My visit to The Magical Town of Crickadoon….(AKA Crickhowell Wales) turned out to be particularly special. It also happened to coincide with my 10th anniversary of blogging and involvement with social media. I write about both these events together as they are connected…..
The view from my bedroom window on the first morning. My first impression – a river of mist floating across the Usk Valley. Magical, and even more so to observe the mist lifting, slowly revealing the beauty beneath.
watercolour/gouache sketch – The Usk Valley where the Black Mountains meet the Brecon Beacons. This visit was the first time since I left Crickhowell, twelve years ago, that I was able to completely relax and allow myself the joy of visiting old haunts and connecting with dear friends.
The 16th century bridge spanning the River Usk. I have walked over this bridge so many times….and like the surrounding hills and landscape the colours and atmosphere constantly change.
The market Town of Crickhowell has a population of approx 3,000. It still has the butcher, baker and candlestick maker and much much more. A manageable and vibrant community.
High Street Crickhowell
When I lived there in my little cottage on Mill Street I was able to walk everywhere, including to twelve (or was it thirteen) pubs? – all of which served good food – from pub grub to fine dining and everything in between. That is still the case.
This little watercolour sketch looking over the town up towards Brecon was painted shortly after I arrived in Crickhowell (1994) from the Castle Motte. So why you might ask did I leave. In 1999 I began working on a project for children which used the power of art and colour to teach about environment, homelessness and many other social issues. Had it been successful, it would have solved long term financial issues. After what looked like a very promising beginning, in 2003 it was clear that the project was not going to work. A very sad moment for me.
However – ‘None of us is ever creative enough to know how things will actually work out…..’
This precipitated a move to London, my base for the past twelve years. France was to be my next permanent move….but once again circumstances and personal responsibilities caused my plans to be changed.
From my sketch book on this trip…The light over the Brecon Beacons changes by the second. All of which brings me to ten years of blogging and social media…………
Ten years ago in the midst of this change, I had heard about blogs, but didn’t have a clue of what they were. I knew nothing about social media, until my daughter suggested that I join something called Facebook. My response – Why not?
As it happens, my decision to get involved was a life saver. Given that this period has been somewhat fragmented, blogging and social media have allowed me to continue working, and at the same time meet many new and interesting people. I would recommend anyone who is going through a time of change and upheaval to use consistent blogging as a way to bring a sense of stability into life.
I also believe that had social media been in play when I began my project in 1999, things might have worked out differently. No regrets – simply an observation.
Having a base in London has also been very good for my work and again I have met wonderful people….
Watercolour from sketch book.
However, I am now free of personal responsibilities and can move forward unencumbered, which is why my trip to Crickhowell this time around was so special.
I have no idea what the future will bring….I am one of those people that tries to live in the moment and take each day as it comes…..however, we do have to make plans, and it is my hope that I will now spend longer periods of time in places liked Crickhowell, Saorge France, Portugal etc.
As I continue to work and travel, I plan to do much more plein air work and of course record the people who I encounter along the way.
Ella sketching. – pen and wash
I wish one and all a beautiful beginning of Autumn.
Magical hummingbird symbolise for me the ‘unseen magic’ in our world.
Have you ever painted Patricio church? Would lend its tranquillity to your skills !
