Saturday, 25 May 2013

Picture #13 Back from the Framers

You may recall that my granddaughter requested Painting #13. I painted it and she wanted it framed. I collected it today and think it looks quite good, framed.


Not exactly my framing choice but nevertheless it looks OK

Friday, 24 May 2013

"The Seamstress" Painting #14

The original painting, by Kitao Masanobu (1733 - 1816), lives in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. In it's totality, it is a much larger painting entitled, "The Autographs of Yoshiwara Beauties," from which I have taken one element and changed it slightly.

I chose my title from the woman on the right, who is sewing a pink patch onto the black 'dresss'.

                                                  The Seamstress               John Simlett (after  Kitao Masanobu)
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
(14 inches x 10 inches
As usual I've taken an awful photo: it slopes in at the bottom to show the easel and has a bloom from reflected light. .....but you get the idea. I am hoping to produce a set of three.

I will catch up with everyone's blogs this weekend. In between painting I have been laying a large lawn, which has kept me busy. Who said I never let the grass grow under my feet? :0))

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Painting #14 WIP

Painting #14 (WIP) is a continuation of my interest in Japanese art. I'm attracted to this one as it combines pen & ink and painting. 

Fortunately I can draw it freehand in pencil, so no need to mess around with tracing etc. Then I ink in the pencil lines and finally paint.  

I'm trying to stay true to style and have therefore grounded it in a cream which then constitutes not only the background but also the skin-tone and some of the patterns.

 It's on 14 inch x 10 inch stretched canvas.

I use as my reference a painting in the British, Victoria & Albert Museum, London. More detail on the finished work.

I have never drawn human figures before, so this is a further development for me and moves me a step closer to portraiture, which I hope to 'play with' shortly.

Really enjoying this!!! Lots of fun!!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Paintings #12 and #13

A good week so far. Lots of sales of prints, and an original.

I asked Barbara Buir if it was OK for me to use my version (see previous post) of her 'Roses and Anemones,' explaining that I've only been painting for 6 weeks. She was intrigued and asked to visit the blog ... here's what she thought :

Well !  When I took a look at your blog, I was amazed, to say the least.  You hadn't mentioned your artistic prowess. I salute your eye for color.

You have piqued my interest.  Am I correct you are painting on canvas?  With fluid acrylics ? Using a glazing technique? Have you tried fluid acrylics on paper?


So, she didn't laugh! How nice of her to take the time. Seems I should have been using paper for her technique ... so the next one (#14) is to be on paper!

Painting 12 
                     ... is Pat's choice and I don't like it very much, too light for me. The window is 120 years old and is the 'leaded light' in the downstairs cloakroom. The flowers were her choice.

                             "Stained Glass"                John Simlett
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
(14 inches x 10 inches
36 cms x 25 cms)
Painting 13
                    Is chosen by my best friend and granddaughter, Giselle.  She loves all things Japanese and asked for me to do this one for her 22nd birthday next month.

                                                             "Eternity"     John Simlett (after Hasegawa Tohaku)
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
(14 inches x 10 inches
36 cms x 25 cms))
I have been studying ancient Japanese Art, and Giselle fell in love with this picture, from one of my books, which was first painted by Hasegawa Tohaku in 1599. 

It seems that he was occupied for a number of years painting sliding doors in a large building (the Azuchi Project). Each floor (story) of the building took a different theme. On the third floor were included Taoist legendary figures, including the Queen Mother of the West who you can see sitting in the middle behind the shadow of some large leaves. Here she presides over the reception of the spirits of the dead into her Western Paradise. She is a symbol of immortality.

This was one of the first times that gold (leaf) was used as a colouring in painting. As you can see I used mainly Burnt Umber  Titanium White, Ultramarine, Cadmium Yellow and pen and ink!

It, being a minimalist painting, limited me to copying as exactly as I could (no scope for adding my own thoughts). I have tried to keep my paint strokes as 'crude' as the original.

It was not the sort of subject I would have chosen... but... she wants it framed, which may help a bit!!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

"Flower Power" Painting #11

So here is the 11th painting in my 'reincarnation' as a panter (it's like being a painter, but I hold my breath a lot). I'll tell you my 'panter' story below.

I bought a book about 7 acrylic painters and their techniques, and  in it the American Barbara Buer truly amazed me ... hence her influence on the following painting.

                                            "Flower Power"    John Simlett (after Barbara Buer)
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
10 inches x 14inches

Unfortunately I varnished it before I photographed it, so there is a 'bloom' to it.


