Saturday, 29 December 2012

Getting back into drawing...!!!

At some stage (tomorrow I hope) I shall be back into drawing. 

Besides Christmas, I have had to do the end-of-year accounts for #2 son's company ...which took ages. In the midst of the accounting I changed the wheel on my granddaughter's car and damaged my back in the process, which stopped me drawing - I'm OK now though!

Then it was Christmas! My best friend granddaughter gave Pat and I an envelope as a Christmas present ...!

 It contained:

Return train tickets to London and back.
Hotel Room for 2 nights
Tickets for the best seats in the house for 

Dinner for two at the Ritz, Piccadilly! Rubbing shoulders with the millionaires!

We got back this afternoon!

As you can see I have hardly had a moment to blog, let alone do any drawing ... however ... my next project is both Very English AND Very American!!! Given a fair wind I shall set sail tomorrow on the new work!!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Tale of TEN Christmas Trees!

You may recall that I told you how, a long time ago, at Halloween, my wife and granddaughter - Pat and Giselle dressed up as witches and accidentally scared the daylights out of the 'trick-or-treaters'? (Here is a link)

At the time I promised I would tell a Tale about a similar event at Christmas....
                               .... Here it is...

We married three months before Christmas in 1959. I'd been conscripted into the Air Force and therefore money was scarce ...nevertheless ... we bought 'our tree.' It was artificial and only about 18 inches high. 

And so the tradition started:

THE FIRST TREE of Christmas:
Is 'our' tree, and, 53 years later, is still the first one we put up, with the original fairy and some of the decorations still held by the original string.

Each year, thereafter, we bought a 'live' tree and then spent the rest of the year cleaning up the pine needles. We needed an artificial tree but they were a bit primitive, until I spotted one in a 'Macey's' in New York and bought it home. 

THE SECOND TREE of Christmas:
Is the 'American' tree. It was state of the art, but now looks a little like toilet brushes stuck on a broomstick. The tree decorations I bought with it are wearing out. But..hey! It's family and been with us 45 years.

We carried on with the two trees until Giselle started infant school in 1995/6. She asked if she could have a party and bring friends ... in the event ... 35 children were scheduled to turn up with their parents!  It's a nice old Victorian house, 110 years old ... and it loves kids, and kids love it; 35 kids would do nicely!! 

We decided a new tree would look well in the dining room and bought a nice fairy to go on top. 
Just before  they all arrived the new fairy fell from grace and her china head broke and wings came off. Ever resourceful, I glued on the wings and put an old Barbie-doll  head onto the fairy. Pat covered the head with a veil... nobody would be any of the wiser. Within minutes, all the children were pointing, 'Look, Barbie with her wings upside-down!'

THE THIRD TREE of Christmas:
Is the 'Barbie' tree ... still with her wings the wrong way up!

Each year we added a tree, which the children had to search for. 

THE FOURTH TREE (in the hall) of Christmas:
Is the 'Toy' tree...

THE FIFTH TREE (in the library) of Christmas:
Is the 'Purple Butterfly' tree ...

THE SIXTH TREE of Christmas:
Is the 'Golden' tree ...
                                   or it would be if I hadn't ruined the photo.

THE SEVENTH TREE of Christmas:
Is the 'Hall' tree...

THE EIGHTH TREE of Christmas:
Is the 'Little Landing' tree...

           Another Photographic gaff!!

THE NINTH TREE of Christmas:
Is the 'tiny' tree... (took them ages to find this one)

THE TENTH TREE of Christmas:
Is the 'BIG' tree. 

As you can imagine, each year the children grew older, entertainment was getting more difficult. 'Charlie Chalk,' the clown came twice. Magicians, Entertainers and Punch & Judy shows came and went ... but then ...they were all suddenly 13... Teenagers!!! Instead of a party,  they wanted to put on a play!!!

