Simon Fletcher is a British artist with a degree in Fine Art. He was employed as a designer before subsequently forming his own design firm based in Oxford. He has work in many collections private and public across the world, and has written numerous books about his work in watercolour and pastel.
Fletcher recently completed a mural of 50m² for private clients in France, and is now preparing new work for future exhibitions in the UK, France, and South America.
|Ravello and the Bay of Salerno, 2003||Vallée de L'orb, 2010|
What is your earliest memory of an artwork and who was it by?
I believe that it was a Japanese woodcut by Utamaro of two women. My mother was a keen amateur painter and there were reproductions of many paintings around the house.
What is your favourite time of day to be in your studio?
I like the mornings in my studio, with the day ahead and a project to work on.
|Bastakia, Dubai, 2004||Little Canal, 2005|
Talk us through a day in the life of Simon Fletcher - What does a day in your life look like?
These days I generally get up pretty early, take a look at the weather, have a coffee and talk through the various things to be done with Julie. After a quick look at the mail box, I try to get through the computer work quickly, before either going out to paint or to the studio. Sometimes I have a sitter for a portrait too.
I've lived for many years in southern France where the light and landscape are wonderful so I will quite often go out to paint for the day – as I get older I find that working outside can be tiring and I'm using more digital imagery these days. I enjoy the early evening with a glass of wine, music and a look at what the day has produced.
How would you sum up your practice in 5 words?
Yin-yang, concentration, music, light, friendship.
|Garden interval 1||Garden interval|
You regularly paint en plein air. What attracts you to the scenes you paint? Do you plan your painting locations or are the specific vistas happened upon?
It's about the strong light that I need for my colours here in France and in Morocco, where I spend some of each winter. My palette changed when I left England and I experienced a colour revolution of new pigments and colours, as written about in my books and articles.
I usually return to the same area to paint or drive around looking for likely subjects. I have often painted the same subject several times with different light or at varying times of day. I also like the challenge of painting when I have to react quickly to changing light and weather.
You spend part of the year in France and part of it in Morocco and the UK. How does each place influence your work?
Each place has influenced the way I paint of course; France for the unspoiled and ravishing countryside, Morocco for plants, gardens, the ocean and the feeling of freedom that I have there and England for architecture and cityscape. Although of course it was England, where I was raised, that made me a painter with its beautiful countryside.
What has been your most rewarding commission to date?
This is difficult to answer because I've been incredibly lucky with commissions. In 2014 I completed a commission for a 50metre² mural here in France using state of the art digital printing to create the four 12.5m² panels from the original paintings. The work had to be scanned and calibrated for colour printing and I had to get expert help with this.
Although more of a sponsorship than a commission, the weeks that I spent in Japan as a guest of Hitachi Corporation were very important. I have always loved Japanese art and being there was amazing. I painted from dawn to dusk and then had a museum show and published a book about the paintings.
|Soucis, pervenches, lys, rose, 2002||Ravello, rufulo, Italy, 2001|
What convinced you to join Bridgeman Studio for licensing, and what are your hopes for working as a Bridgeman Studio artist?
I have had images with Bridgeman for some years and have always found them helpful and friendly. When Bridgeman Studio was launched I saw an opportunity to work with young, gifted people in a new way. Over time I have become uneasy about the gallery system because so much of the work shown seems to me ephemeral, without the enduring qualities that I have always admired in paintings. I hope very much that I can build an archive of work that will sell as reproductions and originals for the future and I think Bridgeman have the skills to help me to do this.
What would you most like to see your images licensed for?
I would trust the company to use my images in all sorts of ways, be it calendars, prints or cards (which has already happened), and I'm sure that there are many more applications that Bridgeman can suggest for the future. I'm also particularly concerned about preserving landscape which is currently under terrible pressure and hope that some of my images can be used in this cause.
|Maize, onion and garlic, 1995||Christmas, figs in brandy, 2000|
If you could pick 5 artists, dead or alive, to have dinner with who would they be and why?
Dinner with painters can be quite tricky because often we drink too much, have very strong feelings about things and can even get into fights... which is why I didn't choose Carravagio!
Hokusai, because he was not just a great painter and printmaker but a witty and wise man too. He felt that he'd done nothing of worth before the age of 60, a statement that some of our contemporaries might bear in mind!
Edward Burra, because he was unique in his style of watercolour, which I love. The atmospheric quality of his colours and the often sinister feelings that the work arouses still excite and inspire, plus he was a lover of music and night clubs and fun to be with.
John Minton, because I've always loved his drawings and illustrations; seeing them in Elizabeth David's cookery books delighted me and encouraged me to cook.
Helen Frankenthaler, who died in 2011, was an abstract painter who came to my attention via her woodcuts. Sometimes very large and experimental, these prints with their beautiful colours are sensational and as a printmaker myself I found them very inspiring. She was also by all accounts very funny and sharp-witted.
Auerbach is for me that rare thing: a real British painter. His origins are European and the paintings do what I believe German expressionist painting always promised to evolve into. I've always wanted to talk about this subject with him as I worked in Germany for many years and learnt hugely from German painting.
Hills of Pollenca, 2015