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As cunning as a fox artist Simon jardine talks to trish lee about how his daughter has influenced his paintings

Simon Jardine

Trading as/nom de plume: As Cunning As A Fox, Armadillo Images, Armadillo Art Experience CIC

Birth date: April 25th 1977

Age: 43 years

Based in: Thatcham/Cold Ash

Media used: Acrylic paints (plus all manner of marker pens, watercolour, digital media and photography)

Skills: Painting, illustration, caricature, animation, workshop leader

Artistic education: None

Active as an artist since: 2003

Influenced by: The countryside, wildlife and woodlands, prog, heavy and folk rock

Favourite food: Curry

Favourite drink: Tea

Hobbies: More art and drawing, photography, cooking curries and with game, walking in the woods, listening to music.

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 Simon’s unique heavily textured acrylic painting style.

Simon walks in the beautiful West Berkshire countryside everyday with Hazel, his three and a half year old daughter. These walks, the slower pace of being with a small child, and with Hazel asking questions about the environment around us have led Simon to learn and 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.

Simon and his daughter Hazel

Each ‘As Cunning As A Fox’ painting starts off 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 film making to help promote his work to a wider audience. Simon’s paintings are available as prints, framed in his studio and as cushions (a surprise best seller!) hand made here in West Berkshire.

As well as painting, Simon runs an illustration studio, Armadillo Images, specialising in humorous illustration, caricature and hand drawn animation.

Simon is also an experienced art 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 through out 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 the lockdown situation.

You can see more of what Simon does at his website or by emailing him simon@armadilloimages.com