AN ARTIST who has had a 20-year hiatus from painting has realised his dream and opened up his own gallery.

Shaun Rowley, 39, of Vernon Road, Worsbrough Bridge, took the plunge after quitting painting professionally in favour of a 'steady job'.

He used to earn a living from his paintings but left to work at a petrol station, and later as an events supervisor. After nearly 20 years working for somebody else, his upcoming 40th birthday spurred him on to return to his 'first love'.

He opened Newburgh Gallery, on Dodworth Road at Town End, just before Christmas.

He said: "I used to rent a space in a shop called Especially Yours, round the back of Boots. There was also a semi-permanent craft market upstairs in the Alhambra.

"I'd pitch my stall, sell my stuff for a while, then disappear for a couple of months, paint some more, then come back again.

"I did that for a couple of years, but I got offered a part-time job which turned into a full-time job, and I've worked full-time ever since."

Shaun, whose own work is for sale in his gallery, also wanted to create a forum for other local artists to sell their work. He also sells a wide selection of home and giftware.

He said he hoped the gallery would help contribute to improving the area, which is deemed a 'gateway' into town.

"When people come to Barnsley and they make that turn down from the M1, this is the first thing they see."