Exciting things are happening in Horncastle.
The town boasts a wealth of antique and ‘Old Curiosity’ style shops, tea and coffee houses and other independent retailers.
And one of those - the Mortimer Art Gallery in North Street - is set to expand.
Artist Anita Mortimer opened her gallery in November 2016.
Already a hugely successful renowned and established international artist, Anita was new to the area and quickly became overwhelmed with commission work - such is the popularity of her unique animal and human portrait work.
So, when an opportunity arose to expand into the empty premises next door, Anita quickly secured the vacant space.
Work is currently in progress to transform the two premises into one large gallery.
Anita is a recent winner of the Joint People’s Choice of the Annual Portrait competition organised by the Carre Gallery in Sleaford.
Her successful portrait entitled ‘Barney’ - her mother’s faithful gardener - is part of Anita’s philosophy to always help others - be it a kind word, a smile, or to encourage and advise other artists.
Each month different artists have the opportunity to exhibit in the gallery.
Some are seasoned and established artists but for others Anita offers the first chance to display their artwork.
Anita not only actively encourages and promotes their work, but offers constructive advice to help emerging talent.
Last year, a 15-year-old student from a local school sold her first painting on display in the gallery for a ‘good sum’, quickly followed by several other paintings.
Anita’s own career started in South Croydon where she was raised.
As a child, she says she was inspired by her pet dog Sindy and one day took up a pencil and began to draw.
Fascinated by the sights and sounds that surrounded her, Anita continued to paint, draw and record everything she saw.
The first piece of work she sold was to an insistent friend who refused to accept it as a gift, saying it was ‘far too good!’
That first sale was of an elephant.
Her first gallery sale was of an orangutan done in pastel. This sale was quickly followed by eleven other pieces, and the following year saw seventeen of Anita’s pieces sold in quick succession.
•Anita stages lessons in her North Street gallery although it is best to book in advance as they are heavily subscribed.