Before I begin the next group of vignettes from my life story – I am re–posting some from the past.

I was reminded recently of the importance of listening


“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand – they listen with the intent to reply”. Roy Bennett.

My dear friend Claudia, actress and theatre director listening. – charcoal

I watched a superb episode of ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ this week featuring Dame Judi Dench.

I have always enjoyed her as an amazing actress but what struck me during this programme was the way she listened so intently to whoever was speaking to her. She not only listened but also made constant eye contact.

Aged 86, I was struck with how beautiful she continues to be. So much of her beauty comes from her ability to be present for others using both her listening skills and her eyes to communicate.

My friend Charlotte fully present and listening…..

Tony is a therapist which means his life is all about listening to others. He and I have been good friends for a long time. It occurred to me after watching Dame Judi Dench, that one of the reasons Tony and I continue to be such good friends is because he is such a good listener.

I know how frustrating it is to be in the company of those who keep interrupting and so to have a friend like Tony is very special..

I am also fully aware that I don’t always listen as well as I should….but I work on it. When I find myself wanting to jump into the conversation so that I can be heard, I step back and stay quiet for a while. Not only does this give the conversation an opportunity to flow, but I inevitably end up learning something.

Tony – The Listener – oil on canvas

“Listen with your eyes as well as your ears” – Graham Speechley

In this portrait of my friend Fran – she is listening to the unseen energy surrounding her….Sometimes we don’t need someone talking with us to listen intently.

‘One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say’. Bryant H McGill

Patricia – French actress and such a wonderful listener.

I am a teacher and am very aware of how much is missed by not listening.

I would also suggest that putting aside all distractions – i.e. mobile phones is a very good first step to effective listening.

I hope you get to see the Dame Judi Dench – Who Do You Think You Are episode. It’s wonderful..

30 thoughts on “Before I begin the next group of vignettes from my life story – I am re–posting some from the past.

  1. JMR-ART

    Love theses, look and listen are important skills, look for visual artist and listen, should be for everyone…actually both for everybody..:)

  2. Don't Lose Hope

    Dame Judi Dench is one on my favourite actors too. She is amazing, even at 86. I will look out for “Who do you think you are?” I haven’t heard of that – so thank you.
    (As an aside, I used to live near Dame Judi when I lived in England!)

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you for. your comment. Who Do You think You Are is a series on the BBC – focusing on the life stories of different people, Judi Dench being one of the more memorable in my opinion. Lucky you for living close by to Ms Dench:)

  3. Carol Balawyder

    These are gorgeous portraits, Janet. Listening is a great skill to possess but annoying when not reciprocated. I have found myself where I begin to say something (for example “when I was teaching at McGill…) and all of a sudden the person is off on a long tangent about her friend’s daughter who once went to McGill blah…blah..blah and I never get to finish my sentence.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you Carol for your comment – one which I completely understand:). Yes it is so annoying to be interrupted in the middle of an important thought….especially when the question has been asked over and over again by the same person!:). Hoping all is well in your world and that the writing is going well. X

  4. clararidings

    Very true! I love all the paintings of your friends! If you’d ever be interested, I would love to see a post showing step by step how you paint people in the style shown here.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning and thank you so much for your comment. I will look through my files to see if I can find a portrait demo to post. I have done portrait demonstrations in many places – and need to get someone more technical than me on side to organise some more videos. Watch this space. Janet πŸ™‚

  5. davidjrogersftw

    Hello Janet. I too have noticed how intently Judi Dench listens to what the other actors are saying. She’s such a wonderful actress–and she can sing. According to Stanislavsky to listen to and be involved with the other actors on the stage is the main job of an actor, and she certainly does that In the sixties psychologst Carl Rogers’ “listening exercises” were big in America. We used to sit around lsitening to each other. I think that the only thing I had in common with them was the name: a great listener I am not, but I never give up trying.. How can you write effective dialogue if you’re not a good listener?

  6. janetweightreed10 Post author

    Thank you David for your comment which is always appreciated. I have become a much better listener as I get older but still have plenty of room to grow:). Hope you are enjoying lovely spring weather. Janet πŸ™‚

  7. Jet Eliot

    The art of listening is a grand one, and I find it interesting, Janet, that these paintings, a visual, reflect an audio response. You captured well the listening subjects here. Wonderful post and fantastic portraits.

  8. madeinchertsey

    My first time on here, I love the paintings and the subject of listening. I write and paint as well, and remember my childhood so well because I had to be a listener, I hardly said a proper word before I was five years old. Now in my nineties I can tell my story. Thanks again for the story of Dame Judy, one of my favourite actors.

  9. snowbird

    There certainly is an art to being a good listener, something most of us have to work on I think. Glorious art, as always. Oh, yes, I too admire Judy Dench, such a character, yes her radiance shines


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