He had been intending to go to Norwich to study graphic design but another student was also heading there and the college reckoned they would both have more chance of getting a place if they targeted different universities.
One of them had to opt for Sheffield and it was Tim who put his hand up first.
“I think I wanted to experience a bit of northern grit and so at the last moment I dropped my plans to go to Norwich and headed here. I have been here ever since,” said the 61-year-old artist.
“I would never go back to London now it would be far too bland,” he added.
Even though he received a first class honours degree in Fine Art in 1975 he had no idea what he wanted to do with the qualification.
“I wanted to be an artist but I didn’t know what an artist was or how you made a living. In those days it just wasn’t something you were taught.”
Some of his peers turned to teaching art but Tim was adamant he wasn’t going down that path and deliberately avoided education as a career making sure he had nothing other than painting to fall back on.
In the end ten years passed before Tim was to pick up a pencil again as he worked his way through a variety of jobs –including a spell as a dustman.
When he eventually found time to take up art again he started out by producing pen and ink sketches of houses in the city and he discovered he was pretty good at architectural drawing.
He spent a few years perfecting his style while working as a commercial artist for the likes of Royal Doulton and has been a full time professional for more than 30 years now, specialising in the portrayal of buildings, gardens and cityscapes.
“Commercial art was my art school in the end. I learnt a great deal while working in that field and that gave me the confidence to run my own business,” he said.
“I come from a family which is mildly entrepreneurial and I think that has helped me to make a living out of being an artist.”
As well as paintings and prints he also produces corporate Christmas cards and individual house portraits.
He has been working for St Paul’s Cathedral for 15 years and has also produced intimate drawings of the inside of Derbyshire’s great houses such as Chatsworth and Haddon.
“In the last 20 years I have sold more than 200,000 cards. It is certainly something which has been popular, but these days digital cards are taking over so I am working on new challenges.”
One of those is to produce a weekly painting of a street scene from Sheffield and put it online at his own site justupmystreet.com.
“I like new challenges and problem solving and I like to work from life whenever possible as then I can capture the natural atmosphere. I am often sketching or painting in a crowded place before I go back to the studio.”
Tim, who is a member of the Peak District Artisans, works out of a fantastic studio in the Persistence Works complex in the heart of the city. The award-winning studios were the first purpose-built fine-art studios in the UK and provide affordable space for more than 80 artists.
His airy sunlit studio is on the fourth floor and has views of the city’s hills. Inside his oils and watercolours adorn every available bit of wall space and it is obvious he is a prolific artist.
Despite the fact he turned his back on teaching in his youth Tim is now an experienced teacher and demonstrator and runs many specialist courses in watercolour painting from his studio throughout the year.
“I am a strong advocate of drawing skills and the use of watercolour painting as a tonal medium and most of my courses are aimed at those wanting to improve rather than beginners,” he said.
Members of the Ilkeston Arts and Camera Club are looking forward to welcoming him for a watercolour demonstration at the Elim Christian Centre in the town on December 1 at 7.30pm. It has been billed as an unmissable evening and non-members are invited to join them.
His work can also be seen at art fairs including those of the PDA.
Go to http://www.timroseartist.com for more information.