Sheerness Dockyard grew over the centuries, and by 1954 it accepted around a hundred new apprentices each year. As the apprenticeship lasted five years, the total number of apprentices at any one time was approximately five hundred young men aged between 15 and 21.
   For the first three years of the apprenticeship, the boys were released from their workplaces to attend the Dockyard College, for one afternoon and two evenings a week. 
He looked out of the window in that absent minded way of the writer, as if considering the plot for his next film script. Ranged in front of him was a classroom full of apprentices: their first day.
   ‘Panter?’ he asked nobody in particular, ‘do we have any panters?’
   There being no response, he uncoiled his long-legs and began ‘unfolding’, slowly rising to his full height, rather in the way of an awakening giraffe.
   ‘No panters, eh?’ he muttered, turning to face the rows of boys who sat staring wide-eyed at the incredibly tall and thin man who rose before them. He spoke in riddles that held little meaning, his ‘posh public-school’ accent almost mocking them: he had called them, ‘ absolute shower’, which meant nothing then, but a phrase that would soon become common parlance following the release of his first film, Private’s Progress.
   When they had first sat down in the classroom, the tall man had written his name and position in chalk, on the blackboard:

              Alan Hackney, Head of English, HM Dockyard College, Sheerness.

   ‘Well that’s who I am. Now I want you to fill out these forms so that we can know a little about you.’
    Ten minutes later we had completed the forms and handed them back. He had rifled through them.
   ‘There is a panter, now come on own up.’
   ‘Yes sir,’ I replied, with a gulp.
   ‘Are you a panter, Simlett?’
   ‘No sir.’
   ‘What trade are you hoping to be apprenticed too, Simlett?’
   ‘Shipwright, sir.’
   ‘Yes, sir.’
   ‘Are you a panter, Wellboarn?’
   ‘No sir.’
   ‘What trade are you hoping to be apprenticed too, Wellboarn?’
   ‘Blacksmith, sir.’
   ‘Yes sir.’
   ‘Are you a panter, Lewis?’
   ‘No sir.’
   ‘What trade are you hoping to be apprenticed too, Lewis?’
   ‘Painter, sir.’
   ‘Ah! Thank goodness, Lewis. Be a good chap and put an i into Panter for me.’ He handed Lewis his form back for correction.
   This was our introduction to the man who would teach us English and who went on to work in Hollywood, Canada and Italy where he produced many film and TV scripts, not to mention his novels.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

"Brass Jug" Picture #10

It is now 5 weeks since I started painting, and the first milestone  passed is the painting of Number Ten, "Brass Jug."

The window is the one on our upstairs landing. as you can see it's a stained glass leaded light, 110 years old. It is frosted glass, which is difficult to show but I hope I have got away with it.

I have tried to build on the advice from Linda and Celeste, and painted the background and the jug to be a 'whole' rather than a background that bore little relationship to the subject.

                                                                "Brass Jug"        John Simlett(after Barbara Buer)
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas
14 inch x 10 inch
36 cms x 25 cms

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Samovar - Picture #9 Take 2

Thank you everyone for your kind support with the last posting.

A lot of the questions I am asking seem inappropriate to acrylics: masking fluid for example. So I had better try to explain what I am trying to do. 

I bought a book about six top acrylic painters and their techniques. The book is in the studio and I'm upstairs and too lazy to go all the way down to get the book ... and I forget the artists names!  Nevertheless, there's this woman who is a famous American who painted in watercolors and one day she ran out of a colour right in the middle a a big painting. In desperation she used an acrylic which she watered down to give a watercolour type wash. She was amazed at the result. It seems that acrylic stands up to many washes in a better way than watercolours  - she said. 

Okay, so I used a gesso board and tried to replicate her technique, using only Rose Madder for the many tints of 'red' in the samovar: the more washes the deeper the tone. 
Samovar with the background kicked about!

You get a rough idea from this miserable photograph! 

She paints fantastic watercolor paintings on paper using only acrylics. Rather than water down the acrylics she now uses Golden Fluid Acrylics exclusively ... her work knocks me out.

BUT THEN......

.......... Celeste Bergin (see the Celeste Bergin blog here) gave a link that showed me the work of Nicolai Fechin. It blew my socks (sox) off. That is the way I want to paint; obviously not as well as him (that could take weeks :0)))   ), but that's the direction that inspires me! Time will tell ... but first I want to try the watercolour technique with the Golden Fluid Acrylics that arrived today. I used watered down acrylics for this samovar and want to see how her system works out for me with the Golden stuff.

 Great fun isn't it?

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Help Needed on Picture #9

I have only painted on canvas until this painting, which is on an Italian gesso board.

I coated the background, watercolour fashion, with ten washes of thinned acrylic. It looked OK until I painted the Samovar, and then it looked too bright so I repainted it as you can see. It was like painting on ice and I can't make it look decent! Help!

The photo isn't very good, and I haven't finished the handles etc.

Second Unrelated Question:
What's the score on masking liquid, please? Do you put it on, and peel it off afterwards  or what?

Backgrounds are a weakness I shall need to focus on.

Thanks in advance!