Late bloomer George in his stride as he approaches 90

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George Coppard with one of his self-framed watercolours.

By Mick Jensen

Approaching his 90th birthday, water-colourist George Coppard is looking forward to his first solo art exhibition.

Around 30 of his works, all watercolours and all self-framed, will feature in the exhibition at Mt Hutt Memorial Hall, which opens on April 5 and runs for a month.

Many of the works feature local scenery, including foothills and high country landscapes.

Mr Coppard, who ran a sheep and mixed cropping farm at Lyndhurst for nearly 40 years, started an art correspondence course in his last year on the farm in 1992, and hasn’t looked back since.

“I used to admire the views of the mountains, the hills and the changes of colour when I was on the farm, so I decided I’d like to recreate it for myself,” he said.

Having completed his three years of art studies at the NZ Correspondence School, he decided that watercolour was the medium for him.

He is a realist painter and “paints what he sees”.

He has sold works locally and overseas and regularly displays his art at exhibitions run by Ashburton Society of Arts.

Formal art studies had given him a better understanding of the beauty of art and art techniques, he said.

He enjoyed painting stretched landscape works and was not tempted to try other mediums like oils or acrylics.

Mr Coppard said an aunt had been a very good painter and his granddaughter was also a talented artist.

With a can-do farming attitude and skills to match, the 89-year-old has also turned his hand to making his own picture frames.

He makes around 100 a year and cuts his own glass.

The framing sideline kept him busy and active and also provided him with a bit of pocket money, he said.

Now was traditionally a quiet time for framing and meant he had time to paint and to sort through his art.

“I don’t court publicity for my paintings, but I’m quite looking forward to my first solo exhibition,” he said.