Meet Carole Anne Eaves - by day she’s a hard-working security guard at St Helens’ busiest shopping centre, but by night she’s on easel street!
The 63-year-old grandmother, who has worked at Church Square for 23 years, moonlights as an accomplished painter - and has even worked with world-famous sculptor Sir Antony Gormley.
Her oil painting The Journey, based on a view of Honister Pass near Keswick in Cumbria, recently raised more than £210 in a raffle - with all proceeds donated to the Help For Heroes charity.
She said: “I love my art, I can’t wait to get home from work to get into the studio and start painting – it takes me to another place. And when I finally retire in a couple of years I plan to do it full-time.
“I started out as an information officer at Church Square, and I’ve done various jobs there, but I wanted to concentrate on my painting so I decided to work as a security officer as it gave me more free time.
“Help For Heroes does so much good work that I offered to donate a painting for them to raffle. Honister Pass is an area I love too – and there’s deliberately no people in the picture. I wanted it to take the viewer on their own journey, to take them on their travels.”
Carol Anne, who has previously exhibited her work in Liverpool and Manchester and has a permanent slot at Fir Tree Farm in Rainford, is now putting the finishing touches to her latest artwork - On The Somme, Entrenchment - to mark the anniversary of the start of the First World War.
Although she admits painting is her first love, as a teenager she shunned art college and instead followed family advice to study business at college, before working as a PA and later going on to run a driving school.
The mother-of-two, who was once chair of the St Helens Visual Art Forum, has even worked with acclaimed sculptor Antony Gormley.
She said: “The project was Field for the British Isles, a UK version of his big work Field. We had to create terracotta figures, about 12 inches high, and I ended making about 150, moulded from clay supplied by a St Helens brick company.
“The other figures all seemed to be of men so I decided to make mine all female and all pregnant. When we went to Tate Liverpool for the private view, I couldn’t wait to spot my figures – it was marvellous to see so many together.”
Church Square boss Steven Brogan has long been an admirer of Carol Anne’s artwork, many of which have previously been on display in the shopping centre.
“I’ve seen quite a number of her paintings over the years and she has a great talent,” he said.