A drawing of a train by the seven-year-old Richard was considered so good by the teacher that it was hung on the classroom wall.
“That was it for me. I just thought ‘crikey I can get my work put up for everyone to see’ and I wanted to keep doing it,” he said reflecting on his past with a grin.
“I just loved drawing and painting. At secondary school I even did extra art – although that was also a way of getting out of games.
“For one reason or another I missed out on art college but in my early 20s I started painting watercolours and eventually had some exhibited and even sold a few,” he recalled.
At this time the Nottinghamshire born artist was working in the printing trade but he knew he wasn’t fulfilling his early ambitions so in the late 1990s he set about studying A level art at Patchings Arts Centre, at Calverton near Mansfield.
There it was Liz Wood who took him under her wing and persuaded him to join her oil painting classes.
“I have been attending her classes for the last 15 years and I am still learning something new,” he said.
Richard and his wife Charlotte moved to Tansley three years ago – tempted away from his native county by Derbyshire’s inspirational landscapes and fantastic walks.
“We love walking here and I never go out without my sketchbook,” explained Richard, who stopped talking to fetch his book so I could get an idea of how his paintings start out.
There were lots of scenes captured which have never made it to a canvas but plenty which I instantly recognised from the finished works.
“I have quite a wide range of subjects from landscape and still life to the play of light and semi abstract waterfalls. I try to do sets of themed paintings,” he said.
He joined the Matlock Artist’s Society when he moved to the county and its president Carol Hill, who is his near neighbour, has become another of his mentors. He says her invaluable support has been helping him to get his work noticed.
For the moment though he still has to have a day job so he has armed himself with a teaching qualification and set up a series of art courses for mature learners.
“I had a lucky break really,” he said. “While I was teaching IT at West Nottinghamshire College they needed people to go and work in the community and I offered to teach art which gave me a leg up and meant I also got involved with the art department at the college.
“I still do those community courses but also have my own which have grown from very humble beginnings to thriving groups. It has been mainly by word of mouth and some people come back time and time again.”
He says that his aim is for people of all abilities to enjoy the classes and to feel relaxed.
His gentle, light-hearted nature coupled with his natural talent for teaching and painting make that a certainty.
If you want to find out more about his courses then go to http://www.richardhollandlandscapeartist.co.uk