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‘I’ve Got a Ticket to Ryde’…and remembering a much simpler time.

On my Lambretta scooter in 1965 (the same year that the Beatles wrote the song – ‘I’ve got a ticket to Ride’)   My friend Maureen is on the back.   She and I went to art college together and shared a flat in London.      til August 10 142I have just purchased a ticket to Ryde on the Isle of Wight, where I will be spending some time with fellow blogger and artist, Sarah Vernon – ‘First Night Design’.     The last time I visited the Isle of Wight it was on this scooter in 1965!

But first I would like to tell you a story about my Lambretta scooter which points out how different the world was in 1965,

First of all no license or helmet was needed.    This was long before ‘heath and safety’.     Finding a puncture in the petrol tank I went to the local garage where I was told to chew bubble gum and then plug up the hole – which I did.    I drove all the way to the Isle of Wight and back on that scooter…and it was fine.      This time around, I will be travelling by train and of course ferry from the mainland to the Island.

This photograph was taken the same year – with Maureen and another friend in front of what was then the  newly opened Commonwealth Institute in Kensington.    It has just been re-opened as the New Design Museum. 

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Those were heady days.     It was a fun time to be young in London and indeed Europe….Hope abounded.

The era of materialistic madness had not yet descended….expectations were of a different kind and consequently for the most part people were much more content.    

Hitchhiking and Youth hosteling around Europe was considered normal for young people.      A holiday could mean, stomping grapes in Italy or staying at the very basic newly emerging Club Med camps scattered around Europe.       In short it was a much simpler life.

watercolour/gouache20-11-15 - 1 (764)After visiting the Isle of Wight and Sarah, I then return to the mainland (Dorset) where I will stay with Maureen.

I will of course take camera and sketch book…..

Magical Hummingbirds as always will accompany  me……

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A Bientôt

A special visit to The Magical Town of Crickadoon on my 10th Blog and FB anniversaries – they are connected.

My visit to The Magical Town of Crickadoon….(AKA Crickhowell Wales) turned out to be particularly special.      It also happened to coincide with my 10th anniversary of blogging and involvement with social media.        I write about both these events together as they are connected…..

The view from my bedroom window on the first morning.       My first impression – a river of mist floating across the Usk Valley.       Magical, and even more so to observe the mist lifting, slowly revealing the beauty beneath.

20-11-15 - 1 (190)watercolour/gouache sketch – The Usk Valley where the Black Mountains meet the Brecon Beacons. 20-11-15 - 1 (493)This visit was the first time since I left Crickhowell, twelve years ago, that I was able to completely relax and allow myself the joy of visiting old haunts and connecting with dear friends.

 

 

The 16th century bridge spanning the River Usk.      I have walked over this bridge so many times….and like the surrounding hills and landscape the colours and atmosphere constantly change.

80503814The market Town of Crickhowell has a population of approx 3,000.      It still has the butcher, baker and candlestick maker and much much more.     A manageable and vibrant community.

High Street Crickhowell 

Crickhowell-148295When I lived there in my little cottage on Mill Street I was able to walk everywhere, including to twelve (or was it thirteen) pubs? – all of which served good food – from pub grub to fine dining and everything in between.      That is still the case.

This little watercolour sketch looking over the town up towards Brecon was painted shortly after I arrived in Crickhowell (1994) from the Castle Motte.   131500_307466586024705_32046251_oSo why you might ask did I leave.       In 1999 I began working on a project for children which used the power of art and colour to teach about environment, homelessness and many other social issues.      Had it been successful, it would have solved long term financial issues.    After what looked like a very promising beginning, in 2003 it was clear that the project was not going to work.    A very sad moment for me.

However – ‘None of us is ever creative enough to know how things will actually work out…..’

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This precipitated a move to London, my base for the past twelve years.       France was to be my next permanent move….but once again circumstances and personal responsibilities caused my plans to be changed.

