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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

Imagine being a flower

Watercolour/gouache20-11-15 - 1 (1069)“Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind.    The real you is loving, joyful, and free.    The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.”     Don Miguel Ruiz

A Bientôt

Fear and Love

There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love.

“When we are afraid, we pull back from life.   When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement and acceptance.   We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and imperfections.   If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create.    Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open hearted vision of people who embrace life.”     John Lennon.

watercolour/gouache20-11-15 - 1 (462)All of life in interconnected.     Mother Nature and the Magical Hummingbirds  remind us of this as they work together rather than in opposition.

watercolour/gouache20-11-15 - 1 (1023)Most cultures teach us that safety is found in separation and disconnection.

If we really believe that what happens in one part of the world doesn’t affect the rest of the world, we are in fact living in denial, convincing ourselves that we are safe.

To rely on disconnection for protection is to rely on falsehood.

watercolour/gouache20-11-15 - 1 (772)Mother Nature has given us the perfect example of what happens when we respect the laws of interconnection and also what happens when we don’t……..

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From the book – Buddhist Offerings:

You menace others with your deadly fangs but in tormenting them, you are only torturing yourselves. 

A Bientôt

Chance or Fate?

“There is no such thing as chance; and what seems to us merest accident springs from the deepest source of destiny.”    Frederick von Schiller.

My cousin introducing me to Crickhowell (The Magical Town of Crickadoon) in 1993 – a place I had never heard of before…..was that chance or fate?…….Certainly living and working in Crickhowell for twelve years constitutes a very important chapter of my life, and indeed will always be part of who I am.

large self portrait – Crickhowell Wales 2000 – rapid watercolour/gouache20-11-15 - 1 (955)Yesterday I visited my good friends Greta and Martin.     We met 12 years ago shortly after I moved to London from Wales.     It was a Sunday afternoon and I was giving a portrait demonstration for Artslink – a group I had recently connected with.       After the demonstration, Greta and Martin introduced themselves and asked if I would be interested in giving a workshop for SOFAP (Fulham/Hammersmith Arts Society) to which I said yes.      They also asked if I was related to Carol Weight, who it turned out was one of the early founders of the Society.     In fact, Carel was my Father’s cousin.

From Carel’s Memorial Service at The Royal Academy. 

20-11-15 - 1 (956)I will always remember that first workshop….because I knew in every fibre of  my mind and body that I was in the right place at that moment in time.     Subsequently, during the past 12 years, so much of the work I have done and people I have met in London can be traced back to that Sunday afternoon when I met Greta and Martin.   Chance or fate?

My first portrait workshop with SOFAP – Fulham/Hammersmith Arts – eleven years ago20-11-15 - 1 (954)Recently, I have been experiencing a glut of ‘coincidences’ – or are they?     Six Degrees of Separation is the term we use to describe such happenings when we meet others for the first time who we find are in some way connected to our lives.

When in Portugal, some of the group were scrolling through my work on a pad and came across this painting – which is a ‘symbolic self portrait’ large oil on canvas – painted in my West Chester studio, Pennsylvania 1990.      They asked what the different objects in the painting represented.     I told them that the little egg cup in the front and centre of the composition represented my birth.     That it was given to me, and other babies born in England on 21st January 1946.    The silver egg cup has the inscription –  News Chronicle Centenary – 21st January 1946 – Janet Weight. 

At this point one of the group said that their family had owned the News Chronicle….for me a significant moment.    Chance or fate ?      The egg cup has been a Talisman for me throughout my life….and as I write this, it sits on a shelf in my book case.

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Claudia Nottale came into my life when she was 17 years old.   Introduced through a friend, she came from Paris to live with me and my young family.     I knew from the moment I met her that she would play a significant part in my life…and indeed she has and continues to do so.

I have painted and sketched Claudia many times over the years…. charcoal when Claudia was visiting Crickhowell in 1995. 

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It has been suggested to me that I write a book about the numerous  ‘coincidences’ that have occurred throughout my life….and indeed they will be a part of my book.  With the luxury of hindsight I can now look back and pin point how these events have shaped my life.

Like a tightly woven tapestry – our lives are intertwined.        When we look at a tapestry, like this magnificent piece from Hampton Court Palace, we tend to see the main features….but every thread is key to the whole….all of life is interconnected. P1120664I am quite clear that when these ‘coincidences’ occur in a glut…that the hummingbirds are indeed weaving their magic…..20-11-15 - 1 (788)

A Bientôt

 

 

Total Concentration: The Heart and Soul of Creative Work: Part Two

Another gem from David Rogers. This post ties in beautifully with my last post ‘A Day at the School in Olhao’ – where I speak about honing observational skills….so that we can actually ‘see’ what we are looking at…..Enjoy Janet

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A heart surgeon was performing a delicate operation when large chunks of the ceiling came crashing down all around him. People in the operating room screamed, the noise was deafening. But the surgeon was so concentrated on

the surgery that he didn’t notice.  When your creator’s mind is as deeply on the act of creation as it should be when you are painting, writing, dancing, acting, like that surgeon you will be aware of nothing else. You will look up and see that your friend has been talking to you and you didn’t notice or that rain is coming in the window that has blown open while you worked. You won’t hear blaring music from the apartment next door.

Creative people often notice that if their ability to concentrate while they are working is poor, their work is also poor, but that if their concentration is good, their work is…

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