Author Archives: janetweightreed10

About janetweightreed10

I have been a working artist for forty years. Best known for my love of colour, more of my work can be seen at http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk.

It’s April which must mean Portugal :) – http://www.artinthealgarve.com

After the weekend I return to the School in Olhao, Portugal – hard to believe another year has past.      http://www.artinthealgarve.com

It’s always lovely to be reunited with the olive tree that meanders up through the internal courtyards all the way to the roof of the School – and given that sun and warm weather is forecast there will be lots of wonderful shadow play to observe and paint:)    After a long, wet, cold winter it will be wonderful….and oh the light, let’s not forget the light. 10295235_10152370607180396_8634046936488294426_oI always look forward to being at the School – seeing Margarita and the rest of the team who make it feel like home, and being immersed in what I feel is one of the more conducive places to explore the creative process.      This year I am looking forward to it more than ever.

one of the exterior stairways in the School – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (936)One of the group sketching on Armona Island – 15 minute boat ride from the School. 20-11-15 - 1 (900)Quick sketch of fishing boats – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (63)The studio P1150901From top level of the School where the rooftops of old Olhao can be seen.  There is a small pool on the roof and another in one of the ground floor courtyards. P1150939Storks nesting top of one of the Olhao churches.       Olhao  part of the Ria Formosa National Park is a superb place for birders.    ImageOlhao is a working fishing town…. fish from the local marketImagesketching in the alley behind the School 20-11-15 - 1 (145) Playful hummingbirds to set the mood – watercolour. 

20-11-15 - 1 (38)Those who follow my blog will know that when I am away and painting, other than checking e mails, I have a holiday from blogging and social media…

After I return from Portugal I will have six days and then on 3rd May I fly to Boston.    I will post a blog before leaving.

A Bientot

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk 

 

 

Meeting Bonnie Paul – and Following bliss…

When Bill Moyers asked  Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)  – ‘What does it mean to follow your bliss‘ and ‘Do you ever have the sense of being helped by hidden hands?’  – this was Campbell’s response.

All the time.  It is miraculous.   I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time – namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.    When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you.   I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”   Joseph Campbell. 

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Back to 1987.        Recently divorced, I had no money other than an old carriage house studio that I owned in West Chester, Pennsylvania.     The studio was a fifteen minute walk from where I had previously lived.

At that time, I made a life-defining choice to live and work in my studio, the only problem being that there was no heat or running water!

My Prescott Alley Studio, West Chester Pa. mid eighties.    I worked on one side and lived on the other.    Scan 74I had recently been introduced to the writings of Joseph Campbell – Philosopher/Mythologist and discovered the term – Follow your bliss.….His books spoke to me.   I knew that it was time to stop straddling fences and to begin following my life path as a serious artist/creative, and that’s when amazing things began to happen, including Bonnie Paul coming into my life.

Although I was exhibiting and selling work, plus teaching, I needed to make more income.       Almost immediately after I made this decision, an artist friend from Philadelphia sent her art consultant/agent to my studio to see if she might be interested in representing my work.     The art consultant was Bonnie Paul,  

 

Years later after Bonnie and I had worked together on many large corporate murals and private commissions, we would laugh about our first meeting.      Bonnie so very glamorous, and I was definitely an artist living and working in my studio !

Bonnie and I together in Wales years after our first meeting – a place where we always relaxed and had so much fun. 20-11-15 - 1 (1664)Along with private commissions, Bonnie got me into the Corporate mural area….which at that time was very much in vogue and lucrative.     She also became a very good friend.

Other people within my field of bliss arrived from seemingly out of the blue.   I can’t write about this without mentioning Jean Frohling who helped me enormously with the heat/water issue and much more, and became a life long mentor until her death last year.

The living side of the studio on Prescott Alley – after heat and water was installed….An episode that deserves a book. til August 10 245When we follow our bliss is doesn’t mean that everything will be easy.

I have found that when I follow my chosen path, my needs (not necessarily my wants)  are met in ways that I can never have imagined.

