Returning to Crickhowell (AKA The magical Town of Crickadoon)

Watercolour sketching at Curlews – overlooking the beautiful Usk Valley where the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains meet. 17353562_10155013949100396_7123396617463630765_nI start this blog where I finished off last time.    I had just been driven by Heather from the beautiful Rhiwiau to the busy little market town of Crickhowell where I met up with my friend Jane at the Dragon Inn.  

Looking down the High Street towards the Dragon Inn and River Usk.     The hills you see are Llangattock where one of the biggest cave complexes in UK can be found.  img-2516-jpgI lived in Crickhowell for twelve years from 1993 til 2005.      During that time, along with commissions and teaching,  I worked on a project, entitled Focusing on the Future which used the power of art to teach children about their environment and issues such as  trust, loneliness and homelessness.      Without going into all the details, it almost made it, but sadly in the end it had to be put aside.

Christeve the Cat (who appeared at my cottage door during a violent storm on Christmas Eve 1996) was the key character in the project along with hummingbirds symbolising the unseen magic in our world, and as anyone following my blog will know…the magical hummingbirds continue to thrive.

Christeve the Cat with magical hummingbird.   From Focusing on the Future project. 1487662_10152647679605396_162251845225224083_oOn this visit I stayed at the Dragon Inn which brought back many happy memories.   When I first returned to Wales in 1993, I stayed with my cousin and family who initially introduced me to Crickhowell, and then I moved into a small flat over the antique shop right next to the Dragon.      The people who ran the Dragon at that time, allowed me to use the functions room to paint portraits and entertain my guests….how wonderful is that……

The Dragon Inn Crickhowell, which I highly recommend.   The food is superb. 20180713_093632One of the many portraits I painted in Crickhowell.   This is Ken…a man of Wales.   As I painted people, I asked them to talk about their lives in Crickhowell all of which I have on cassette tapes.   watercolour15042281_10154594783145396_4050497219327933999_oIn hindsight, when I arrived in 1993, it was the end of an era,     With the advent of technology the area has become busier, but thankfully because of protection offered by The Brecon Beacons National Park, it still keeps its charm and has a great sense of community.

I walked for at least two hours every day – initially with the company of Bumble, the beautiful golden lab that I included in the paintings in St. Edmund’s Church.  Through Bumble I met the people of Crickhowell.

One of my many favourite haunts was the Bluebell Wood.  watercolour sketch20180717_075614 It has taken a few years for me to feel totally comfortable again in returning.   I think along with feelings of sadness, I felt a sense of letting many people, especially the children down because the Focusing on the Future project didn’t come to fruition.     However, I am now pleased to say that all of those negative feelings have gone, allowing me to thoroughly enjoy this very special place again.

When I return now it is lovely to see many of the people I would encounter every day when I lived there.    It was such a pleasure to enjoy a meal with Zena the post of the many lovely people who were such a big part of my life.

We enjoyed a fantastic evening, and a lovely day of  painting, at Curlews with Sally and Gareth Reese, children and friends…it was perfect.     Company, food, and of course the amazing setting.

The view from Curlews..watercolour16904783_10154965677830396_2036381033997258090_oAnother good friend, Lizzy Wilson joined us for a day…..bringing back many happy and some difficult memories.    Lizzy was so supportive when things didn’t work out with the project, and helped me to clear my studio before moving to London.

A sketch of Lizzy shortly before I moved to London in 2005. 20180725_084258I could go on and on, but needless to say, Crickhowell and the whole area holds a very special place in my heart.    I will now look forward to many more visits.

I finish with this poster from the Focusing on the Future project featuring Theodore the Tiger, Christeve the Cat and a magical hummingbird.   watercolour10468017_10152494449725396_6097248723310984565_o

May the magical hummingbirds be with you all.

A Bientot











60 thoughts on “Returning to Crickhowell (AKA The magical Town of Crickadoon)

  1. M.P. Baecker

    I absolutely love your landscapes and portraits! I couldn’t stop staring at your magnificent view from Curlews watercolor! The colors are so rich, I can feel them. How great it would be to have a giant painting of that in a room (I’m greedy😄)! Soooo beautiful! What you wrote about your past art project got me thinking about my positive and negative experiences as an art student, and how people view artists now. I plan on writing something about it soon.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you so much for this lovely comment. Actually I do like to work on a very large scale:) I will definitely look forward to reading your blog. Hope you enjoy a wonderfully creative day. Janet

  2. Bushka

    Superb, Janet. Familiar scenes….one gets the ‘feel’ of your being ‘at home’. Ah! Yes…..and Christeve…..Delightful memories. Lovely! Hugs.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Hi Bonnie…I remember it oh so well and in fact was jut looking at photographs from the first time you came over. Can you believe that is about 23 years ago now! Happy happy days. 🙂

  3. ShimonZ

    It’s hard to see where we’re going when we’re in the middle of work, in the process of change… It’s a struggle, and sometimes we have to give ourselves completely to working out little details, and then only later can we see the body of the work; what was realization, and was just exercise. One of the things I’ve learned from my own work, was that the exercise and the learning had its own value even when they didn’t give fruit that could be enjoyed. Your watercolors are so powerful at times, that I am able to sense your subject and yourself, as if I were present. the watercolors are a great joy. and the shot of you painting is a personal souvenir. xxx

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Shimon.

