The Shildon man swapping RAF military jets for painting pets

AN aircraft engineer who usually spends his nine-to-five fixing and supervising military jets has taken up painting as a hobby saying that it is “yin and yang” combined.

Gaz Foulkes, from Shildon, County Durham, works as an aircraft engineering supervisor at RAF Leeming.

Mr Foulkes has recently been working on the brand new Qatari 11 squadron Hawkes Mk167, however, in his spare time, he has been painting County Durham and North Yorkshire landscapes.

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Originally Mr Foulkes started his painting hobby by producing pictures of people’s dogs on his Facebook page “Paint My Pooch.”

The Northern Echo: Gaz FoulkesFoulkes Gas

Soon he was receiving pictures of people’s pets with a landscape background, and he fell in love with the process and soon found his first landscape sold in a gallery for around £330.

Mr Foulkes said painting also helped his mental health during lockdown after he felt like he “had no sense of purpose whatsoever” after being asked to stay at home during the pandemic.

He said: “To be honest, without painting, I would have had no sense of purpose whatsoever, from being an aircraft supervisor on military jets to be all of a sudden stuck at home with zero sense of purpose, I’d definitely say it’s something that kept me in a creative mode.

“There’s something to be said in having something you can do, something you can learn, every time you do it you’re picking up new techniques, new brushes and painting different scenes which each have their own challenges.”

“When I’m working on the aircraft, you have to carry out certain tasks at certain times, everything is scheduled and when things go wrong, you have to work out what we need to do to fix it and that’s all within time constraints.

“Getting up at a set time, setting off at a set time, you get used to that regimented way of living, so then all of sudden to be told that you can’t go anywhere, not even walk the dog, it was crazy .”

The Northern Echo:

Now Mr Foulkes says he has “the bug” and always finds time for art and spends most weekdays and most weekends painting.

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He said: “Put it this way, I’m on my way home from work now, I’ll get home, put the dogs out and then spend about two-hours painting.

“Then on weekend I’ll probably spend all day Saturday painting and then Sunday my wife if is off so I best not paint then.

“You kind of just get into a bug, everyone has that kind of crutch on something and it just finds you.

“I mean it’s something I’ve been doing for only three years and in those three years I’ve been in four galleries.”

Mr Foulkes has also created an online gallery for other artists to benefit from, saying the online site is “for artists by artists.”

The Northern Echo:

He said “I’ve actually managed to create an online gallery, which means people now pay me to upload their work online.

“But the difference with mine is that I don’t take any commission for their sales, so the artist gets 100 per cent of the sale.

“So the slogan is for artists by artists, so the intention is to maximize the success of the artist and I charge a really small fee of about $5 which is about £3 for artists to upload as many pictures of their painting as they want.

The Northern Echo:

“The fees are basically just to pay for the sight, I don’t really profit from it unless thousands and thousands of people globally upload their work.”

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He concluded: “I do have to pinch myself sometimes, I’ve just spent all day fixing three military jets, getting them up to serviceable and ready to fly tomorrow and then quickly getting home, seeing to the dogs and then painting.”

You can find Gaz Foulkes on Instagram at art_bygazfoulkes

And you can purchase Mr Foulkes’s art here: https://yorkshire.art/directory/artist/gaz-foulkes-2/

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