Pat had been an actress before I dragged her down to my level and so she she was in her element. She obtained the performing rights/script/music for Roald Dahl's, "Snow White and the Seven Jockeys".  She hired a theatre and off we went.

On the big night, they sold out, all the money to Cancer research. 

So successful was the production that demand for more was heard. The police wanted to give us a financial grant to get poor kids off the streets, the local educators offered even more  money!!! 

AND SO:The "Conisbrough Youth Theatre" was born. It was madness... kids turned up to audition...Pat turned nobody down!

Here are some of them....

I wrote the stage adaptations', made the scenery and (coming from generations of tailors) made the costumes.

The kids could do no wrong in Pat's eyes... although it was manic to me ... it was avant-garde to Pat. 

We did, 'The Magic Costume Box', 'Oliver' and ......'Grease'!! 

I have to tell you ... they ROCKED!!

The original bunch had a final party at the house with a full blown disco.


There were Christmas Carol Singers outside on the evening of the party! Our lot threw open the double storm doors at the front of house and sang the rehearsed chorus from 'Grease!' The Carol singers stood open mouthed as the 36 sang loud and long.

At the end of the party they sang the theme from, 'Titanic', and everyone cried .... and it was all over. We ALL retired: University waited for some ... two went onto the stage ... one teaches at a drama academy ... some married and are now mothers.

Pat and I wait for the next generation... but my granddaughters are all career girls!   ....Guess we'll fill in the time with Gatepost Pictures.


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Finally Posting Again! WELLS CATHEDRAL

Life has been very hectic, both inside and outside of art. It has been 05-30 starts and 01-00 finishes for weeks now.

We have had two shows. The first one got torpedoed by the advertising people getting the wrong day. It was Thursday and they advertised Saturday. Nevertheless we were moderately successful. The second show was last Thursday and took place in a blizzard - freezing conditions with roads closing by the minute. People stayed away in their thousands, but we ended up in profit, somehow!

 The final show is next Thursday and they are saying it will coincide with the arrival of the "Beast from the East" ... snowstorms and freezing conditions straight off the Russian Steppes! ......

                     "But we're singing a Happy Song.
                        Higgity, Haggity, Hoggety, High
                        Pioneers, they never say die!!!!!!"
                                                .....Pat and I continue undaunted!

 We are doing this for fun rather than for the money, and we are meeting so many exciting people. I'm not normally the talker, but so many people want to discuss my work; I'm amazed at their interest.

I've had three cards produced from my artwork (Cloisters, the Balloon and the German castle) by Fine Art America - I'm really pleased at their high quality/cheapness/and short shipping times. It's worth putting your stuff on there, not only to sell on-line, but also to buy (at cost price) the cards from them and then sell them on in the real world.  I bought 75 cards as an experiment, and they sell at a good profit margin. People don't always want 'pictures' but can afford a few cards!

And now we come to Saint Andrew's Cathedral in WELLS, Somerset. It was started in 1191 by Bishop Reginald de Bohun. It is considered to be a relatively modest cathedral by the English standards of the day. It is best known for its cruciform buttress arches (built in 1338)

HOWEVER ... by moving the camera around, many unnoticed angles and images appear, and from those I drew this:

Click on Image to enlarge

Saint Andrew's Cathedral, Wells, Somerset, England              John Simlett (2012)
Pen and Ink on Cartridge paper (300gsm)
22 inches x 16 inches
(56 cms x 41 cms.)

As you can see, Priscilla, is looking at a stained glass window. For details of the window I am indebted to a kind person who writes a wonderful blog: 'A Clerk of Oxford'. She allowed me to use her photograph of the windows of  kings.
Unfortunately I can't do the photograph justice,  for although it is a very large picture, by pen and ink standards, it is not big enough to show off the fantastic stained glass.

I would also like to thank our Judy, from Holland (everyone's favourite) for showing me how to put the copyright watermark on my drawings,

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Wells Cathedral, A Work in Progress.

