When life is manageable

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony”   Thomas Merton.

Stair Hole, Lulworth, Dorset – part of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site, which spans 185 million years of geological history.  – reminding me that we are but a blip in time and that ultimately Mother Nature rules!  watercolour  20-11-15 - 1 (1231)Given that I hadn’t been on the Isle of Wight since 1965, I decided to take a taxi from the Ryde ferry terminal to Bembridge where I was staying.      The taxi driver was lovely…a man who had moved to the Island from London thirty years ago.      As he pointed out, the Island works best for young families, people over sixty, and of course those who love to sail  – Cowes being a world class sailing arena.        His grown children have returned to London, a story I heard several times.     As he pointed out that despite a good internet connection, until the day a bridge or tunnel is built, connecting the Island with the mainland,  life as it is will probably continue.       (let’s hope they never build a tunnel or bridge…..)

After checking into my B & B I had planned on seeing my friend, artist and blogger, Sarah Vernon (First Night Design) however Sarah was taken into hospital on the day I arrived!       I am relieved and pleased to say that Sarah is now home, and will tell you all about her ordeal in her own words when she is more rested.   Get well soon Sarah.

Proving that there is a silver lining in most circumstances,  I did get to visit Sarah in Newport Hospital, which gave me the opportunity to take the beautiful and relaxing one and a half hour bus ride from Bembridge to Newport.

One of the photographs I took of Sandown from the top of the number 8 bus from Bembridge to Newport….it was a beautiful day.  20-11-15 - 1 (991)My overall first impressions were of a much slower pace of life,  of almost going back to how the UK was when I was growing up.    Everyone I encountered was extremely helpful, including the bus drivers.    People still queue.…and of course being a Brit I do like queues :).      There was no litter or graffiti….a sense of order prevailed.      In short it all felt very manageable.

It felt as if the Island has not outgrown its infrastructure.  Life appeared to be integrated rather than fragmented.    The opposite to feeling overwhelmed and isolated – which I believe is a huge problem for many in today’s society.  

Newport, the principal town of the Island, is often referred to as its capital.    Again very manageable, very easy to walk around…..I had a wonderful fish and chip lunch for £4!    Newport Hospital was just a short bust ride away from the town centre – everything felt easy.

Outside the Art Centre in Newport.    20-11-15 - 1 (1009)This visit was about getting a feel of the place.     Would I want to spend time there painting?    These are always my prime questions.     The answer is yes.    I would choose a village location with a bus route.    This would allow me to walk to shops/pubs etc, and with my London bus pass – free bus travel.     So it will definitely go on my list of places to explore and paint.

Part of the beautiful Isle of Wight coastline. 1500-isleofwight-creditNTI returned to the mainland via the Cowes ferry to Southampton where I had the sudden realisation that the last time I was on Southampton dock was  January 28th 1966 when I took the United States Liner to New York!   Talk about deja vu.   My friend Suzy, whose office sits right on the dock then drove me to Dorset.

I stayed with art college friend Maureen….always very enjoyable.       Although I don’t do very well with cars (anyone who knows me will  be smiling at this:)  Maureen took me to Lulworth Cove – part of the Jurassic Coast- and I am so pleased she did.     The weather could not have been more perfect and most importantly it was  visual feast.

Three different views of Stair Hole, Lulworth Cove, Jurrasic Coast  Dorset….watercolours. 20-11-15 - 1 (1235)

20-11-15 - 1 (1233)


This image of Lulworth Cove is taken a half a mile away from where I painted Stair Hole….61029843I began this post with Thomas Merton’s quote about balance, order rhythm and harmony.…elements I believe we all need in our lives.

Along with Crickhowell Wales, Saorge and other locations in France, the isle of Wight goes on my list of places where these elements are still to be found.

I am constantly reminded as I paint the magical hummingbird of how we can learn from Mother Nature – be it on the minute scale of the hummingbird or the rugged and grand scale of the Jurrasic Coast.       It is at our peril that we lose sight of this.

