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Simon Joseph John Dewey, the only son of a London bus driver, was born in London, England in 1962. Simon's mother, Faith, a deeply spiritual woman, nurtured her children in an environment where God, love, and beauty were very much at home. When Simon's father, Joseph (known as Joe to his friends) was not driving the bus to support his family, he could usually be found in his makeshift studio in the corner of the small family room perfecting a portrait.
As Simon would watch his father's meticulous brushstrokes amidst the aroma of oil paints and the clutter of brushes, stretched canvases, and works in progress, something inside of him spoke of his own future. It was Joe's passion for his pastime that fostered within Simon the joy of creation for creation's sake, a true love of art, and an appreciation for the beauty of the human form. It was those early values that eventually guided Simon to follow in his father's footsteps as a portrait painter.
A gifted and dedicated student, Simon bypassed the counsel of his family and friends and left school at age seventeen to pursue his artistic dreams. He accepted an invitation to study at London Art College but soon realized that the liberal values of big city art schools were too conflicting with his own. Simon decided to develop his talents with more of a hands-on approach and took a job as a corporate visual aids illustrator spending his spare time studying the work of his heroes Norman Rockwell, Harry Anderson, and Tom Lovell. While working in the heart of the city of London directly opposite the splendid St. Paul's Cathedral, Simon honed his artistic skills and quickly became recognized for his exceptional illustrating abilities. This led to a position as the sole illustrator in a small design firm where Simon learned to produce detailed paintings under tight deadlines.
Simon soon met and married a bonny Scottish lass, Lorraine. With the prospects of a young family on its way, Simon took the leap and set up as a freelance illustrator. He quickly became known around London publishing and advertising circles as major clients used his talents.
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While the commercial illustration work was good for paying the bills of a growing family, in his spare time Simon pursued his real passion of creating family and religious art. As he was inspired, Simon painted renditions of his favorite passages of scripture or images of his own children. Receiving so many requests for copies of these images, he entered the world of published fine art. Simon has become known for his sensitivity towards his subjects which is exquisitely revealed in his detailed and delicate portraits capturing moments in time from the tender to the magnificent. Many marvel at the masterful way Simon portrays the love and compassion in the face of the Savior Jesus Christ, or the devotion in the eyes of a believer. Those close to Simon understand this ability is founded in his own firm and abiding faith.
Simon and his wife Lorraine recently lived in the town of Maidstone, Kent in the south of England. He conceived, composed, and created his visual treasures in a converted garage studio within an earshot of the laughter and games of his five cherished children. Simon now lives in Calgary, Alberta.
No life has been more celebrated in the arts than that of our Savior Jesus Christ. Be it through prose, painting, sculpture, or song, our Savior and His atoning sacrifice have been the focus, the lifelong passion, of innumerable artists. Images of our Savior in either sculpture or painting have been particularly powerful influences in the Christian world. During times when many believers could nether read nor write, beautiful works portraying the Savior provided the masses with inspiring representations of his life and mission, giving both illuminating beginnings and abiding reminders of faith. The universal language of the painter was, in those times, the people’s scripture.
Through today’s technology we enjoy the accumulation of these works as well as works from contemporary artists. While technology has brought new tools to the artist’s palette, the challenge of today’s painter of Christ remains the same. How does one create images of such heavenly things with limited earthly materials? What means can be used in the finite to express the infinite? How does the artist express his overwhelming feelings in a way that is worthy of his subject of worship? To endeavor to paint the face of the Son of God is an awesome and, in some ways, audacious task. But whether it is the simple line drawing of a child or the exquisite rendition of a master painter, if the heart is right, the result is the same. The work becomes the honest expression of love and gratitude, a pure offering of worship.
Artist Minerva Tiechert said, “A true artist cannot paint anything he cannot feel.” Those who know Simon Dewey know that all of his art is more than an application of talent and discipline. It is an expression of who he is.
Simon Dewey’s painting, “Beside Still Waters,” was painted in 1999. It is my favorite all time picture. I first discovered Mr. Dewey about three years ago at an art museum in California. Immediately I fell in love with his picture and inquired of the curator where I could go to get the exact same picture. He told me I could order one through the gallery, and that it could be sent to my home back in Utah. After paying a hefty price for a numbered painting, it was on its way to my place. When the painting arrived excitement filled the air and all I could think about was opening the crate it came in. Once opened I learned that it was autographed and 293 of 2500. I felt proud to be able to own such an amazing piece of art! I invited all my family and friends over to pay tribute to such an elaborate piece of work. It now hangs directly over my couch in my front room for all who enter my home to see.
It is my belief that when Mr. Dewey was painting this picture he was striving purely for perfection. All the colors, lighting, shading, angle, etc is done so perfectly, that s truly is a beautiful piece of art. When you look at this picture, only feeling of peace, warmth and love can enter in and possess your body. Mr. Dewey has truly mastered the art of painting a picture that relaxes a person and demonstrated a genuine love for what they are beholding. The piece as a whole is perfectly balanced and demonstrates that the artist has a great and exciting view of the Savior.
I also feel that Mr. Dewey has totally realized the true nature of the Christ. In all his pictures, the colors used, lighting, tones, angles, etc. exemplify the love that the Savior would and does have for us. Simon has done an amazing job at illustrating to all his viewers the life of Christ. Within this paper are ten pictures that are my favorites of Simon Dewey’s. I have started to collect all his work and will continue to collect his work. For me, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, there is a lot of church artists that depict the life of the Savior. I think that Simon Dewey is truly one of the best and most talented in this area of illuminating our minds and visually showing us what Christ looks like. He is my favorite church artist!
In conclusion, I absolutely will forever be glad that I own a great piece of art and will never sell it, no matter what! Also, I think we are so lucky in this time period to be able to visit so many museums and galleries and see for ourselves the wonderful art that has been preserved for our dispensation. It is a wonder to me that more people do not support these fine institutions and only want to stop teaching it in our primary and secondary schools. Our world would miss out on so many treasures if we did not have art at all.
“Beloved Savior, images from the life of Christ” artwork by Simon Dewey
Published by Deseret Book Company
c. 2001 Simon Dewey; Altus Fine Art, LLC
Pictures Table of Contents
1. Beside Still Waters
2. Light and Truth
3. Consider the Lilies
4. Prince of Peace
5. Peace be Still
6. The Lord Is My Shepard
7. The Last Supper
8. The Bitter Cup
9. He Lives
10. Divine Redeemer