“Chattering Monkeys are the little demons that fill our heads with reasons why we should not, and cannot do something. Igore them” Janet Weight Reed -The Apple Exercise.
rapid warm up exercises.
I used the the same brush on all four sections. The left two sections are on white paper, the right two are painted on a colour ground.
Adding cadmium orange to all four sections – (the same colour used for the ground) connects the images.
Prior to giving a workshop last week for SOFAP – Fulham/Hammersmith Arts Society, I read some wise words from fellow blogger and writer David Rogers…whose book ‘Fighting to Win’ – Samurai Techniques For Your Work and Life, talks about moving through the things that prevent us from being all that we can be.
I used the following two points from David’s book as the base line for the workshop.
1) Don’t think too much. 2) Let go of self doubt.
Rapid watercolour demonstration – Light on trees – one of the views from my window – Saorge.
I always encourage a group to warm up and play at the beginning of a session….This is the foundation block for a day’s work and as vital to the artist as stretching is to the athlete and dancer. In doing this we practise not thinking too much……and letting go of self doubt.
Using photographs from my recent visit to Saorge as ‘jumping off points’- we begin to explore the rhythm and shapes of the landscape and Village.
Rapid watercolour of Saorge – on white paper.
When we let go of self doubt and stop thinking too much, – when we allow our sixth sense and intuition to prevail, self imposed expectations disappear, freeing us up to explore the creative process.
Medieval village of Saorge – rapid watercolour on white paper
In the following demonstration, I worked from a colour ground – which means any whites are added using Winsor & Newton Permanent White designer gouache. ( When grounding paper its important to let the paint dry for a minimum of twenty-four hours before adding more paint.)
I am often asked what is the difference between watercolour and designer gouache?
Watercolour is transparent. Designer gouache is opaque. I often mix the two elements. I began to do this about fifteen years ago when playing in my studio in Wales….
watercolour/gouache/felt tip pen are used to explore the alleyways of Saorge.
As we warm up..we are reminded that everything reflects upon everything else – all of life is interconnected. By moving colour around a painting we bring harmony to the image.
By observing the harmonious flow of nature we learn so much. Observation, observation, observation….one can never get enough of it.
In this rapid sketch – I am looking down onto trees and roof tops. Note the roof tiles are a natural purple colour which integrates into the surrounding landscape where the roof slate comes from.
A little humour to finish this post.
As I was watercolour painting on the deck of the house where I was staying in Saorge…one of the sketches blew onto another roof below….and for all I know it is still there. An example of ‘letting go’ 🙂
watercolour sketch on Saorge roof.
Next week, I am off to Chester and Liverpool. My friend the artist Miza Tavares has invited me to demonstrate at a workshop she is giving. We will be painting the human form…one of my favourite subjects. I will write about this in my next blog.
Today I finish with magical hummingbirds…
This image is on the front of my new calendar…which is available through http://www.zazzle.com/janet+weight+reed+gifts
Have a great time next week, Cheshire,where my Mothers family all come from. X
Good morning Sue….I have been to parts of beautiful Cheshire, but interestingly not Chester nor Liverpool and so am really looking forward to this. Enjoy a lovely day in France Janet:)xx
Thank you – enjoy the day – janet:)
Great post and images Janet.
Thank you Peter…have a lovely day…janet:)x
Good morning, Janet! Thanks for this lovely post and the two adages of not thinking too much and letting go of self-doubt. I will try to work from that place as I start the sketches for the portrait commission I must deliver at Christmas–not that far off now! I like to procrastinate. 😉 Lovely paintings here and I must go look at your calendar. I do love your magical hummingbirds! 🙂
Good morning Timi, I will look forward to seeing your portrait….I tend to work better with a deadline…but we are all different. Thank you so much taking a look at the calendar….I believe that the magical hummingbirds were with you and Ophelia recently:) janet. x
Yes, indeed, Janet, I think the magical hummingbirds had a hand in returning Ophelia to her home and me. 🙂 And again, I found several of your things on Zazzle too tempting to resist. Looks like several people will be getting some lovely JWR gifts and Christmas cards! 🙂
Good morning Timi….thank you so very much for being a supporter of my Zazzle site…I can’t tell you how much I appreciate. It’s lovely to know that we are all connected in so many ways….and may there hummingbirds continue to be with you and Ophelia…janet:)
Beautiful post and images. 🙂
Good morning and thank you for your lovely comment…I always appreciate. Janet:)x
So beautiful and full of life! (as always). Safe journey.
Thank you so much – I always appreciate your comments. I am really looking forward to my Chester/Liverpool visit. It will be a first time for me in both cities. Have a lovely day.,…janet. x
Dear Janet, your “warm up exercises” are masterpieces to me. I’m sure some lucky soul managed to retrieve your painting from that roof. I am ever astounded by your talent. I especially loved the alleyway. Then you finished this gift of a post with a particularly lovely collection of magical hummingbirds. Marvelous!
