Category Archives: Uncategorized

Happy Thanksgiving to friends and family in the States….

Which brings me to this very amusing picture that my daughter Christie sent via WhatsApp last night.    When this was taken around 1980 WhatsApp and all the rest of the social media stuff was pure science fiction.

I always got up at about 5 a.m. on Thanksgiving so that I could feed the animals..and then get the turkey into the oven for a long slow cook.   Bear in mind that cooking is not my best attribute, however I did this for years and remember oh so well all the routines and traditions  that surrounded it.   My husband Bill must have taken this picture…..again long before digital cameras. Happy memories:)

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This photograph was taken around the same time….although here I am doing something I feel more comfortable with……

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Its hard to believe that we are now entering the festive season.    The past year seems to have melted away.

My daughter Christie will be joining me here on the 16th of December for ten days….for which I am very grateful and then next May I will spend two weeks on the farm with my son Jarrod and his partner Kendle.   Happy days indeed.

The beginning of the festive seasons means it’s time for some Christeve the Cat in the Magical Town of Crickadoon images.

Here Christeve the Cat looks down from her favourite tree at the little cottage that looks so cozy and warm…..wishing she had a home of her own…..

Note that the magical hummingbirds surround her……………

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Those of us with food in the cupboard and a roof over our heads do indeed have much to be thankful for.    It’s vital that we remember all those who are not so fortunate…..

A Bientôt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t judge a book by its cover……

‘Don’t judge a book by its cover….’

Much like a book cover, all too often we form opinions about someone or their work based on very little information – usually brief meetings, or in the case of visual artists, one painting, exhibition or gallery representation.

In this post, still thinking about how social media has, and continues to play an important part in my life….I want to address the difficulties of being pigeon holed as an artist.         This can happen on the back of one painting, exhibition or gallery representation as well as other people’s assumptions of who you are.

This large oil on canvas (circa 1982) depicts the moment that people turn their backs on one another….(Part of a large series of paintings)Featured Image -- 19828

Making a living as an artist is not easy.     It takes tenacity, courage and a great deal of creativity.     As I look back on my nearly fifty year career I can see that my journey has been eventful, exciting, sometimes desperate, but throughout there has always been the knowledge that I was following the right path.

Despite the difficulties and disappointments along the way, I have, and continue to experience great joy as an artist and will forever be grateful to have chosen this path.

Large oil on canvas (circa 1990) depicting what was one of the most important turning points in my life and career. 

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By the time I painted this self portrait (circa 1990) – I had already learned that to make my way as an artist I would need to adapt to unusual situations and trust in my intuition.    By 1990, sadly my marriage was dissolved and I was left with no money or support.

Refusing to give up my life as an artist, I listened to my intuition and chose to live and work in my West Chester, Pennsylvania, studio, which at that time had no heat or running water.     I learned so much about myself during this period.

Along with giving workshops at the Chester County Arts Association, I began working with Bonnie Paul, a well established art consultant.       Bonnie provided the art work for large corporate entities….and through her I received many commissions.

Part of the studio in West Chester Pa., on Prescott Alley.   By this time I had heat and running water in the building.    

The large still life painting  you can see through the opening was part of a series of work that sold well and paid for renovations, etc.     Scan 74 

What I haven’t mentioned is that I began my career as a ‘wildlife painter’ – and so when I was commissioned to make a fund raising poster for the Philadelphia Zoo of course I jumped at it.    Proceeds from the poster were to contribute towards a new big cat area at the zoo.

Another way to make income and remember this is all before Social media…..

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In 1993, I returned home to the UK and moved to Crickhowell, Wales (the Magical Town of Crickadoon)  where I stayed with my cousin Lyn and her family.    Through Lyn and PJ’s design company, I continued to paint murals and at the same time give workshops. and exhibit. 

I took this photograph last weekend when visiting my cousin Lyn in Cardiff.   Here is Lyn standing in front of a large oil on canvas portrait I painted of. her in 1994. 

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It was during my twelve years in Crickhowell, that I was introduced to the internet.   It was still prior to social media, digital phones/cameras etc….but seeds were being sown and something about it appealed to me. 

It’s important to note that I only use social media to view other artists work and to show my own….I don’t use if for much else, which is why I still probably enjoy it. 

