Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The Pulpitum

Having done all the weeks of work, I end up with the most dreadful photographs of my work. I'll need to get it scanned in professionally (giclée). But, in the meantime, to give you the idea I attach a few views. This is a massive drawing by pen & Ink standards, measuring 24 inches by 16 inches (on 350 gsm cartridge paper)

It is of the Pulpitum in St David's Cathedral in Pembrokeshire West Wales. The pulpitum is the term given to a large (usually stone) screen that divides the choir stalls from the naive of a church. Note the organ above the screen.

                                                The Pulpitum                   John Simlett
       Pen & Ink
     on 350gsm Cartridge Paper
24 inch x 16 inch (61cm x 41cm)

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Showing Your Artwork

One major problem I get with displaying artwork is perspective. That is to say that the viewer has no real, visual, idea of how large the artwork is. One answer is to post a close-up for detail 

and another t
o show the work in situ. 

For this idea I am in debt to Mary Maxam (Link to her Blog Here)

Monday, 25 June 2018

Pot Luck

When we moved here a few years ago, the idea of a small garden (yard) was quite appealing. With my wife, Pat, physically unable to do much work, the idea of an hour or two gardening each week was great. I used to spend15-20 hours on the garden we left.

The plan was simple... cut the lawn!

As time went on we decided a flowerbed down one side of the lawn would add a touch of colour (color).

Then a flowerbed for wild flowers for the bees seemed logical; soon it was naturally seeded from wild Foxgloves and set against the ancient gorse hedge - both native plants.

I'd already built myself a workshop, we thought it would be nice to give an Austrian chalet touch with some pots of red geraniums etc.

Pat thought the geraniums and shrubs looked great so we added 60 geraniums and 20 large potted shrubs in the front garden (no photo). 

Pat liked them so much, she asked if we could have some outside the backdoor?

 Oh and some herbs (we pronounce the 'h' btw HHherbs)

Oh and some flowers in pots....

Oh, and some roses (yes, that is the Ocean in the background)...

Oh, and an island of pots ...

Oh, and some vegetables and fruit!!!

Friday, 22 June 2018

Afghan Again!

I thought I should post something to show I'm still around, and so here, once again is my portrait of the Afghan religious man who wanders the mountains in total poverty.

 I'm still working on a massive Pen & Ink drawing of Saint Davids Cathedral - when I'm not on the boat-build or doing the housework.

 Afghan                                              John Simlett
Acrylic on Cotton Canvas
(14 x 10 inches)

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Work In Progress

As I'm back into large Pen and Ink drawings, my output is much less than when I'm painting. Each drawing takes weeks. It is impossible for my old eyes to work hour after hour, and so I draw in short spurts of action.

The downside of this is that I post infrequently. Therefore, I thought I would give you a few photographs of where I live on the West Coast of Wales.

Those that know me know that this is the 24th move of home we have been in almost 60 years of marriage, and this is the best move we ever made. You may also know that this is a tiny seafaring town perched on the edge of the ocean. 

The notice written in Welsh and then in English.

Yet if you look out inland you are in a rural area: Dairy cattle and sheep.

Friday, 20 April 2018


I am fortunate enough enough to live in a beautiful part of Wales, not very far from the smallest city in Britain: Saint Davids (pop. c3000). Not sure about the rest of the world, but here a city must have a Cathedral to be recognised as a city. Appropriately enough, the city boasts the smallest cathedral in the country, named after the Patron Saint of Wales, Saint David.
   This cathedral is 'something else' and I intend to draw a series of Pen and Ink drawings of some of its features. Here is the first, the statue of Saint David.

                                         Saint David, St Davids Cathedral, Wales                      John Simlett
Pen & Ink on 300 gsm  Cartridge Paper
18  x 14 inches  (46 x 35 cms)

The monastic community was founded by Saint DavidAbbot of Menevia (the Roman name for this area), who died in 589. The monastery was attacked by Vikings many times over the next 400 years.

Work began on the modern cathedral in 1123, but it was damaged by an earthquake (!!!) in 1248, and the cathedral all but destroyed by Oliver Cromwell in the 1650s'.

There were many attempts at restoring the cathedral over the centuries, but it wasn't until the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth century that full restoration was completed. The Bishop's Palace, however, remains a ruin to this very day.

On a grammatical point: the apostrophe one might anticipate with Saint David's, is always omitted, and Saint Davids is always the correct form ......... but don't ask me why! 

Monday, 16 April 2018


I'm going to be doing a few more Pen & Ink drawings soon. The big one I'm working on will be ready this week. Many people forget, or didn't know, that in art Pen & Ink is my strongest 'suit' and that painting came later.

I have often been asked where I learnt to draw and it might come as a surprise to know that I never took an art drawing lesson in my life. I began my working life as a shipwright apprentice and as part of a 5/6 year apprenticeship I had to learn to read technical drawings. 

The ingrained need to draw was in me though, and in the evening I would draw as a hobby, but not artistically. From engineering drawings I would draw the object in 3D (an Isometric view). Whilst clearing my drawing storage I unearthed a really special specimen of my hobby drawing; a turbine:

You may notice the drawing is unfinished! The reason being, I was drawing it in a small top story apartment in Cologne, Germany on the night of 13 August 1961!! Two things happened that day, my second son was born in a German hospital ...and ... they began to build the Berlin Wall. I said I would never finish it, and 57 years later I still haven't.

The second drawing I want to show you is my most treasured drawing. In the last year of my apprenticeship, aged 20, I had to spend a few months in the Drawing Office with the draughtsmen (draftsmen). Here I was to witness what went on ... make the tea, and do all the odd jobs. 

Being me, I found myself a spare drawing table and began to draw  what I wanted to draw, from boat plans I found laying about. Here it is, finished in January 1959.

It's a big drawing, over 36 inches wide.

When I show you the tools available back then, you will see why I find modern drawing pens absolute effortless luxury

Here is THE Pen of the day. The thickness of the line was obtained by tightening the screw, which moved one blade in or out. Ink was placed between the blades by an eye-dropper.

Happy Days! Nostalgia's not what it used to be!