Monday 29 December 2014

ANGOLAN WOMAN - Portrait #6 (Painting #44)

I'm teaching myself to paint, and this is my 44th. painting. Portraits are now attracting my focus, and this is the #6 since I started (never tried 'people' before).

I'm rather pleased with this one insofar as the plan, based on the previous experiences, worked out as I'd hoped it would.

Susan Smolensky had told me she liked a light Burnt Sienna ground and it seemed totally appropriate for this painting.

                                                            Angolan Woman                                  John Simlett 2014
30 x 20 inches
Acrylic on Canvas

I wanted the image to 'glow' to reflect the heat and red earth of Africa. The necklaces, etc., that the woman wore already had a reddish orange hue. I therefore wanted the burnt sienna ground to 'bleed' through of it's own accord to influence the earth colours: raw umbra, burnt umbra and yellow ochre. The photograph doesn't show all the glow but isn't too bad

I also used a Zinc White (Open) which I mixed with a Titanium White (Heavy Bodied) to keep the latter from drying too quickly. The Zinc White I also used as a 'mixing white' for the tones.

A dab of Mars Black and Cad. red competed the palette.

I confess that I find that I like big canvases ... which is an expensive thing to like.

PS Father Christmas bought me a bunch of Black Sable brushes!!!!  Woo Hoo!

Wednesday 24 December 2014

PORTRAIT #6 Work In Progress

I've just started on an African Lass (From Angola, where, a long time ago, we nearly got shot out of the air). 

It's a bigger painting: 20 x 30 inches, because I'm still feeling my way and want to try out what it's like to paint at this size.
   Colour mixing isn't coming naturally yet, although I get the basic tones fairly accurately the fine tuning of skin tones is more of a struggle. Practise, practice and more practise.

Christmas tomorrow, I'm hoping Father Christmas brings me some Black Sable Brushes!


Friday 19 December 2014


                     Japanese Girl          John Simlett
Acrylic on Cotton Canvas
31 x 12 inches

Sunday 14 December 2014

Portrait #5 (Painting #42) "Lauren"

I've tried my hand at a portrait of my second granddaughter, Lauren. I didn't have many recent photos and so I cobbled it together from the two that I had.

It's not very good, but I'm learning. It's the first time I've tried to paint hair.

                       "Lauren"                      John Simlett
Acrylic on stretched Canvas
14 v 10 inches


Here's Hoping Father Christmas Drops In On You!!

Thursday 11 December 2014

Portrait # 4 (Picture 41)

Onwards and Upwards. The fourth and next step in my quest to learn how to paint portraits (and how to paint).

This is the largest canvas yet.

                                       Geisha                         John Simlett
Acrylic on Canvas
24 x 18 inches (610 x 460 mm)

Wednesday 10 December 2014

RIP 'Jimpie'

I was on Comet 2s with 'Jimpie' Hoad in the early 60s. 

His death leaves a massive loss. A very sad day.

From the Obituary

"HOAD – Air Vice Marshal Norman Edward CVO, CBE, AFC (Ret’d) said goodbye to us on Saturday 29th November 2014, aged 91.

He was not only a well known pilot, but a brilliant painter - member of the Guild of Aviation Artists.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunday 7 December 2014

Portrait #4 WIP

This is quite the biggest canvas I've painted on so far: 24 inches x 18 inches (610 x 457 mm).

I saw this photograph and just had to have a go at it.

I have painted all weekend, a luxury I've spent all year working towards. I hope to finish tomorrow.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Portrait #3

This is the 3rd Portrait I've attempted, and painting #40 since I first picked up a brush and covered the house, me and my clothes in paint.

This one is better than this photo, but, nevertheless

'In the Ring'                 John Simlett
Acrylic on Canvas  (14 inches x 10 inches)

I'm quite pleased with it.

 It's alla prima which is, as you know, difficult with acrylics which dry so quickly. As I go on I'm beginning to use mediums, water spray etc, which makes wet on wet with acrylics a bit easier.

   I'm also beginning to get my head around base mixes and glazes.

Probably try one of my lovely granddaughter, Lauren, next.

Monday 1 December 2014

Portrait #2

Really disappointed with the photograph. My portrait of Anders Zorn might not be brilliant, but it's a whole lot better than
'Anders Zorn'                 John Simlett
Acrylic on Canvas  (14 inches x 10 inches)
the photo. Not that it matters that much.