Happy Thanksgiving……

I saw this mural in Ipswich, Massachusetts a few years ago…It tells the story of the first Thanksgiving.      In front of the  mural stands my niece, daughter and mini niece…a very happy memory. 13603834_10154207083495396_5242055752857820943_oI Lived in the States from 1966 til 1993 when I enjoyed many a happy Thanksgiving celebration.      I always look upon this holiday with great affection.

I came across this example of Mother Nature’s magnificent bounty when visiting a friend in Haye on Wye.        20-11-15 - 1 (1120)We are reminded today to be thankful for each moment and grateful for all our blessings.

I have just had a beautiful time away for which I am so grateful.    To spend time with good friends is one of life’s greatest joys.

May everyone be surrounded with magical hummingbirds this day.   – watercolour

15129403_10154629951660396_7254253705154814862_oA Bientôt.

The colours of Autumn….

“Autumn’s the mellow time”      William Allingham

I am off to Wales and Somerset to be with good friends and of course take photographs and make watercolour sketches.     As usual I will take a break from technology during this period.

Back here around the 24th November.

Brecon Beacons – Wales – watercolour22289730_10155714657220396_7484313288302574968_oMist over the Usk Valley – Wales – watercolour21731439_10155640296835396_1011210038349474506_oCrug Howell – Usk Valley Wales – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (1)view from Curlews – overlooking the Usk Valley Wales – watercolour21587193_10155634459635396_3638491708032799665_oBrecon Beacons Wales – watercolour/gouache22424479_10155722668785396_4972642561881605246_oI will of course travel with the Magical Hummingbirds….20-11-15 - 1 (772)

A Bientôt.

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Playing and letting go…..

“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.”     from The Apple Exercise – Janet Weight Reed. 20-11-15 - 1 (1079)I like to begin my day with a warming up exercise.      This awakens my senses and connects me to my materials and environment.           With regard to subject matter – it can be anything.   It is  helpful to have a ‘jumping off point’.      In this instance, I used a picture of an Iris.    In itself very attractive as a photograph but lacking in vibrancy and energy.

20-11-15 - 1 (1012)Our minds tend to be conditioned by what we have been taught, rather than what we actually see or feel.      When I look at this photograph, in my mind’s eye I immediately see a field of Iris infused with energy, light and shade.

All these images are 5 minute studies.    They are all about observation and letting go of preconceived notions.       Remember – it’s only paper.

20-11-15 - 1 (1011)    It is important to note that even if your end goal is to paint a detailed, realistic image, warming up and exploring a subject in this manner will help enormously. 20-11-15 - 1 (1001)If we were able to time travel back to our earliest formative years, (1 to 3) when the world appeared as a kaleidoscope of colour and shapes.   When our young minds were full of wonder, we could regain our natural curiosity and love for colour and form. 20-11-15 - 1 (1067)As pointed out in previous blogs…any fear of messing up a good piece of paper, can be removed by using newspaper or brown wrapping paper to start with.   Simply allow yourself to put strong marks onto the paper.     See all the wonderful things that your paintbrush can do….and have fun. 20-11-15 - 1 (1079)The more we exercise and practise our creative thinking, the easier and more fluent the process becomes.

A magical hummingbird drinking from the sweet nectar of life…...rapid watercolour.

20-11-15 - 1 (716)A bientot 

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Watercolour demo – using the Cala Lily

“Human subtlety sill never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.”     Leonardo da Vinci. 

20-11-15 - 1 (478)Watercolour is a beautiful medium.        There are a few basic techniques to learn – each one taking time and patience to master.      Allowing oneself to play with the medium will help build confidence and ability.

In this instance I have sketched out two cala lilies – using yellow ochre.    I am working on a Saunders and Waterford Hot Pressed – heavy paper.  (more about papers at end of blog)

20-11-15 - 1 (607)Having sketched the basic image I add ‘juicy paint’ into the negative space.    I am using a mix of Daniel Smith Perylene Maroon with Winsor & Newton Winsor Violet and a little Winsor & Newton Cadmium Orange. 

When we add paint to the negative space – we automatically reveal the subject…..So often we struggle with a particular element of a painting, when all we need to do is observe the negative space. 20-11-15 - 1 (787)Using very small amounts of pigment I begin to add colour to the flower.    For this I use Winsor & Newton Green Gold and a touch of Windsor & Newton Cadmium yellow. For the dark green in stem and shadow I mix some Winsor & Newton Burnt Sienna with a tiny amount of prussian blue and Gold Green. 

