Monday, 17 October 2016

'Brotherly Love' WIP

Onward and upwards. Every now and then we have strokes-of-luck: take for example the day that Topgun (Logan) decided to give his baby brother, Billie (Coby), a quick hug. Their mum caught the moment on the camera of her mobile-phone (cellphone); nothing posed ... pure spontaneity.The scene therefore is totally natural. 

For the first three or four months of his life, Billie didn't exist in Topgun's eyes: he ignored him. Soon, however, his warm nature showed through and if Billie cried, Topgun would stroke the baby's hair and sing quietly to him. For his part, Billie loves the heck out of Topgun, and it shows!

The only change I have made to the reference photo is Topgun's hair, which was still wet from the shower and plastered to his face.

The canvas is 30" x 20". Although the background looks white it is Titanium White with a touch of Terre Verte (a dark green). I use acrylic paint for this as it dries quickly; the portrait will be in oils using a Zorn Palette.

Why Billie? Well when my granddaughter told me she was going to have a little boy and call him Coby, I misheard and thought she said Cody. My mind automatically makes associations (which often surprise me) and came up with Buffalo Bill (William Cody). Only a short step to ..... Billie.

.... and the boat-building? Having spent a month sandpapering the hull to get rid of the surplus glue and Epoxy resin filler, I am ready to move on to the next stage. Not straight away though, as we will be off to Toulouse in France next week to visit #2 son for a few days.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Topgun - Completed

"A Portrait is a Painting With Something Wrong with its Mouth" (John Singer Sargent).

Logan had 'pulled-a-mouth', as only little boys can, and I struggled with it!  He'd sucked in his lower lip and rounded the front of his chin.

                                                                       'Topgun'                                                 John Simlett
Oil on Linen Canvas
18 inches x 14 inches

Sunday, 9 October 2016


I have four granddaughters, and Daisy is the daughter of my eldest, Jade - the Forensic Psychologist.

Now 'Topgun' is the son of my third granddaughter, Giselle - the Writer. Giselle is also my best friend. When she was young her health caused her to miss a lot of education and so it fell upon me to take her through a programme (program) of home-education. In her words, "I came to you a carefree young girl, and four years later I left as a grumpy old-man." She ended up with a University Degree in English, so she didn't do too badly.

Giselle married Max, an Australian, and they live out there near Sydney. She remembered how we used to talk about the line dying-out when she married: there being no boys' in her generation to carry the name on. She does things her way and didn't change her surname when she married. This says a lot about what a decent guy Max is; who is a laid back Artist/ Games Designer. He didn't even object when Giselle named Topgun for me: Logan John Simlett. such a fantastic thing to do, bless 'em all.

Phonetically, Logan is pronounced Lowgun. I therefore decided there was nothing low about this little dynamo and have called him Topgun ever since.

Which is the long way around of telling you ... Topgun goes under the dreaded paintbrush next.

Daisy Finished

I will have to include the reference photograph or you will think I'm exaggerating the 'Simlett' eyes.

                                        Daisy Morgan                                    John Simlett
Oil on Linen  12 inch x 9.5 inch  

The likeness is reasonably good. The Technique needs more practice. At this stage I am still better at hairy old men. This I intend to change.

Afghan Man            John Simlett

Acrylic on Canvas
30 x 20 inches
(from a photograph by Shehzad Noorani)

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Next Victim - Daisy

The gorgeous Daisy is my granddaughter's daughter and hence our great-granddaughter. As she approaches 3, she remains looking like a character from Mabel Lucie Attwell's books. Her saucer blue eyes and bright blonde hair will be a challenge to get right.

Daisy Morgan

She is quite a character, both highly articulate and intelligent. A little charmer! Her unusual middle name is Morgan, and is the name of her paternal grandmother.