I have indeed…and spent many a happy hour at the church painting the wonderful quietness of the surrounding views and of course the church itself. . It is one of those places that feels lost in time….and long may it stay that way. I remember years ago doing sketches of the Holy Well just down from Patricio. I think that the paintings I have done there over the years have all been sold, but you have reminded me that this is a place I need to return to. I have hundreds of sketch books, and I am quite sure that there are some quick sketches in one of them. Thank you very much for reading my blog. Janet 🙂
Really loved the photos you have taken, especially the morning mist and the clutter of vehicles in that beautiful street. Marvelous work and congratulations on your 10th anniversary in blogging! 🙂
Thank you very much for such a lovely comment. The light and atmosphere change constantly and so in an ideal world I would spend hours in one spot photographing and sketching the moving light. When I moved to Crickhowell in 1993, I immediately recognised what an incredible place it is for landscape painting. Janet 🙂
Your most welcome! Indeed that’s an inspirational element for photography and I’m truly glad that you’re in a place where you can photograph great elements and also be able to paint them too 🙂
Thank you dear Sarah 🙂 xx
So beautiful, and yes, magical! Who knows where each journey takes us? as you say–but this is a very good place to land! (K)
Thank you K….and yes, we simply never know what life has in store for us…..As you say this is a good place to land. Janet 🙂
Great post and fantastic images Janet. htttp://petesnewwriteplace.blogspot.co.nz
Thank you so much Peter, I really appreciate your dropping by…..Happy Spring time in NZ. Janet xx
A lovely post, Janet. I had the sense of new possibilities opening, and a fair wind blowing. All the very best for the onward quest.
Thank you very much Tish. Yes, new beginnings 🙂
Thank you very much, Timothy. Enjoy the day…janet 🙂
Thanks so much for your beautiful card! It means a lot to me as I know you were special to Mom. I’d forgotten “think like a man”. She was so wise. Love you Janet. Lauri
Good morning dear Laura, Yes, your Mother was very wise….and taught me so much. She really was one of the most important mentors in my life….I wish I knew where that oil portrait I painted of her is?? If I ever find out….I will let you know immediately. Someone must have it. I think your Mother had it in storage in the area of the house in West Chester where she had lots of paintings stored. That’s my last remembering of it. Although Jean didn’t like it….I did and it definitely caught her spirit. Sending love and hoping that we will see one another in the not too distant future. Janet. xx
Beautiful images and art work
Thank you very much, Evelyn for your kind comment. Janet 🙂
Hi Janet, I had a very similar experience with blogging giving me a creative outlet and stability during a very challenging period. Thanks for sharing more of your story. I’m glad you were able to return to Crickadoon from a place of joy and relaxing. It looks like a beautiful place to live. That morning misty mountain view is wonderful! I look forward to hearing about your continued travel and adventures. blessings, Brad
Good morning Brad, I remember reading something about this in one of your posts and recognised then that we had this mutual understanding. As I said in the blog, I would recommend anyone who is experiencing a challenging period to write a blog, however being consistent is key…as you well know. Hope your muse is jumping up and down with brilliant ideas this day. Janet 🙂 x
Superb post! Magical….reflecting the Magic of Crickadoon! Absolutely fabulous opening picture….and painting. Lovely! Hugs. ❤
Thank you so much Bushka….wishing you a day filed with hummingbird magic…janet 🙂 x
Very interesting,Janet.I agree blogging can give one stability in rough times.What amazing images
Good morning Katherine. I thought you would understand….I am forever grateful that I started blogging – not least of which is that I have met people like you over the years…which has been wonderful. Enjoy the day. Janet 🙂 x
Yes, and we were fortunate to start on a small platform which was so friendly.Thank you for the compliment which I return.We would never have known the other existed! It is good when there is a bit of routine in life like writing or painting 6 days a week or more!Love,Kathryn
You are so right Kathryn..the smaller platform worked very well – Hoping you are enjoying a lovely weekend…janet xxx
Yes,I have been out for tea and bought cyclamen in the market and love them.They were really cheap as it was closing.Weekend is a state of mind in a sense.Even if no longer “working” in an outside job.
I totally agree that weekends are a state of mind….very well put. Enjoy your cyclamen..I love them, and another weekend. Janet xx
Beautifully written… Your life story as reflected in your work at the time… perfect!! Thank you for taking me back to “Crickadoon”! A magical place!
