Following life’s Clues…..

I am off to Saorge, France for a few days….


When I was with friends in Wales this past summer, we talked about my wish to find Marmite Heaven – (will write more about MH in a later post).     My friends have been renting a house in Saorge, France for the past year and suggested that I visit before their rental finished, as it might be a place where I would enjoy sketching/painting and possibly more….we will see.   As the title of this post indicates….I am following life’s clues…..


I will fly to Nice, where I will be met by my friend Gareth.    We will then drive up into the mountains to Saorge, which sits on the border off Italy and France – two of my favourite countries.


I have already scheduled a workshop in London this November, where I will be using images of Saorge as the ‘jumping off point’ for paintings…..and so am hoping to return next week with lots of information and images – both sketches and photographs – to share here.

Meanwhile, I leave you with a double dose of magic with this new ‘painted elephant plus magical hummingbirds’       It is already adorning products at


A Bientôt.





Spontaneous watercolour/gouache painting plus assorted palettes.

“The creative process is all about experimenting, letting go of the logical information that our brains have processed during our lifetimes, and embracing the concept of seeing our world in a much broader sense”    Janet Weight Reed – The Apple Exercise

This image is about being spontaneous – not being governed by an imagined outcome.  a case of going with the flow.…...watercolour/gouache20-11-15-1-510

I began with a mix of burnt sienna and prussian blue to make the darks, along with glorious Winsor & Newton Green Gold – a wonderfully transparent pigment.


Working very fast and using an old image as a  ‘jumping off point’ I begin to build up the whole composition.

All white areas are dry white paper…..


Continuing to work rapidly, I start to build up the image..using a mix of transparent watercolour and opaque designer gouache.      I use a knife to scrape out areas…to give a sense of energy.


I am not concerned about the end result…rather am enjoying the process of letting go and applying juicy paint to the paper…

As is the case with all of’s all about the journey and not the destination……..


Building layers of paint, I have allowed some of the transparent watercolours to show through.   At the same time I add gouache to add opaque areas to the image.    All whites are dry white paper. 

I was going to add a hummingbird – maybe later…..


I have been asked what palettes I use for my watercolours…..this image shows a selection.

I am a creature of habit…and have had some of these palettes for over thirty years..namely the round palette and the tiny sketching palette.

The smaller palette in bottom left corner with fold over lid is perfect for travelling – and the large palette on right with lid is also goof for long haul trips.      When I run out of colour in my tiny palette, I simply refill it with tube paint.

I don’t clean off all the paint between painting sessions.     I run the palette under the tap using a brush to remove the messy areas.      This leaves blobs of pure colour which are still perfectly usable!     If it dries completely, you simply re-activate with water.


A magical hummingbird for the week ahead….

If you visit  you will see that the magical hummingbirds have been very busy:)



A bientôt

Watercolour demo…..

Along with workshops, I also like to give watercolour demonstrations.    This is an excellent way to give people a taster of what watercolour painting can be.

It’s always important to remember that my demo might be very different from other artists.    What I say and do isn’t necessarily what others might agree with, or indeed people wishing to learn about watercolour painting might wish to follow.    It’s just another way of approaching the medium.

Red landscape – A very simple watercolour exercise….perfect for beginners. 

P1100748I gave a demonstration on Monday at The Hurlingham Club in London, but as I haven’t had time to unpack my bag yet, I am using an example I have on file.

In this frame I wet the ‘sky’ area of the painting – dropped some colour into it and allow the paint to bleed (run)……..It’s important to note that at this point the bottom part of the paper is kept as dry white paper.


This next technique is possibly one of the most important – it allows for the avoidance of Mud!!    The enemy of any watercolorist….

I have taken a clean, wet brush and gently teased the paint from the sky area, which is still wet, and pulled the colour down.     Note I have left some dry white paper at the horizon line.

Always have several pots of clean water available….again this helps in the avoidance of mud.


Working on dry paper, is called ‘dry brush’ which can be very confusing given that the brush always has to have some wetness to it.    Like all things there’s all sorts of jargon which can bamboozle someone knew to the game!

In this frame, using a mix of purple and burnt sienna…I have indicated dark areas in the foreground – consciously leaving a lot of dry white paper.    I have also allowed the same colour mix to bleed up into the skyline….giving the illusion of trees on the horizon line.


And finally the finished image.      Note the areas where I have left – dry white paper’  (this gives the sparkle to watercolour painting) – and also that I have allowed the paint to run….and do its own thing….which I find is one of the  great joys of watercolour painting… an excellent lesson in ‘letting go of control’.

Finally I took a knife and scraped out a few lines in the foreground, indicating reeds/grasses.

The exercise is a great one to PLAY with….the importance of which I can never emphasise enough.       I find that tube paints allow me to work with juicier colours……again if just starting out, purchase in expensive set of paintings to PLAY with……


And of course I must finish with a magical hummingbird.           They do seem to  be weaving their magic at the moment:)

Here is the l link to my new ‘Hummingbird page’ –     


Enjoy a lovely weekend….

A Bientôt


There are no lines around Mother Nature….

Large oil on canvas…6′ x 4′ – Interconnections20-11-15-1-16Every now and then people send me images of paintings or sketches which I have long forgotten.      This week a friend posted a sketch (apparently she found it on the back of another painting) which immediately took me to a point in time that has continued to have a huge influence on my work.

This was the sketch……..One of many initial ‘rock and nude’ sketches from the early eighties. 


For those who have followed my blog for a while, they might remember other posts about this period, however the unearthing of this sketch has prompted me to tell the story of how the series came about and more importantly why it continues to influence my work and thinking today.

