DAY 3 – VIRTUAL trip to Wales – sketching along the MONMOUTHSHIRE BRECON CANAL……

We will take this beautiful Welsh Border Collie ‘Jen’ on our walk along the canal today.    20180611_142155-1Having enjoyed another delicious Welsh breakfast, we are now heading for the Monmouthshire/Brecon Canal.

During the years that I lived in Crickhowell, each day I would walk across the Crickhowell bridge  to LLangatock – through the fields, up past the Dardy to the Monmouthshire/Brecon canal tow path.         It is a place to slow down and commune with the natural world.

mon-and-brec-1I always carried a tiny sketch book, watercolour palette and pen.    As I walked the tow path I would observe everything around me and make notes like this one.

Looking through the trees down into the Valley – I could see Crickhowell bathed in light.

I encourage people to make little notes and sketches.      This one has been in one of my many sketchbooks for over twenty years….and when I look at it all my senses are immediately awakened to that moment in time. 20200705_112656Another spontaneous watercolour/gouache sketch from the Canal tow path with shafts of light seeming to envelop the Valley. 39887021_10156586330645396_9141085084848226304_n

I have many happy memories of tutoring for the Brecknock Arts Society.    On one occasion – one of my groups met in Brecon with a plan to walk the tow path to Llangattock, stopping every fifteen minutes and then sketching for another fifteen minutes.     The idea of this exercise was to loosen up, hone observation skills and nurture spontaneity.         Although a long day – it worked and I remember it very fondly.

I would suggest that people start their day this way.   Don’t get stuck in one spot.   Remember to look in every direction, including up and down.       We are recording thoughts ideas and observations….and to do that effectively we need to be open to all that surrounds us. monmouthshire-and-brecon 5I always enjoyed meeting and greeting people on their narrow boats..     Canal-Llangattock 2Along with the beautiful views – to our left, right, ahead and behind, all our other senses are fed.

During lock down we have all been reminded of how Mother Nature responds  when we look after her..……..I don’t think I have ever heard a better dawn chorus than the ones we have experienced this spring. 20200705_131837

Along with beautiful views, there are always surprises when walking in nature, including this Giant Redwood which somehow found its way to the tow path just beyond Llangatock.       It has now become a landmark. redwood

There is often an ethereal quality about the light as shown in this quick sketch .    It was a place where I often felt totally detached from what was going on in the wider world. 20200703_104547Birds and other wildlife are to be found…..and if you walk the canal every day you get to experience and know nature’s beautiful rhythms.

I will use this image as my ‘jumping off point’ today.   I like the abstract shapes it presents.     Heron CanalI am using a mix of purple and yellow ochre for the dark shadows.   With my usual large brush I block out the composition.    All the remaining whites are dry white paper. 20200707_111332I then add Winsor & Newton gold Green and a little Daniel Smith Undersea Green under the archway making sure to bring some of the same greens into the foreground – ensuring a sense of balance. 20200707_120759I am not looking for a realistic image..but rather a spontaneous impression.      I am constantly reminded that everything reflects upon everything else….all of life is interconnected. 

Using the same greens which are trees reflecting into the water, and a little burnt Sienna to suggest trees and that’s enough.    20200707_140321

After another very jolly pub lunch:)  later in the afternoon as we walk back to Crickhowell across the fields, the ever present Table Top (Crug Hywel) is bathed in a golden light.     40796539_10156617046710396_3228209612809306112_oAfter cleaning up we prepare for a trip to the Sugarloaf Vineyard – where we will sample Welsh wines and delicious food produced in Wales. .

Before that we will drop into the 14th century St. Edmund’s church which sits in the middle of Crickhowell to see two large panels I panels measure 12ft x 8ft.    This is not a very good photograph but you will see that many of the animals and birds represented in the panels come from my sketches and experience of living in Crickhowell.     I particularly wanted children to enjoy them.

The panels were inspired by the following passage from the Song of Solomon and my love of the place.

