artist, Mike had his own graphic design business which he set up after leaving behind mechanical engineering which had been his career for much of his life.


Mike, who is 70 this year, said he had always enjoyed drawing but had only really begun again in earnest when he closed his design company at 65.


My wife Mandy said why are you putting yourself through all this hassle of getting business and getting money in when you could retire and just paint which is what you want to do?


We went to the Marwell International Wildlife Arts Society (MIWAS) exhibition at Marwell Zoo and I was so taken by the standard of the art that I thought I have to join this.


I went on one of their one-day courses and I just took off. I got stronger and stronger and my interest in wildlife increased dramatically.


His painting originally started as a hobby but his business instincts couldnt be denied and he began to do drawing lessons and sell bespoke paintings of pets as well as prints.


My wife says, why are you bothering with all this? Because Im a person who cant do a thing half-heartedly I just couldnt stop myself.


She says, Youre supposed to be relaxing. I say I cant do that!


Now he exhibits his work and has signed a deal to sell prints of his work worldwide.


Mikes next step is to start portraying people as well as his beloved wildlife.


Forthcoming exhibitions include:


Littlehampton Museum Wednesday 29th February Friday 13th April 2012


At the Oxmarket Centre Of Arts In Chichester in the Wilson Studio from the 1st to the 14th October 2012.


The MIWAS exhibition held at the Rosebowl, Southampton, 5th to 7th October 2012.


The spring and summer exhibitions of the Downland Art Society.


He will be conducting drawing classes in The Community Gallery on the 4th April and 11th April, in the gallery.


For more information see his website: www.artistuk.me.uk

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