Simeon Stafford's picture The Fisherman inspires childhood memories

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:17 06 February 2019

Victoria Bell, owner of Bliss Complementary Therapies, in Sidmouth, whose favourite work of art is �The Fisherman� by renowned artist Simeon Stafford. Picture: Alison Summerfield

Victoria Bell, owner of Bliss Complementary Therapies, in Sidmouth, whose favourite work of art is �The Fisherman� by renowned artist Simeon Stafford. Picture: Alison Summerfield

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Arts writer Alison Summerfield met with Victoria Bell, owner of Bliss Complementary Therapies, Sidmouth, whose favourite work of art is ‘The Fisherman’ by renowned artist Simeon Stafford.

Victoria was immediately captivated by ‘The Fisherman’ as she says it reminds her of her childhood when she and her father would go out in his boat from Branscombe Beach to fish for mackerel.

“I was a nine-year-old tomboy and loved fishing,” Victoria explains, “and after a successful catch, we would go back to our beach hut and grill the mackerel on the barbecue. It is amazing just how much this painting evokes those special memories.”

Victoria’s father sadly died eight years ago and it was during this time that her journey into complementary therapies began. “It was while he was losing his battle with lung cancer that I gave him foot massages, which was a comfort to us both,” she says.

“He was a flamboyant, charismatic and much-loved character,” she continues, “as well as a great observer of people and seeing the humour in most situations.”

Victoria is right to be proud of her father, who created the Homepride flour graders and Tetley’s Tea folk - the delightful cartoon characters of the iconic TV commercials.

Perhaps there is something in the bold, honest and unpretentious simplicity of Simeon’s painting of ‘The Fisherman’ that shares qualities with Victoria’s father’s work.

Of this particular painting, Simeon says: “It is one of my favourites of the Beer series of paintings… one of those divine accidents,” he comments without elaborating further.

Simeon visited East Devon for the first time last summer and was instantly charmed by the coastline from Sidmouth to Beer and so began his new collection of work and the subsequent still lifes and beach scenes. The unreserved directness and the concentration of colour and texture in this painting nevertheless evokes a strong sense of tranquillity as the fisherman sits contemplating his catch - perhaps he too is looking forward to a leisurely barbecue on the beach!

“It is the simple things in life that appeal to me,” says Victoria and adds that her love of nature and the sea has stayed with her since childhood and is why she lives near the sea today. Simeon shares this sentiment and lives by the coast in Cornwall, his Beer paintings focus on fishermen and the ‘table’ - which he explains is ‘central to all civilisation, where family and friends gather.’

For more information on Bliss Therapies at the Beacon Medical Centre Sidmouth, contact Victoria Bell, tel 07762 405375 or visit www.bellebliss.co.uk

Simeon’s work is in many private and public collections. Some of his East Devon paintings can be seen at Marine House Gallery Beer, www.marinehouseatbeer.co.uk Tel 01297 625257. The Beer paintings are framed at Georgian House Framing Ottery St Mary, 01404 815914.

Visit www.alisonsummerfield.com

To read more features from East Devon Resident, click on here.

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