THE man found dead yesterday is believed to be the renowned artist Roger Cecil.

Described as a "reclusive painter, draughtsman and teacher" he was born in Abertillery, in 1942 and has lived and worked in Wales for the past four decades, much of it in the house where he was born and brought up.

David Sansom, owner of The Gallery in the Square in Usk called him: "One of Wales’ most accomplished artists, with a well deserved reputation. Every time we lose an outstanding painter it’s a big loss to Welsh art.

“He was one of the foremost artists of his generation, quite reserved by nature, a very modest, quiet man, but a very prolific artist.

It’s very sad. “He painted in a very bold, multi-layered technique, building up paint and scraping it back.

He used Cubist shapes to resemble houses and he used a lot of colour and extravagance in the way he painted. He was very ahead of his time.

“We have had work of his through our gallery over the last 20 years or so. Coincidentally we picked up a piece a couple of weeks ago and it will be going on show soon.”

Roger Cecil studied Fine Art at Newport College of Art from 1959 to 1963, where his teachers included John Wright and Thomas Rathmell; in 1963 he won distinction with the College’s highest grade in the national diploma in design and a place at the Royal College London. In 1964 he won the David Murray Landscape Award from the Royal Academy.

He left the Royal College of Art after just a few weeks because he was unsatisfied and took up manual work in opencast mines and building sites.

Cecil later spent some time teaching at Ebbw Vale. From 1995 to 1998 he did his MA, which he gained with distinction in communication design at St Martin’s College of Art.

His work is described as "abstract" and "rich in imagery, poetry and colour, which are drawn from his environment, the industrial valley towns and mountains."

Said to be prolific and obsessive, he has always been a solitary artist, with no affiliations to any group or artistic movement.

In 1964, BBC Wales broadcast the 'Quiet Rebel' about the then 21-year-old painter, who was determined to make art on his own terms despite pressures from family, friends and teachers to either get a 'real' job or become a commercial artist. The BBC made returned forty years later to update the story.

For a long time Cecil did not exhibit, through choice, and it was friends who helped to promote him. He then had a series of exhibitions at Business Art Galleries from 1987 and in 1995 the Hill Court Gallery, Abergavenny, held a retrospective of his work. In 1998 Gordon Hepworth and Y Tabernacl both showed Cecil's pictures.

Cecil’s works were also shown at the Oriel Myrddin Gallery in 2006 and 20011. The small book which takes the name of the earlier exhibition ”Cariad” ; has an introduction by gallery manager Meg Anthony which states; “The magic of Roger Cecil’s work is in part down to the man, for he is enigmatic and surprising, diffident and proud. He has deliberately avoided the art establishment, remaining shy of its protocol and systems of exposure and recognition. He has consciously created the space to pursue his art, away from the pressures of publicity and celebrity...... Paint is Roger’s passion.”

Cecil’s methods are complex; he works with a mixture of materials, including oil pastels, sandpaper, primer and plaster. He builds up layers and then he rubs and scratches them away. His work is textured and nuanced, and the colour reverberates as if it has a life of its own. The paintings are abstract, but there are echoes of monumental shapes and undulations of the female form, the Valleys - the dark hills embracing the bowls of space and the rich, gritty textures of the industrial and post-industrial landscape, highlighted by intricate, personal marks.