Meet the Calderdale man who woke from a stroke and is now able to create works of art

Wayne Sheppard with some of his paintings
Wayne Sheppard with some of his paintings

“It’s like I’ve been reborn”. Wayne Sheppard couldn’t even draw a square or a circle before suffering a stroke in December 2016, but after regaining consciousness in hospital, he had an overwhelming urge to draw and paint

And two years on, Wayne, who lives in Sowerby Bridge, is the subject of his first solo exhibition in the Courtyard Cafe at the Halifax Playhouse.

“When I woke up one day I just had this urge to draw.

“I asked my friend for a pad and pencil and I just started drawing. It was like someone had jumped into my body and was drawing for me. It was so scary.

“I could draw at all before and suddenly I was drawing in 4D. It was crazy.

“I ended up giving my paintings to the other patients in the hospital because they loved them.

“It was amazing but scary at the same time.

“Nowadays I have more control over it but for a year-and-a-half I had no control at all. It was just doing its own thing.

“I would even tap dance, play the drums, play guitar - I’d never played a musical instrument before in my life.”

His diagnosis confirmed that he had had a stroke, and this had affected his brain and nervous system and somehow given him both the urge and the ability to paint.

Wayne says his doctors are more concerned with his treatment for cancer and haven’t shown any interest in his artistic talents.

Wayne, who was born in Cape Town, South Africa, also woke up to find his accent had changed in early 2017.

The 49-year-old sold over 300 paintings in his first year and his exhibits are on display until the end of the year.

“I’m absolutely over the moon,” he said. “This is my first launch but I’d love to do more.

“I know absolutely nothing about art. People say to me ‘what medium do you use?’ and I don’t know what they mean.

“People say ‘do you use pastilles?’, I thought pastilles were a sweet!

“But I paint every single day. Sometimes I don’t sleep for three or four nights but it’s whenever the urge overtakes me, and I just have to do it.

“Even though I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, I love it.”