Russell, 70, has opened his first solo art show, nearly six decades after a teacher told him he would “never draw anything but the dole”.
The writer, whose work also includes the hit films Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine, started taking art seriously about 15 years ago. He said: “I think a lot of people knew me and thought because I’d had some success as a writer it would follow that I could paint and of course it doesn’t.
“I’d never enjoyed art at junior school as the teachers were more concerned about not making a mess and painting is all about making a mess, then at secondary school when I was 14 I was hit by an art teacher who told me to get out of class and that I would never draw anything but the dole.”
The show features about 30 paintings, a third of which have already been sold.
Seeing Better by Willy Russell is at the Coningsby Gallery on Tottenham Street until November 18