 

From my sketch book on this trip…The light over the Brecon Beacons changes by the second. 20-11-15 - 1 (479)All of which brings me to ten years of blogging and social media…………

Ten years ago in the midst of this change, I had heard about blogs, but didn’t have a clue of what they were.    I knew nothing about social media, until my daughter suggested that I join something called Facebook.    My response  – Why not?

As it happens, my decision to get involved was a life saver.     Given that this period has been somewhat fragmented, blogging and social media have allowed me to continue working, and at the same time meet many new and interesting people.    I would recommend anyone who is going through a time of change and upheaval to use consistent blogging as a way to bring a sense of stability into life.

I also believe that had social media been in play when I began my project in 1999, things might have worked out differently.   No regrets – simply an observation.

Having a base in London has also been very good for my work and again I have met wonderful people….

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However, I am now free of personal responsibilities and can move forward unencumbered, which is why my trip to Crickhowell this time around was so special.

I have no idea what the future will bring….I am one of those people that tries to live in the moment and take each day as it comes…..however, we do have to make plans, and it is my hope that I will now spend longer periods of time in places liked Crickhowell, Saorge France, Portugal etc.

As I continue to work and travel, I plan to do much more plein air work and of course record the people who I encounter along the way.

Ella sketching. – pen and wash

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I wish one and all a beautiful beginning of Autumn.

Magical hummingbird symbolise for me the ‘unseen magic’ in our world.      

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A Biento

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creativity – Use it or lose it….

I attended a gathering this week where I was asked what kind of art I made.    This is a loaded question and one I often find difficult to answer.       I said I love colour and believe that the creative process in all its forms is the key to emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing.      I was then asked if I thought everyone had a desire to create.   My answer was a resounding – yes.

This years visit to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. 6ABA8BCB-D0B8-40B2-859B-17819F7B2564After returning home I thought more about my response.

Our inborn creativity has to be nurtured in the same way that we care for our minds and bodies.      For example, if we allowed one of our limbs to shrivel and atrophy  – we would always be aware of the many things we might have done with the full use of that limb.       It is much the same with creativity.     Not to use it in one form or another, brings frustration often accompanied by a sense of loss.   A loss that in many ways we are unable to identify.     Use it or lose it really does apply. 

Jayanthi Rani at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 20-11-15 - 1 (1131)This beautiful watercolour was painted by Jayanthi Rani who I met five years ago when she came to my painting course in Portugal….and since then it has been my great privilege to watch her work blossom and grow.       You can see more of Jayanthi’s work on her FB page. 25FD0122-DEE0-4FCF-A3C4-22A8C3D69E8AIt seems to me that as we try to fill the ever widening holes within as our collective senses are being deadened through the over use of technology, our frustration levels grow and the need for a creative outlet even more acute.

 

Nurturing my little cottage garden in Wales from a barren, fallow patch, was a creative project I loved.       til August 10 1037Cooking, sewing, knitting, writing, dance, music – I could go on and on.     When I observe people using a myriad of creative disciplines – I see people who in that moment feel a sense of contentment and wellbeing.

I am off to Crickhowell, Wales (AKA The Magical Town of Crickadoon) on Monday and will hopefully return with lots of new ideas and sketches.

For now I leave you with a happy moment from last year along with a watercolour of the beautiful Use Valley.

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A Bientôt

How Creators Benefit from Teachers

Another superb post from David Rogers – reminding us all of the importance of good and inspirational teachers. David’s posts always re-awaken in me thoughts and ideas…..which are is all part of the never ending learning experience of life and the creative process……Janet

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Colorful abstract paintingIn college I had a brilliant professor of creative writing–he was dazzling. After class one day I said to him, “You know everything about literature and writing. Your analysis of works is something to behold, and you’re able to tell students how specifically to improve their work. But as far as I can tell you’ve never produced any creative writing yourself. Have you?

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because I have no talent.”

He didn’t have the talent his students did have, but his students didn’t have the knowledge he had, and that’s what we were there to acquire so we would have both talent and knowledge.

