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Old master holds his first painting exhibition - on his 100th birthday

For most people lucky enough to reach 100, the milestone birthday is a time to reflect on your long life while celebrating your twilight years.
But centenarian and artist James Mills was instead celebrating a life first when he reached three figures, after unveiling his debut public watercolour exhibition on his 100th birthday.
The undiscovered artist was persuaded by family to show off his talents for the first time, despite enjoying art for over 80 years.




Mr Mills, from Neath, South Wales, first started sketching when he was 19 after taking inspiration from his artistic heroes Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Raphael.
The sprightly centenarian, who turned 100 today, said: 'I love painting and it is nice when people admire my work.

'But until now I have painted for my own pleasure and have been happy for family and friends to enjoy my work.
'But I am thrilled to have my first solo exhibition - it is a lovely way to mark me reaching 100.'
Mr Mills spent nearly 40 years persisting with pencil drawing, before finally making the transition to acrylic, oils and watercolours aged 57.



It was around this time his skills caught the eye at amateur art societies, landing Mr Mills a number of prestigious painting competition victories.
Now the exhibition of the retired marine engineer's work in Neath is the first time his art has ever been displayed in a gallery.
Mr Mills added: 'This is a dream come true and something I have looked forward to for ages.
'The show features my life's work - the best pieces I have produced in the last 80 years.'
James' son Roger and his grand-daughter Nicola helped organise the show for the centenarian who they describe as 'very sprightly'.
But James said his only regret was that his wife Violet couldn't be there to see the exhibition after she passed away in 2002.
A family friend said: 'We hope that Violet will be watching over the show and know how proud we are of James.'