In an ideal world………..

watercolour 20190110_143030

The following are excerpts from a talk I gave twenty years ago.

Much of what I said then is relevant today.    However, it is important to note that during these past twenty years our world has changed radically…with  iPhones, social medial etc.     The genie is out of the bottle bringing with it all sorts of new challenges and opportunities to inspire creative energy.

Madame Nottale sketching me – At the time she was 94. P1030379

‘In an ideal world, everyone would spend a period of time during each day doing something creative.      It could be painting, playing a musical instrument, dancing reading, writing, singing, cooking, gardening, sewing, etc……

However, as we begin the 21st century, it seems that we are living our lives in boxes -boxes that constrain and seem to move us further away from creative living.

Milly visiting my studio….she loves to paint, P1110644Whether living in a large house or a one room bedsit, it is still a box.   We use metal box cars, trains, buses and planes to get around.     We tend to work in a box and then stay glued to the computer box.     At the end of our work day we get back into the metal boxes to return home to our original box, where many watch the TV box or continue to view the computer box……and so it goes.

This treadmill life can lead to frustration, anger, stress, anxiety and being desensitised to what is actually going on within ourselves and in the real world.

And yet we wonder why we have so many individual and societal problems.

Observe the focus of a child when creating. Young boy painting at an easel

At the end of such days, with little tangible evidence to show for our efforts, we feel a sense of anxiety about the prospect of repeating the cycle over again.    We feel trapped.

Recently the mother of a bright young man, with seemingly everything to live for, told me how concerned and upset she was because her son was very depressed.       (Since writing this talk twenty years ago, I would say that levels of depression among the young have risen dramatically!)

It is said that 70% of our children are suffering with emotional problems.   All of this at a time in history when we have never had so much material stuff, and in many ways our lives have never been easier.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

Friends playing music at a local pub…..wonderful 20-11-15 - 1 (1411)

As we leave childhood and adolescence and move into the ‘real world….there is a natural need to conform.        I cannot tell you how many people I have met in later life who have regretted not doing what it was that they really wanted to do.        Instead of following their own desire they did what was expected of them. 

Using red and green apples as symbolic imagery…..I see the shiny red apple as a societal goal.     Looking good on the outside – despite what may or may not be going on within the core of the apple.1915661_200776310395_1768147_n

Green apples are often perceived as being different, and separate from the mainstream.     Artists and creatives fall into this category, fuelling the perception that the creative life is only for a certain mad few!


I believe everyone is a creative being, which making it imperative that creativity be incorporated into our daily lives.      Just as we need to breath we also need to create.


Perhaps the answer to these questions has to do with our thought process.      The way we think influences everything in our lives.      How many times do I hear people say…..Ah but I am not an artist, cook, gardener, singer, photographer, dancer etc………..I could never do that……

Yes I was definitely that child hanging upside down:)12314060_10153693416745396_9179756764978779361_n

Everything ever accomplished was initially a thought.     We often meet people who are subject to the same set of circumstances, but who experience those circumstances in entirely different ways.

An ‘I can’t’ thought for one person can be a ‘I’ll find a way’ thought for another.    What some see as a set back, others see as opportunity.

Like all new habits we begin with baby steps….slowly but surely turning the ‘I can’ts’ into ‘I cans’………..

This is definitely an ‘I Can’ attitude 🙂 1524406_10201848550228748_892621687_o

A Bientot

















36 thoughts on “In an ideal world………..

  1. Writing to Freedom

    Wise and thoughtful reflections on life and creativity Janet. I know creativity is innate and feeds our soul. And I’m grateful to an artist friend who reminded me creativity can express in many ways and forms in our lives from the obvious arts to the mundane cooking, dressing, etc.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you Brad for your comment. You remind me of a teacher I had at art school back in the early sixties. She often said that she could gauge someone’s creativity by the way they dressed and fixed their hair:) Of course back then we were very creative about that sort of stuff….. Janet

  2. davidjrogersftw

    My friend, what a dear and profound post you have here. It’s thoughts are just wonderful–sad, poignant, true, and so beaitifully expressed. You are a poet of the written word and of paint. There seems to be no limit to your talents, and I stand in awe of them. Reading this I felt tears brewing because the post is so perefctly executed.. I sense that it came from a sector of you I had not seen before–such tendersness does not go unnoticed. Thank you for it. .

