Sunday 29 December 2013

Anglers Angle

I drew the Mansion (see two posts below) and didn't have time to photograph it as it had to reach its destination in time for Christmas - It turned out fine considering the building was white and there was so much grass: not always the best combination for pen & ink.

I have now started the six fish. Here's the first finished, the Cod. As usual, the drawing is better than the photography!

                                         Atlantic Cod                    John Simlett
Pen and Ink
15 inch x 10 inch
I had lots of brushes, canvases, pens and a great studio light for Christmas, so I have no excuses for not to churning them out!


Thursday 19 December 2013

Seasons Greetings!

Here's a strange Christmas card for you! 

It means quite a lot to me though as I first flew on this aircraft on the 31st. March 1967, and here it is making its last landing, 29th July 2013 - 46 years later.

They built her to last and she saw service in the Falklands War, Iraq and Afghanistan.

May you enjoy Christmas and have a peaceful and successful New Year 

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Just as I was Getting into Painting!

Just as I was getting into painting, along come commissions for Pen & Ink!

One Stately Home where 'the couple' were married.

Six fish drawings, similar to the one below on an earlier post.

Not that I'm complaining ...but I thought I was busy before they arrived! That's show biz!

Friday 15 November 2013

The Age Old Argument

Should we do art for art's sake, or should we keep a commercial eye open for selling our work? It's a quandary, and that's  no fairy tale! 

There's a certain conceit in  putting it up for sale, it sort says that you think your work is good enough. Yet if it sells it indicates that you are getting into the right 'zone' and self confidence grows.

If you paint for the sake of it, then it can be an expensive hobby. So are we going to subsidise our life, or afford  the cost of being a total amateur?

There's also a certain conceit in not selling your work and maintaining a purist approach 'art for the sake of art.' This too  involves a value-judgement of how good you think your work is.

There is no doubt that I fall into the former category. In my ideal world, somebody buys the original, and Pat sells prints of it without me getting involved in that, time wise. This route, however, brings me to the dilemma I am facing for the second time in my life. When selling drawings in the old days, the originals were going nicely and the prints selling like 'hot cakes'.... but ... the problem arose of commissions. Before long all I was doing was commissions, that is to say drawing things other people wanted. If you are earning your living from it, you have to be pretty famous to turn commissions away. The cost however is your creative juices dry up and you find yourself drawing oil rigs instead of cathedrals.

So what is the point in me brining this up now? Well I have just painted  painting #36 (I have numbered each painting since I decided to try painting a little while ago) and it is a commission, but it is the fourth original of the same subject, the "19th. Century Geisha."

A Geisha in the Style of 1800                      by John Simlett

 Acrylic Paint on Stretched Canvas 

32 inches x 12 inches (81 cms x 30 cms)

What is happening is I get emails (via my etsy shop) asking if I do 'her' in different colours. This is the fourth I have painted, each in a different livery.

So, I'm going to take a sabbatical, and draw some really old sailing ships that nobody but me will be interested in!! :0)) 

Tuesday 12 November 2013


My darling Granddaughter, Lauren, gets married in April to Leroy. They spend every spare moment Surfing or Fishing, off the Coast of Cornwall.

Leroy wanted a Pen & Ink drawing of a European Sea-bass and I have just finished it ... not sure I want to draw any more fish !!

I was going to use a Pun and say that this drawing is to scale ... but I won't, as it isn't that funny! (chuckle)

We spent Remembrance Sunday at a Pig Farm in the wilds of North East Yorkshire. Here my Squadron flew Halifax bombers in World War 2, when the farm was RAF Station Melbourne. 

The average age of the aircrew then was 22, and over the 3 years they were here, one out of every three crews were killed. 

Because World War 2 started for Britain in 1939, many other nationalities, such as Americans, Australians, Canadian (a lot of these) volunteered to join the RAF, and many ended up on 10 Squadron. So we were remembering them too, as part of our special 'family'.

10 Squadron is always known as 'Shiny Ten' and this is reflected in the memorial.

We turned up at 10 in the morning, last Sunday. The oldest were 92 and the youngest 6 months. We paraded our Association Standard (our colours). Here the escort were Tom and Doug, both 92 and from the same Halifax Bomber crew. Doug, nearest the camera, was the pilot (DSO, DFC & bar)

Number 10 Squadron is still operating, and currently flying  the new 'Voyager' Airbus down South in Oxfordshire, mainly flying to Afghanistan these days. They sent a detachment together with the Commanding Officer and the Colour Party

We gathered around the Memorial and Remembered our fallen Brothers-in-Arms.

