CHRIS Postle's arts career started with the most humble beginnings when his mother entered him in the Maryborough Arts Competition in the late '80s.
With a wife and four young daughters to keep him on his toes, he only just managed to find the time to create the two paintings required to enter the show.
Two months after the competition, Postle received a letter which contained the people's choice award prize: a cheque for $15.
After initially being disappointed with his winnings, he began to realise that recognition of his talent was the real prize.
"Eventually it started to sink in that I could sell my work to people," Postle said.
"I just began chipping away at it and painting more and more."
Postle was busy with his own cleaning business when his art became a more prominent part of his life: a recurring back problem prompted him to sell his business and focus on his painting career full-time.
Within a few years, he had opened his own gallery in Hervey Bay as well as helping to finance and set up an art co-operative with more than 60 arts and craft patrons.
The Tinbeerwah artist's paintings highlight his amazing diversity and technical skills within his breath-taking coastal scenes, impressionistic landscapes and delicately detailed flora and fauna. His love of the beautiful Sunshine Coast environment, combined with plenty of time and patience, are the right ingredients for his continuing inspiration.
"I'm so passionate with my art now and I've come so far and I don't even think that I have discovered the limits of my own creativity yet," he said.
Postle describes being an artist as his dream job, but recognises the difficulty of balancing his working life with the financial practicalities of making art a full-time career.
He recently stopped painting for six months to help a friend build a yacht, and although he enjoyed the break, the time away only reinforced the fact that his art career has become such an integral part of his life.
"My art has become my life - a treasure within itself - and to that I am grateful," Postle said.
"I hope to continue and explore this positive journey to wherever it leads me and also to help create awareness of this amazing world we live in.
"Where would we be without it?"
Postle will be the Artist in Focus at the 31st Immanuel Arts Festival to be held from next Thursday to Sunday, May 17-20, at the Immanuel Lutheran College, in Wises Rd, Buderim.
This is the third year he has participated in the festival, which he believes is a great opportunity to showcase work and interact with fellow artists and art lovers.