I have learned that when I stray from my path and try to control life….I usually get into trouble.   I don’t feel right – and my creative flow dries up!      It is when I tap into the unseen energies that the magic happens – (symbolised by my signature image, magical hummingbirds).

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Dear Bonnie Paul departed the world this past weekend.    She had achieved so much.    A great lover and supporter of the arts, she has left a wonderful legacy for all who knew her, including her devoted family and many friends.      She will forever be part of my field of Bliss.

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A Bientot

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

 

The Second half of my trip to France…

watercolour – Caramany20-11-15 - 1 (1265)This post is about my week in Caramany, a small, ancient hill top village – in the Pyrenees-Orientales department in southern France.     A very beautiful area.

My friend the artist Suzy Davidson (www.suzydavidson.com) –  has been renovating an old ruin there for the past nine years …..all of this done whilst living in South Africa and and Malaysia.    Quite a feat.        On her regular visits, she has managed to organise builders, and much more…..and being a hands on person has done a lot of work herself, including building walls….wall6

To get there, I flew to Carcassonne and then a two hour drive to Caramany.     (On my return trip to Brittany and then London, I travelled by train – more about that in a minute)   

I left London just  before the ‘Beast from the East’ descended on the UK and Europe.  For the first three or so days it was freezing cold.     Fortunately Suzy had just installed two wood burners!

Suzy between house and atelier. 20-11-15 - 1 (1237)Initially it was too cold to paint outside (we actually woke to a dusting of snow one morning!) – and so I painted some interiors, plus portraits of the local Caramany people – again an excellent way to connect with people and to learn about a place.

A very warm spot next to a wood burner (now shown in this picture:)20-11-15 - 1 (1282)A rapid sketch from open window. 20-11-15 - 1 (1266)Built into rock, the community sits on many levels.     I took this photograph overlooking the courtyard to Suzy’s house with the ravine, village and hills beyond. 20-11-15 - 1 (1253)There are 150 full time residents – (during the summer months this number grows)     Through Suzy, I was able to meet some of the locals who not only made me very welcome but also provided in one case a delicious typically French five course lunch, and in another a superb evening meal.

Marie – a multi talented lady. – watercolour  20-11-15 - 1 (1347)Seven year old Capucine – watercolour 20-11-15 - 1 (1449)By mid week the sun was shining and in sheltered spots it was very warm.   I actually enjoyed my first al fresco lunch of the year.

Part of the village in mild sunshine. 20-11-15 - 1 (1507)Remy – Caramany resident – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (1441)Vivi – wife of Remy  – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (1440)I certainly hope to visit Carmany again during a warmer period when I am able do much more plein air painting.      I believe that Late April/May or September/October would be perfect….as I think the summers might be a little too hot for my liking.

Perpignan is about a 35 minute drive from Caramany, and so it was here that I caught the  first train on my way to Lorient in Brittany.      Other than the initial local train, I was travelling by TGV – the superb French train system which travels at high speeds and for the most part is very efficient.

Between Perpignan and Narbonne – I was able to see the lagoons with Pink Flamingos….what a treat.     After a quick change at Narbonne onto Toulouse, – Toulouse to Paris and Paris to Lorient where Elisabeth and Herve were waiting for me.    The train was right on schedule.        It sounds like a long day, and it was but given that the trains are so comfortable and everything on schedule….it is a far better way to travel than flying!.    An excellent opportunity for reading, writing, thinking and people watching.

A rapid watercolour/gouache in my sketch book looking down on the reservoir beneath Caramany….It was extremely windy and cold that day. .   20-11-15 - 1 (1545)

Now onto my next trip where I will be giving a workshop at the beautiful school in Olhao Portugal  http://www.artinthealgarve.com      starting Wednesday 18th April….

We have received two late cancellations and so if anyone is interested in joining us on what is always a wonderful week, please contact Camilla at +44 203 2877 140

I have a limit of 12 for these workshops and am fully booked for September.   

