Artist stages solo exhibition after close brush with death

Keith Blessed pictured with one of his paintings at the Cellar Gallery in Grape Lane, Whitby.
Keith Blessed pictured with one of his paintings at the Cellar Gallery in Grape Lane, Whitby.

A WHITBY artist who was fighting for his life three years ago is to showcase his paintings of the area at his first solo exhibition.

Keith Blessed, who has a gallery in Grape Lane, is holding an exhibition which features his new pastel work depicting the many changing moods of the area around the North Yorkshire Moors and coast at Dutch House in Crayke near York, from Wednesday 30 March to 24 April.

The paintings are vibrant and full of life with scenes of stormy skies, colourful atmospheric sunsets and moody harbour mornings.

Just three years ago, Mr Blessed was fighting for his life after contracting the life-threatening illness bacterial endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart.

He thought he would never paint again.

But after a long period of recovery he is staging the exhibition but his illness has changed his outlook on life.

He said: “I now take nothing for granted and my philosophy is that there is nothing more valuable than your health.

“I enjoy my work as an artist and like nothing more than sharing this with others.”

Mr Blessed hopes his story is an inspiration to all people who have or had a long-term health problem and believes that by engaging in something that you enjoy it helps to recover.

Living in Whitby he is inspired by seascapes and the ever changing moods and atmosphere. Keith has developed a passion for using soft pastels.

“Soft pastels are my favourite medium although I also work with oil and acrylic. I believe that pastel are underrated which is a shame as they set a strong and vibrant atmosphere,” Mr Blessed added.

“This is how I want to work, my work is strong, powerful and atmospheric, I paint what people want to see, not what art critics say we should be painting”

As a tribute to this medium he is also running a pastel workshop at Dutch House on Sunday 5 June and Sunday 9 July while on Saturday 2 April between 5.30pm to 8pm at Dutch House, he will be demonstrating how to work with soft pastels.