A very special trip to France. Viva la Difference………

Viva la Difference.       I have just visited two very different regions of France.    For the first half of the trip I stayed in an ancient hill village situated in the Pyrenees, Languedoc-Roussillon region.     (I will write about this in my next blog)   20-11-15 - 1 (1315)For the second part of my trip I stayed in Ploeumeur – very close to Lorient in the Brittany Region.

In 1995 (two years after I returned to the UK/Europe from the United States) I had an exhibition in Brittany.    At that time I fell in love with the people and the wonderful traditions of the region.

My subject in the exhibition poster is a young girl named Solen.    I remember painting her when she visited Crickhowell, Wales– which brings forth another important connection.     Wales and Brittany are both of Celtic heritage.      Both places share a love of the arts, music and enjoy very strong traditions.

Note that in 1995, I was still signing my paintings  Janet Reed.   Shortly after this, I began to use my maiden name Weight Reed. 20-11-15 - 1 (1642)During this visit I stayed with my dear friend Elisabeth (Babeth), her lovely partner Erve and their beautiful little dog Nouchka:)    I first met Elisabeth when she visited Crickhowell, Wales in 1993 – the year I arrived there….and we have been good friends since.      Today she lives a minute’s walk from beautiful beaches…..and is very happy.

With multi talented Elisabeth on a windy beach in Brittany.    Elisabeth paints, makes music and is a wonderful cook. 20-11-15 - 1 (1584)And with Helene (Elisabeth’s sister-in-law) who I have also known for many years….such special friends 20-11-15 - 1 (1582)It was through the 1995 exhibition that I realised how much I enjoyed painting people in a rapid watercolour style.    I recognised that I captured through the portraits a moment in time…..and most importantly, I was able to connect with the people I met in a very special way. 

I first painted Vincent, one of Elisabeth’s children, when he was seven years old – today he is in his mid thirties.      This little portrait shows a moment in time – a moment in Vicent’s life. 20-11-15 - 1 (1566)And beautiful Maelle – Elisabeth’s daughter – seventeen years old when I painted this and now a mother of two children and living in Vancouver. 20-11-15 - 1 (1568)And dear Nicholas – who I saw on this visit (now in his mid thirties) and today resembling one of Cezanne’s self portraits.    As I spoke with Nicholas I could still see the little boy in him.20-11-15 - 1 (1567)I have so many lovely stories about the people I have painted in many different countries.    Often we don’t speak a common language, but painting like music becomes a Universal language – crossing all barriers.

A quick watercolour of Elisabeth as we enjoyed conversation….201820-11-15 - 1 (1572)Another of her partner Erve – musician and all round good man.  201820-11-15 - 1 (1571)Erve who is part of a Breton male choir ‘Les Gabiers d’Artimon’ –   playing the Binjou – a bagpipe type instrument20-11-15 - 1 (1588)Erve leading a group on an exercise programme in the sea very close to where he and Elisabeth live.        They do this no matter what the weather…20-11-15 - 1 (1517)One of the many beautiful beaches that go on for miles and miles….20-11-15 - 1 (1541)The Little Port of Doelan in Finistaire- where the French version of Doc Martin is filmed…..What a surprise that was !   Along with Nicole, a lovely friend of Elisabeth, we enjoyed a superb lunch and afterwards a walk along the cliffs. 20-11-15 - 1 (1621)In visiting this region I am reminded that England and France were once geographically joined.…which is why parts of SW England (Cornwall and Devon) resemble so much of Brittany.    Other than the fact that Brittany has better summers, the weather is also also similar.

And then there are the crepes – in every flavour imaginable….and they are delicious, as is all French food………20-11-15 - 1 (1525)During my forty five year career I have experienced moments when I wondered how could I continue….how could I go on?      This trip has reminded me of how fortunate I am to have lived the life I have – to have met so many wonderful people.    To live the life of an artist.

I must finish this post with darling little Nuouchka, who has definitely found a place in my heart. 20-11-15 - 1 (1561)And of course a magical hummingbird – or Colibri Magique.….they were with me all the way. 20-11-15 - 1 (766)Wishing one and all a beautiful day and weekend ahead.

A Bientot


I am off to paint and be with friends in France

‘Wherever you go, go with all your heart’    Confucius. 

Dancing birds – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (958)I am looking forward to painting and being with dear friends in France during the next couple of weeks.

First to SW France and then onto Lorient, Brittany.       Hopefully I will return with a filled sketch book and watercolour paintings.

Egret rising – watercolour1973568_10152274469345396_407293163_o.jpgUne colibri magique pour vous.

15129403_10154629951660396_7254253705154814862_oBack here mid March.

A bientôt


How Creativity and a simple daily plan contribute to holistic wellbeing.

‘Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind and spirit – the realisation that everything we do, think, feel and believe has an effect on our state of well-being’.   Greg Anderson. 

watercolour/gouache – I painted this overlooking the Usk Valley Wales where the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains meet.       Through Mother Nature we see how all of life is interconnected. 20-11-15 - 1 (267)What is Holistic wellbeing?  

Holistic wellbeing is characterised by the treatment of the whole person.    It is to look at the self from a whole (holistic) perspective and to understand the mind, body, spirit connection.  

