Thursday, 28 March 2013

Busy Life of a Painter! Painting #2

Here is my second ever painting. It turned out better than I had thought it would, but there's a long way to go.

I note I tended to get build up of ridges near the edge of the cherry ... but I read about these and know what do ...hopefully.

                                           Cherry (painting #2)                   John Simlett
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
(14 inches x 10 inches
40 cms x 0 cms )

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

My First Painting...EVER!

OK so I am setting about learning to paint in my usual way: a logical build up, but no set direction. 

I asked questions about easels and then built one in the response to advice from my blogging-buddies.

I then researched mediums, favouring oils or tempera but ending up with acrylics simply because I was given a pile of them, to which I've added a few more.  

I bought 20 canvases.

Bought brushes and a set of palette knives and some books. I watched a few videos on the internet.

I'm the sort who has to dive in, I really can't be bothered with test pieces, or exercises. So here, after 3 weeks of preparing and positioning myself, is my first effort. The first time I have ever painted!

                                                             Painting #1                                         John Simlett
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
14 inches x 10 inches


I felt as if I were doing needle-point with blacksmiths tools. The brushes felt awkward they went were they wanted to go and not were I wanted them to go. As you can imagine, for a pen & ink man who works accurately, this was a bit of an awakening! However, I had bought a book on brushes and brush strokes and began using them (almost) properly.

My next problem was mixing paints - here Sandra Busby's advice on learning Colour Theory (almost) started to pay off. I watched a video on the internet and improved my mixing technique which made the vase come out reasonably well.

Lessons I have Learnt

When I get too precious with the subject I over paint (the roses)
When I relax and go with the intuition my work improves (vase)
I need to learn about Mediums and Glosses
I need to learn about glazes in acrylics as they dry quickly.
I must draw everything accurately: the tray is badly drawn as I was keen to start painting.

I would welcome a constructive critique. 

Friday, 22 March 2013

Don't Give Up The Ship!

Although there is no official motto in the United States Navy the phrase, "Don't Give Up The Ship", resonates throughout its history. Captain James Lawrence, who coined the phrase, did so as he lay dying on the quarterdeck of the frigate, USS Chesapeake, on the first day of June, 1813. The 12 minute battle with the British frigate HMS Shannon, took place at Saint Ann's Head off  Boston.
















In the event, the ship was captured and towed to the British base in Halifax, Nova Scotia (above). Eventually it was taken to England where it became HMS Chesapeake, and served with the Royal Navy for about 30 years until she was scrapped. 

Many years later, in 1976, the old watermill in Wickham, Hampshire, England  ground to a final stop. It then began to deteriorate for lack of maintenance, and in the new millennium the decision had to be made regarding pulling the mill down and redeveloping the site.

On surveying the building the local villagers were reminded that large portions of the mill had been rebuilt from whole sections of the Chesapeake. Although it was argued that this had rather more to do with American history than British, it was agreed that the Mill be maintained as a heritage site. 

Today the mill is owned by Anthony and Sandy Taylor, and is now a large antique centre. I was introduced to them through the American broadcaster and writer, Chris Dickon, with whom I had been in a long correspondence, concerning the Chesapeake.

Last Sunday Pat and I drove down from Yorkshire to Hampshire and stayed in a hotel near Wickham.

Wickam lies on the old Roman road between Chichester and Winchester where it began as a market town, getting its first mention in history in 826AD.


Our first sighting of Wickham was the Square. The space is usually taken up with car parking but it is often the centre of village life.
Morris Dancers - where else but England? 
 We drove down the Square and exited onto Bridge Street

passing the Barracks


and then the 'Dip hole'

And There was the Mill itself!


Above the door was a small plaque, so tarnished it was easy to miss... and meant little to the ill-informed.
Sandy made us welcome and gave me the run of the place, two floors of pure Chesapeake



Some of the beams had race marks cut into them by the shipwrights that had built her in the US.






But for me the crowning moment was the graffiti left by the crew. 

I shall add another posting later, as the blog won't let me import any more photographs

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Ready for Take-off!

I have finished the giant easel. I saw a photograph (below) of an antique studio easel against which the text told me it was 36 inches   (90 cms) wide, 30 inches deep (76 cms) and 90 inches (230 cms) high.



I drew up my design, having read the advice to, buy (build) big as later I would wish I had done so.

here is my basic design and cutting list which led to me buying pine to suit my list.

I then built the easel. It seemed much higher than planned, but luckily when I built the studio, I built it quite high, as you can see.



I didn't varnish it as I wanted it to match my Drawing Board. Here are a few views of the scene of forthcoming crimes against art!




I'm ready to start painting...
 ... but... 
.........................first I have to visit (old) Hampshire to the Old Mill which incorporates a lot of the original hull of the USN frigate, USS Chesapeake, which was one of the first of six ships (all frigates) that began the US Navy. 

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Progress Report

I have realised that it is totally impracticable to run two blogs - I can hardly cope with one, with all the constraints on my time, I have therefore incorporated the second in with this one. 

The Story So Far:

I started a second blog, "How I Became The Best Painter in the World," and began journalling the journey  from 'A to Z' on my way to achieving my goal... how I became the Best Painter in the World
Note: I am currently struggling at step 'A' so it take weeks to become the best!! :0)


So what have I done towards becoming the best (I currently have never painted):
1. Actual painting - none.
2. Made a Studio Easel which is still in the workshop whilst the paint dries.
3. Katherine Tyrrell's   Making A Mark is a fantastic blog (voted the 3rd best art blog in the UK) from which I extracted theTop 10 books on Oils and ordered them:
"The Oil Painting Book," Bill Creevy
4. I Have Julie Ford-Oliver's Video off Daily Paintworks, http://www.dailypaintworks.com/ArtTutorials/ArtByteStore






"Brushwork Essentials," Mark Weber


5. My good friend Sandra Busby has given me some great video links to Windsor & Newton demos.

6. I have ordered 10 stretched canvases (cotton) 10 inch x 14 inch at £2.20 each  ($3.50).


I would love some advice on:

 which simple palette to start with colour-wise ?
 what do you feel about water mixable oils?

I am making slow progress because I am still, making the four poster bed, editing a book, going down to Hampshire to see the remains of one of the first US warships incorporated in the structure of an old English mill (see last few postings, below).



I also have to draw this building in Pen & Ink for a client... otherwise I haven't much to do! :0)


Friday, 8 March 2013

My Work in Colour/Color in the US

Just received this photograph of my drawing on display in the US: Denver, CO. Looks quite nice framing.

Good fun! 

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The World's Greatest Painter




Here is your big chance to meet ....

The World's greatest painter on the day he began to paint for the first time!