Artist becomes author after stroke puts stop to painting

Valerie Sheppard with the books she has written. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks16000739-1
Valerie Sheppard with the books she has written. Picture: Kate Shemilt ks16000739-1

Well-known Littlehampton artist Valerie Sheppard has been unable to paint since she suffered a stroke last year.

But it has done nothing to halt the 80-year-old’s creativity and she has instead put her energies into writing.

Valerie has self-published a book, called The Inside Stories, and a poetry collection, called Painter Becomes Poet, with AuthorHouse UK.

Her debut book is a collection of short stories based on her personal experiences, spanning several decades. It provides an historical account of Littlehampton and the wider county, as well as featuring stories based on Valerie’s travelling adventures.

“Each story is different, mostly about the history of places I may have visited,” she explained.

The poetry collection links back to her artwork, as she says she is most inspired by her paintings because they seem to tell a story.

Valerie said she decided to write the books to share with others the transition in her life caused by the stroke.

“I am writing my books to express how I feel and to leave a legacy to my family as I can’t paint any more after I suffered a stroke, so I became an author,” she said.

“My book of poems is inspired by the clip art or my paintings that enhance and help me to write stories and also create poetry.”

One of her favourite poems is A Beautiful Sunset, which describes the colours and how they change as the sun goes down.

The stroke has left Valerie with some physical limitations so she is now living in a 24-hour care facility, where she is able to get help with these. This allows her to focus on writing poetry, for which she draws additional inspiration from her own life.

At the age of 64, she attended Chichester College Outreach Centre for adult education to study computer technology and creative writing.

She has since enjoyed writing short stories and poems.

Painter Becomes Poet and The Inside Stories by Valerie Sheppard are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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