It’s perhaps difficult to imagine that in the late 18th Century, the picturesque rolling hills of Dartmoor were not well thought of; the few Georgian visitors this rural area did receive passed through quickly, finding little pleasantness in its baron landscapes. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that this perception was turned around and it was done so by the work of Victorian artists capturing these dramatic landscapes in stunning works of art. Now it’s resoundingly seen as one of the South West’s finest natural beauty spots and for many Devon artists the allure of Dartmoor is still an unmissable subject for their work. One such artist is Simon Fowler who this August presents his own homage to these tors and valleys in his exhibition, “The Changing Colours of Dartmoor”.
Coming from a family of artists it was at a young age that Simon discovered a passion for drawing, painting and creative endeavour. Starting with oils in his early teens under the instruction of his Grandfather, a prolific and well-established Bristol artist, he benefitted from instruction from a wide array of family members, producing across ceramics, sculpture and woodcarving as well painting in a variety of mediums. Their experience and knowledge would prove to be invaluable and today Simon is endowed with a significant artistic talent of his own as a result of this early tuition.
Having only recently moved to Devon, Dartmoor and the surrounding landscapes have proven an abundant source of new inspiration. New scenes have also led to new practice and Simon has found a transition from canvas to board, with the addition of a new range of Italian pigments to his stock of oils, has added a new vibrancy to his work allowing him to push his colour palette to new levels.
“For anyone who has walked and loved the moors that are on our doorstep here in South Devon, Simon’s exhibition is a must see. His accomplished, traditional style will enthral any Dartmoor enthusiast and for those who haven’t had the pleasure of exploring these vast landscapes a viewing of his work is undoubtedly the next best thing.” Julie Brandon, Owner Artizan Gallery
Now 59, Simon has painted continuously all his life endlessly inspired by the great outdoors where he has spent most of his adulthood. A caver for 35 years on the Mendips and a keen motorcyclist and angler has built a connection with the landscape which he now cannot help but express in his work. A further 12 years spent boat building and restoring mostly wooden boats, lead to wood carving and sculpture for a long period. For the past 25 years, after training in forestry, woodland management and horticulture, he now works as a garden designer, offering a new exploration for his creativity on a grand scale.
“I feel I have a strong bond with the landscape we live in and I try to reflect that in my art,” says Simon, “The joy of painting is the learning and after 45 years of working in oils, it is pleasing to know that the learning never ends.”
The exhibition will be hosted at Artizan Gallery from 20th - 31st August with an artist preview event on 23rd August, 18:00-20:00. For more information on Artizan Gallery visit www.artizangallery.co.uk. More details on “The Changing Colours of Dartmoor” can be found at www.art-hub.co.uk/sf19.