A painter will not automatically improve her performance by painting more. A writer’s performance won’t improve simply by further writing. To ratchet up their performance they will have to make changes designed specifically to develop it to a higher level. One major change is to…

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Here’s To Strong Women…..and Magical hummingbirds……

Here’s to strong women.   May we know them.   May we be them.  May we raise them.

My Grandmother – Agatha Bowyer Griffiths – 1885-1972

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It’s been quite a tumultuous time within my own personal sphere.    Having buried my Mother last December, – my dear Aunt Peggy moved on to be with the magical hummingbirds this month.     Her funeral last Thursday was a celebration of her remarkable life.       I have also lost two other friends……………all of which has caused much reflection.

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Our time on this precious planet is fleeting. – we must never forget this.

Having waded through all the bureaucracy which occurs at these times, I know that ‘this too shall pass……’ – and the magical hummingbirds will continue to drink from the sweet nectar of life  🙂

My Daughter – Christie Griffiths Reed  born 1975 –  Taking part in a Triathlon – Massachusetts, USA

1936994_160987251067_1030955_nI posted these two photographs of my wonderful Grandmother and her Great Granddaughter, my daughter, because they show so clearly that within a relatively short period of time…..how our world has changed.     How the lives of women have changed…..

My Grandmother, born before the two Great Wars….served in WW1 as a VAD nurse, – it is also during that war she met my grandfather,     Between the wars, she had four children, and was involved with the women’s suffrage movement in the UK.

Her daughters, my Mother and Aunt – served during WW11 both in the VAD as nurses.      One son was an army man and the other on the Russian Convoys.

I was most fortunate to have her in my life until 1972.     I was able to spend much meaningful time with her, for which I will be forever grateful.        I gave Christie her middle name after my Grandmother.

A magical hummingbird drinking from the sweet nectar of life……………………..20-11-15 - 1 (1094)When I went through my Aunt’s papers, I was delighted to find that her passport only expired last year – which means that she renewed it when she was 86.     She also volunteered helping ‘old people’ when she was in her eighties and early nineties.     What an inspiration.

It is the influence of these women, including my daughter,  that has given me courage to move forward when times haven’t always been easy – and I know that they will be there for me until I move onto the next adventure……..

I read this somewhere, and believe it to be true.    The beauty of collaboration between older and younger generations is that we combine strength with wisdom.    20-11-15 - 1 (1129)

During the last couple of months, I have made sure to paint every day and have filled two big sketch books…..There is nothing more therapeutic 🙂

It will take a while before I get into a flow.      I plan to catch up with comments etc. over the next two weeks and then I go to The Magical Town of Crickadoon for some R & R and of course painting.

And so my friends, I will now move forward with a sense of purpose and joy.

A Bientôt

 

Remain in the simplicity of the present moment.

Do not encumber your mind with useless thoughts.   What good does it do to brood on the past or anticipate the future?   Remain in the simplicity of the present moment….From the book Buddhist Offerings 

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During the past few weeks, I have been reminded of the importance of remaining in the simplicity of the present moment.

My Aunt Peggy was one of those people who seemingly always lived this way.      Recently, aged 97 and receiving hospice care, she succumbed and passed on.      Given that I am her only surviving relative, I am currently involved in organising her funeral which means I will be away from here for a while longer.

Aunt Peggy as a young woman. til August 10 151I have been surrounded with strong, and unusual woman all my life – from my Grandmothers, to my Mother and Aunt Peggy.

Peggy had a great influence on my life.    When I was just three years old and visiting my Grandmother in London, I saw one of Peggy’s sketch books, and it was at that moment that I knew I would be an artist.

I never heard her complain or say anything negative about others.    She always encouraged me.      I feel blessed to have had her in my life.

Peggy at 96P1140070 Nearly ten years ago, Peggy lost her only son, my cousin James – aged 57….and although I know it hurt her terribly she never complained.      Although Peggy was not a religious woman in the conventional sense, she was deeply spiritual and believed that eventually she and James would be reunited…..

I anticipate being away from here for the next two weeks at least…..and during that time, I plan to surround myself and Peggy with magical hummingbirds…..She would like that:)20-11-15-1-71A Benton