It's been ages since I've posted and I'm not keeping up with my friends blogs, for which I apologise. Life is very busy at the moment. We have the first of 3 Christmas Showings this Thursday (10-00  ~  1600).

 The Gallery Lady and I have spoken twice more ... but I'm not sure if we will go far together.

I'm buried in drawing Wells Cathedral. Although I'm not keen on its exterior, inside is a delight. It looks modern but is about 900+ years old.

It's a big drawing (pen & ink) 22 inches high and 16 inches wide. Being the World's worst photographer: I have managed to make a black and white picture look Green and Brown!! Don't know how I managed it.

Celeste suggested that a WIP might be in order, and here it is!

Saturday, 17 November 2012


My computer broke down, but at last I'm back on line and trying to catch up with everyone's blogs!

My news is that the Gallery 'lady' called me up and wants to meet next week!! My prints are beginning to sell on-line (computer permitting).

I went to Melbourne in North Yorkshire for Remembrance Sunday - where we pay our respects to those Service men and women who died in times of war. Melbourne was a World War 2 airfield from which my old Squadron (10 Squadron) flew bombers. The farmer who now owns the old airfield donated a piece of land on which we have built a memorial funded by our donations. The wartime element of our association were represented by 92 year old Doug Evans DFC (nearest camera) a bomber pilot. Furthest from the camera, Tom Thackaray a 92 year old Flight Engineer

The nickname of the Squadron has always been, 'Shiny Ten,' hence the Shiny 10 on the memorial.

 The Squadron sent the Colour Party to parade the Squadron Standard.

We all adjourned to the pub (The Plough) in which the wartime crews had a lot of serious fun. A good lunch and a good day ... We Will Remember Them! ...Bomber Command lost 57,000 aircrew ... many from 10 Squadron.

They flew Halifax bombers and I posted S-for-Sugar, in an earlier post. 

The best known British bomber was the Dambusters Lancaster which I have just drawn

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Back from the Printers

Some of my early work came out of retirement for a new lease of life in the hands of my brilliant printers. It was like working with old friends again. We lived near both buildings during our early days. The former in Germany (1961 - 64 and 1979 - 83), and the latter in Wiltshire - Lacock Village (most of my kids young lives).

The village has been used as a film and television set, notably for the 1995 production of Pride and Prejudice, the 2007 production of  Cranford . It has also made brief appearances in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Most recently, in the Spring of 2012, it was a filming location for the fantasy adventure movie Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box which is scheduled for release in 2013... you saw it here first folks!

click on image
                  Cologne Cathedral      
                         17 inches x 11 inches              
          Pen & Ink on Cartridge Paper 
Sign of the Angel
                13 inches x 8 inches            
    Pen & Ink on Cartridge Paper

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Wentworth Castle

Pat has got our next show set up for the end of the month in Wentworth Castle... which isn't really a castle at all, more of a 'Stately Home'.

It's the venue for Weddings and Wedding Receptions. The Happy Couple usually pose outside the 'Folly," Stainborough Castle ... therefore I am currently drawing this scene, which is both a nice subject to draw and the prints from it a logical commercial product.

I'm not sure if a folly is an international concept, or just a British extravagance. Such buildings are purely ornamental, serving no practical purpose whatsoever. 

You may recall how my artistic history is littered with unplanned events that changed its course - I only discover I am at a crossroads after I have passed it! Well I'm rather hoping it has happened again. I was supposed to go to the Printers last Tuesday to pick up my latest batch of prints. He asked me to come on Thursday morning instead, as he was running behind schedule. 

As Pat was late back from the hairdressers, we didn't get to the Printers until mid afternoon. Having missed our appointment, we found Darren was busy with his #1 customer who had boxes of paintings for framing. He apologised  and handed me over to his assistant, but not before I gave him my artwork of the 'Lunardi Balloon'  (two posts ago, below). His customer dropped what she was doing and said, "I like that, copy it in and blow it up, Darren."...... she liked it!

