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Jungle Delights on the Doorstep

Simon Chapman at his exhibition in the gallery at Pizza Margherita.jpg

Simon Chapman at his exhibition in the Pizza Margherita gallery
Louise Bryning PR

A world of jungle adventures is waiting to be explored at a Lancaster gallery.

During his expeditions over the past 20 years, Simon Chapman has carried a sketchpad and paints to remind him of his adventures.

And an exhibition of his rainforest paintings can be viewed in the gallery upstairs at Pizza Margherita in Moor Lane, until April 23.

Simon is a physics teacher at Morecambe Bay Academy and during school holidays he explores some of the world’s most far flung locations.

But his interest in painting the wild and wonderful scenes he encounters came about by accident.

“My camera broke on my first Borneo jungle trip and I happened to have a children’s watercolour paints set with me so I painted the scenes instead,” he explained.

“Once, when in Bolivia, I was sketching by a creek and resting my leg on what I thought was a log but then I felt it moving and it was a 2ft baby crocodile.

Another time I was so absorbed in my drawing that when I looked up, a deer was nose to nose with me.”

The watercolours on exhibition are developed from sketches during expeditions to South America, Asia and Africa.

They feature elephants and red river hogs in Gabon; spider monkeys and macaws in Bolivia; and others painted on trips to Brazil, Sri Lanka and Ecuador.

All profits from any sales will be donated to the World Wide Fund For Nature.

Simon, who lives in Lancaster, is giving a talk on the stories behind the paintings on March 25 at 7.30pm.

He prepares for his expeditions by canoeing and kayaking along the Rivers Lune and Eden and also trekking in the Lake District.

He plans to canoe down the Bolivian-Peruvian border this summer and is sometimes joined by photographer Dave Clark who now lives in Hong Kong but established the Folly Gallery in Lancaster during the 1990s. In 2018, they looked for – and found – Shangri La.

Simon hopes to visit Mongolia in the future, following in the footsteps of the real Indiana Jones, Roy Chapman Andrews.

When not going on adventures and painting them, Simon writes about them too and has many books to his name.

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