At this time of year, especially after our very cold spring, the thought of arriving at the School is such a treat.     The top of the old olive tree that grows up through the centre of the School….simply beautiful. P1150724

I finish with a pile of magical hummingbird watercolour doodles 20-11-15 - 1 (1646)

 

A Bientot

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

 

 

A very special trip to France. Viva la Difference………

Viva la Difference.       I have just visited two very different regions of France.    For the first half of the trip I stayed in an ancient hill village situated in the Pyrenees, Languedoc-Roussillon region.     (I will write about this in my next blog)   20-11-15 - 1 (1315)For the second part of my trip I stayed in Ploeumeur – very close to Lorient in the Brittany Region.

In 1995 (two years after I returned to the UK/Europe from the United States) I had an exhibition in Brittany.    At that time I fell in love with the people and the wonderful traditions of the region.

My subject in the exhibition poster is a young girl named Solen.    I remember painting her when she visited Crickhowell, Wales– which brings forth another important connection.     Wales and Brittany are both of Celtic heritage.      Both places share a love of the arts, music and enjoy very strong traditions.

Note that in 1995, I was still signing my paintings  Janet Reed.   Shortly after this, I began to use my maiden name Weight Reed. 20-11-15 - 1 (1642)During this visit I stayed with my dear friend Elisabeth (Babeth), her lovely partner Erve and their beautiful little dog Nouchka:)    I first met Elisabeth when she visited Crickhowell, Wales in 1993 – the year I arrived there….and we have been good friends since.      Today she lives a minute’s walk from beautiful beaches…..and is very happy.

With multi talented Elisabeth on a windy beach in Brittany.    Elisabeth paints, makes music and is a wonderful cook. 20-11-15 - 1 (1584)And with Helene (Elisabeth’s sister-in-law) who I have also known for many years….such special friends 20-11-15 - 1 (1582)It was through the 1995 exhibition that I realised how much I enjoyed painting people in a rapid watercolour style.    I recognised that I captured through the portraits a moment in time…..and most importantly, I was able to connect with the people I met in a very special way. 

I first painted Vincent, one of Elisabeth’s children, when he was seven years old – today he is in his mid thirties.      This little portrait shows a moment in time – a moment in Vicent’s life. 20-11-15 - 1 (1566)And beautiful Maelle – Elisabeth’s daughter – seventeen years old when I painted this and now a mother of two children and living in Vancouver. 20-11-15 - 1 (1568)And dear Nicholas – who I saw on this visit (now in his mid thirties) and today resembling one of Cezanne’s self portraits.    As I spoke with Nicholas I could still see the little boy in him.20-11-15 - 1 (1567)I have so many lovely stories about the people I have painted in many different countries.    Often we don’t speak a common language, but painting like music becomes a Universal language – crossing all barriers.

A quick watercolour of Elisabeth as we enjoyed conversation….201820-11-15 - 1 (1572)Another of her partner Erve – musician and all round good man.  201820-11-15 - 1 (1571)Erve who is part of a Breton male choir ‘Les Gabiers d’Artimon’ –   playing the Binjou – a bagpipe type instrument20-11-15 - 1 (1588)Erve leading a group on an exercise programme in the sea very close to where he and Elisabeth live.        They do this no matter what the weather…20-11-15 - 1 (1517)One of the many beautiful beaches that go on for miles and miles….20-11-15 - 1 (1541)The Little Port of Doelan in Finistaire- where the French version of Doc Martin is filmed…..What a surprise that was !   Along with Nicole, a lovely friend of Elisabeth, we enjoyed a superb lunch and afterwards a walk along the cliffs. 20-11-15 - 1 (1621)In visiting this region I am reminded that England and France were once geographically joined.…which is why parts of SW England (Cornwall and Devon) resemble so much of Brittany.    Other than the fact that Brittany has better summers, the weather is also also similar.

And then there are the crepes – in every flavour imaginable….and they are delicious, as is all French food………20-11-15 - 1 (1525)During my forty five year career I have experienced moments when I wondered how could I continue….how could I go on?      This trip has reminded me of how fortunate I am to have lived the life I have – to have met so many wonderful people.    To live the life of an artist.

