Tributes have been paid to marine artist Graham Jowett-Ive, who has died. The painter, who battled paralysis, had his work exhibited in The Mall Gallery, London.

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An Exmouth man who began painting after being paralysed in a road accident – later seeing his work exhibited in London’s Mall Gallery – has died aged 66.

Graham Jowett-Ive of New North Road, preferred not to be called an artist, saying he had “failed” if people questioned his paintings of historical war battles, writes Becca Gliddon.

Graham was great fun to spend time with and it was easy to while away many hours in his kitchen – gossiping and laughing while he painted, smoked and regaled you with tales of people he had met down the years.

He was a highly regarded member of Exmouth Art Group, and group president May Neilson said: “His paintings were wonderful. It’s definitely a loss to the art community. He was such a nice man and very well-liked.”

In the spring of 2004 Graham was shortlisted for the Daily Mail’s Not the Turner Prize.

His work The Pursuit of Old Ironsides in 1812 – showing a scene from the little-known war between Britain and America – was hung in the Mall Gallery.

He must have been pleased, but he modestly told the Journal how instead of looking around he had “sneaked in and sneaked out”, saying he “couldn’t stand” looking at his own work.

Some eight-and-a-half-years earlier Graham had started painting in hospital when doctors said he would remain paralysed after a car accident in France left him with a broken neck and an injured spinal column.

He admitted the accident had been a “blow”, but was determined not to take medics at their word when they said he would not walk again.

He got his hands moving, starting art as therapy, then left hospital on crutches.

His legs would not move at first, so he swung them and continued to make slow, painful, but determined progress.

Before his accident, Graham was in the army. He was a keen polo player and windsurfer. He taught Prince Charles and Princess Anne to water-ski.

In later years, with his encyclopaedic knowledge of warships, he worked on as many as 11 paintings at a time. His sense of humour could often be seen in his work – Graham’s trademark when painting sea battles was to include a person going to the toilet from somewhere on the ship.

l Graham’s funeral is at St Peter’s Chapel, Exeter & Devon Crematorium, on Friday (December 21) at 2pm. Bright colours are requested.

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