Dorothy Ann Simister

Me and My Work

Join me on a quick tour of my studio in Hebden Bridge. I will tell you about my work and explain what I am currently painting and drawing.

Dorothy painting below Ben HopeThe paintings and drawings recorded on this site have been made over the past 40 years. The shop window paintings were started while a student at Camberwell School of Art. While dodging around to catch a glimpse of my own reflection in a shop window on Peckham Rye, other images caught my eye. Drawings were made and photographs taken and a new inspiration and thought train began. I continued painting these after leaving college. It is a subject that I feel is still unresolved and that continues to influence my work.

Trying to move away from the subject I attended life drawing classes at Saint Martins College of art. Drawing has always been an important aspect of creating. I eventually returned to the shop window subject as it was still a source of inspiration and its possibilities not exhausted. Such a versatile subject matter, with literally many planes and surfaces. Patterns, shapes and curious distortion held my interest. The endless source material which changed continually as do the hundreds of shoppers passing by the stiff staring mannequins. As they present fashion, material life, the protective glass panes reflect the busy world outside and form strange complex patterns..

Travelling around India and South East Asia in 1984 gave rise to a different subject matter. I was inspired and fascinated by the religions, the poverty, the people and the beauty of the land. Returning to Britain in the middle of the miners strike and demonstrations concerning the anti apartheid movement gave me other subjects to paint, preserving an important time that had a great effect on me and others. I was able to exhibit pictures in forums such as the Lewisham Arts Festival and as part of a group of artists with studios in a derelict school building in Catford, called New Moon Studios. Throughout this time I taught drawing and painting, worked as a ceramics technician, had two children, and continued to teach in art.

We moved to Burnley in 1995 and I retrained as a Primary School teacher, as this had always been of interest and gave a source of income. Since this time I have made many drawings, mainly of walking experiences in Scotland, and carefully kept in sketch books, ready maybe to be used for paintings.

In 2005 we moved to Hebden Bridge and, with the children becoming increasingly independent, I have returned to my art and painting. I was lucky enough to get a small studio at Machpelah Mill in Hebden Bridge and have now moved on to group studio spaces at the Artsmill, Linden Mill.

The shop window reflection paintings continue to be the main body of my work but have changed in the medium used as well as the content, as has the material society we live in. I am also presently trying to resolve the problem of converting the many paintings and sketches I make in sketchbooks to larger paintings or prints. I have always made smaller lino prints and have recently started to make woodcuts. Other interests have been in a collection of seed pods made over many years which continue to fascinate but needs much work on to resolve how to present them in an interesting form. There will always be ever changing shop windows which are intriguing as artistic statement in their own right, particularly in Hebden Bridge, but have an extra value of reflecting a world passing by.