HE is inspired by the great masters, particularly his namesake JMW Turner.

But Marc Turner is not what you might call a conventional artist.

His passion for drawing and painting began when he was four but he was in the Army for 10 years and was then a self-employed builder before he considered turning his art into a career.

How he started his classes has a twist in the tale too. Marc had to give up being a builder when his right wrist began to deteriorate due to a condition called Kienböck’s disease.

The use of his wrist was partially restored through an operation to replace the bone with titanium but Marc decided to teach himself to paint with his left hand.

He said: “I used to watch Blue Peter where they’d get people painting with their mouths and things like that and I’d copy it.

“So to a degree I could use my left hand anyway. I even tried painting with my feet.

“You’d see these people with no arms and you’d wonder: ‘If that happened to me could I do it?’”

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The first left-handed painting he sold was the original piece, Abstract Sunrise, to the American sculptor Joe Gitterman.

Marc, who grew up in White Street, added: “People weren’t being very kind on social media and saying all I do is copy.

“So I went and painted that left-handed and put a photo online and all went quiet.

“Then Joe Gitterman came on and said: ‘I don’t comment on social media but I would like to buy that painting’.

“He sent me a photograph of it on the wall. That’s great. That encourages me.”

It was around this time that Marc launched Turner’s Painting School and after being a teacher for hire for various community groups and hosting classes in a number of different halls he found his current unit in the stable yard at Walton Hall and Gardens.

The 59-year-old has been there for two years and teaches people of all abilities, including those with learning disabilities, on a range of courses from one day to 10 weeks.

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Marc said: “We do a lot of copies of great masters.

“It’s great to find out how these great masters painted so what I do is get the books out, go on the internet, speak to the libraries or museums and try and find as much information as I can so I can follow their techniques.

“For instance Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot would paint the trees before the sky which seems a bit barmy but that’s what we will do on the course.

“It’s a great feeling when you’re doing the different methods. The idea of copying the masters gives you techniques. It makes you look at the picture and learn.”

Marc also manufactures his own paint and repairs artwork sent to him by collectors. He is currently refurbishing some paintings owned by a collector in Moscow.

But he often does not hold his own work in the same esteem. Despite sometimes selling his work, if he is ever short of a canvas he simply paints over the top of one of his existing pieces.

For example, Marc painted 47 famous artists and writers on a large canvas and then painted a landscape scene over them.

You can faintly see the likes of Shakespeare and Dali under the sky.

Marc added: “All the paintings you can see have been painted over the top and if a child came in here and wanted to paint on top of one of my paintings I’d just let them do it. It wouldn’t bother me because I could paint it again.

“Everyone thinks it’s a bit barmy and I suppose it is. Since I’ve started to sell, I have to think twice. I think it’s because artists don’t know their worth. They always presume their paintings aren’t good enough but it’s understanding that somebody will like what you paint.”

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One of his current projects is revisiting a troubled piece by his favourite artist Turner called The Fall of Anarchy.

Marc said: “That’s one I’m copying from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and it’s the one that Turner did when his father died.

“It sent him a bit crazy and he never finished it. The great thing for me is I can look at what he was doing and try and understand how he was feeling.

“I’m going to copy it as it is and then I’m going to do it as I imagine Turner would want to finish it.”

Marc wants to inspire that level of enthusiasm in his students.

He added: “When you’re doing abstract people struggle a little bit. It takes about an hour to get into it and within that hour I’d say most people hate what they’re doing.

“Then all of a sudden they’ve got it. They’re lost in it. They’re not thinking about their mobile phone. That’s got to be good for your soul.”

For more information about Turner’s Painting School at Walton Hall and Gardens visit turnerspaintingschool.com