I'm delighted to announce that I'm curating a show that will bring together seven of the finest artists currently working in the Southeast.



Forthcoming Exhibitions for Simon Mills

I've been invited to have a Solo Show at Nucleus in Chatham
From 28th of April to the 10th of May 2017
Preview on Saturday the 29th from 6 - 9pm




I am delighted to announce that I will be having a shared show with my very dear friend Philip Richardson at ...

Highgate Contemporary Art

26, Highgate High Street

London N6 5JG


from the 13th of April 'til the 7th of May. 







Solo Show 29th of September to the 25th of October at ...

Sun Pier House



Press Release

One of the great joys of living in Medway is not just the surprising beauty but also coming across some of the amazing inhabitants.

One of the most fascinating must be Simon Mills, mural artist, one time Sotheby’s photographer, portrait painter, restorer of frescos in Italy, and scenic artist for cinema, theatre and opera. He painted all the portraits, landscapes, Victorian watercolours and Impressionist paintings for the Forsyte Saga.Until recently he was Senior Scenic Artist at the Royal Opera House.

Underlying all this however has been his very deep passion for the outdoors and specifically South East England. Just how deep you will be able to judge for yourselves in his forthcoming exhibition, “Codes and Co-ordinates” at Sun Pier House Gallery running from the 29th of September to the 25th of October.

His strong, powerful paintings convey not only the brooding nature of the landscape in all its moods and weathers but in one critic’s words “Simon captures its very essence and brings it indoors in all its wildness and poetry - until you can practically smell and taste it and feel the breeze on your face”.

Codes and Co-ordinates


The Painted Landscape

This exhibition of recent work charts the exploration in paint of many journeys on foot around North Kent and further afield.

In these paintings I have sought to convey the atmosphere, mood and emotional impact that the landscape has on me.

As a walker and a lover of maps I have tagged each painting with its grid reference or post-code.

For me there is a vital connection between map, landscape and painting.

The maps I have used on my walks will be available in the gallery to enable viewers to participate in that journey of discovery.



Recent Exhibitions

A very successful solo show at Sun Pier House Gallery in October 2015 was described by the organisers as one of the most popular shows they've ever held. Out of 80 pictures 20 were sold.


Sun Pier

Sun Pier

Sun Pier

Sun Pier


A review in WOW Magazine by Veronica Tonge:

Occasionally, in today’s over flooded landscape market, a genuine “painter’s painter”, with a genuine passion for walking the countryside, pops up and astounds. Moving from London to Rochester recently, Simon Mills was quickly invited to show in The Sun Pier House Gallery, following his local debut with Medway Open Studios in July 2014. Codes and Co-Ordinates: The Painted Landscape covers just under two years of work on 76 paintings or sketches. The Gallery is a contemporary, ex industrial space continuous with a local produce tearoom, forming a multipurpose arts event and meeting space. Its low ceilings and windows provide subtly changing light conditions, ideal for landscapes, over a panorama of the working estuary of the River Medway.


Simon Mills comes from a long, highly successful professional scenic artist background in theatre and television, mixed with teaching and Italian wall painting restoration. His landscape paintings are strong, slightly brooding and refreshingly unpretty. He offers a unique take on the painted landscape, hovering ambiguously between apparent realism, when seen from a distance, and a true painterly abstraction in close up. The exhibition’s dense hang of both urban and landscape subjects reveals a prolific artist visually excited by both.


Simon is an artist-walker with an intense love of OS maps, and has always loved tracking down where artists have worked, recently discovering where Turner painted his view of Upnor Castle, surmising that he had “invented” the sunset. Relevant map sections are included, pinpointing the works for the visitor. Their “magic” co-ordinates allowed Simon access to places to paint, which were recorded with rapid pencil sketches and a camera.


Working afterwards in the studio, Simon evolves a complex and effective system of built up layers of brushstrokes, as immediate and significant as handwriting. Although initially speedily applied with an intense bravura (the medium is quick drying acrylic) the works are built thoughtfully in layers over time, with oil paint used at some stage to create texture and depth. Developing an ability to remember the atmosphere and emotional impact of the place first recorded, Simon later recreates this to develop a meaningfully charged work. It is no surprise that Simon was influenced as a young student by David Bomberg and Frank Auerbach.


Alchemy is part of a painter’s unique vision; twenty of Simon’s works are deliberately spotted and splashed with flung pigment or the effects of tiny bleached areas from scatterings of water before the acrylic paint has dried. This elemental effect reminds us that these are paintings expressing the outside world. Also sensitive to the killer effect of white, Simon paints his canvas edges an unbleached linen colour, leaving his works unframed.


Solo shows are always a marker in any artist’s career, often acting as a mini retrospective and suggesting, often in one ground breaking work, new directions. For me, this outstanding work was Apple. Larger than most of the paintings in the rest of the show it had a monumental quality as a naturalistic “portrait” of a specific old bare tree, just surviving. Simultaneously, the abstracted, strong lines of the branches and the expressionistic use of the paint took Apple into a different universe. An illogical presence of areas of bright purple pigment amongst the branches hinted at a departure point. Wherever this exceptional painter’s work goes next it will be genuinely observed, deeply felt and grown out of a long involvement with using paint, the artist’s ultimate versatile medium.


Veronica Tonge October 2015



A very successful solo show in the Library Gallery in Stoke Newington in 2013. Please click on the images below for a larger view. Your can view the poster I used for the show by clicking this link

Library Gallery

Library Gallery

Library Gallery

Library Gallery


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