To change one fraction of a painting, – changes the whole painting.     This is true for we humans….to change one small part of ourselves, (positively or negatively), changes the whole. 

watercolour/gouache – Brecon Beacons Wales – Mist over the hills. 20-11-15 - 1 (493)In our ever more complex and stressful day to day living, finding ways to balance the different aspects of our lives can at times seem overwhelming.     It is for this reason that I believe to make changes, we first need to create a simple daily plan.  

The following are some of the things that have helped me over the years.

Movement to enhance physical wellbeing –  A daily walk – a stretching routine – dance.   (we don’t have to run a marathon).

Emotional  wellbeing  – We can do this by removing unnecessary technical stuff.    Do we really need our phones on 24/7?

Clearing the space in which we live helps to clear the mind and the body.

Keeping pen and paper close at hand to write down thoughts and feelings.   Emptying our heads before going to sleep by writing down anything that is causing distress or disruption.

Spiritual food –    The creative process in all it’s many forms can feed this need.   Painting, writing, music, gardening, cooking and colour all help to feed our senses and enhance our imagination and observational skills.       

Without establishing simple routines, our creativity can be neglected.    My little book – The Apple Exercise – is all about making space in our daily lives to explore our creativity.     In the book I suggest fifteen minute exercises.

Each person has to create their own simple daily plan, one that works for them.

When we address these simple needs we experience a sense of wellbeing.

This watercolour exercise demonstrates that as we change one small portion of a painting, or ourselves, the whole changes. 

20-11-15-1-726Allow time for a new simple daily plan to become part of who you are….change one element at a time.20-11-15-1-728It takes 28 days to form a new habit.       The key is to be persistent and consistent.        20-11-15-1-729As we make positive simple changes, stress is replaced with a calmness which supports the whole.     This is holistic well-being.    20-11-15-1-731Everything I write in this blog comes from personal experience.    I came up with a simple daily plan for myself thirty-two years ago, when I recognised that my own life had become overwhelming – out of control.       Feeling overwhelmed and fragmented affected my physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

You might say that at that time, I had an epiphany, a sudden and striking realisation that I needed and wanted to change.

To make these changes, I started with a very simple daily plan.    Slowly but surely my life improved beyond recognition.

With these tried and true tools in place – I am now able to face stressful situations in a much more constructive way.

‘The key is changing our habits and, in particular, the habits of the mind’.   Buddhist Offerings. 

Happy Valentine’s Day from the magical hummingbirds. 🙂20-11-15 - 1 (458)A Bientot


Time is free, but it is priceless……..

20-11-15 - 1 (248)“Time is free, but it is priceless.    You can’t own it, but you can use it.   You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.    Once you have lost it you can never get it back.”   Harvey Mackay.

Having just celebrated another birthday, I am only too aware of the rapid movement of time and how precious every moment is.

Flowers from an English country garden.   A beautiful moment in time. 27164812_10156033362095396_1542881300197917602_oWhen I sit observing Mother Nature’s bounty, I am reminded that all of life is fragile and temporary.    A flower in full bloom reminds me that beauty is a fleeting and enjoyable event,  however it is the full evolution of a plant that teaches us so much more.

watercolour27164538_10156023231000396_5682597220846199362_oAs Charles Darwin said – ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent – it is the one that is most adaptable to change’

This is possibly one of the many reasons that I am so attracted to the hummingbird.   The Hummingbird goes into a deep torpor during the cold nights – a death like sleep where the little creature lowers its metabolic rate by as much as 95%.      As the warm sun rises, so does the metabolic rate of the hummingbird.    The tiny bird awakens from this state with enough energy reserves to see it through the first feedings of the morning.      The hummingbird’s circadian clock triggers its time of arousal, one or two hours before dawn.

watercolour/gouache16463495_10154868634630396_3944780471682145171_oCircadian rhythms are found in human beings and most living things, responding primarily to light and darkness in the environment.       However in today’s 24/7 techno charged world where time zones are crossed without even a thought and light pollution prevails around major cities,  we humans seem to have lost track of the natural rhythms of life.     Our time clocks are out of alignment .

watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (268)Is it any wonder then, that so many are feeling stress and an inability to slow down and relax?    Is it any wonder that many young children who are glued to screens, often in their bedrooms, never feel at rest?

Potting plants in a Somerset garden20-11-15 - 1 (1101) From Marcus Aurelius – ‘Time is a river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.’

All of which convinces me how important it is to make the very best of every moment we have, because once that moments gone, it will never return.

watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (1121)

A Bientôt                           http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk


Acquiring Creator’s Survival Skills

Another superb post from David Rogers. I believe this is a post that all creatives would do well to read and digest. Wishing one and all a very creative day. Janet


Whether they are five or seventy-five, beginning creators don’t know the first thing about their craft, but don’t know they don’t know. They’re playing, experimenting, discovering, having fun, and are thrilled to be creating, and that’s Young boy painting at an easelenough. Then in time, if they are to become more skilled writers, artists, actors, dancers, and so forth, they will realize they don’t know enough about the craft they’ve now become attracted to more seriously.

They want to get better and be more accomplished and have success. So they strive to learn as much as they can about their craft. That drive to get better and better still, to find their one true voice that activates even their deepest creative potentials, to learn, to reach consistent excellence over a long period of time dominates true creators as long as they live.

The more skillfully advanced creators know a tremendous amount about their craft and…

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