A magical hummingbird drinking from the sweet nectar of life. – watercolour/gouache20-11-15-1-358A Bientôt


75 thoughts on “When life is manageable

  1. Rebecca

    Wonderful intensity of colour on these atmospheric pictures – may I ask what brand of watercolours you use, if you don’t mind divulging? 🙂

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Rebecca. – Thank you for your comment. I use Winsor & Newton Professional grade in tubes (I like juicy paint) plus a few pigments form Daniel Smith. I hope that helps and if you have any other questions, please ask. Janet 🙂

      1. Rebecca

        Thank you so much Janet. I have been using W&N Pro, but mainly pans, and it’s been tricky to get intense colour. Some of it could be down to my palette, which is well suited to the more muted side of the UK climate… However, I do have am few Golden QoR tubes which are very zingy, and I’ve just invested in some Dr PH Martin’s Hydrus to try out… I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do. Have you tried them? I’m hoping they’ll give some beautiful liquid effects. 🙂

      2. janetweightreed10 Post author

        I haven’t tried either of those paints. I think it is down to using tubes and what I refer to as ‘Juicy’ paint. Depending on the effect I want I really load my brush with pigment. However, it’s always good to try other makes. Recently I was introduced to SHINHAN premium watercolours, and I like them a lot. I do cherry pick from different makes. J. 🙂

      3. Rebecca

        Thanks for the tips, I really appreciate it. I find I’m like a kid in a sweet shop when it comes to watercolour brands…the gorgeous colours are all so tempting! 🙂

  2. memadtwo

    Beautiful and peaceful…yes we could do with a quieter pace at times. Nature does remind us to slow down.
    And sending additional wishes to Sarah for a quick recovery. (K)

  3. Bushka

    Delightful post, Janet! Brings back many memories of several visits to IOW. Love going there. Super pics…and paintings. Hope your friend was/is soon fully mended. 😉 Hugs! ❤

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Bushka….Being there did bring back memories from childhood and 1965 which was the last time I visited. Still a very beautiful island. Have a lovely day….Janet 🙂 xx

      1. Writing to Freedom

        Thank you Janet for caring. She has rebounded a little from this summer’s challenges. All of them are ongoing, but she’s still determined to stay in the house as long as she can, and my brother and I will do what we can to support her.

  4. First Night Design

    You’ve ‘got’ the Island in one, Janet. Having said that, there’s quite a lot about the infrastructure that needs sorting, not least the state of the roads which are almost as bad as Crete! I will save other thoughts for my own post. I’m so glad we at least met up!

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Sarah, – I imagine for people who live there full time there are issues such as roads, however coming from the mainland it felt and looked pretty good. I look forward to reading your blog….and meanwhile do hope that you are getting better by the day. Sending hummingbird hugs….Janet 🙂 xx

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Emma, Thank you so much for this comment. The last time I was on the IOW was in 1965 and before that as a young child. It’s still a lovely place to visit. However, having said that, I would probably steer clear of summer holidays etc when it’s probably quite busy. Enjoy a lovely and creative day. Janet 🙂

  5. davidjrogersftw

    Janet, I think we lost track of each other for a little while–at least I lost track of you–but now I am back home for a week and have found your lovely post about yet another trip. Thank you for it. I was an English major in college of course, but my favorite course was Geology. To discover that there was such order in our planet–just a few types of rocks anywhere in the world, just a few types of sand dunes anywhere, etc. So I loved your luscious watercolor of the Jurassic Coast. I have internet friends on the Isle of Wright, so that added to the pleasure of your report.

    I’m so sorry to hear that Sarah Vernon was hospitalized, but I’m happy you were able to visit her and that she’s on the mend.

