Flintshire artist goes public with deeply personal collection

Reporter:

Lois Hough

AN artist is holding an exhibition of work that was a great comfort to his late mother as he nursed her.

Jeffrey Bithell, 51, and from Flint has just launched the first exhibition of his work – but this is no ordinary collection of paintings.

Jeffrey was a full-time carer for his mother Una until she died in 2008, aged 79.

He found his oil paintings soothed his mother as she endured a series of mini strokes and were a form of therapy after her death.

Prints of this deeply personal collection, built up over many years, are now on sale to the public, and to honour his mother’s memory, proceeds from the sale of the pictures will go to the Alzheimer’s Society and Age Concern.

Jeffrey, of Marsh Lane, told the Leader: “When my mother died I fell apart physically and in other ways too.

“She had a beautiful personality which inspired me to carry on painting.

“I got better and better and now painting is all I live for. I will never forget what I saw and experienced when caring for my mother.

“She may be gone but now I am helping others in her memory.”

His brother Peter, 58, a finance consultant, from Marchwiel, Wrexham, has set up Castle Fine Arts to sell his brother’s paintings.

Jeffrey’s favourite painting in the exhibition is of a dolphin.

He said: “The dolphin is really personal to me because it was my mother’s favourite and her nurses loved it too.

“I never intended it to be seen in public but my brother persuaded me to feature it in the exhibition.”

The dolphin painting is so popular that Peter is in talks with merchandisers in Miami to sell a print to them.

Jeffrey spends a painstaking three months on each painting.

He is best known for his depictions of Flint Castle but more recently he has taken to painting Scottish landscapes.

“My technique is very different,” said Jeffrey. At a distance it looks like I am a watchmaker because I paint with the canvas flat on my knee. I use terribly fine brushes to make sure I get the colouring just right.”

If the business takes off, his next project will be plates and jigsaw puzzles.

Ten per cent from every print will go to local charities and community groups.

Jeffrey is hoping his work will raise as much as possible for his chosen charities.

He added: “It is bringing awareness to these charities because they need every bit of help they can get.”

l The exhibition runs at Flint Library until December 4 and prices range from £25 to £150.

Castle Fine Arts is appealing to businesses across North Wales to buy a print and support local charities .

Anybody wanting to buy a print should call 01978 354880.

See full story in the Leader

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