Simon Addyman was born in Colchester, in Essex, England, to a family of successful artists. His mother, Madeline, was a skilled printmaker, and his father, John Addyman, is an accomplished landscape watercolorist; both were instrumental in developing Simon’s love of art. One of Simon’s earliest recollections is of sitting on the hallway floor with his sister, Lynne, painting from one end to the other a long roll of paper that his mother had unwound and rolled down the entire length of the hallway.
Simon received his training at the Colchester School of Art and the City and Guilds of London Art School, where, in 1982, he received a diploma in Fine Art. Between 1982 and 1990, Simon worked as a freelance illustrator and graphic artist and began showing his work in various London galleries. In 1989, his “Portrait of Jan” was accepted for exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London and was also used in the Gallery’s promotional material. At the same time, he began to produce murals and fine art for private clients and interior designers in the UK.
In 1991, Simon relocated to Los Angeles and worked as an artist on many film and television productions, producing fine art and scenic finishes.
Simon finds inspiration for his paintings from a variety of sources. His childhood in the Suffolk countryside, where Gainsborough lived and worked two centuries earlier, fired the artist’s romantic imagination and has provided him with a constant wealth of ideas and vision that persist into the present day. Simon remains attuned to the natural world around him, and closely observes the relationships between earth, tree, and sky, absorbing scenes and images into memory and later infusing his work with their influence. Simon’s painting techniques are inspired in part through close contemplation of the paintings of the Old Masters, with particular attention to the mood and atmosphere invoked by the quality of ageing suggested by their faded, cracked, and heavily varnished surfaces. Simon draws inspiration from the past to evoke a sense of time, place, and memory, creating images that inspire feelings of recognition and belonging in the viewer.
Simon’s work is completed in either oil or acrylic, depending on the nature of the subject. Frequent sketches from nature are one of Simon’s primary resources; these are later translated into a more abstract and interpretive (and, therefore, more personal) vision of the landscape. Drawing helps to clarify the structure and rhythm of the landscape; subsequent studies in paint lead to the development of the color and mood for each piece.
Simon works in a spontaneous manner and remains continually aware of the “accidental” element inherent in the painting process. When asked if he was Felix Unger or Oscar Madison in the studio, Simon replied that he’s a bit of both, but becomes lost if he remains too long in either extreme. Simon’s studio, though organized, is filled with signs of life, inspiration, and activity ? the studio is not only a place of work for him, but can be a place of sanctuary and meditation. In his own words, “Every Englishman needs his own potting shed!”
When Simon isn’t working in his studio, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Carol, reading, listening to jazz, and taking inspirational walks with his new dog, Winnie, which they rescued from an animal shelter the day before Thanksgiving. Simon has a deep interest in giving back to the community, and has donated his time and artwork to the cause of cancer research and to various other charitable causes in the Southern California area.
At present, Simon is working on a series of landscape paintings, drawing inspiration from Claude Lorrain, Thomas Jones, and Ruisdael. He continues to design and paint murals, fine art, and special commissions, and his work can be found in many private collections worldwide.
Simon is a member of the AIGA, American Institute of Graphic Arts, and the CAC, California Art Club.