You’ll be happy to know that managed to “1) Don’t think too much 2) Let go of self doubt” enough to turn my old, very first blog serial into a book. I’ll post about it Friday evening (Eastern). You are an inspiration, my friend. Mega hugs.
How exciting about your new book….I will be checking in on Friday to read. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the new book heralded a new move as well….new beginnings often seem to come in groups – anyway that’s what the magical hummingbird like to think:) Thank you so much for your lovely comments…they really do mean so much to me. Enjoy the day…I know you are off this week….may it be full of creativity…janet. xxx
Thank you for saying that Janet. I admit I’m about out of hope for moving… I don’t try as hard to make it happen during winter — because the prospect of driving across the country in winter weather is so daunting. But I’ll be giving it my all again come spring. Oh, by the way, I’m giving you a shout out next weekend at my 1920s party. Mega hugs.
Wonderful paintings Janet! And the perfect reminders for me to not think or doubt too much. Thank you!
Good morning and thank you so much for your kind comment…always appreciated. Hope you enjoy a lovely day and weekend ahead…janet:)
Thanks Janet. I will do my best to enjoy the week. You too. 🙂
Great post and I would add “Don’t judge your painting as you work” a rule for myself lately. 🙂 I am always so encouraged when I view your work because you go bold with your color and semi-abstract…I simply love it! I am drawn to several color combinations in your paintings. If I may ask what they are….the fourth painting (Rapid watercolour of Saorge – on white paper.) those colors on the bottom right. Looks like yellow gold, a blue and a indigo? all those colors that make that rich greenish/black. Next….on your quick sketch of the roofs, I love that rich, dark green on the top middle section. Lovely colors! I am a color freak as you can tell. Your hummingbirds are gorgeous. I had to smile about the one that got away, truly you did let go!
Good morning Margaret….so lovely to see you back here. Looking forward to reconnecting with your blog this month and excellent advice re ‘not judging a painting as we work on it’ – because that can only stop the flow……
I think I have mentioned before that I don’t use black….what I do use for my strongest darks is – a ‘prussian blue/burnt sienna’ mix. When dealing with a lot of greens I will add Winsor & Newton Green Gold to the mix…..(a must have very transparent pigment.) The key is as I am sure you know, to play with these colours and find out how many tones/values you can achieve. I am also using a lot of Daniel Smith’s Perylene Violet….a new favourite for me, plus Daniel Smith’s Raw Umber Violet. Both of these DS pigments mixed with prussian blue and other blues make for very rich darks. When I lived and worked in Chester County Pennsylvania, I learned many of my colour mixes from Andrew Wyeth who lived virtually next door. I never painted in the Brandywine tradition, but definitely benefited from his watercolour techniques and pigments. Have a lovely and creative weekend and may the magical hummingbirds be with you…..janet:)
Thank you so much in getting back to me with your mixes. I figured that you don’t use black but I love the darkish almost black that I see. So much better than a true black in my opinion. 🙂 I recently purchased DS Prussian Blue and love the mixes that it makes. I will look at that new violet of DS, I did notice the violet but I was already slinging the questions at you. lol Oh to have lived so close to an artist! especially Andrew Wyeth! I am fortunate to live within 12 miles of a well known artist but her style is so different from me but just the fact that she lives in the area is exciting. Thank you so much for getting back to me and allowing me to pick your brain. Today is December 1st, so I’ll be posting what I have been up to for the month of November.
Thank you so much, Kendall….hope you enjoy a very creative weekend ahead….janet:)
Welcome, Janet! Thanks and I hope you have a great one, too!
Great paintings as always and I can’t wait to have you here! See you next week! xxx
Good morning Miza…lovely to see you here. I am so looking forward to being you next week…not long now…janet. xxx
A brief illness kept me from reading your post till tonight. But I want to tell you, as I’m sure I often have, that your water colors flabbergast me and fill me with admiration and happiness. Janet, I’d give so much to be able to paint with your skill—or to paint with any recognizable ability. But my talent is not in colors, but in words. I wish these words of mine too were physically beautiful and from the page would fill the reader’s eyes with the splendor of your yellows, blues, reds, browns, and oranges, and that a book’s pages could be mounted on a wall for visitors to see.
I’m so happy you and your artist friends at the recent workshop were able to apply to their creative work the concepts of Not Thinking Too Much and Overcoming Self-doubt from my book Fighting To Win: Samurai Techniques For Your Work and Life. You needn’t tell me—I know they report that their work improved, and their sense of satisfaction. How happy I’d have been to be there. Thank you for referencing me so generously in your work.
