For International Women’s Day

Words of wisdom from Maya Angelou

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.   In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Large alla prima oil on canvas – self portrait – 1989 -The Turning Point. 20-11-15 - 1 (765)International Women’s Day reminds me of the courageous women who have gone before and those who through example continue to encourage and inspire today.

The symbolic imagery in this large oil on canvas (1990) speaks of all women.

The brick wall behind the chest symbolises a special place….Everyone needs a special place in their hearts – to be in, to dream about and hope for. 

Photograph of the large self portrait.symbolising  awakenings and turning points. 

The quiltsymbolic of both peace and turmoil. 

The pewter vessel  – Throughout the millennia – the vessel has symbolised the female. 

The silver egg cupA talisman symbolising the day of  my birth.

The appledefinitely not forbidden fruit for me, rather a symbol of new life.    The apple reminds me not to judge a book by its cover but rather to understand what’s at the core. 

The sculpted armMade by American artist, Janet Cleveland.   In its uplifting gesture, it says ‘Yes, I can do it…..’

Large oil on canvas – Symbolic self portrait – circa 1990.     20-11-15 - 1 (773)And I do believe that women can do just about anything that they put their minds, heart and soul to – the key is to never give up.  

For those women who feel alone and whose lives are racked with struggle….this day represents a beacon of light and hope.    It is an opportunity for women to come together.

This magical hummingbird symbolises the unseen magic in our world, – something that each and everyone of us can tap into…….20-11-15 - 1 (772)

A bientôt

41 thoughts on “For International Women’s Day

  1. Tish Farrell

    Thank you for the good strong dose of inspiration, Janet. I love the photo and the self-portrait. And the self- portrait does indeed have symbolic resonance. You are standing up so strongly – inside and outside 🙂

  2. Teagan Geneviene

    Resoundingly uplifting, Janet! Stand up and cheer!
    I love the still life and all the symbolism you explained. The little hummer looks fiercely determined. 😀 Thank you for this, and for all of your encouraging words. Huge hugs.

  3. Writing to Freedom

    Thanks for being one of the strong and empowered women Janet. I love your self-portraits, all the symbolism, and your uplifting words. May you and many other women rise up in love and joy to lead the way for a better world, filled with love and cooperation. Thank you.

  4. Mary

    A perfect post Janet – in vision and heart. Keep on, keeping on – we will keep right on moving forward, it’s the collective learning-yearning-energy-spirit that brings us to a new day. So happy to see you again my friend!

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you dear Dina….I saw Maya Angelou at The Haye Literary Festival about 14 years ago and she was absolutely fantastic…and stunningly beautiful. She came out onto the Stage dressed in red and orange from head to toe wearing a very high turban…which made her about 7 ft tall. She reminded me of an exquisite African Queen. Have a beautiful day and week ahead…janet. xxx

  5. Jet Eliot

    This post, your powerful paintings and words, were a strong and uplifting message, Janet. When you have lived a long life as a woman, as both you and I have had the fortune to do, we are constantly reminded of the gender inequality. It can be a weighty and dark thing if we allow it, but for the stamina, courage, and strength of women ahead of us and around us, we do not let it weigh us down. I thank you for your place in the world, sharing the strength, the message, and reminding me not only of this but also of the joy of living.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      I really appreciate this comment. We have come a distance in our lifetimes, but there is sill much further to go. You are so right in saying that we cannot let the unfair realities of gender inequality weigh us down, but rather move through challenging times with heads held high – so that hopefully we can become positive roll models for other men and women. When I do encounter challenging times, I look at the self portrait and am reminded that I can do it – whatever it is. I had a conversation with a Danish friend last week – we talked about making positive choices each and every day. I hope your week will be filled with the joy of living. Janet. 🙂

  6. Andrea Stephenson

    Janet these are wonderful paintings – you certainly look powerful and courageous in that self-portrait and I love the symbolism in the still life. A fabulous post to celebrate this day.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you so much Andrea…Whenever I am going through a challenging time, I look at the self portrait and am reminded that I can do it….whatever it is. We women have come quite a distance but we still have much further to go. 🙂

  7. mysticpoetry

    thanks this is a great blog I love the sculpted arm in the painting I had a very busy year had two boys married and did way too much in the house I injured my rotator cuff however five months on and I have time to care for it so im sculping my arms with yoga and weights so I will remember that as my arm is getting much better.I have started painting and writing poetry again too.After adversity comes ease


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