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

STATUE OF SAINT DAVID

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

GENISIS

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!

Monday, 19 March 2018

Spring is Coming ....... Isn't it?

Hopefully we will soon return to this 

from this

Meanwhile, I'm about half way through my Pen & Ink drawing.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Blast From The Past



                              Rechteren Castle, Holland     John Simlett

Pen & Ink on 350 gsm paper
11 inch x 9 inch
(280 mm x 230 mm)

I drew this picture 38 years ago and it was the fourth drawing I had ever done in my life, outside of Geometric and Engineering drawing. It was a significant drawing insofar as it indicated to me, and others, that perhaps I should take it all a little bit more seriously. It was then, this drawing that 'sorted me out.'

At the moment I need 'sorting-out' once again. For many reasons, not least that my wife is physically disabled, I am unable to get continuity in anything I do. When I do get free time, I seem to be unable to focus long enough to carry a project to a conclusion. Half-finished paintings litter the studio.

As a solution I am undertaking another pen and ink drawing of some complexity. I haven't drawn for ages as I got seduced by painting - and the influence of many of the painters you may see in my 'Blog Roll.' A drawing, therefore, will be a complete change.

Pen & Ink, as you probably know, is very unforgiving: there is no way back from a mistake. Focus and discipline have to be continuous and I think that is what will 'sort me out'. We'll see.

 
   


Sunday, 11 February 2018

Boatry


       

                                                        


                                                                    I like flags.
                                                                   Do
                                                                               Set
                                                           fore  Sails
                                                     sail  is    Flapping
                                               not for sale  In the wind.
                                           you  may find   Makes one think
                                       that you need it    Of  flying far off like
                                    rather badly in a    Some Albatross set free
                                 wind or in a gale       From land and those grassy ties
        I                    and  without it  find      That shore can bring, although I do
           do      others quickly up your tail    Like being a landlocked Shipwright it's part
                 like                                            of
                       boatbuilding it's                  my                                                      
                           such a large part of my life. I love the smell of the wood as I cut and plane it.
                              Listen to the music of the parts that go to make a boat, each such poetry:
                                      tumblehome and transom; hog and hogson; apron and the thwart                
                                           gutter and garboard strakes of planking: clinker & hard chine
                                                       but alas, without a keel,
                                                              where would we be?
                                                                   capsized and upside
                                                                       down, swimming
                                                                               deep beneath
                                                                                         the sea.
                                                                                                                           (John Simlett,2005)