Grand picture!

Artist Brian Lewis with his 1,000th painting from one year challenge. (p609a248)
Artist Brian Lewis with his 1,000th painting from one year challenge. (p609a248)

ARTIST Brian Lewis has finished a grand project to complete 1,000 drawings in one year, with a portrait of the artist who inspired the quest.

Brian set himself the challenge last December when he turned 74, after reading the memoirs of Japanese artist Hokusai – best known for The Great Wave Off Kanagawa – who wrote: “none of the works done before my 70th year are worth keeping”.

Brian said: “I decided to hone my drawing skills and show too that I am an old man mad about drawing.”

Brian, of Linden Terrace, Pontefract, used only lithographic crayon and high quality paper to make his drawings, which were based on political and satirical themes. His final picture in the series is a portrait of Hokusai.

He said: “I’ve finished about a fortnight before the deadline, and I’ve probably actually done about 1,300, but discarded a lot. It’s been manic. You don’t know what you are drawing half the time, and then they flow out.”

Some of the work Brian has produced during the year has also inspired other artists. He drew a series of pictures of former News International chief executive officer Rebekah Brooks during the phone hacking scandal, which formed the basis of The Book of Rebekah, a series of short stories by local writers on a creative writing course at Bridge Arts in Castleford.

Some of his works from the 1,000 picture series are currently on show at Dean Clough in Halifax, while they are also set to become the backdrop of a new restaurant in York.

Brian said: “I’m the artist-in-residence in York, and I was introduced to the owner of the Blind Swine restaurant. He loved the drawings and asked if he could cover the ceiling with them – they’re redesigning the restaurant around them.”