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,