In 1981/82 – I was invited to paint on Isle au Haut, a rugged island (about the size of Manhattan Island, New York) part of Acadia National Park, Maine.      At that time other than a few lobster fishermen, for the most part the Island was uninhabited.   There was a depot where basic provisions could be bought.    Blueberries, clams  and other natural delights could be foraged and the fisherman were always happy to sell some of their catch.

I took this photograph from the Internet as in 1981 we didn’t take a camera…everything was recorded with brush and paints.  


Boom Beach.      Ecologically speaking this is a very young Island….there is a sense of rawness….which I loved.


Initially, I was interested in painting the rocks….and indeed made countless watercolour sketches.      After returning to the mainland, It was from these sketches that I painted large canvases.

One of the first Rock paintings – large oil on canvas.   I believe this painting is in Colorado.  Note that it was signed before I began to use my maiden name as part of my signature (Weight Reed)


As I observed and explored the Island, the deep understanding came to me that  ‘there are no lines around Mother Nature – Everything is fluid’        All of life is interconnected.   

I  believe it is because we have ignored this basic principle that our world is in such a mess today…..!

The more I observed, I saw human form within the rock formations, which lead me to begin a large series of work where I consciously integrated the two elements.     (My header painting was the first in that series, and I am glad to say it is now with me in London)

Another in the series….large canvas. 


Over the years, I have travelled a great deal and lived in different places.   I have had big studios, and small studios….which often account for my working in one medium or another.     In other words a big studio usually equals large canvases….smaller studios mean paper pieces….and when I am travelling and painting…watercolour is a much easier medium to manage.

Currently I am living and working in a relatively small space in London which is a good base to travel from and at the same time oversee the care of my 95 year old Mother who is in a nursing home close by.        However, should that change I plan to spend much more time in France, and other parts of Europe, and ultimately develop a studio in Marmite Heaven.…(more about that in another blog)

One might ask – how the magical hummingbirds are influenced by this period?    

Hummingbirds are a constant reminder of the wonders and fluid nature of all life.  watercolour/gouache


A Bientôt















Rapid watercolour of chicken……

The word ‘mud’ comes up quite a lot when talking about watercolour painting.    This rapid watercolour sketch of a chicken is all about avoiding mud…..


For those who are nervous of using good paper…allow yourself to play on newspaper, inexpensive wall paper lining, or anything else that might be at hand and I always suggest working on at least two pieces at once….four is better:)

Just begin – You will note that all the whites in this image are  dry white paper.     


If you are using a photograph – remember it is simply your ‘jumping off point’  


View the colours and shapes of your subject – as if it were a jigsaw puzzle and remember there are no lines around Mother Nature…    Everything is fluid…which is why watercolour is the perfect medium.

20-11-15-1-486One very important technique I have used in this little demo is to take a clean wet brush – using it to tease paint out which is already on the paper.      This gives an element of control and helps to keep the dry white paper areas.

Remember there are no mistakes in this fluid painting….allow the watercolour to perform its magic – and most importantly allow yourself to Play. 

Watercolour/gouache magical hummingbird….Happy weekend…


A Bientôt.




Fifty years ago…….Happy Birthday Jarrod

Fifty years ago, on 10th September my darling son, Jarrod Reed was born…..This post is a tribute to him.

A collage of just a very few moments in Jarod’s life…. 

20-11-15-1-396The story of Jarrod’s birth still makes me smile – and so I will share it here.

On January 28th, 1966 – along with my first husband who was English, I set sail on the United States Liner from Southampton England to New York.    We were planning on a two year visit.      Just out of art college I was twenty years old.

The crossing was one of the roughest on record at that time, and indeed there were many accidents on the ship due to very rough seas.     Although there were several life boat practises….all I wanted to do was die!!!   Oh I was so terribly sick.

Having arrived in New York, (thinking that all would be well once I hit terra firma) we took a Greyhound Bus to Miami Florida, and then we were driven to Key West – our destination…and yes, I was sick the whole way and it felt as if the very land beneath me was rocking and rolling just like the ocean!

So when I was still being sick two months after our arrival on Key West Florida….and remember this was way before any pregnancy tests were available at the local chemist….I was quite shocked to find that I was pregnant….and in hindsight even more amazed that Jarrod had survived such a rough beginning.

With Jarrod  – Ft. Lauderdale – Florida – 1966.


Jarrod was a dear ittle boy….and I might add continues to be a wonderful adult….I am very proud of him.     Among other things, he is a superb musician and chef…..

I am also pleased to note that Jarrod is in a very happy place as he reaches 50.    Nearly three years ago, he reconnected with a childhood friend – (whose mother happens to be an artist friend of mine:) and they are extremely  happy.    Definitely a case  of ‘none of us is every creative enough to know how things will actually work out.…..’      Recent pictures of Jarrod and Kendle together are in the collage.

Love this picture – one of a series taken by my childhood friend, Mick Duff when Jarrod and I were visiting the UK. 


Big brother to Christie – (I never could bake cakes:)


Jarrod – 27 years old 


At thirty – when he visited me in Wales


Jarrod and Kendle today on the horse farm where they live….


Ala prima oil painting  – Jarrod 27 years  – signed Moo Mar – the name Jarrod gave me many years ago……


And so my very gifted, wonderful son….here’s wishing you a fabulous fiftieth  birthday and may you and Kendle enjoy many more together.

Moo Mar…….:)












For all magical hummingbird lovers…..

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Just enter my name in the search engine….

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.