It transpires she owns two galleries and is opening another in Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare's home? Google it). Having glanced at the work I was picking up ...we spoke for an hour ... she is coming to see me here on Monday and Tuesday. My stuff would be ideal for Stratford, with its Tudor black and white timbered buildings. However ... getting to my age has made me the perpetual sceptic, I anticipate that this will go nowhere. Decisions that are quickly made and need to be 'run before a partner' before it is finalised seldom go very far. .... However, another paragraph in the memoires :0) 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Colin Michael Simlett 1948 - 2012 RIP

My little brother, Colin, spent a lot of his life, risking his life, to save other people's lives. A Royal Navy Helicopter Crewman who hung from that cable in the worse  possible conditions and rescued countless people in despair.

He died today in Crete, Greece where he had been living for quite a few years.

I told him he should have joined the Air Force, "You've always wanted to fly, for goodness sake!"
He told me I should have joined the Navy, "You're a bloody Shipwright, for goodness sake!"

We both did the opposite.

They once landed in the field behind my house. First we knew was a knock on the back door. There was Colin in all his flying gear, Helmet with visor down, Immersion suit, Life Jacket etc... "Excuse me, we've lost our map, could you give us instructions on how to get to..." Great sense of humour.

Cheers Colin, Happy Landings Mate... leave a drop of Scotch for the others ... 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Colour/Color Arrives in the World of Gatepost!

Buoyed up by a couple of stained glass windows in The Cloisters, I have began my Balloon Series using coloured inks (and a little black) only. This is my first venture into the world of colour - I'm strictly  mono-man, as a rule.

click on image
                                   Vincenzo Lunardi (Scotland, 28 July 1786)                  John Simlett
Pen & Ink on Cartridge Paper
12 inches x 8 inches

Allow me to present another of my Heroes, Vincenzo Lunardi, an Italian  who was born in Lucca in 1759. He found fame as the first person to fly in England. This gallant young man became the toast of Britain, the Johnny Depp of his day, the Cap'n Jack Sparrow of the Aeronauts... and darling of the ladies!  

He spent the most successful period of his aviation career in Scotland, from September 1785 to late 1786. During this time he wrote frequently to his Guardian, Chevalier Gerardo Compagni. 

400 copies of his letters were printed in a book form, by Lunardi, under the title, 
Five Aerial Voyages 
in a
Series of Letters
to his
Chevalier Gerardo Compagn
by Vincent Lunardi, Esq.

I am privileged  to posses copy 34, of the letters, and consequently. feel that I know him fairly well. His written English is impeccable. 

Although he was always an Italian, and returned there in April 1788, during his period in Britain he became totally British, writing:

...In my Aerial Voyages in Scotland, I was treated with great Favour. This I attributed to the Character of the Nation [...] I am a Child of Britain by Species of Adoption (May 2, 1786)

You can probably see why I want to write his biography, a real class act. The other half of the biography, however, concerns James Tyler, a Scot who was the first person to fly in Britain (Scotland) beating Lunardi by a month or so. 

Tyler is the antithesis of Lunardi - his balloon was a basket covered in canvas, for example, whilst Lunardi's was of the finest silk. He hero-worshipped Lunardi, writing, An Ode to Lunardi, which ran to many pages.

 But I've written enough, and risk becoming boring.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Cloisters and A Lot Of Hot Air!

        THE CLOISTERS, Gloucester Cathedral, England     John Simlett
Pen & Ink on Cartridge Paper    
21.5 inches x 15.5 inches
(550 mm  x 400 mm)

I finally got over to the printers in Sheffield to collect images of The Cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral. It's an awful 40 mile round trip into a busy city, so I only go if I'm taking new art work over.  I took my latest drawing  - which you haven't seen - it's of an old aircraft

 You will have to click on the above image to get a better effect. Even so, it is, as you can see, a big picture by pen & ink standards (15.5 inches x 21.5 inches). The size is important because the light flooding in from the left seems to increase and brighten as the picture size is increased.