Social media allowed me to show hummingbirds, and all sorts of other work.   Many of my friends on both sides of the Atlantic have noted that social media joined up all the dots…..   In short it got me out of the pigeon hole syndrome…..

Detail from large mural…where I first began to incorporate the hummingbird symbolising the unseen magic in our world.  (circa 1989)30073021_10156254550480396_5015561812048311931_o

This past weekend, I filmed my first web cam demo.   Hopefully within a week or so it will be edited so that I can share with you all.    Another way that social media helps we artists.

For now I wish you all well and send a magical hummingbird.

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A bientôt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How social media has changed my life

It’s important to note that when I was born at the end of WW2 the concept of social media…would have been pure science fiction.      This means that I had the good fortune to live for most of my life without it – which in turn means that I am equipped to live in both worlds – the real and the virtual……

The very real world of David’s courtyard in Olhao Portugal – watercolour20191024_114626I dipped my toes into the virtual world about 18 years ago when living in Wales.    At that time,  the WDA (Welsh Development Agency) decreed that every town, village and hamlet would have something called a tele-cottage…..This is where I learned the basic first steps of how to use a computer.

Olhao Portugal – close to the School – watercolour20191018_092639Without a real plan, I signed up for FB very early on (thirteen years ago) and began writing a blog about the same time…..It didn’t take long for me to recognise the potential of this medium….especially for visual creatives.

I had always been a letter writer, keeping up with friends over the years using snail mail….but all of a sudden I was able to communicate at a whole new level.

Four watercolour studies of shadow play on the courtyard olive tree at the school in Olhao Portugal.  http://www.artinthealgarve.com20191102_113140Through social media I was able to share my images.      It gave a platform for my magical hummingbirds, in ways that I could only have imagined before.

It didn’t take too long before my name became synonymous with the magical hummingbird along with the symbolic meaning these little birds hold for me. – i.e. the ‘unseen energy’ in our world.

watercolour. 20191103_111815Other elements of my work took on different forms after the advent of social media.

I have given workshops of one kind or another for forty years….but now through cyber space I was reaching people from around the world,  people who were interested in my teaching either in life or on line……

Which brings me to my next stage……Web cam. videos. 

Courtyard steps in Olhao Portugal. – watercolour74235539_10157674169065396_4511698166164226048_oDuring my workshop in Olhao Portugal last month, Dora Keogh, suggested that I make some web cam videos….

About six years ago I made a few youtube ‘taster’ videos.     To do anything more I knew I would need someone who understands web cam technology.    Immediately  Richard, the man who has fixed my computer for several years came to mind.    All things being equal it looks like we will begin this process very soon………….

From one of my sketchbooks in Olhao Portugal last month…..this is what I call note taking.    20191028_105016Watercolour taken from sketchbook notes – of one of my favourite Olhao trees. 20191104_100843

Another watercolour from the little courtyard at David’s house in Olhao Portugal 20191104_091721There is so much more to write on this subject which I will share in future posts.

The key is to treat social media as you would treat dealings in the real world and most importantly to always follow through and do what you say you are going to do.

watercolour/gouache20191103_104549    A bientot

Janet

 

“What is courage without risk…..?

“What is courage without risk….It wouldn’t really be courage, would it?  Jocelyn Murray.20191014_085042Simply going about our daily lives can often take great courage….however, every now and then someone we meet reminds us what the word really means      This was the case during my recent workshop in Portugal.

When I first met Angela at the School in Olhao Portugal, it was clear that she had some mobility issues.     The School had arranged a motor scooter  (quickly dubbed Angela’s chariot:) so that she could get around the streets of Olhao.     Having never ridden one before she quickly got the hang of it. IMG-20191009-WA0014I learned that along with mobility issues, Angela had recently recovered from cancer.   I also learned that she had not travelled for over fifteen years.         As she didn’t know me or anyone else in the group….Angela’s signing up for the course was an act of courage and trust.20191017_104531Although Angela has enjoyed sketching and art for sometime, coming to the School in Olhao was to be a first – a totally new experience.20191015_130719When everything is in place in our lives….health, money, etc. exhibiting courage can be easier.    We have more confidence when these vital elements are in place.        What ‘separates the men from the boys’, is when those vital ingredients aren’t in place, particularly with regards to health.     Then exhibiting courage can be more difficult.20190110_143030  

My course in Portugal is all about loosening up and letting go of pre-conceived ideas and the Chattering Monkeys that tend to fill our minds with all the reasons why we CANNOT do something!