Best wishes, as always,
Good morning David….glad to hear that you are recovering….and thank you so very much for your lovely comments re my painting. I have often thought about the writer’s dilemma in needing people to take the time to read their words…whereas a visual artist/painter, can put up an exhibition or one painting, and there is an immediate impact. There is an immediate connection between viewer and artist..regardless of whether negative, positive or indifferent. It strikes me that marketing for writers is even more imperative than for visual artists for this very reason.
I wish you could have been at the workshop….as I am quite sure you would have contributed so much. Using words from your book at the beginning, was a very good foundation block for the workshop….two simple theories, that can change the way we perceive the world around us and how we engage with it. Keep well and enjoy a creative weekend….we are experiencing so very cold, crisp, beautiful blue sky weather….most enjoyable as long as one keeps warm…..Janet:)
Janet, I’d like to continue for a little while our conversation about differences in what can be accomplished by painters in comparison with writers and writers in comparison with painters.
in my poem “Hobos in a Clearing” (below), you can see how a writer is able to capture some of the appeal of a painter’s picture—images and colors via language. Visual imagery is extremely important to me—I’m an Imagist if there ever was one. Maybe that’s why I respond to your paintings so strongly.
I can imagine that you could paint what I wrote and it would be wonderful, though different for you—the bronze glow on the men’s faces, red embers flickering, streams of white and gray smoke, men in black squatting by the fires—a dramatic scene.
At 17 and 18 I spent many months riding freight trains in the western part of the U.S.A. and lived in hobo camps with those men—being a hobo myself.
Hobos in a Clearing
David J. Rogers
We reached the crest of the hill at dusk.
Below us, like the camps of infantry,
Burned the scattered fires of forgotten men,
Each a separate picture.
They lived in the open or in
The opulence of tarpaper lean-tos against a tree,
And migrated as punctually as geese.
They wore black–perhaps it was the soot of freight trains–
And squatted on their haunches like crickets
Beside the snapping flames.
Streams of smoke trailed off high into the trees
And embers flickered and faded, flickered and faded
In the harsh bite and sparkle of the wind,
And glowed bronze on the men’s untroubled faces
Late into the night.
Good morning David, I love the poem – and yes it paints such a strong picture in words. I am realising more and more that the books I gravitate to the most do exactly that….they paint such a vivid image in my mind’s eye and so as I read the words I see the characters and places so vividly – they come alive in my mind. N C Wyeth comes to mind with is amazing book illustrations – Treasure Island being one of his classics. Also Normal Rockwell… I might surprise you one of these days I make an illustration of your poem….meanwhile, thank you for your thoughts…On this Sunday morning in London we have another very cold, frosty and sunny day….love it. Hope your weekend is going well. Janet:)
Love the idea of you joining Miza at the workshop
Good morning Sula…yes, I am so looking forward to this. Miza and I met in person once before when she stayed with me in London…and of course we are now fellow tutors at the school in Olhao Portugal. My next blog in a couple of weeks will be about the visit…Hope all is well with you and that you enjoy a lovely weekend…janet:)x
So beautiful,Janet.You make me glad to be alive.Have a great time up North
Good morning Kate…..What a beautiful comment…thank you so much – Hope you enjoy a lovely weekend..janet:)x
So wonderful, Janet, to read your techniques and see them in action. Your sketches of the streets were a marvel to me. Your advice was a great reminder, and I laughed about the wind whisking away your sketch, encouraging a let-go. I breathe in your words with gratitude. Have fun next week.
Good morning Jet, and thank you for this lovely comment….wishing you a beautiful and creative weekend…janet:)
Inspiring words (that I might apply to a project I think… I’m overthinking) and beautiful sketches. You’ve given me much to think about, and I’ll check the calendar too. Have a magical and colourful weekend, dear Janet.
Good morning Olga….thank you so much – do hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend…janet:)
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I love the sense of light and colour in these paintings Janet – and I smiled at your ‘letting go’ of the painting 🙂
Good morning and thank you so much….I like to imagine that the sketch takes on a life of its own..much like a note in a bottle:) Have a lovely day..Janet:)x
I’ve missed you and your drawings, Janet! 🚅
Good morning – so lovely to see you here….and thank you so much for you lovely comment. Hope you enjoy a good day…janet:)x
Even though subject matter is different, the use of colour reminds of Gauguin’s work. Hard to describe in words but I feel it.
That is just about the best compliment you could ever have given me. Gauguin is one of my all time favourite painters:) Thank you so much Janet.
Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.
Visiting your blog is always a joy 🙂 ‘Let go of self doubt’ – well said. It is fun that your sketch started a life of its own 🙂
Thank you so much for this lovely comment….I really appreciate….:)