They say life begins at 40, but it was actually after Brian Soames’ 60th birthday that he rediscovered a passion for art. Now eight years later, the Bushey Heath resident is ready to show off his growing collection of oil paintings at Stanmore Library.

The exhibition, which opens on Saturday and runs until May, will mark the first time that Brian has displayed his works to the wider public, despite having a keen interest in art since he was 16. It was, in fact, his wife Trina who encouraged Brian to finally exhibit his paintings.

Brian, who also works as a clothing and upholstery consultant, tells me: “I’ve always dabbled in painting and enjoyed art. It’s rather like reading a good novel, in that once you get into it, you can’t be disturbed – you just have to keep going.”

Working mainly with oils, Brian’s paintings show a variety of subjects that have inspired him over the years.

“Of late it’s been places I have visited,” explains Brian. “But really it’s anything that inspires. You have to feel that in some way before you even start the painting.”

In recent months, Brian has also joined the Stanmore Art Society and Watford and Bushey Art Society, which he says he has found invaluable in developing his hobby further.

He tells me: “There’s always something you can pick up from other people and I’ve even been thinking now about changing direction, maybe with a more impressionist style.”

Aside from art, turning 60 also marked the first time that Brian completed a marathon, followed by a second three years later.

He’s now hoping to enter the New York marathon when he turns 70 in two years time.

“I like a challenge, whatever it is, whether it’s a marathon or painting,” Brian tells me. “Art is particularly challenging, because as you work through it, you do begin to think will I ever finish it!

“So you do need a lot of concentration and focus to get there and do it well.”

And having only recently rediscovered his passion for art, Brian hopes to continue for many years ahead with his painting.

He adds: “I actually managed to persuade my own father to take up art when he was 65 and he continued well into his 90s. So yes, I’m certainly going to continue and if anyone happens to like my paintings, I will think that’s a real achievement.”

Brian Soames’ Art Exhibition runs from Saturday, April 18 to Friday, May 1 at Stanmore Library, Stanmore Hill. Open Mondays 9.30am to 5pm; Tuesdays and Thursdays 9.30am to 8pm; Fridays 9.30am to 1pm; and Saturdays 9am to 5pm. Closed Wednesdays.