      Thank you so much for this comment.

      I am recognising myself that it is the exercise and the learning that have huge value even when things don’t necessarily turn out the way I might have hoped. In fact, sometimes when things don’t turn out as I had hoped, other developments occur that otherwise would not have happened and sometimes these are for the better. For instance, had I stayed in Crickhowell, I would not have spent thirteen years in London which lead me to places like the school in Portugal – along with so many other very positive developments. It pleases me immensely that you enjoy my
      watercolours. I was reminded when writing this post of all the beautiful people I painted in Crickhowell and the many things I learned from them.
      The picture of me painting is taken at Curlews, the house owned by my good friends Sally and Gareth. A very happy place for me to be and the panoramic views are simply stunning.
      I hope that you and Nechama have a beautiful day – Janet xxx

  4. Vera

    My partner and I love Brecon Beacons and we have done many hikes around the Crickhowell area. What a charming place it is. I still remember hiking up the Table Mountain and having a yummy lunch afterwards in the Dragon Inn. So many warm and welcoming locals always make our visits enjoyable. Your post took me there again, thank you.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Vera and thank you for this comment. I used to take my nieces and nephews up to Table Top where we would have picnics and an all round wonderful time – happy memories indeed. I am glad that you have had such enjoyable times there. janet 🙂

  5. Andrea Stephenson

    Beautiful paintings Janet. I’m glad that you can now return with a sense of acceptance for what wasn’t to be, and to be able to get inspiration from what seems to be a wonderful area.

  6. snowbird

    I’m so pleased that you are able to visit this wonderful place again, no longer feeling any sadness or regret. Life has it’s ups and downs for sure, I, like you, believe there is a reason for everything. What doesn’t kill us tends to make us stronger. Oh….so many delightful paintings. Your talent is

  7. Patty

    Reblogged this on Campbells World and commented:
    A beautifully written post with described wondrous art as well. Blessid be to bloggers who put up descriptions of their works for those who cannot see them. May their successes be many and their struggles have no might. May they be read followed and shared from morning to night.

  8. davidjrogersftw

    Hello friend. I have been whirling about of late. and every day was thinking about the post on Crickhowell that I would see when I finally had time. Here it is. You know that it goes without saying that I adore all your work, not only your paintings, but your writing. and respect all your many skills (including your affability). My eye is caught by the Bluebell Wood watercolor. Its twists and mysteries on the left invite me to look further, and there to the right is a golden village. And there is Christeve in a watercolor who I have met before..

    I am not surprised that you were troubled by not finishing Focusing on the Future and have thought about it on and off fr years. There is a phenomenon of goal-oriented people needing to finish projects–or “things”–they abandoned years before. It is called the Zeigarnik Effect At the back of your mind is that something you didn’t finish and must, must get back to though in ways it may not be important and you may not have time for it and people don’t understand its importance to you,, But you have to go back..

    I am constitutionally unequipped to do one thing at a time (I think you may be too), and so have literally many, many, many projects going on at the same time. I am currently reading seventeen books, and writing many things. But I recalled a text on a reading list in college fifty years ago that I didn’t read because I dropped the class. Well I have to read it though it is in no way pertinent to my life–except to bring that subject to closure. Diana tells me “that’s nuts: you don’t have the time.”but, well, that how it is.

    Your poster is beautiful.
    Best wishes

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning David./ So lovely to see you here. I have been thinking about you and Diana and hoping that the summer has been a good one…with of course lots of baseball:)
      I will read more about the Zeigarnik Effect because it definitely applies to me…but then you knew that already. I do like to complete projects, books, and everything else, and find it very disturbing when something is hanging out there, so to speak. I have never quite thought about it this way, – something for me to seriously contemplate. I do know that my sense of relief was huge on this recent visit to Crickhowell to realise that I can now get on with life without that bugaboo in my mind….. Prior to going to Crickhowell, I went to visit very good friends who live in a house that is what I call one of my ‘hot spots’ in life – (just fourteen miles from Crickhowell.) Meaning that there are all sorts of coincidences and happenings set in and around the house which have been of great importance to me. Again, it was a wonderful return visit. I slept in the little shepherd’s hut and realised it would be a great place to take time out and write my book and of course paint – something I have done a great deal over the years at that place. There would be no interruptions other than the sounds of nature.
      I have been invited to be in an exhibition at the Chongqing Museum of Art in China this October, and today the paintings will be picked up by shipping company. This is part of a French/Chinese cultural exchange. It stemmed from an exhibition I had in France eleven years ago…one that I didn’t think too much about…which proves the point that we never know how things will develop. After the Chinese exhibition, the works will then be shipped to Paris for an exhibition ext spring. I will write a blog about this after I return from Portugal mid October. I will be there from the 18th September til the 6th October teaching at the School I love so much.
      Have a wonderful weekend. Best wishes to you and Diana. Janet 🙂

  9. Mary

    This was a beautiful post Janet – the vision of you painting with the mountainous backdrop was perfect (calm and peaceful). Your paintings are beautiful, free and filled with life. It must have been wonderful taking your walks around town and revisiting this special place. I felt at home while reading your post, a comforting feeling took over. Beautiful portraits and the Christeve the Cat, a prominent figure ~ hope you have a lovely weekend as you gear up for this Fall.


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