A Newquay man who started painting when he retired is taking the art world by storm after his paintings of whales became popular.

Steve Camps, aged 66, spent most of his career painting ceilings and walls but now his distinctive artworks sell for thousands of pounds.

He became inspired to paint after visiting Wales on holiday and came across two paintings of whaling boats in a charity shop.

Steve, who lives in Chester Road, bought the paintings and on his return to Newquay started to paint his naive whale images in January.

He bought damaged sheets of plywood to paint on from trade suppliers Howdens and Jewson and made most of the frames himself rather than purchasing materials from fancy art shops.

Steve decided to put one, unsigned, up for auction at Lay’s Auctioneers in Penzance, which sold for £120.

Steve includes Newquay's famous Huer's Hut in some of his whale paintings (Picture: Warren Wilkins) ( )

He said: “I was pleased so I kept putting more and more paintings into auction and they kept selling.

“The auction house asked where I was getting the paintings from, and I confessed I was doing them. They said it would be better if I started signing them.

“I also started selling the paintings on Ebay, which was spotted by the owner of Sailors Jail Gallery in Falmouth. “They came over to my art studio and took away 15 of my paintings, which sold within a week.

“They said they had never seen anything like it. I had never painted before I retired. The only thing I had painted before then was garden gates and ceilings. Now my paintings can sell for more than £2,000 each.”

Steve has now been dubbed “The Prince of Whales” and his artwork has even been compared to Bryan Pearce who is recognised as one of the UK's leading naïve artists.

His artworks have sold to people around the world including Australia and the USA.

Several celebrities have purchased his paintings including fashion designer Cath Kidston and newsreader Clive Myrie.

Actress and comedian Dawn French also tweeted how much she like Steve’s artwork. 

Steve proudly shows off two of his paintings (Picture Warren Wilkins) ( )

Steve said: “I think the response I’ve received to my artwork is good. 

“I have talked to a lot of artists who are absolutely fantastic, but they cannot sell anything. I think it’s because hundreds of people can paint like that.

“A lot of people who go to art school come out with the same ideas. People say they like my paintings because they are unique. 

“I just think it was a perfect storm of knowing the auction scene and starting to paint. It has gone from there. It has gone mental.

“I didn’t set out with this great mindset that I am going to sell hundreds or thousands of paintings, it just happened.”