Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Cloisters and A Lot Of Hot Air!

        THE CLOISTERS, Gloucester Cathedral, England     John Simlett
Pen & Ink on Cartridge Paper    
21.5 inches x 15.5 inches
(550 mm  x 400 mm)

I finally got over to the printers in Sheffield to collect images of The Cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral. It's an awful 40 mile round trip into a busy city, so I only go if I'm taking new art work over.  I took my latest drawing  - which you haven't seen - it's of an old aircraft

 You will have to click on the above image to get a better effect. Even so, it is, as you can see, a big picture by pen & ink standards (15.5 inches x 21.5 inches). The size is important because the light flooding in from the left seems to increase and brighten as the picture size is increased.

Most customers don't want a picture that big, so besides full sized prints, I have produced two smaller sizes.

                                         10 inches x 14.5 inches
                                        7.5 inches x  10 inches

I spoke at length to the Printer concerning the packaging and shipping  of prints. He suggests that I mail prints without mounting them first. Simply roll them in brown-paper and send them in a tube. Now this brings prices right down as the customer doesn't pay for the mat and the backing board and a tube is cheaper than a large flat parcel, how much cheaper I'm not sure. Big re-pricing exercise in the next few days. 

I shall continue to sell them Mounted, Backed & Bagged at shows, where I actually hand them to the client.

I would like to thank  Zephyrinus over on
for his help in the research of The Cloisters, his very devote blog is full of the most breathtaking images.

Some of you will know that I am writing a self-illustrated biography of Vincenzo Lunardi and James Tytler the first people to fly in Britain. In the 1980's I was commissioned by a London Museum to design the Philatelic First Day Covers for the bi-centenary of flight, :

I got so interested in the year long project that I began to research the notion of a book.  Anyway, I've decided to kill two birds with one stone  fly two kites balloons at the same time.

 In short, I'm beginning a series of balloon scenes to sell as prints, and with which to populate the biography ... that's the plan ... but life is so full of so many fun plans that I shall continue to fly between them like an escaped balloon!  ... the bad news is I shall be using colour albeit still ink!


39 comments:

  1. What a full and interesting post.
    Looking forward to seeing the drawing you have not shown us yet.
    I enlarged as instructed (obedience was drummed into me growing up) and could see the light.
    (couldn't resist!)
    Glad you have a solution to mailing your exquisite work.
    Pleased to hear about killing the birds with one stone and will look forward to seeing balloon scenes. New Mexico is big on balloons!

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    1. Thank you, Julie......saw the light (chuckle) 10/10

      New Mexico must be ideal for ballooning. In the 1980s, the professional balloonists seemed such a well mannered and really nice bunch ... apart from being totally crazy! Nigel Catchpole, for example, tried tightrope walking from balloon to balloon, and then swinging from a trapeze!

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    2. Here is a link to the balloon fiesta
      http://www.krqe.com/subindex/local_guide/balloon_fiesta
      It gets bigger every year and I used to attend when I was a kid in the 70's!
      Your reply was hilarious today regarding the Scarlett Runner Beans. You outdid yourself.

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  2. Dear John. Most grateful for the kind Comment.

    Delighted "The Cloisters" is such a success and looks so beautiful. I am sure they will sell well.

    The First Day Covers was, indeed, a coup, and the balloon scenes sound most interesting.

    I wish you well in all your new ventures.

    Per Ardua Ad Astra.

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  3. My pleasure, your blog inspires!

    Thank you for your kind comments.

    Arthritis is making it more and more difficult to Per Ardua Ad Astra ...

    ..........in fact, the more firma the less terra!

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  4. Your posts are always so interesting, John. Sending your art work in a tube sounds like a good idea...and at shows I'm glad you will have them mounted, backed and bagged...presentation will sell it faster.. I can't wait for your balloon series...I can only imagine how beautiful that will be!!

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    1. Hilda, you are always so kind and supportive, thank you.

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  5. I've always loved the old prints of the Montgolfiers in their balloon. I really look forward to seeing your sketches of the subject, John!

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    1. Yes a totally fascinating subject, Kathryn. Researching the subject for 12 months in an aviation museum that hired me to do it was ... like nothing on earth

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  6. fantastic post..love it! The drawing is ammmaaazzing and I like the mailing idea. What is better than a hot air balloon drawing? It's a perfect subject. Thank you, by the way, for an explanation of "Moonraker" on one of my blogposts--fascinating! I swear, you know lots and lots of things! I'll read that balloon book if you write it!