‘Arise my love and come with me for the winter is past, the rains are over and gone.   Flowers appear on the earth, the season of singing has come, and the turtle dove is heard in our land’.   (Song of Solomon 2:10-12)

During the ceremony when the panels were officially installed in 1995, the children of LLangattock Church in Wales Primary School read this poem  to me….a very moving moment.


And now we go to Sugarloaf Winery gratis my favourite taxi driver, Gareth…..

Sugarloaf Mountain Crickhowell – where we will be sampling Welsh wines. Unknownsugar loaf

Tomorrow morning after breakfast we visit  Tretower Court (approx one mile from Crickhowell).    A place steeped in history and atmosphere.

Lechyd da…….








20 thoughts on “DAY 3 – VIRTUAL trip to Wales – sketching along the MONMOUTHSHIRE BRECON CANAL……

  1. snowbird

    Just beautiful, all of it. You have captured it all so brilliantly. I love the heron painting, magical and that poem is so moving. Wonderful and so

  2. Jet Eliot

    Fantastic virtual tour, Janet, of this magical place in the world. Your narrative is engaging and the watercolors are a joy, photos, too, are so engaging. I especially like the canal scenes, and found the painting series of the canal and heron especially fascinating. Thanks so much.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you Jet for reading and commenting. It’s fun to take a VIRTURAL trip to places I know very well…it brings back so many memories. Hope your creative juices are continuing to flow. Janet:)

  3. Ginny Russell

    I have been enjoying every single minute of your virtual journeys. I feel as though I’m there. So beautifully reimagined. A wonderful mix of photos & your lovely paintings. Have you ever thought of writing a book?

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Ginny – so lovely to see you here. I am so pleased you are enjoying this VIRTUAL visit to Wales. I am actually writing a book as we speak but because there are so many different stories to tell I am writing short vignettes every time a memory or thought comes to mind and hopefully one of these days I can put the whole thing together:). I hope you are enjoying your new home and studio and that your creative juices continue to flow. Would be lovely to see you one of these days. Janet :)x

      1. Ginny Russell

        Yes, I am enjoying the new house. Just finishing the garden now, and I’ve been intermittently keeping up with my painting! It would be lovely to meet up sometime. I am back & forth to London. Where are you? Things are still a little topsy turvy because of the virus aren’t they, but I’d still love to see you!

    2. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Hi Ginny – I seem to have misplaced your second comment. I have not gone into the wider world yet….a little nervous of public transportation. I am based in Hampton so if you do come to London – maybe we can organise something. It would be lovely to see you and the work that you are doing now. FYI, Some of one of my Portugal groups will be sharing their sketches from the trip to Wales next week on the blog.

  4. Ka Malana -

    I loved this whole day!!! A perfect day—from a filling breakfast, “Jen” the border collie, and walking down towpath along the canal. I ordered some supplies, I just wanted to leap right into your jumping off images. Thank you for taking us to this wonderful 14th century church and seeing your paintings, which I wish I could see in person! It was so moving to read the children’s poem to you, and to read of your inspiration for the paintings. What a wonderful brilliant light at table top, too! I’m glad I came along for this Virtual trip, I could easily wander around the lights and shadows of those bridges. You seem to have really connected with this land and “seeing it through your eyes” is quite the gift.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Ka, and thank you so much for your lovely comment and for joining me on this VIRTUAl trip. Very glad to hear that you ordered supplies. I will be putting up demonstrations every now and then and so do stay tuned. Meanwhile, I hope you get to do a lot of playing …..Next week I will be showing some of the work done by a group who come to the school in Portugal -you might find it interesting. Have a lovely weekend. Janet X

  5. America On Coffee

    All of these fascinating works and stories bring our hearts to the beautiful gift of life!🌺🌺🌺☕️☕️☕️ I am so drawn into the splendor of it all! Cheers Janet! Your project ventures are great therapy!


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