Most customers don't want a picture that big, so besides full sized prints, I have produced two smaller sizes.

                                         10 inches x 14.5 inches
                                        7.5 inches x  10 inches

I spoke at length to the Printer concerning the packaging and shipping  of prints. He suggests that I mail prints without mounting them first. Simply roll them in brown-paper and send them in a tube. Now this brings prices right down as the customer doesn't pay for the mat and the backing board and a tube is cheaper than a large flat parcel, how much cheaper I'm not sure. Big re-pricing exercise in the next few days. 

I shall continue to sell them Mounted, Backed & Bagged at shows, where I actually hand them to the client.

I would like to thank  Zephyrinus over on
for his help in the research of The Cloisters, his very devote blog is full of the most breathtaking images.

Some of you will know that I am writing a self-illustrated biography of Vincenzo Lunardi and James Tytler the first people to fly in Britain. In the 1980's I was commissioned by a London Museum to design the Philatelic First Day Covers for the bi-centenary of flight, :

I got so interested in the year long project that I began to research the notion of a book.  Anyway, I've decided to kill two birds with one stone  fly two kites balloons at the same time.

 In short, I'm beginning a series of balloon scenes to sell as prints, and with which to populate the biography ... that's the plan ... but life is so full of so many fun plans that I shall continue to fly between them like an escaped balloon!  ... the bad news is I shall be using colour albeit still ink!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

NOW... I don't want to FriGHten you BUT!!!!!!!!

I should warn you that folk stay away from my house at HallOOOOOween. You see it's a very ooOOoold house, set back from the road. The garden wall is hidden behind large hoOOOOlly trees which shut out 'street light' with their prickly  fooOOOOoliage!. The front door looks welcoming in the sunlight .... but ... on a dark creepy night with the spotlights switched off, and only the little light over the door on, with the wind whistling around the hilltop we live on gets ... .....SsssssSSSSsPPPpppooooOOOOOOKKY!

Years agoOOOOoo, so the story goes, a group of brave young Trick or Treaters, took their courage in both hands, and, slowly, e  v  e   r       s  o         s   l   o   w   l    y, approached the front door. One tip-toed forward and banged with the brass door-knocker... BANG, BAN N N N G G g g .... it echoed around the hallway. There was a sound of footsteps .... a bolt was drawn back stood on end ....the dooOOOOor sssloooOOOOOwly OooOOOopened. The children ran screaming .... straight through the gate, their screams fading as they went down the hill... to this day the children will not speak about what they saw ... they just repeat the same mantra when questioned, "Hubble Bubble Toil and Trouble!" But today, and just for your ears you should understand, I can reveal the truth ... what the ccchhhildren saw....

Pat  & Giselle (1997) When will these witches meet again?
Pretty scary, hmm? Luckily the other two granddaughters weren't here at the time. But last week (below) they were preparing for the 31st!!  I hope they don't get into hot (bubble bubble toil and trouble) water!"

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

FREE.. I WANT to BREAK FREE ... free From your Spell ..dah de dah dah!!!

OK so who do you think lived here? 

Clue he fought for the British Army in Afghanistan. 

He once led a charge against 100s of Afghans, unfortunately in his haste he left most of his men behind, and then realised that he only had 6 men with him. About the same time the Afghans realised it too... OOooooops! 
Plan 'B' (head between knees and kiss a** goodbye)

He was once taken a prisoner of war, in Africa, but escaped. He hid on a freight train, then escaped from it when it was being searched, and hid down a mine. Then escaped on another freight train ... got back to Britain ... and was amazed to be treated as a hero.  He became a lifelong friend of the man who had captured him.

Most of his fortune came from writing. He was shot at in Cuba when there as a newspaper reporter. 