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning dear David. Thank you very much for this lovely comment. It means so much coming from you.
      I was going through one of my files of teaching notes, and was interested to read this talk that I gave twenty years ago. So much is unchanged and yet everything has changed with the advent of smart phones and social medial. It’s hard to believe that just twenty years ago it would have been a rarity to see anyone with a mobile phone and social media had yet to be invented.

      Also, we in the UK are experiencing a time in history that most of us never wished to see. The division and anger in our country caused by Brexit is at an all time high……and on top of that the Tory government has imposed an austerity programme which is now effecting the very fabric of our society. It is sad and most depressing state of affairs. I can only hope that from all of this will come some positive change within our antiquated system.

      I don’t usually talk politics on my blog, and so that’s it for now….

      However, on one last note, within my teaching files I have many of your wonderful posts and two weeks from today I begin my course in Portugal…..which is a huge reason to smile broadly.

      Have a lovely day and hope that the creative juices are flowing. Janet 🙂

      1. davidjrogersftw

        My research tells me that people in the arts generally shield themselves from what is happening in the outside world of politics and social and political change, But I suppose the problems you over there are facing break into your thoughts and that that can’t be helped. I feel sory for you all, your lives being kicked around. We here are facing discouraging problems too, and as much as I try to protect myself and focus on writing, still what is happening depresses me and makes me angry and impatient for change. I’ve been able to lead, I know, a shelteered life.So many people have been kind to me and looked out for me and made my life somewhwta free of difficulty/ I suspect the same may be true of you, but no one is immune when their world of creative peace is threatened..

        I’m so happy you have access to your thoughts from long ago, so that you can see where you changed and where you haven’t. Now you can share that wiht us out here.

        I know you will have another grand time in Portugal. Diana cotinually tells me we should join you one of these years, but I resist because I’m not a painter and have no skill there. (I know you tell me that’s a phnoy-baloney excuse). I wish you and your friends the best possible experience, and I’m looikng forward to your posts about it.

        Thank you as always for your compiments. I treasure your posts too. .

        Find wishes,

      2. janetweightreed10 Post author

        Thank you, David. Yes, we artists are somewhat shielded from so much of the madness going on in the world, and in many ways it might even feed us in strange and wonderful ways:)
        One year it would be lovely for you and Diana to come to the school in Olhao…..A superb place to write, think and paint. 🙂

  3. Learn Polymer Clay

    You expressed so beautifully with your words what I also feel inside to be true. Thank you, Janet, for believing in creativity and encouraging us to be creative!
    Have a beautiful and inspired day!

  4. Andrea Stephenson

    I so agree about the need to live outside the box in every sense – and I’ve always said that everyone is creative, you don’t have to be an ‘artist’ or a ‘writer’ to create.

  5. inesephoto

    Agree with what you say, Janet. People are making a living, they have to, but they also have plenty of ‘free time’ that could enrich their lives if used, not wasted. Creative energy dwells in every person. All we need is act.

  6. dancingpalmtrees

    Amen Sister! I’m glad that I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s before cellphones, computers and the Internet. Yes technology is a wonderful tool but People are supposed to use technology not the other way around.

    Every day I Thank God that my parents encouraged me to be artistic as a child. Gifting me with various paint sets, latch hook rugs, Sketch books along with all types of Arts & Crafts. Mom and Dad supported my Creativity.

    I’m Thankful for my ten years working at the Museum where I met and was influenced by many Security Officers and Custodial who are also Artists. With their encouragement I was able to participate in several art shows.

    Last Year I retired from the Museum and by joining a local Brooklyn Artists Collective I’ve had the opportunity to be in even more Art Shows.

    Last month I was April Artist of the Month at the Daily Press Coffee Shop across from my house.

    Currently I’m working with another Church member planning an Art Show as part of our Church 70th Anniversary in August and the Fall Festival. The Art Show will feature artwork from the children.

    God is Good.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you for this wonderful comments which I hope will encourage others to follow their creative bliss. The upcoming exhibition sounds fantastic….Hopefully you will put on the blog. Janet 🙂

      1. dancingpalmtrees

        Let’s see how things play out. In the meantime I’m fundraising for the Church. There is no money in the budget for an Art Show so it’s up to God to make it happen. If it’s God’s Will then the Lord will open the doors for donations.

  7. dancingpalmtrees

    I’m grateful and Thankful that YouTube has many instructional art videos that help you hone your art skills by showing different techniques. Just by watching various art videos you can learn about artists from all over the world. I especially enjoy discovering the artwork of African artists.


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