    The Isle of Wright is such an inviting, calm, picturesque place from your photos and paintings, a dreamy place, it seems to me where moods of too-busy people would mellow and problems would tend to themselves at least for a blessed while–the blues everywhere, the greens, the walls of stone.

    Again, Janet, I’m jealous of your painting abilities, since I have no such abilities myself. (I can hear you now saying: “David, you do have abilities. You just have to draw them out.”). Painting is so easy and effortless for you, so much in the control of your talents. But I can’t write a sonata either, but I love music, just as I love your work. That includes your writing–the ease of that; its leisurely, captivating tone. Then you concluding the piece with your beautiful Magical Hummingbird–my goodness.

    Somewhere I recounted the ways in which I thought you and I were alike. Now, alas, I’ve found another: cars and I are not on the best of terms either.
    Best wishes,

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning David, Although we have not connected for a while, I have kept your last three posts in my e mail box and plan to re blog soon. I love the one you posted yesterday. I could relate to everything in it and will comment and re blog tomorrow…. I am so pleased you enjoyed this post…although I have spent time on the Jurassic Coast – I haven’t been to this particular place. I definitely want to return to do much more painting. Being in such a place gives me perspective and a feeling of being at one with the elements. Thank you for your compliments re my painting and writing – it means so much coming from you. I love your writing and am always grateful that we connected through the Blogasphere…..:)
      As for cars…..I really don’t like them at all. I feel confined, I have always suffered from a little motion sickness especially when going around windy roads….(If I have to be in a car I often wear the wrist bands that do help a great deal) I stopped driving 24 years ago when I returned to Wales. I decided then and there to live a lifestyle where cars were not necessary, and that’s what I have done. Ideally if I go back to Lulworth Cove, I would stay in a B & B for a few days…so that I only have one car ride there and one back to the train station. I am definitely a walking, public transportation person. Sarah seems to be on the mend – she was so unwell when I visited her in the hospital. As always life is about one step at a time….Wishing you a lovely and creative day. Janet 🙂

      1. davidjrogersftw

        Dear Janet, thank you for your fond wishes. I’m so pleased that you like these posts I do, and I too am happy we’ve met. I hold you and your art in highest esteem. I think about you often and always have the feeling that you’re up to something wonderful. And then I read your lovely colorful posts and discover that you are.

        I can see that driving a car or even riding in one was a real problem for you before you decided not to do it anymore. That was probably a great decision because it seems to me a person should get rid of things that cause such an unpleasant emotional and physical turmoil. I don’t get carsick, but I just don’t like driving and never have. So I too have arranged my life to be one in which I find alternatives to driving, and I’ve traveled and lectured extensively without having to drive. The oddity was that although I never liked driving, even from an early age, when I was in the army, what did they make me? A driver of Jeeps, troop carriers, wreckers, and so on. But that’s the army for you, and that was a long time ago.

        I see that you’ve re-blogged me once again. How kind of you. I very much enjoy the thought that your friends are tuning in to me, and know they must be delightful people. So, thank you again.. I wish you a happy and creatively exciting weekend.

  6. Teagan R. Geneviene

    Beautifully composed post, Janet. “balance, order, rhythm and harmony…” It sounds like such a simple key… yet so hard to put it into the lock.
    This looks like such a calm, easy place. How wonderful! Of course your watercolors are magnificent. This post is such a treat. Hummingbird hugs!

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning dear Teagan, Yes, in this day and age, balance order rhythm and harmony can seem so remote to modern day living, however, it is the key and basically a simple one….but not so simple for we mere humans – we do know how to complicate everything 🙂 Sending you and Crystal hummingbird hugs. Janet xx

  7. Margaret Parker Brown

    Beautiful watercolors Janet! the last two are so gorgeous, your colors are always so bright and lively. Every time I see them I always think that you painted on Yupo….I don’t remember you mentioning it I think it is the vibrancy that makes me think so…..cheers!