His mother was an American and his father, English

He was a good painter ....
...............................Here's one of his, a Magnolia.

The last time I was in his studio I could see he had been busy....

He wasn't adverse to a drop of giggle-juice... ooops!

Now the reason for all this frivolity ... is I've finished ... assignment gone  ... I will never write another academic essay again. If I change my mind, lock me up.

Now the only thing I had in common with the mystery man above is that neither of us had a university education... no college. Me, because I came from the wrong side of the tracks; him because he wanted adventure and joined the army. We both became self taught and so gained ourselves positions through hard work, albeit he did a bit better than I did.

But we both had chips on our shoulders. As he said, he missed the tutoring that guided a well balanced  education. There we part company, for I decided to redress the situation, to rewrite history in my favour. I had been forced to retire through ill health and decided to start the new millennium studying subjects about which I knew absolutely nothing.

I have been taking degrees ever since, Criminology, Sociology, English up to masters ..... BUT... I've finished forever....YIPPEEHHoooTS!!    (collapses hysterically laughing)

YET!!!! he still beat me and was voted The Greatest Briton Ever ... I give you Winston Spencer Churchill .... my HERO!  

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The First Five Pictures I Ever Drew... and Fairy Dust!

I won't be able to post any new artwork on here for 7 - 10 days as I have to get this final 'English assignment' completed. However, I've  now got the photograph of me 'at the beginning' of my plunge into art and I thought I would post that. (I look a right stupid Berk!!)

Not much point in posting the photograph without telling the crazy story behind it though. I feel as if it is someone else's story, as it is so long ago, which is good because otherwise it might feel  like boasting. At the risk of sounding boring, here it is.

After I was about 8 or 9 years of age I stopped drawing in an artistic manner. All my stuff became purely technical, although pen and ink had become the tools-of-my-trade. 

I was conscripted into the Royal Air Force for 2 years, at the age of 21 (3 weeks after our wedding!). We decided that, with the shipbuilding industry being in a slump we would stay in the Air Force, and that I should try to get a job as aircrew, because the pay was really good! The RAF must have been desperate as somehow I got through the selection process. I then flew on long range jet transport aircraft for 20 years. Home for a week - away for two, home for four days - away for three! So there was no time for hobbies - no art!

I was posted to Germany in 1979 as a 'Seagull' with the Phantom Jet Fighters for three years. This meant I would be home most nights with lots of time off. Hobbies beckoned.

 Pat had a paper-bag with a pen and ink drawing on it of an old house in Cornwall, England. I felt the need to draw it, and I did - I was surprised and pleased with the result. She sent it off to a magazine competition and ... they used it for their front cover (only ever happens to other people normally). Encouraged I drew pen & ink pictures of three castles on the banks of the river Rhine, and one of a Dutch Windmill. Followed by a fifth picture, the castle at Dalfsen (see last posting).

Pat had joined a Theatre Club, but it was about to be closed down because it was falling to pieces.  Amongst other things, the stage lighting and most of the technical stuff needed replacing they needed to raise about £7, 000 ($11,000). 

They had a fund-raising meeting at our house during which a young teacher, Rachel, said, "We could always sell prints of John's drawings." I laughed, thinking she was joking, I never even though of framing them - they were for fun. 

However ... the unstoppable force ... Pat, got behind the idea and the next thing we were getting prints done in Holland and buying complete frames from a warehouse in Germany.  We sat for hours putting the prints into the frames. The small shop on base said they would sell them for us (the woman in the photograph).

Then the impossible happened. They sold out in two weeks! 

We got lots printed, and spent days framing - they sold out. The USAF down in Ramstein wanted them, Berlin wanted them and so on ... and so on ... They kept selling out. We lost count of how many hundreds sold. They were the perfect product in the perfect market place at the perfect time. There was lots of demand and NO competition, They raised enough money to help equip the theatre (there were lots of other activities raising money at the same time).

