Becoming a bird…….

I am giving a workshop on August 17th for the Chiswick Pier Trust based on bird life found on the River Thames.

For those who follow my blog, you will know that I paint hummingbirds – a subject I have used as symbolic imagery in my paintings for over thirty years.     However, I don’t often show other bird images, and so thought this would be a good opportunity to do so, and at the same time talk about how I approach the subject.

Mallard duck in flight – River Thames

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In painting birds, I need to become a bird.   I have to experience within myself the sensation and feeling of freedom and movement which so inspires we mere mortals.

Kingfisher diving. 

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The medium of watercolour is perfect for this.       It allows me to express myself spontaneously – and at the same time capture the essence of my subject.

Two Kingfishers 

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How often do we say – I would love to be as free as a bird……..

When I can’t make sense of the world, I imagine that I am a bird – observing our world from a much clearer point of view.        It can be very illuminating……

Mallard duck coming in for landing….

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“The reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.”   J M Barrie. 

Of course, I must finish with hummingbird…..The little flying jewels that symbolise for me the ‘unseen magic’ in our world.    Hummingbird with Bird of Paradise….

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A bientôt

46 thoughts on “Becoming a bird…….

  1. Teagan Geneviene

    Dear Janet, you truly did capture the essence of these lovely creatures. I enjoyed your descriptions — you had me imagining along with you. I especially like the first painting — what a magnificent mallard. I’ve always loved the iridescent green feathers on their heads and you captured it well.
    This weekend I thought I had succeeded in getting myself to Arizona. A light at the end of the tunnel at last. But alas the light was from the freight train coming at me. 😉 LOL. So the hunt is still on. Which makes your hummer with the bird of paradise so appropriate for my “hump day”… a lovely image to make me think of your magical hummingbirds flying me to my own southwestern paradise. Magical mega hugs, my friend. ❤ 🙂

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning, Teagan and thank you so much for this lovely comment. I was thinking about you yesterday as I watched a BBC documentary about Georgia O’Keefe. if you can get the BBC – please watch – It’s BBC 1 – and the programme is called ‘Imagine’ Georgia O’keefe. It’s a one hour programme, and shows the New Mexico high desert in all its glory. I have visited the place – O’keefe’s home along with Taos, Santa Fe, etc….and it really is a magical. You will get there one of these days, I just know it. Right now, there is a place waiting for you with your name on it:) By the way we have a big O’Keefe exhibition opening at Tate Modern in London, hence the programme.
      I will be sending lots of magical hummers in your direction. xxx

  2. Bushka

    Superb post, Janet! Love your approach…. to try ‘to be’ or ‘become’ your subject…..Not easy…but amazing what the imagination can facilitate. 😉
    Love that quote of Barrie’s….. Have fun with the ‘winging workshop’….. Hugs! ❤

  3. inesephoto

    Your flying jewels have always inspired me. It is the first time I see your paintings of other birds, and they are stunning. Thank you for sharing this beauty!

  4. Mary

    This is what makes your work so inspiring – its free, vibrant and full of life. The mallards are gorgeous jewels, I watch ducks all the time as they frequent ponds around our house and Janet you perfect have mimicked their performances of landing and taking off. I call if performance because they are very entertaining. Your creativity is always at a notch above, just love it. Have a wonderful evening!

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning, Mary….thank you so much for this lovely comment, and yes you are so right to observe ducks is like watching a finely choreographed performance:) Wishing for you a lovely day and week ahead…janet:)

  5. snowbird

    What a brilliant quote. These birds took my breath away, especially the first two, the colours and movement are simply stunning. I know I always say it but what a talent you have!!!xxx

  6. olganm

    Beautiful watercolours and very apt description of the process (very vivid and fluid indeed). The workshop sounds great. I wonder if they still have any places left (not that I have any idea of my schedule at the moment…)

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Olga, Thank you for the lovely comment. I will send later today the e mail address re the Chiswick Pier Trust workshop. You would need to contact them to find out about places. It would be fantastic to see you….meanwhile, enjoy the weekend. Janet:)xx

    2. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning, Olga….you might receive two responses to your comment, as I appear to have some gremlins:) Thank you so much, I really appreciate…and will send you Gill Exton’s e mail address later today….She is the person who runs the workshop at Chiswick Pier Trust. It would be lovely to see you there…meanwhile – have a fantastic weekend….Janet. x

  7. Jet Eliot

    Your paintings take my breath away, Janet. The movement and spirit you capture of each species is astounding–and I see why: you become the bird. When I watch birds I fly with them too. I never thought about it until now, but I do this the most with swallows. Thank you so much for sharing your incredible skills and gifts. And have fun on the 17th.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning, Jet and thank you for this lovely comment. Coming from you, an acute observer of nature, I really appreciate. I now have your book on my Kindle, and as soon as I finish another book I am reading, I will enjoy. Meanwhile hope you have a beautiful weekend. Janet:)

      1. Jet Eliot

        I am quietly smiling to myself, Janet, thinking about my novel on your Kindle, your painter’s hands holding it, the swirl of London around you as you read a story based in Australia. It’s a big world and a small world we live in. Enjoy, my friend~~

  8. Timi Townsend

    As a neophyte birder, I congratulate you on the way you capture the essence of their beauty and their movement through space!
    And thank you for your Like on my post, Pain Part Two. 🙂

  9. janetweightreed10 Post author

    Good morning, Timi….thank you so much for the comment re my birds…..I love to capture movement with watercolour – and so birds are a perfect subject. Today, I get to read other blogs:) Janet.

  10. davidjrogersftw

    Janet, I love your beautiful Mallard. I just wrote a piece about seeing Mallards in a river when I was a boy. And I enjoy your Kingfishers too. To become your subject, to feel that identity, is a marvelous goal. I have a recurring dream that I too am a bird flying high over cities and oceans, so I can understand the state you must be in. Thank you for the lovely post.


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