There was no aircraft available for a Fly-Past, but last year they flew over a VC10 on which I have 5000+ flying hours

We then went to the pub that the War Time Crews used - The Plough in the village of Allerthorpe. It is stuffed full of the wartime memorabilia of 10 Squadron.

The years rolled back and soon we were ALL there and had a ball. We ended with the Loyal Toast, and took a few moments to say goodbye to our 'mates' and they went back to their rest and we went back home.

Lest We Forget

I took a moment to toast my 'baby' brother Colin, who died a year ago almost to the day. He would have been of great use in the Philippines at the moment, hanging from the helicopter and saving them from the sea - the job he did for over 25 years in the Royal Navy.

Colin Simlett 1948 - 2012
Helicopter Crewman Royal Navy

Friday 8 November 2013

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Rehabilitation into Blogland

I'm trying to get back into art and blogging after the most busy time in the last million years.

I'm now a great grandfather: Daisy-Morgan was born last week. But great grandchildren are like London Buses: you wait for ages and then two arrive together ... the next is due next April. So our little clan is now into 4 generations!

The original of Cologne Cathedral is now hanging in Connecticut, US. It was bought by an American dancer/ballerina who was kind enough to photograph it hanging in her collection.

I am massively into research of some very old sailing ships, which I hope to produce as a series (pen & ink).

Missed you all! Will try to visit you ASAP ... make sure the coffee is on! 

Saturday 14 September 2013

As Seen on TV

Today I had an enquiry for my two Japanese paintings of 'The Seamstress' and 'The Reader' (Paintings 14 and 15.) I have removed contact detail for data protection.

My name is Christina Lee and I work in the Set Decoration Department on the TV Show "Hawaii Five O"! Our Set Decorator would love to purchase your artwork. However, before I can purchase via Paypal, wanted to speak with you about shipping (fee) and date of arrival of shipment. We would need it here in Honolulu, Hawaii on or before
Please give me a call at. sooner the better! We would love to purchase!
We would also need you to sign off on our release form.

Saturday 24 August 2013

Not Only Microsoft Repair Windows!

You may recall I painted this stained glass window (painting #12)

Well it might look nice but, being 110 years old, it's showing its age. The outside had gone rotten. This last week I decided it was time to fix it

I removed the window and chopped out the rotten window sill

I then made and fitted a new sill. Its in 3 parts but fits together to make a complete sill. Meanwhile, in the workshop, I had to remove the bottom of the window without damaging the fragile leaded glass ...easier said than done.

Then make a bottom part from new timber, which took the longest time, having to be jointed and grooved etc

Then I refitted it, and should be OK for the next 110 years.

But it hasn't just been the house maintenance that's kept me busy. 

Having got myself fit again, I took on the garden, and after weeks I've got it back from the wilderness ... there wasn't much time for blogging!

Wednesday 14 August 2013

The Wanderer Returns

After 6 weeks absence  I'm back. Life has been chaotically busy, as ever in this house! 

I've just got back from Portland, in the county of Dorset, which is on the South Coast of England. Here I met with a group of my friends who all have writing in common. We all met at university and have kept in contact. We meet about twice a year, at a different venue each time. They, like my granddaughter are putting pressure on me to finish my novel (adventure/thriller), consequently I will be out of contact with the world for the first 3 weeks of September whilst I finish/edit it!

I have had an unexpected request to exhibit 20 of my Pen & Ink drawings in a museum during the whole of March 2014. Which boosted my ego, as you can imagine.

During my enforced absence I have still managed to paint. For those that don't know me: I began to paint for the very first time in March 2013, encouraged by my great blogging buddies hereabouts! As you will see, I am not going for highbrow art at this stage. All I'm trying to do is get paint on canvas until such time as I feel totally at home with using brushes and paint. At this stage I have stuck with acrylic and stretched canvas and with subjects largely dictated by the females of the family (3 generations of 'em).

Here is what I have been up to.
# 23
Cherry Pie - The Heliotrope Fairy
8 inches x 6 inches
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
# 24

Gipsy - The Rose Hip Fairy
8 inches x 6 inches
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
# 25
The Gorse Fairies
8 inches x 6 inches
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
# 26 (A second Version - the first one sold - this one has slightly different colours.