I must finish this post with darling little Nuouchka, who has definitely found a place in my heart. 20-11-15 - 1 (1561)And of course a magical hummingbird – or Colibri Magique.….they were with me all the way. 20-11-15 - 1 (766)Wishing one and all a beautiful day and weekend ahead.

A Bientot

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

I am off to paint and be with friends in France

‘Wherever you go, go with all your heart’    Confucius. 

Dancing birds – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (958)I am looking forward to painting and being with dear friends in France during the next couple of weeks.

First to SW France and then onto Lorient, Brittany.       Hopefully I will return with a filled sketch book and watercolour paintings.

Egret rising – watercolour1973568_10152274469345396_407293163_o.jpgUne colibri magique pour vous.

15129403_10154629951660396_7254253705154814862_oBack here mid March.

A bientôt

hittp://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

How Creativity and a simple daily plan contribute to holistic wellbeing.

‘Wellness is the complete integration of body, mind and spirit – the realisation that everything we do, think, feel and believe has an effect on our state of well-being’.   Greg Anderson. 

watercolour/gouache – I painted this overlooking the Usk Valley Wales where the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains meet.       Through Mother Nature we see how all of life is interconnected. 20-11-15 - 1 (267)What is Holistic wellbeing?  

Holistic wellbeing is characterised by the treatment of the whole person.    It is to look at the self from a whole (holistic) perspective and to understand the mind, body, spirit connection.  

To change one fraction of a painting, – changes the whole painting.     This is true for we humans….to change one small part of ourselves, (positively or negatively), changes the whole. 

watercolour/gouache – Brecon Beacons Wales – Mist over the hills. 20-11-15 - 1 (493)In our ever more complex and stressful day to day living, finding ways to balance the different aspects of our lives can at times seem overwhelming.     It is for this reason that I believe to make changes, we first need to create a simple daily plan.  

The following are some of the things that have helped me over the years.

Movement to enhance physical wellbeing –  A daily walk – a stretching routine – dance.   (we don’t have to run a marathon).

Emotional  wellbeing  – We can do this by removing unnecessary technical stuff.    Do we really need our phones on 24/7?

Clearing the space in which we live helps to clear the mind and the body.

Keeping pen and paper close at hand to write down thoughts and feelings.   Emptying our heads before going to sleep by writing down anything that is causing distress or disruption.

Spiritual food –    The creative process in all it’s many forms can feed this need.   Painting, writing, music, gardening, cooking and colour all help to feed our senses and enhance our imagination and observational skills.       

Without establishing simple routines, our creativity can be neglected.    My little book – The Apple Exercise – is all about making space in our daily lives to explore our creativity.     In the book I suggest fifteen minute exercises.

Each person has to create their own simple daily plan, one that works for them.

When we address these simple needs we experience a sense of wellbeing.

This watercolour exercise demonstrates that as we change one small portion of a painting, or ourselves, the whole changes. 

20-11-15-1-726Allow time for a new simple daily plan to become part of who you are….change one element at a time.20-11-15-1-728It takes 28 days to form a new habit.       The key is to be persistent and consistent.        20-11-15-1-729As we make positive simple changes, stress is replaced with a calmness which supports the whole.     This is holistic well-being.    20-11-15-1-731Everything I write in this blog comes from personal experience.    I came up with a simple daily plan for myself thirty-two years ago, when I recognised that my own life had become overwhelming – out of control.       Feeling overwhelmed and fragmented affected my physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

You might say that at that time, I had an epiphany, a sudden and striking realisation that I needed and wanted to change.

To make these changes, I started with a very simple daily plan.    Slowly but surely my life improved beyond recognition.

With these tried and true tools in place – I am now able to face stressful situations in a much more constructive way.

‘The key is changing our habits and, in particular, the habits of the mind’.   Buddhist Offerings. 

Happy Valentine’s Day from the magical hummingbirds. 🙂20-11-15 - 1 (458)A Bientot

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk