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Art

 

Ever since I was a child I have been sketching and painting. In the late 1990s I shifted from my beloved preferred media of watercolour, acrylic and my distinctive ink pieces to photography.

These pages will host a gallery of my non-photographic works- some of which are now in private collections.
I'm always happy to take on commissions either or original pieces, or reworkings of those featured. Please email me with any enquiries.

Note
My art has always featured a large volume of monochromatic work, resulting in some of my most satisfactory paintings, sketches and photography. I make no apologies for the volume of it here.

"Giant's Ring"
Ink & wash on watercolour paper. 1996.
Size: A1
"Carnac"
Watercolour. 1997.
Size: A1

I spent two summers in the 1990s in the beautiful Quiberon peninsula in Britanny. On my second visit I spent a great deal of time exploring the megalithic landscape around Carnac by bicycle. This watercolour is of one of the open chambers near Carnac, part of a huge network of cairns and dolmens. The richness of the colour, and the dynamic skyline are all represented. This remains my favourite from the megalithic series to date.

 

"Carnac" (c) RJE Simpson 2007. Not to be reused without written permission. All Rights Reserved
"The Kempe Stones"
Ink and watercolour paper. 1997.
Size: A1

This piece is of the large Kempe Stones dolmen - a prehistoric stone tomb/monument - which sits in a field just outside of east Belfast.
I've always been fascinated by megaliths, and they are a recurring motif in my work - part of my ancestral heritage, and a fusion of man and the mysterious past.

Completed during the first half of 1997, along with a companion piece of the Giant's Ring dolmen (a monument from the other side of Belfast).
The piece was damaged when being hung for exhibition in Belfast in 1999, and the piece was cropped substantially on both sides. This image crops that a little further again. It has only recently been reframed, and now resides in a private collection.

Kempe Stones  - Pen and wash - 1997. Private Collection. Image (c) Robert JE Simpson 2006, All Rights Reserved.
"Peter Cushing AD 1972"
pencil & paper. June 2010.
Size: A3

After gently easing myself back in over the last few months, this was the first pencil drawing I've attempted in a LONG time.
Not completely happy with it - but I never am!
A full pencil drawing of the actor Peter Cushing based on a still from Hammer Films' Dracula AD 1972.
I think I've made him look a bit younger than the still does, but hopefully the piece works.

"unfinished ritual"
Oils & acrylics on card. 1998-2005.
Size: A1

I've never been able to complete this painting, based on a black and white photograph I took in 1998 for a project on rituals. Time and time again I returned to the painting before finally laying it to rest in 2005.

Its an erotically charged and haunting image, the woman sprawled on the floor, menacing and enticing, a dagger just evident in her right hand. The red dress is slightly translucent, and she looks right at the viewer with a determined stare.

The pallid complexion lends her a supernatural quality.

The image itself is one which I have returned to many times for inspiration for other projects.

 

"muse" (c) RJE Simpson 2007. Not to be used without written permission. All Rights Reserved
"Dalek"
Pencil. 2003.
Size: A3

I'm a self-confessed Doctor Who fan, and have been since childhood. I frequently turn to the series to exercise my creative leanings.

This 2003 sketch is based upon an iconic BBC photograph from the 1965 tv serial The Dalek Invasion of Earth, and depicts a lone Dalek on Westminster bridge.

 

"Dalek" image (c) RJE Simpson 2007. All Rights Reserved.
"Jim Morrison"
Pencil. 1997.
Size: A2

Perhaps the most iconic image of Jim Morrison - the late lead singer of The Doors.
This was one of the most ambitious pieces I worked on at the time, spending a two or three weeks coming back and forward as I honed the detail. It remains one of my best pieces ever I think - the upper panel was as close to perfection as I've ever got.

"In the Woods..."
Pastel on black paper. 1998.
Size: A1

This pastel ominously depicts an empty path, based on the woods around Helen's Tower in Conlig. I've been walking those woods for over a decade now, and even in summer I find them foreboding and enticing at the same time.

This illustration is based on a winter image, with few leaves on the trees and the winter ferns turning brown in places.

 

"In the Woods..." (c) RJE Simpson 2007. Not to be used without written permission. All Rights Reserved
"Jim Morrison"
pencil & paper. c. 1997.
Size: 42cm x 30cm

Undated, but appears in one of my 1997 workbooks, so believed to be from middle of that year.
I regularly worked on detailed sketch portraits in ink and pencil as a way of developing and honing my technique. This is one of two Morrison portraits, based on the cover for the posthumous American Prayer poetry album by Morrison and The Doors.

 

Jim Morrison, 1997. Image (c) Robert J.E. Simpson 2006. All Rights Reserved
"Stonehenge"
pencil & paper. Dated 26.08.1997.
Size: 42cm x 30cm

Another megalithic illustration - this time of the most famous such monument, the mighty Stonehenge. Part of a series of interpretations of the monument I did in 1997/8 based on photographs I took on a visit to the site in 1996.

Stonehenge - 1997. Image (c) Robert JE Simpson 2006. All Rights Reserved
"Les Allignments"
ink & paper. 1996.
Size: A5

During the summer of 1996 I went to Brittany for the first time. Spending a couple of weeks around the Quiberon peninsula I spent hours wandering around the megalithic monuments in the area. This scene has always stuck with me - the great stone allignments heading off into the distance for miles.
This tiny ink sketch complete with intricate detail is based on another of my photos I did in situ.

"Les Allignments" - ink and paper 1996. Image (c) Robert J.E. Simpson, All Rights Reserved
"Kempe Stones"
Chalk on black paper. 1996
Size: A3

One of my earlier negative monochrome illustrations. Rather than the usual black on white paper, I started using chalk on black paper, and discovered that the negative image created had an aura of mystery about it that enhanced my own interest in the subject.

This particular image is of the Kempe Stones, a dolmen which sits off the Greengraves Road near Newtownards.

* Used as the cover art for poetry anthology Moonstone Silhouettes by R.J. Dent, Inclement Publishing, 2009.
Available from info@rjdent.com

 

"Kempe Stones". Image (c) RJE Simpson 2007. Not to be used without written permission. All Rights Reserved
"The Skull"
Chalk on black cartridge paper.
June 2010
Size: A4
"Candlelight"
Acrylics on black card. c. 2003-2005.
Size: A1

I spent a winter working on the basis of a project entitled "rituals", which was inspired by horror films and the iconography of the occult/wicca which at the time was popular with young people, thanks to the rise of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The photography for the project was never quite right, and most of the work was abandoned. A few years ago I started to rework and to finish a couple of paintings I had sketched out in 1999, and this was one of them. The subject was dressed in a white shirt, and lit only by a candle, in a room enveloped by darkness.

The end result is rather appealing and macabre. The slight colouring from the candle sets of the portrait nicely, draws our attention and hints at bloody connotations and an evocation of the female.

Unusually for one of my works, it isn't signed or dated on the front, something I would normally do when I am finished with a piece, perhaps suggesting I had intended to return to it.

 

"Candlelight" image (c) RJE Simpson 2007. Not to be used without written permission. All Rights Reserved
"The Reticule"
Oil & watercolour paper. 2000
Size: 25cm x 15cm

I've never been happy with my paintings, which is part of the reason why I moved into photography. This oil painting was for a book of poetry I was putting together in 1999/2000. An impressionistic vision of a reticule or crystal ball. It uses bold cold colours to suggest foreboding, and is curious for its circular theme which continues to the black circle which frames the object.

 

"The Reticule", oil and watercolour 2000. Image (c) Robert J.E. Simpson 2006. All Rights Reserved
"Gargoyle"
Acrylic on canvas. 2006
Size:

Having barely touched a brush in over a year this painting is something of a mixed bag, and the photograph doesn't really do the image justice. Painted in thick strokes, the background is something of a vague and admittedly clumsy work. The Gargoyle I was much happier with. Although colour painting has never been my strong point.
 Based upon my own photograph (from 2005) of the famous Notre Dame gargoyle in Paris.

 

"Derelict"
Pastels & chalk on card. 1998.
Size: A1

A piece which is closer to impressionism rather than abstraction. The forms are clearly defined and the subject matter is easy to determine. This is one of a number of works which I did relatively quickly using chalks and pastels, attempting to refrain from overly complex detail.

The figure stands in the frame of an old building looking away from us towards an industrial tower. There is a hint of foliage encroaching on the subject, fusing together industry and nature.