Monday, 16 April 2018

GENISIS

I'm going to be doing a few more Pen & Ink drawings soon. The big one I'm working on will be ready this week. Many people forget, or didn't know, that in art Pen & Ink is my strongest 'suit' and that painting came later.

I have often been asked where I learnt to draw and it might come as a surprise to know that I never took an art drawing lesson in my life. I began my working life as a shipwright apprentice and as part of a 5/6 year apprenticeship I had to learn to read technical drawings. 

The ingrained need to draw was in me though, and in the evening I would draw as a hobby, but not artistically. From engineering drawings I would draw the object in 3D (an Isometric view). Whilst clearing my drawing storage I unearthed a really special specimen of my hobby drawing; a turbine:


You may notice the drawing is unfinished! The reason being, I was drawing it in a small top story apartment in Cologne, Germany on the night of 13 August 1961!! Two things happened that day, my second son was born in a German hospital ...and ... they began to build the Berlin Wall. I said I would never finish it, and 57 years later I still haven't.

The second drawing I want to show you is my most treasured drawing. In the last year of my apprenticeship, aged 20, I had to spend a few months in the Drawing Office with the draughtsmen (draftsmen). Here I was to witness what went on ... make the tea, and do all the odd jobs. 

Being me, I found myself a spare drawing table and began to draw  what I wanted to draw, from boat plans I found laying about. Here it is, finished in January 1959.

  
It's a big drawing, over 36 inches wide.

When I show you the tools available back then, you will see why I find modern drawing pens absolute effortless luxury

Here is THE Pen of the day. The thickness of the line was obtained by tightening the screw, which moved one blade in or out. Ink was placed between the blades by an eye-dropper.

Happy Days! Nostalgia's not what it used to be!

Monday, 19 March 2018

Spring is Coming ....... Isn't it?

Hopefully we will soon return to this 

from this

Meanwhile, I'm about half way through my Pen & Ink drawing.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Blast From The Past



                              Rechteren Castle, Holland     John Simlett

Pen & Ink on 350 gsm paper
11 inch x 9 inch
(280 mm x 230 mm)

I drew this picture 38 years ago and it was the fourth drawing I had ever done in my life, outside of Geometric and Engineering drawing. It was a significant drawing insofar as it indicated to me, and others, that perhaps I should take it all a little bit more seriously. It was then, this drawing that 'sorted me out.'

At the moment I need 'sorting-out' once again. For many reasons, not least that my wife is physically disabled, I am unable to get continuity in anything I do. When I do get free time, I seem to be unable to focus long enough to carry a project to a conclusion. Half-finished paintings litter the studio.

As a solution I am undertaking another pen and ink drawing of some complexity. I haven't drawn for ages as I got seduced by painting - and the influence of many of the painters you may see in my 'Blog Roll.' A drawing, therefore, will be a complete change.

Pen & Ink, as you probably know, is very unforgiving: there is no way back from a mistake. Focus and discipline have to be continuous and I think that is what will 'sort me out'. We'll see.

 
   


Sunday, 11 February 2018

Boatry


       

                                                        


                                                                    I like flags.
                                                                   Do
                                                                               Set
                                                           fore  Sails
                                                     sail  is    Flapping
                                               not for sale  In the wind.
                                           you  may find   Makes one think
                                       that you need it    Of  flying far off like
                                    rather badly in a    Some Albatross set free
                                 wind or in a gale       From land and those grassy ties
        I                    and  without it  find      That shore can bring, although I do
           do      others quickly up your tail    Like being a landlocked Shipwright it's part
                 like                                            of
                       boatbuilding it's                  my                                                      
                           such a large part of my life. I love the smell of the wood as I cut and plane it.
                              Listen to the music of the parts that go to make a boat, each such poetry:
                                      tumblehome and transom; hog and hogson; apron and the thwart                
                                           gutter and garboard strakes of planking: clinker & hard chine
                                                       but alas, without a keel,
                                                              where would we be?
                                                                   capsized and upside
                                                                       down, swimming
                                                                               deep beneath
                                                                                         the sea.
                                                                                                                           (John Simlett,2005)
                                                                                                                 




Friday, 2 February 2018

Logan's Light - Finished

Tried a lot of experimentation with this one (a) Painting it almost mono although I used burnt umber glazes to soften edges and give the suggestion of a secondary light source - top left. (b) No eyes - and I always make them the key point of a portrait ... similarly the hair.

                                                                Logan's Light                                             John Simlett
27 x 19.5 inches
Oil on stretched Italian linen

The photography does no favours (favors).

I tried to soften everything except the two focal points, the light and the face.

Given the degree of difficulty I'm reasonably pleased. As always seeing it full size is best. 

Friday, 26 January 2018

How to DOUBLE your artistic output

'Topgun' (Logan), my great-grandson and the sitter for my current portrait (see last two posts), has let me in on his secret for doubling artistic output. I always like to pass on any tips I learn, so here we are: