Tumb nail sketches…..and the story behind them.

I began this week by taking sketchbooks at random from my bookcase.

Every page I have opened, has taken me back to a moment and the story surrounding that moment.

This little sketch was made on the Roscoff to Plymouth, Brittany Ferry in 1995.     

I had been in Brittany for six week where I had an exhibition at the Auguste Brizeux Museum, and had been asked by a friend if their sixteen year old daughter, Caroline, could travel with me on the six hour ferry crossing back to England.    She was to be met by an English family in Plymouth.  

It was a glorious crossing and so we sat on deck for the entire six hours and I made numerous sketches and notes – one of them being this little boy looking out to sea. 

Upon arrival in Plymouth, the prescribed English family were there to meet Caroline, and so we all shook hands, kissed and parted ways.

The only thing is – it turned out to be the wrong family!     However, ultimately the right family appeared…..and confusion was settled.    I found out about this after I returned home to Wales.    All’s well that ends well…..


An amusing one. 

I was on the Eurostar on my way to Paris where daughter Christie was studying at the time, and spotted this quintessentially English couple across the aisle from me….I simply couldn’t resist.


I am not a lover of McDonalds, however, I remember on this day it was brutally hot in Paris, and I needed a quick cold drink…..Across the table from me sat this wonderful man – proving the point we never know when a good sketch opportunity might arise. 


Moving to San Francisco.

Tom McGrady became a student of mine after he arrived at my studio in West Chester, Pennsyvania….aged sixteen several years before this sketch was made. .    

He wanted to study with me but had no money.    He suggested that he could do odd jobs in and around the studio.     After looking at his work which was impressive even then, I of course said – yes.

Later, Tom moved to California where he became a working artist and fine cabinet maker….

This rapid sketch was made as we sat talking on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco….so  much more to this story….all triggered by finding this sketch. 


‘You can’t do sketches enough.   Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh’   John Singer Sargent.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend.

A Bientôt

15 thoughts on “Tumb nail sketches…..and the story behind them.

  1. First Night Design

    The sketch of the old man is wonderful. As ever, your ability to capture the essence of someone’s character is superb. I’m also looking forward to more of Tom’s story. Happy Weekend!

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Wonderful news….I had lost contact with Tom which is most unusual for me….but found him on FB and we have reconnected…which is great:) More to come at a later date .x

  2. Peter Wells aka Countingducks

    Isn’t it wonderful how a few movements of a gifted pen can capture the essence and character of a moment in a few strokes. I am so glad your sixteen year old friend finally ended up with her own family as that could certainly have been a posting in its own right!

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you, Peter….I found out when I returned to Wales, that there were two families waiting for young friench girls…and both fitted the profile….however, I passed Caroline onto the wrong one:) Yes, it could make a superb blog. Janet.

  3. snowbird

    What lovely sketches and stories, I especially loved the little boy and the English couple with funny chins! I’m sure each of these stories have a lot more too them!xxx


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