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  7. Bless you, Celeste, you really are a great buddy, so encouraging. I loved your, 'Moonraker Moon' btw

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  8. Sending in a tube sounds like the best idea. Good luck with the balloon book, and looking forward to more balloon sketches, John!

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    1. Thanks Judy ...the book's been on the drawing-board for years, I'm hoping the drawings will get it moving.

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  9. Hi John, your solution to send the drawings inside a tube is surely the best one, I have never used it for my watercolors, but it is something that I should take in consideration. I'm sure that your series of ballon scenes will be a great success. Ciao!

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    1. Ciao Tito thank you for your kind commrnts

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  10. John, I find your work truly amazing, every single bit of it. Glad you came to a resolution on your shipping too. I cannot wait to see the book/illustrations!

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    1. Bless you, Sherry, I need all the encouragement I can get at times!

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  11. Ooh - why is colour bad news? I love your amazing drawings just as they are but am very interested to see some coloured ones too! What an interesting and full life you lead John. I imagine that talking to you would be utterly fascinating! :0)

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    1. Bad news for the viewer :0) A strange life that just happened, Sandra ... don't know why! I'm more of a writer than a talker :0)

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  12. Good morning John,
    I am always so amazed by your post, every bit a treat to behold. I love the idea of your book, history and art all in one. Fantastic.

    All the best to you,
    Joan

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Joan. I hope to finish the book one day!

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  13. Dear John, the color is good news!
      The Cloister seen from the truth must be breathtaking because ... already here on the screen is awesome!
    The division of the market between the various types of presentation is wise, because it increases the possibility of choice and can reduce the shipping price.
    Happy drawing!Rita.

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    1. Thank you for your comments, Rita.

      Have a nice weekend

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  14. Great idea, John - those balloons will be no match for your pen and ink! Reno has a big hot air balloon festival in the late summer - it is a sight to see!

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    1. I love balloon fiestas, trouble is they usually plan take off for just after dawn - to catch the stillest air!

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  15. How amazing to design a First Day Cover ... you really are a fascinating chappie. I find it very interesting that the Bicentenary of Flight carried stamps commemorating the Bicentenary of the First Mail Coach Run. Your design and ink drawing of the balloon is extremely good and if it's a taster of what's to come in your new series, then it's going to be awesome. Fabulous post as always.

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  16. I've lost count on the number of pieces of artwork I've done for the Philatelic world, John.

    They try to match a new issue of stamps with a commemorative event - the Mail Coach was the only one around art the date of the bi-centenary.

    The RAF Museum aimed to get at least one First Day cover released each month. They made many Millions of Pounds that way. I was contracted to them for 12 months. After that they would contact me whenever they needed a one-off in 'mono' ... that went on for 20years.

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  17. Cloisters=GORGEOUS! Can't wait to see more hot air balloons! I just love your work.

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  18. Thank you, Lizzie ...really exciting news about your forthcoming book!

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  19. You are definitely putting colored inks to good use. It's the perfect touch in The Cloisters. John, do you ever sleep? Your energy is amazing. Puts me to shame.

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  20. You can talk ... if they connected you to the system you would light up a major city :0))

    Thanks for the kind comment :0)

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  21. how much is a cloisters print? I may have to have one!!

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  22. I'm flattered you should even consider it, Celeste. Here are the options

    Option 1 Click on the Fine Art America (top Right) US$ 20
    Advantage: Printed in US Saves on shipping charges.
    Disadvantages - they only sell it in a small size
    (8 inch x 6 inch)

    Option 2 Click on ETSY Shop (top right) US$16
    Advantage a bigger print (10 inch x 14 inch)
    Disadvantage - I ship it in a tube = shipping cost

    Option 3 Email me If you want a full size US$25
    Advantage 21.5inch x 15.5 inch
    Disadvantage Too big for most walls
    I ship it in a tube = shipping cost (same cost as option 2)

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  23. Beautiful! And I never ceased to be amazed at your tireless commitment to detail... not only in your drawings, but also in your research about your subject! A joy to visit you as always:-)

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    1. Thank you, Minnemie glad you enjoyed the visit

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  24. sounds an interesting book you have in mind john ...prints must be beautiful i like very much your min use of colour .

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    1. Thank you, Jane, not often do I use colour

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