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!