Simon Fletcher (artist)
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Simon Fletcher is an English artist.
Fletcher was born in Birmingham, England, in 1948. Due to asthma he was unable to attend school until age thirteen, so he was partly educated at home, spending much time reading. At the age of eighteen he attended life drawing classes at the old St Alban's School of Art.
In 1966 he went to St Alban’s Art School, studying under John Brunsden for printmaking and Maurice Field for painting. In 1967 he studied Graphic Design at Watford Art School, where he studied under David Hockney, Richard Hamilton, Dieter Roth and Mark Boyle. At Watford he studied landscape art, portraiture and still life; he learnt photography from Raymond Moore, and he devoted himself to the study of printing techniques, particularly etching. In 1968 he began pa three-year course of watercolour painting at West Surrey College of Art and Design (now the University for the Creative Arts), in Farnham, Surrey, taught by Harold Cheesman (1915–82), a pupil of the English surrealist Paul Nash. Cheesman taught him literature and art theory as well as watercolour techniques, and Cheesman’s watercolours have influenced Fletcher’s art. Fletcher qualified with a degree in Fine Art in 1971.
After qualifying, he worked as a researcher for the Forestry Commission. In 1972 he became the Artistic Director of 'Gardenesque Landscape Design' in Liphook, Hampshire, where he also studied landscape design under Peter Coates and John Brookes. His landscapes included sculptures and ceramics, and his first large-scale project involved designing a 20-hectare park complete with its own lake for German newspaper magnate Martin Brost, who later became his patron.
In 1974 he travelled to France and Morocco to concentrate on drawing and painting. In 1975 he moved to Oxford and set up his own garden design company. In 1978 he became the director of the Oxford Printmakers' Cooperative for two years, and in 1980 he won first prize in the British Association of Landscape Industries Awards for his design of a Hampshire garden.
Between 1975 and 1982 Fletcher travelled around Europe and Africa, working and exhibiting. In 1978 he put on his first solo exhibition of paintings in the Picasso Gallery in Menorca. Whilst in Menorca he produced a series of landscape etchings for a Spanish publishing company. In 1980 he put on an exhibition of prints at La Galleria, Menorca.
In 1980 the National Portrait Gallery in London accepted a self-portrait of Fletcher from an entry of over 500 portraits for a major exhibition and in 1981 exhibited his portrait of Oxford mathematician Giles Christian. His still life drawings were shown and sold by Aberbach Fine Art, London.
In 1982 he moved with his family to Montpellier, France, where he could work outdoors all day in most seasons. He held an exhibition at the Institute Franco Allemagne, in Darmstadt, Germany, in 1986. He has exhibited in France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. In 1983 he won a ‘Diplome d’Honneur’ from the Salon D’Agde, and the first prize for watercolour from the Mouvement Artistique Francaise. In 2000 he won the Gold medal for watercolour from the Salon International de Béziers.
He has painted in Morocco, Japan, Oman, India, and Martinique whilst publishing books and articles about his work and giving occasional seminars on drawing and painting.
Fletcher published a book on watercolour, L’Aquarelle, Art de la Transparence (Fleurus, 19955), about the history and technique of watercolour in Europe, and a further nine books of his work, including Wine and Landscape of the Languedoc, co-produced with author and journalist Rupert Wright, published simultaneously in French and English in 2005.