    Geisha (1800)    John Simlett
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
32 inches x 12 inches
(81 cms x 30 cms)
# 27 From a stained glass window

    Knight Tepmlar     John Simlett
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
32 inches x 12 inches
(81 cms x 30 cms)
#28 Scary Dragon for my daughter

                    "Green Dragon"          John Simlett
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
14 inches x 10 inches
#29 Manga for Granddaughter (I lowered the hemline and raised the neckline!! - prude!)
                    "Manga"          John Simlett
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
14 inches x 10 inches
#30 WIP (reworking)

                    "The Rose Fairy"          John Simlett
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
6 inches x 6 inches
#32 A different version of The Heliotrope Fairy

#33 My 5 year old granddaughter shares her birthday with me and as a birthday surprise I have painted her favourites, "Dora The Explorer  and Boots" I have also painted her in with them. It is the first time I have tried painting a likeness of an actual person, and everyone says it's a good likeness - even if she is slightly 'cartoonish'

                    "Dora, Cadey and Boots"          John Simlett
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
14 inches x 10 inches
I will try to catch up with your blogs as soon as I can!

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Variety is the Spice of Life

Here are paintings #20, 21 and 22. 

The first is for my granddaughter's, Lauren, 27th birthday (she wanted seabass for her kitchen)
                               "Seabass"          John Simlett
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
14 inches x 10 inches
This is for my granddaughter Cadey (5) who wanted me to paint the famous "Hello Kitty" for her, I claim no originality or copyright here.
"Hello Kitty and Cadey"    John Simlett (from the  Comic Characrer)
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
8 inches x 6 inches

This is for my 'grandson (ish)' Jordan who wanted a PS3 controller ... I was half way through it when I was told that I was doing an Xbox controller! This is a big No! No! it seems, the fan groups are in opposition!!
I had to start again.

Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
8 inches x 6 inches
My next project is Knights in Stained Glass Windows! 

I still haven't caught up with all your blogs, sorry, but life is really getting in the way at the moment!

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Back in the Land of the Living.

I haven't been very well, followed by granddaughter, Giselle, being rushed into hospital ... but all are well now. Give me a little time to catch up with you all.

My second granddaughter, Lauren, has her birthday in July and as a present she wants a picture of sea-bass for her kitchen, and it's on the easel ready to roll. When I was a young 'seafarer', bass were simply, bass! Research shows me that seabass is a term introduced by the restaurant industry to enhance the  dish.

When Lauren was 5 (23 years ago) she sat drawing with me and she explained to me that when she drew a bee, people would say, "That's nice dear, what is it?" This annoyed her and so she designed a bee made up of circles: a head, a body - striped, and circles for wings. People now said, "What a lovely bee." This story stuck with us and when we write to each other we sign ourselves with the bee she designed, with a dotted line showing the path it has flown with a loop-the-loop in it. I thought I would paint her a sketch of a bee and copied the "Red Clover Fairy" by Cicely Mary Baker.

PICTURE # 17 "Laurebee"

"Laurebee"     John Simlett (After  CM Baker)
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
8 inch x 6 inch
 (20cms x 15cms)
My eldest granddaughter, Jade -Lauren's sister, is to present us with a great-granddaughter in October. It is her birthday a few days after Lauren, and so I thought I would paint her a sketch of CMB's, "The Acorn Fairy," as I know she is using acorns as the theme for the new 'nursery'.

PICTURE #18 "The Acorn Fairy"

"The Acorn Fairy"     John Simlett (After  CM Baker)
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
8 inch x 6 inch
 (20cms x 15cms)

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Painting #16

Here I am, 9 weeks and 16 paintings into learning how to paint. I finished this about 2 hours ago.

This one is going to a new home in Oxfordshire to join #14 & #15 
               Geisha (1800)    John Simlett
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
32 inches x 12 inches
(81 cms x 30 cms)


Saturday 1 June 2013

Up! Up! and Away

We have just returned from a reunion with my old Squadron. They have just been reformed with a brand new aircraft....

The Voyager KC30 aircraft. of 10 Squadron RAF
We were shown around one that had been delivered 24 hours earlier and it smelt exactly like a new car! It was interesting to note that one of the Deputy Commanders is female as is the Chief Engineer. No reason why this should not be the case, but it is pleasing to see equality operating.

We were wined and dined for two days and had a great time.

Unrelated to our reunion: I'm amazed to report that in my 8th week of learning to paint I have just sold the 3 Japanese paintings I have just completed. Also a print of one of them and a canvas of the high heel shoes!

Here is Painting #15 ...sold in 12 hours of finishing!
                                                              "The Reader"                                      John Simlett
14 inches x 10 inches
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas

Painting #16 is still at the printers ... but is sold! 

I'm not trying to boast but sharing the totally unexpected consequence to learning to paint with your support and encouragement ... many thanks  guys!