Tuesday, 28 April 2015

24, 000 miles Later ...I'M BACK!

Where does one start?

We left London eastbound for Dubai on a 7 hour flight that needed to make an onward connection. We were delayed by Air Traffic, but somehow made the connection with 5 minutes to spare.

Fourteen hours later we landed in Sydney, Australia. Here we were met by my darling granddaughter, Giselle, who drove us to her apartment, where we stayed for just over three weeks. My great-grandson, Logan - who was one year old this month, and I became best friends. 

He is working as an undercover agent with the Secret Service. 

I could spend pages telling you of the fantastic time we had in Australia... and then how we spent 10 days in Qatar, Bahrain and Dubai ... but the most important bit I've just told you about: and that was the time we spent with my best friends, Giselle and 'Topgun' (Logan).

Back home again and realising that when we moved down here to West Wales, we left my wonderful workshops in Yorkshire. I have a great studio ... but the other 'me' desperately needs a workshop and so I've just finished designing one and I'm going to start building it in the next week or so.

Isn't life fun? I just can't wait to start building!!

Sunday, 15 March 2015


Here we are, 12000 miles from West Wales in New South Wales, Australia at Wolli Creek; staying with my granddaughter and our great-grandson, Logan.

85 deg F   
25 deg C

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Painting #50

Nothing special, just a quick still-life to get me back on my feet after the 'flu.

The only comment I have to make is that, fifty paintings ago I would never have dreamt of doing a quick still-life as an exercise to get me painting again; progress is being made.

                                   Still Life            John Simlett
Acrylic on Stretched
 Cotton Canvas
14 x 10 inches
What is of more interest is that we went back to that Country House Hotel in Wiltshire for a few days (See earlier posting) and took photographs of the drawings on the walls of the old place.

Just to remind you: my wife, Pat, saw some drawings andcalled me, saying they looked like mine. We then looked at the name of the artist ... which we though was mine for a while. Here they are:

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Painting #49 Buzkashi

Buzkashi (literally "goat dragging" in Persian) or kokpar is the Central Asian sport in which horse-mounted players attempt to drag a goat or calf carcass toward a goal. It is the national sport of Afghanistan, although it was banned under the Taliban regime.

This is my first attempt at animals. It might not cut it as a painting but I think it is start upon which I can build. I wanted action with lots of dust and movement and nearly got lost in the crazy 'stampede.'

 Could have done with a much larger canvas so that I didn't have to tiddle-about with small brushes

I've put two pictures to show the discrepancy with the photos.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Spring is Approaching

Just thought I would pop in a photograph that I found on the internet of our new home, taken in the summer months. I say new, although suddenly we've been here 5 months.

We are up there in the top right hand corner(ish) ... you can see why the house is named 'Highview.'

I put the photograph in as I have no painting at the moment, but I am researching a new series which is going to involve horses and people... but not in their normal environment, a bit on the wild-side. I have never painted animals before and, as is my want, I'm making the task ridiculously difficult for myself.

Spring is coming!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Portrait #8 "Berber Man in Morocco"

After all the build-up in the last post, I'm really disappointed with this one. It really was a struggle which I never really won... however ... onwards and upwards.

On the positive side: I had never painted hands before and this gave me the chance to experiment.

                                                    "Berber Man in Morocco"                             John Simlett
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
31 x 12 inches
(790 x 300 mm)
With many thanks to Trey Ratcliff (http://www.stuckincustoms.com/trey-ratcliff/) for his kind permission to use his photograph as a reference

Sunday, 8 February 2015

PORTRAIT # 8 "Berber Man in Morocco" WIP

Before I go too far allow me to introduce Trey Ratcliff and his Travel Blog, Stuck In Customs. 
    Trey was born in New Zealand but is truly cosmopolitan, and, with a following of 8 million, has the leading Travel Photography blog in the world.

Here's the link:

Trey visited Chefchaouen, a mountain town in Morocco where everything is painted blue. Whilst he was there he took a photograph of this Berber Man, who's image fascinated me.

I asked Trey if I could use the image as a reference photograph and, despite being really busy, as quick as a flash, he said yes I could, "... no problem."

Trey wrote about the man, who spoke perfect English ... here is the flavour of the conversation:

"We ended up talking about a bunch of different things. I even bought an old used knife from him, and he showed me how to stick the curved end of it into a camel's hump to get water in an emergency. There's another part of the knife you use to seal up the little puncture wound. Then we talked about meditation, the sealing of the four cardinal spiritual doors in the night before entering the tent, different cultures around the world, and well, about a dozen other things. Anyway, it was great…"