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Deeping artist's evening with Prince Edward

A Deeping St James artist was thrilled to present one of his paintings to royalty at Buckingham Palace.

Around five years ago Michael Gibbison (81) became the artist in residence for the London Mozart Players chamber orchestra and at the end of last year produced three special pieces to mark the group’s 70th anniversary.

He and his wife Glennis were then invited to the palace as guests for one of the orchestra’s fundraising performances given in the presence of its patron HRH Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex.

Michael Gibbison chatting to Prince Edward. (6495003)
Michael Gibbison chatting to Prince Edward. (6495003)

Following the concert, the great-grandfather was thrilled to present one of his pieces to the Prince.

Michael said: “It was wonderful to be asked to Buckingham Palace and to meet Prince Edward. He was really easy to talk to and very interested in my artwork. It really was quite a night.

“It all came about because my son-in-law’s sister plays in the orchestra and I was asked to do a painting of a cello for her, which she really liked, and that led to other work for the orchestra and its members.

“I must have done about 30 or 40 paintings for them since then and last year I did three special paintings to mark the 70th anniversary, which was a real privilege.”

Michael has always been passionate about painting and art and even when he was unable to pursue it as a career he has always kept it up as a hobby and is completely self-taught.

He prefers to paint in acrylics and watercolours as they are both quick drying and takes his inspiration from all around, enjoying painting people, animals and scenery.

He likens his loose style to Lowry, but says he really only makes things up as he goes along and just hopes that people like the end result.

“I was brought up one of three children by my mum who was a war widow. My father was killed in Palestine when I was two,” recalls Michael.

“As a child I absolutely loved drawing, painting and anything creative. One of my earliest memories was going down to the river bank, picking out some clay and making toys from it. “Art seemed to be the only thing that I could do really well.

“I would have loved to have made it my work, but when I was younger the opportunities that are available now just weren’t around.”

Instead Michael trained as a plumber, working for both himself and contractors and painted in his spare time.

Although he’s never had lessons he was taken under the wing of Leicestershire artist Les Goodwin and has exhibited his work in galleries in Leicestershire and Oakham among others.

“For me painting is like a drug; sometimes I paint several times a day. When I leave a piece out to dry I just can’t walk by it without resisting the urge to add something else to it!

“I also absolutely love doing it - I just couldn’t imagine not.”

* Michael Gibbison’s work can be purchased from The Old House Gallery, Oakham, www.rutlandgallery.com and through the London Mozart Players chamber orchestra at www.londonmozartplayers.com

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