Devon Life - - Inside - BY IAN STRATH­CAR­RON

“It is a most ex­tra­or­di­nary skill to ob­serve,” says Ian Strath­car­ron. “So­phie lit­er­ally paints with both hands.” As Chair­man of Uni­corn Pub­lish­ing he has writ­ten the in­tro­duc­tion to a book that tells the story of So­phie’s life.

“Ce­cil Collins was So­phie’s tu­tor at the Cen­tral School of Art in St Mar­tin’s, Lon­don, and he en­cour­aged her to ex­plore the phi­los­o­phy of art and har­ness the power of the yin and yang to cre­ate the straight and curved lines in her pic­tures.” Whether the paint­ings are of land­scapes, ele­phants or life in a va­ri­ety of lo­ca­tions from Kenya to In­dia, the re­sults are stun­ning.

So­phie’s fam­ily home is at Colston, near Buck­fastleigh. As Ian says: “She was to the easel born. Her grand­mother, Lady Rayner, was a col­lect­ing Cour­tauld. Ex­hi­bi­tions were a part of fam­ily life.”

After leav­ing col­lege So­phie painted in Venice, Cal­gary and Africa. It was here she met and fell in love with a white Sam­buru, Piers Simp­kin. One of her favourite places is the In­dian Ocean is­land of Lamu which now has an an­nual art fes­ti­val and where So­phie is known as Mrs Paint­ing! Cu­ri­ously, many of the pic­tures have dif­fer­ent styles. “Yes,” says Ian. “Devon scenes are more pre­cise.” They are lush, green and beau­ti­ful but for me, if I had to choose one, it would be in Kenya, Views From Lewa Downs. There is a deeply spir­i­tual qual­ity about the over­all im­pres­sion as if So­phie has re­vealed the soul of the land­scape. Sheer magic. Pub­lished by Uni­corn Art So­los. Hard­back £25

An­nette Shawtakes a look at books with a Devon con­nec­tion

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