All whites are dry white paper. 

20-11-15 - 1 (799)I begin to build depth inside the lily using small amounts of pigment – making sure to leave dry white paper for highlights. 20-11-15 - 1 (805)As I build up the colour I am mindful of bringing the background colours into the Lilies.    Everything is connected….nothing is isolated.     By moving colour around a painting we bring a sense of harmony and rhythm.

It is important to note, that when we change one fraction of a painting – (no matter what the size) we change the whole.     This is true for everything in life. 20-11-15 - 1 (806)The finished watercolour is an observational exercise revealing the subtlety of nature….. and at the same time honing watercolour technique.       I hope that there is an element of energy and movement.  20-11-15 - 1 (478)The most important thing is to PLAY  and warm up.    This can be done on any paper including newspaper…..The key is to release any fears or anxiety about messing up a good piece of paper.  Ultimately this is a freeing up mechanism.

When purchasing watercolour paper – it is measured by weight and surface quality….Cold Pressed for rougher surface.  NOT (meaning not hot pressed) is smoother and Hot Pressed is very smooth.    My analogy is that using cold pressed is like roller skating and hot pressed like ice skating – NOT is somewhere in the middle.

When we purchase a piece of lb140 weight paper – this simply means that the ream of paper (500 sheets) weighs lb140 – and of course the same applies for all weights.    It’s a good idea to purchase a sample pack of papers….and again PLAY. 

I hope everyone enjoys a creative weekend….no matter what your medium….and that the magical hummingbirds are with you.

watercolour/gouache11194395_10153252694930396_8127371946973631924_oNew hummingbird products including some pretty nifty wrist watches in my Zazzle shop.

http://www.zazzle.com/janet+weight+reed+gifts

A Bientôt

 

Mother Nature’s reminders of not to take life for granted….

“Even with all our technology and the inventions that make modern life so much easier than it once was, it takes one big natural disaster to wipe all that away and remind us that, here on Earth, we’re still at the mercy of nature”  Neil deGrasse Tyson – Scientist

Fires fuelled by drought, high temperatures and wind along with other catastrophic natural disasters are all contributing factors to the millions of displaced people roaming the earth looking for somewhere to live and work.

Quintin – watercolour     P1150314It is very easy for those of us with a roof over our heads, food in the cupboards and an ordered infrastructure to live within to believe that we are OK…..All those awful things only happen to other people.     It would seem that we take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.

Tom – American poet20-11-15-1-745I was prompted to write this post because two people I know have been effected by the terrible fires in California.       All of a sudden ordered lives have been turned upside down and inside out……For many life is now unrecognisable.

The same of course can be said for the people so badly pummelled by recent hurricanes and flooding…..Within hours, all that was ‘normal’ – has changed.

Lyn  1003044_10151806614305396_576151846_n

Although I have never been in such a catastrophe – I have had major changes in my life which have meant learning to live in new ways.     Most certainly, they have taught me never to take anything for granted.

When people’s lives are torn apart…it takes time to pick up the pieces – to start again.     Orderly lives are replaced with fragmentation…..routines disappear until new ones are established.     The more adaptable we are, the better.

P1160910Speaking from personal experience, change can come with new opportunities.   New ways to see ourselves – new ways to live our lives.

Once again, I believe that the creative process can help and indeed maybe guide some into a new more creative way of being.      Creatives are very familiar with seeing life in many different ways….which is the kind of thinking that needs to prevail at such times.

Children playing with shells on Armona Island Portugal. 20-11-15 - 1 (913)One friend said it was very difficult to know what to take when having to leave a home very quickly.   A home filled with years of memories and all the things we tend to take for granted.

Peter Redmond 192175_10151147549835396_728758025_o

Learning to respect Mother Nature is key to living well on Earth.    Every time a piece of litter is dropped – although it may seem insignificant – it shows a lack of respect for our beautiful Earth.

My daughter Christie with two magical hummingbirds. 20-11-15-1-496

“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted”.   Aldous Huxley

A Bientôt

 

Watercolour demo…..

I plan to give more watercolour demos on my blog, but for today here is a re-blog. Remember to PLAY – it’s a vital part of the creative process.

My Life as an Artist (2)

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…

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