The press were all over us, and commissions began to pour in ... at the end of the three years I was forced to leave the Royal Air Force and turn professional... where the adventures continued!!! 

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Reckteren Castle, Holland

People first noticed that I could draw in 1980. I had drawn three Rhine Castles and a Dutch Windmill and the framed prints were sold from a shop in Germany, purely for charity. 

Today, my sister-in-law called to say she had found an old newspaper article about these four pictures, and there was a photograph of me, the pictures and the lady who ran the shop. I can't wait to see the newspaper as I have no recollection of it ... ... if I don't look too weird, I'll post it here for a giggle. 

That got me thinking. My first 'non-technical' drawing was in 1979 - of 'Cotehele House' in Cornwall. Pat put it into a magazine competition and it ended up as the front cover of the magazine. Such a silly turn of events ... I was so embarrassed. So the next four pictures I drew were the ones above, for charity. 

This set of pictures were so 'static' and amateurish that I can never understood why they sold.

Reckteren Castle, Dalfsen, Holland                  John Simlett (April, 1980)

11 inches x  7 inches
Pen & Ink on Cartridge Paper

Then I drew my fifth ever drawing, 'Reckteren Castle' near Dalfsen in Holland. 

Pat and I loved Holland, we lived 3 miles from its border. Anyway... drawing this picture, Dalfsen we call it for short, was the first time I felt 'the pen takeover'.

The drawing was not like the others at all ... a style was beginning to appear ... I'd never drawn a reflection before.... hey ho ..... nostalgia's not what it used to be :0)

Friday, 28 September 2012

Let's Wrap The Whole Thing Up!

What I'm after here is your opinions on packaging artwork for shipping.

Setting The Scene In the past, and currently, I sell direct to the clients three basic products:

1 Originals - Mounted, Bagged & Backed (MBB)
2 Giclee Prints - MBB
3 The option to frame the first two options.

If I have to ship an Original, I (wooden) crate it myself - no problem (but too expensive for prints)

The Problem 

Selling on line becomes a problem for MBB

Here (left) is an MBB, 18 inches x 15 inches, which has to laid flat in its packaging. This packaging must be tough to withstand bending in transit. 

The packaging I have bought (left) is expensive, and I'm not sure its up to the job. So the problem is pricing oneself off the market 

Cost of Print + cost of MBB + Cost packaging + cost of mailing

One solution is to sell the print without mat and backing board' simply roll it, and place it in a Tube.

The advantages are that the print can be sold quite cheaply, and shipped safely. Even so shipping cost will be high in relation to the cost of the print

The disadvantage, is presentation ... Presentation is ALL to me. If the clients don't think they have had a good deal, then I have failed. I prefer them to think that I am undercharging - which in truth I am, as I'm not making a living from it.

I don't want you to divulge your 'trade secrets', but would welcome your opinions. Thanks in advance, everyone ... When I write my book. "All you ever wanted to know about packaging artwork and were afraid to ask," I shall mention you all in the acknowledgements :0)

Sunday, 23 September 2012

My New Gallery!

I'm not trying to sell you pictures, but the gallery I'm in the process of building feels like the ghost ship, Marie Celeste. 

I know it's naughty but if you could 'join up'  it might make customers feel that it is actually alive and kicking

...oh ... mind the wet paint.... and men working overhead

click to enter :0)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Time to Spin You a Yarn.

Sherry over on Conservatively Bohemian is, amongst many other things, a weaver. She said that she thought that she might try her hand with a spinning wheel. I replied that I had made a working spinning wheel, but it had never been used.

Here it is. I said to her that I would do a post about the parts of a spinning wheel,  as they fascinate me. But first let me set the scene.

In Britain an old fashioned name for an unmarried woman was, Spinster. They reckon that years ago these women were usually quite young and would stay at home to look after the children.  They also did the spinning. They would sit spinning the yarn on the wheel, as they 'spun yarns' (told stories) to the children. 

