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Artist's fresh and witty eye

Three-and-a-half-year-old makes illustrator take in the countryside at a slower pace

Trish Lee

Trish Lee


01635 886663

Artist's  fresh and witty eye

Simon and Hazel

THATCHAM artist/illustrator Simon Jardine has a great sense of fun – he lists his interests as the countryside, wildlife and woodlands, prog, heavy and folk rock; hobbies: more art and drawing, photography, cooking curries and with game, walking in the woods, listening to music and miscellaneous likes: off-road vehicles, especially old pick-up trucks and tractors, quality tools.

Simon’s As Cunning As A Fox paintings are inspired by and champion exploring the countryside and woodlands around us. The
changing seasons, interesting buildings, wildlife, favourite locations in Cold Ash and Bucklebury and old farm machinery are illustrated in his unique heavily-textured acrylic painting style.

He walks in the beautiful West Berkshire countryside every day with Hazel, his three-and-a-half-year-old daughter. The slower pace of being with a small child and Hazel asking questions about the environment have led Simon to notice much more about the countryside and wildlife in it. This new-found knowledge and closer observation has fed into Simon’s most recent paintings which are more detailed and full of woodland character than ever.

Each As Cunning As A Fox painting starts with a sketch or several to refine the design. Simon takes reference photos to help jog the memory and to refer to for colours and light, but prefers mainly to draw from ‘mental snapshots’ of a suitable location and reimagine the scene. Then the final paintings are built up with layers of paper and board, texture is then added with an acrylic medium, before underpainting and lastly painting take place. Heavy body acrylics are used to add further texture to the finished piece.

Simon is always looking to improve and add to his skills and has recently been practising his filmmaking to help promote his work to a wider audience. His paintings are available as prints, framed in his studio and as cushions (“a surprise bestseller”) handmade here in West Berkshire.

As well as painting, Simon runs illustration studio Armadillo Images, specialising in humorous illustration, caricature and hand-drawn animation. He is also an experienced workshop leader; after running art workshops and mural projects locally for many years, Simon, along with partner Rosie, have set up Armadillo Art Experience CIC. They have been running funded workshops throughout West Berkshire in care homes and with family groups prior to the pandemic. They have recently been producing a series of ‘how to draw films’, ‘Draw Together’, in response to lockdown.

See more of Simon’s work on the @newburytoday online gallery.

ARTISTS! Join our gallery. Take a look at the newburytoday online gallery, which is growing all the time – we are gradually adding artists’ work and featuring selected artists in N2. If you are an artist or maker living in the West Berkshire, North Hampshire and East Wiltshire areas, whose livelihood is wholly or largely dependent on your creative work, and wish to join the gallery, please send us your profile, tell us a little about your work, philosophy and techniques, together with eight examples of your work and we will print as many as we can over the coming weeks in the Newbury Weekly News, as well as adding you to the gallery. Email

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