Good morning dear Bonnie, Recently I was looking at photographs of you in Crickadoon. Claudia was with us….it must have been about 22 years ago…..amazing. Thinking of you and hoping all is well. I know you are painting up a storm….as we say….and the work is beautiful. Janet 🙂 x
nice watercolours, beautiful places, and interesting story Janet… favourite, the last one – three pics from the end
Thank you very much for this comment, it is really appreciated. Janet 🙂
Dear Janet, on your anniversary you give us this extraordinary gift! Thank you. Beautiful photos (OMG, a sixteenth century bridge!), gorgeous paintings, and your lyrical narrative. Sigh. This was the perfect way to crown my evening. Hummingbird hugs my friend.
Thank you very much dear Teagan…I am so pleased that you enjoyed the journey with me. Hard to believe that I have been blogging for ten years….I have met so many wonderful people through this medium, including you. I believe that blogging and social media is one of the great plusses of being on the net. Wishing you a day filled with hummingbird magic….Janet 🙂 xx
Oh Janet, I enjoyed the lightness of spirit in both your words and watercolors. Crickadoon lifts you, and in turn it lifts me. I like every watercolor here, but I found the top two images, the photo and the watercolor that was born from it, completely delightful. We see through your eyes with these two images, thank you for sharing. And congratulations on a decade of social media. I am so happy to have met you via your blog, your light and spirit have inspired me.
good morning Jet…..and the feeling is mutual. I am so pleased that we have connected through this medium. I learn so much from your blog and of course enjoy your books tremendously….can’t wait for next one ? Here’s to us all tapping into hummingbird magic which always imparts a sense of lightness of spirit. Enjoy your day my friend. Janet 🙂
So much beauty here. Thanks for sharing. The buildings may be old but in the Picture I find them lovely.
Thank you so much for visiting and your lovely comment. Janet 🙂
You’re welcome, Janet!
Thank you so much – I will be dropping by your blog soon to see how yours and Clyde’s work is developing. Happy painting. Janet 🙂
Wonderful! The photography as well as art work 🙂
Thank you very much – Really appreciate your reading my blog – Janet 🙂
Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.
Good morning and thank you so much for the re blog….much appreciated – Janet 🙂
Well, here’s to a life filled with painting, travel and new adventures. I’m so glad I met you via blogging, hopefully we’ll meet again soon. Social media can be a useful tool when used wisely. I love the pic and painting of magical river of floating mist and those other paintings, just beautiful.xxx
Good morning Dina, I certainly hope that we meet again soon…hard to believe that in December it will have been one full year! My where does the time go. You are so right in saying that social media can be very useful when used ‘wisely’ and that is the key. I know that i couldn’t have gone half the things I have done and continued to work during the past ten years with out it. Hope you and the furies are enjoying a lovely beginning to Autumn. Janet xxx
Wonderful Janet you have captured it perfectly. It is a wonderful part of the country.. on our list for explorations on road trip.
Good morning and thank you so much for this comment. Yes, I highly recommend this area where the Black Mountains meet the Brecon Beacons…it is so beautiful. Janet 🙂
Congratulations on the 10th Anniversary, Janet! Beautiful paintings, I especially love the one of the foggy morning and the one of the green hills. Wishing you all the best!
Good morning and thank you so much for your comment. You can see why I love Ireland….there is the same lushness and beauty of landscape.. Enjoy a beautiful weekend. Janet 🙂 x
Seldom do I see such stunning watercolor sketches, absolute treat for eyes!!
Thank you so much for this lovely comment. I really appreciate. Janet 🙂
You say, “Magical, and even more so to observe the mist lifting, slowly revealing the beauty beneath” Yes Indeed magical. How beautiful, so calm, mesmerizing. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome talent. You are the first person next to Bob Ross that I have felt so immersed in the paintings, wishing I could do even something small, simple similar, however, admiring yours is enough. It brings such peace and feel grounded to observe them. Again, Thank you.
Thank you for this lovely comment. I have experienced some totally magical moments in Crickhowell. Landscape painting there is wonderful….the light changes constantly and is so dramatic. At this time of the year the early morning mists of the hills/mountains are beautiful. Janet 🙂