The bright and vibrant works of a popular Kingston artist are being celebrated for the first time in decades.

Composer of Colour is a retrospective exhibition that groups together five decades of work from David Whitaker, who died from pneumonia aged 68 in 2007.

Throughout his career, Whitaker explored the effects of colour, contrast and combination on the viewer’s perception, creating dynamic, pulsating images in both oils and watercolours.

He created vibrant, emotionally charged paintings with just seven colours on large, geometric canvases, which brought him early popularity on the art scene.

Whitaker was just 13 when he enrolled at the Blackpool and Fylde School of Art, and continued to study there until he moved to London in search of paid work.

An initial job as a graphic designer did not suit him but early shifts working as a milkman fitted with his desire to paint all afternoon.

He was accepted to the Royal Academy Schools in 1962, explored landscape painting and graduated as a painter of abstract works. Whitaker taught at Wimbledon School of Art from 1984 to 2001 and, although he continued to paint, he rarely exhibited his work and never exhibited at all with commercial galleries. He was married in 1959 to Frances Wood, with whom he had three sons, and he was also an avid marathon runner and member of the Kingston Stragglers until his death.

LISTING: David Whitaker: Composer of Colour, a retrospective exhibition at Kingston Museum, Wheatfield Way, Kingston. From January 28 to March 24. Phone 020 8547 6463 or visit museum.