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Margaret, Interestingly, your comment is the very first time I have heard of Yupo! I immediately googled and am intrigued. I definitely need to order some to see how it is. I use Saunders and Waterford – High White – HP – for large paintings lb300 – and sometimes lb140.. Thank you as always for your comment. Hope you enjoy a wonderfully creative day. Happy painting. Janet 🙂

      1. Margaret Parker Brown

        Ahhh, HP is becoming one of my favorite papers, it definitely sets the scene for staying loose.So far I have used Fabriano hp, I need to try Saunders soon. Happy painting to you as well. 😊

      2. janetweightreed10 Post author

        I have tried a lot of different papers over the years, but for the past several years have only used the Saunders both in HP and NOT – but nowadays just the HP. It’s High White…full sheets – lb 140 or lb300 –

      3. Margaret Parker Brown

        Janet, I have started another painting but on a paper that I had previously tried out before. I wanted to try it out again knowing that it gives a brilliancy that is marvelous. I thought perhaps it was my imagination but I am happy to say it does shine with a brilliance like I haven’t ever come across yet in watercolor paper. I have tried out at least 4-5 brands from rough to hp and this paper excels. It is Shut Noblesse from the Netherlands and it comes only in 140 cp, I wished that it is available in hp but the paper is rather smooth. Anyway wanted to tell you about it, you have to try it out, I hope that you can get ahold of it. Cheers!

      4. janetweightreed10 Post author

        Thank you so much Margaret for telling me about this. I will see if I can get my hands on some to give it a go and let you know what I think ….I will also try YUPO at some point….enjoy a good days painting. Janet 🙂

  8. Tish Farrell

    Your photos and watercolours have made me want to visit the Isle of Wight again. I’ve not been there since I was a child. I remember visiting the engine room on the ferry – v exciting. Thank you also for the news re Sarah. I’m glad she’s out of hospital. As for us – just back from the Peleponnese, and already missing it.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Tish….So pleased to hear that you have had such a lovely trip. You can dream about it over some of your strawberry vodka 🙂 The IOW is definitely worth a visit, however, as is the case with most places – I would suggest going out of high season. It’s really good to know that Sarah is home and on the mend. Enjoy your day, although judging from what’s going on outside my window, I don’t think it’s a gardening day. Janet 🙂

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      How lovely to see you here Carol….and thank you so much for your comment. You write beautifully…I find that the best thing for me to keep me in a flow is to PLAY a little every day which I am quite sure is the same for writing. Janet 🙂 x

  9. candidkay

    Gorgeous shots and gorgeous paintings! Don’t you wonder why the rest of us don’t take our cues from this isle? Keep things beautiful, be polite to each other, slow down bit . . .

  10. snowbird

    Some beautiful paintings here, especially that hummer at the end. I love the slower pace too, it takes so much heat out of the day. Your poor friend, glad you got to see her and that she is now home. What fun you are having, long may it continue.xxx

  11. Pingback: When life is manageable | My Life as an Artist (2) | First Night Design

  12. olganm

    What a gorgeous post, Janet. I’ve never visited the Isle of Wight. Now I know I should (I’d better get my skates on as I’m planning on leaving the UK for good in a few months). I knew Sarah wasn’t well but hadn’t realised that had coincided with your visit. Take care and I hope to keep coming back. ♥

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you so much Olga for this comment…I am so sad to hear that you are leaving but fully understand. Tomorrow I will be writing you an e mail. On one of your return visits, we can meet on Isle of Wight 🙂 x

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Sally, Yes, I would always visit in the off season, as I am sure it gets incredible busy during summer holidays etc. It’s a lovely place to visit…I am hoping to rent a cottage for a couple of weeks so that I can explore more and paint. Hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend…janet 🙂

  13. ĽAdelaide

    Absolutely stunned by these places and of course, your gorgeous, fantastic, wonderful work. But to hear that once again, dear Sarah is down. I must go find her as I too have been away from land of blog so am out of the loop once again. xo


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