When she married the spinster would change her family (maiden) name to her husband's family name. However, another name for 'maiden-name' was 'Distaff'. At the top of the spinning wheel is a post called the Distaff.

The Distaff

Just below it, but hard to see from this angle is, the 'Mother-of-all' it is a thick horizontal cylinder of mahogany  (you can see the end of it on the extreme right). From it project the  two 'maidens' which between them hold the 'spinner.' 

The Mother-of-all, Maidens and Spinner.
This all sounds a little sexist ... so let me introduce some fellows, to bring some equality into the story. If you look back at the first picture, you may see that I made the actual wheel part from joining 8 pieces of wood - see how the grain varies? Well these are the 8 'Felloes' (pronounced the same as Fellows). But that is not all the males have to do, for, joining the foot treadle to the brass piece at the centre of the wheel, is, 'The Footman'.

The Footman
If you look back at the first picture you can see that the footman passes though a slot I cut in the 'stand' and is attached to the treadle by leather thongs!

Hope you didn't find this too boring.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Mouse Trap

My lovely granddaughter bought us the best tickets in the house for us to see ...

... this is the world's longest running stage-show, which started in 1952, and is showing in Saint Martin's Theatre, London . It was totally brilliant.

We travelled down to London on the train - first time I've been on a train for a very long time. She'd also bought us a very nice hotel room near Regent's Park. This was a combined Birthday - and Wedding Anniversary present, for this week we have been married 53 years, and our birthdays were last week. I am 3 days older than Pat.

She was the red-haired (and freckled-faced) actress - she'd already won the British Public Speaking Championship three years running, and gone down a wow as Katherine, in The Taming of the Shrew.... with a voice, critics said was, "... like cut-glass crystal"... 
...........before I dragged her down to my level :0).

I was the boy from the wrong side of the tracks, a shipwright and recently qualified draughtsman. Her family were in despair and our friends declared us mad, "These tearaway's  won't last 10 minutes." Contrary to belief, we gave up everything, and decided that 'family' would be the centre of our lives.

We have never deviated from our original plan in which the central role would be the family-manager and the secondary  occupation would be the provider. To this end I somehow became a 'fly-boy' and spent the next 25 years flying around the world ... because it paid well! Pat brought up the four children on the proceeds.

When the kids had grown up and left home, 'we' gave up aviation and 'we' became an artist... then a project manager in Industry... then a Systems manager promoted divisional systems manager. Next a manufacturing director. Finally a life in academia in Criminology, and later a writer of thrillers and poetry.

The grandchildren, all girls, moved in with us and it started all over again! They've all left now, the last quite recently.

Over the 53 years, we have moved home 24 times, lived in many countries and it wasn't always easy sailing. We lived life at a break neck speed but we have had so much fun along the way.

Now 'we' are an artist once more ... this blog records the route back into art, which started in February 2012. For those who wonder why we call the blog, "Gatepost Pictures":

When Pat was 24, she drove the car through the gateway into the driveway .....the gate was shut at the time! I carved the broken gatepost into Maka Tiki, the Hawaiian God who looks after families. We called it a 'Gatepost Production.' From which emerged Gatepost Pictures!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

That's Show Bizz!!

So we went to show the pictures today.  The product is high quality prints professionally mounted/backed and bagged in three sizes (Large -original size, Medium and small)

Everyone loved them. The ones that attracted the most attention were, Bellona, Cloisters and Schloss Neuschwanstein....... However!!!........

Click to enlarge image

However ... the one that sold like hot cakes was .... 'S for Sugar' ... I only had prints taken of it on a last minute impulse, because Pat and Giselle reckoned it would interest the males. In the event, they were all bought by women.

To get the full story on S-for-Sugar link to my earlier post here

Trying to second guess the market is a non-brainer. The last time, we sold out of Poets Corner, this time it was all but ignored.

One more show in October and then we are booked solidly in the run up to Christmas.