Celebrated Midsomer Norton artist David Fisher has died at the age of 66.
Mr Fisher lived in the town all his life making an enormous contribution to Midsomer Norton through his skill as an artist and involvement in local organisations.
He was an apprentice signwriter and decorator for F Speed and Sons before becoming an artist and designer, completing 386 pictorial pub signs for Courage and Butcombe breweries.
A commission from Trusthouse Forte resulted in 13 100ft murals for motorway services across the UK.
Mr Fisher turned away from corporate work to concentrate on his love of fine art and to paint subjects of his own choice as well as commissions in both oil and watercolours.
In 2003 his painting of a much-loved family pet, titled Friend or Foe, was a finalist in the Daily Mail Not the Turner Prize competition competing against 10,000 other entries.
He was also a regular winner of the Royal Bath and West most popular picture but it was his 2008 Holbourne Portrait Prize for Dead Man Posing that he felt brought him recognition.
His portrait of fellow artist Philip Ledbury, who had been diagnosed with leukaemia, won acclaim from the judges.
Mr Fisher’s wife Brenda said: “When he won he said that he had been recognised as an artist.”
Following the win he was given the chance to paint a notable figure as part of the museum’s Local Heroes exhibition. Mr Fisher chose actress Stephanie Cole and his painting was unveiled in April last year.
Trains were his inspiration and joy and he dug into childhood memories of catching the trains to produce his work.
Mr Fisher was a member of the Midsomer Norton Society, Wells Railway Fraternity, Somerset and Dorset Heritage Trust, Bristol Industrial Archaeological Society and the Old Bakery Artists. He was also an honorary member of the Worshipful Company of Painters and associated with Radstock Museum and the Somerset Coal Canal.
Mr Fisher was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and did not paint for two years while he fought his illness.
One of his last commissions was to design the Midsomer Norton Town Council logo.
Mrs Fisher said: “The logo will appear throughout the town and this will be a lovely and lasting memory of him.”
Midsomer Norton mayor Paul Myers said: “David made an enormous contribution to not just Midsomer Norton but the whole area and he will be greatly missed.
“Whilst his primary focus was painting it was his passion for local history which almost single handedly inspired the founders of the Midsomer Norton Society to come together and go on to achieve so much. A very visual part of his lasting legacy will be his design of the Midsomer Norton Town Council logo.”
He leaves his wife Brenda, children Amy and Mark and six grandchildren.
There will be a service of thanksgiving at St John’s Church on Friday, April 5, at 3pm.