Anyone going along Norton Rd in Frankton can't help but notice the wall-sized mural featuring portraits of such notables as John Lennon, Bob Marley and Nelson Mandela.

This is Bruce McLachlan's Peace Wall. Not far away is his studio, a colourful shambles, working space and proof that a man's shed is never big enough.

A Hamilton man, McLachlan started in the creative business many years ago with the practical skills of a signwriter and under the guidance of Ray Starr.

But it was a series of personal challenges including the end of his marriage, the death of his mother and, as a blessing, a son later in life that let him to art.

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"I never knew I could paint. We had a little place in Raglan. Mum loved flowers and one day I painted some flowers and surprised myself.

"When my marriage broke up I decided to start doing art. Then Max came along and now he just draws all the time."

In the 25 years he has been located in Frankton, Bruce has been busy in the community undertaking murals for St Columba and Nawton schools and the local play centre.

Bruce can turn his hand to a variety of techniques and hosting an exhibition is always a journey into the unknown — a practical way to discover if the public likes his work.

"I always ask myself, 'am I going to sell anything' but at least I can show people what I can do.

"People can bring me a photo of their parents, children, pet or a favourite beach scene. There is always something personal about a painting you can't get in a photograph."

Bruce will host an exhibition of his work, untitled, including 20 pieces, many portraits and mostly acrylic on canvas.

• Bruce McLachlan's latest exhibition will open at the Bruce McLachlan Gallery & Studio, 89 Norton Rd, Frankton, 5pm-8.30pm Friday October 4, wine and nibbles.

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