Simon Carter (b.1961)

Hipkin’s Beach, 2013, Acrylic on canvas, 70 x 80 cm, Signed and dated on reverse

[CAS 69]



Simon Carter was born in Chelmsford, Essex in 1961. He went to school at Colchester Royal Grammar School studying under David Trenow (1), then attended Colchester Institute where he went on an art foundation course for a year from 1980 to 1981. In 1981 he went to North East London Polytechnic, where he studied Fine Art obtaining a BA (Hons) in Fine Art in 1984. From 1985 to 2000 Simon worked as a part-time postman in Frinton-on-Sea, Essex. Since 2000 he has painted full time. Apart from extensively exhibiting in the UK and the United States, Simon has curated a number of exhibitions including two at Ipswich Art School Gallery, Suffolk, and one at Brentwood Cathedral and at Cuckoo Farm Studios, Colchester. He was awarded a RHS Gold Medal with Thomas Hoblyn at Hampton Court in 2006 for a show garden. Thomas Hoblyn and Simon collaborated on the development and design of Volvo: the Artist’s Garden. Simon also appeared on East Life in 2003, an Anglian Television cultural magazine program hosted by Rowland Rivron and featured in Coastal Inspirations, a cultural journey around the East Anglian coast, on Anglia Television in 2006. Simon has works in numerous public collections in the UK and abroad (see list below). He was artist in residence at Firstsite in 2000, Cuckoo Farm Studios in 2007 and the University of Essex in 2014, and in 2005 received a prestigious Escalator Visual Arts award from the Arts Council England East and Commissions East.

He first became a member of the Society in 1990 and was elected President of Colchester Art Society in 2015.


This example of Carter's work was painted on the seven-mile stretch of coast near Frinton-on-Sea where the artist currently rents a studio. Hipkin's Beach is a small privately-owned section of beach at Walton-on-the-Naze.  Principally a landscape painter depicting scenes of Essex where he lives, Carter makes drawings in situ, often on the beach, and selects varied elements of the drawings which he later investigates and transfers into finished paintings, the method of transference becoming as much a part of the development process as the original subject.  This particular work started in winter when the artist was watching waves washing over the foot of the slipway with a section of sea wall snaking away on the right. Looking, sketching and painting are actions and choices through which Carter interprets space and its visual components within the act of painting itself and these landscapes lie between subject matter and abstraction, reflecting the artist's perceptual and psychological experience of the world. The dark green tones of this work derive from a series of Venetian paintings by Cy Twombley (1928-2011) which were exhibited in 2008 at the Tate Modern show: Cy Twombley: Cycles and Seasons.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

1992, 2002, 2007, Chappel Galleries, Chappel, Essex

1993 Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury

1994 Bury St Edmunds Gallery, Suffolk

2000, 2003 Firstsite, Colchester, Essex

2001, 2007 North House Gallery, Manningtree, Essex

2006 RHS, Hampton Court Palace Show

2007 Horace Blue, Norwich, Norfolk

2008 Town Hall Galleries, Ipswich, Suffolk

2008, 2010 Walton Fine Art, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 Messum’s London

2010, 2014 University of Essex Gallery

2013 St Marylebone Parish Church, London

2016 SEA Foundation, Tilburg, The Netherlands

Selected Joint and Mixed Exhibitions

1988 The Minories, Colchester

1993 Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury, Suffolk

1997 Wolsey Gallery, Ipswich, Suffolk and firstsite, Colchester

1998-9 The British Lime Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

1998 The City Gallery, London

2000 The University of Essex

2001 Chelmsford cathedral

2002 Chappel Galleries, Chappel, Essex

2005, 2010, 2011 The Mall galleries, London

2007 Agnew’s, London

2007, 2010 Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition

2008, 2012, 2014 Messum’s, London;

2009, 2015 North House Gallery

2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 Messum’s, Art Toronto, Canada 

Works in Public Collections


Art for Loan, Essex County Libraries

Epping Forest District Museum

New Hall School, Chelmsford, Essex

Priseman Seabrook Collection of 21st Century British Painting, Wivenhoe

University of Essex


Copleston High School, Ipswich

East Contemporary Art, University Campus

Ipswich Borough Council

King Edward VI School, Bury St. Edmunds

Salthouse Harbour Hotel, Ipswich

SCILS Gallery, Suffolk County Libraries

St. Edmundsbury Borough Council

The rest of UK

Abbot Hall, Kendal, Cumbria

Dorset House School of Occupational Therapy, Oxford

Falmouth Art Gallery, Cornwall

Rugby Museum and Art Gallery, Warwickshire

Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, Wiltshire


Komechak Art Gallery, Benedictine University, Chicago

Madison Museum of Fine Arts, Georgia


BUCKMAN, David, Dictionary of artists in Britain since 1945, Art Dictionaries Ltd, Bristol, 1998, p. 240

CARTER, Simon, New East Anglian Painting, 2012

CARTER, Simon, @PaintBritain: 45 contemporary painters, 2014

CARTER, Simon, Contemporary British Watercolours, 2015

CARTER, Simon, The Brentwood Stations of the Cross, 2015

(All four published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)

COLLINS, Ian, Water Marks, Art in East Anglia, Black Dog Books, 2010, pp 139-142 (7 ill.)  

Also reviews and articles in The Spectator, Essex Life and Arts Review

Simon Carter’s website

Messum’s website

(1) David Trenow is an artist, sculptor, folklorist and singer. He is the former Head of Art at Colchester Royal Grammar School. He lives in Colchester and regularly exhibits his work.