Through loosening up and doing things differently, We learn that I CANNOT can be replaced with I CAN……

Taking this principle into all areas of our lives can change everything.     When Angela decided to replace I CAN’T with I CAN – when she signed up for the course…a whole new world opened up for her.20190108_134301This quote is from Angela when talking about loosening up.

“Even if I’m feeling scared I can still go for it.    When doing that, joy and laughter take over pretty quickly”.     

Something for us all to remember……

Magical hummingbirds are appropriate for this post as they demonstrate and exhibit great courage in all areas of their lives…..

A magical. hummingbird drinking from the sweet nectar of life…..20-11-15 - 1 (358)Wishing one and all a peaceful and creative day.

A bientot

Janet.

 

 

 

 

Observation, Imagination, perfect weather, a wonderful group and much more….(PART 2)

It is important to remember that this course is all about loosening up and at the same time focusing on observation and imagination……Shown here is just a fraction of the work completed…including the all important sketch books that everyone carried with them at all times.  

Once again the list of Janet Weight Reed tips and sayings given to everyone at the beginning of a course.

JWR tips and sayings

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The following are watercolours/sketches made by the group last week in Olhao Portugal. See previous post for an overview of the week….. 

Jayanthi.…has been coming to my courses for sometime.    This vibrant watercolour was inspired by the Saturday market in Olhao.

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Vibrant watercolour inspired by the Saturday Market in Olhao Portugal.   JAYANTHI

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Watercolour Montage of Olhao by Jayanthi – a classic example of observation and imagination, 72751416_1647334418734315_1797307774581866496_n

JILL (1). 

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A view from floating in the pool….by Jill(1)   watercolour.    IMG-20191011-WA0006

Flowers by the water at the Saturday Market by Jill (1) watercolourIMG-20191011-WA0005

JILL (2)

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from Jill (2) colourful birds from Saturday Market – watercolourIMG_2663

JILL (2).  Fruit and veg from the Saturday Market.  

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MOIRA came to my course in April and so it’s exciting to see her development….getting much looser:)

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IMG-20191012-WA0001MOIRAIMG-20191012-WA0003MOIRA – I like the drama in this pieceIMG-20191012-WA0002

DORA 

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Wonderful Vibrant painting by Dora.- watercolourIMG_1391Trees in the Nature Reserve Pine Woods by DORAIMG_1404DORA – Joe reclining on Armona beach with Olhao in the distance…IMG_1403

NAN

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NAN – Fish from the market. – watercolourIMG_1961NAN’s lovely Armona Island sketch IMG_1965

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NAN – The Mill at Parque Natural da Ria Formosa….watercolourIMG_1957

ANGELA

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ANGELA – Armona Island – watercolourIMG_0304ANGELA – from imagination. 20191008_161012-2

TESSA

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TESSA – Armona Island – watercolour

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Horse next Pine Trees in Parque Natural da Ria Formosa…….TESSA

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BOB

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BOB –  Olhao20191008_161032-2BOB –  B0B – Reflections from the Mill – Parque Natural da Ria Formosa20191008_161002

CLAIREwho sketched the whole time…..(unfortunately I don’t have photos of her sketches)…..but they were superb.    

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CLAIRE  sketching a the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa20191007_110040

CORYN –   Coryn and I might go on the road together….we would make a great comedy team:)

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The Mill Parque Natural da Ria Formosa- watercolour20191008_161141

CORYN – fish – watercolour20191008_161135

LIZ – casting a beautiful shadow at the Mill. – I am waiting for images.     Liz attended my course last October and so it was lovely to see her again…..20191007_102736

BRENDA – sketched all the time and made some lovely watercolours….Unfortunately I don’t have any photographs of them.    A fascinating woman – Brazilian and therefore fluent in Portuguese – and a glider pilot……

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MARY – who has attended my courses before, made some lovely watercolours – however again I don’t have any photographs of them…hopefully later.

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Tessa and Bob are from Sydney Australia and so on their way home from Portugal they stopped in New York and bought some new paints.      They are now in beautiful Vancouver where I am quite sure they are sketching every day.

These are the pigments they picked up in New York. IMG-20191011-WA0007I couldn’t finish this post without including our two non-painters Joe and Alan.   They contributed so much to the week on many levels and were a great deal of fun.   20191006_184713-320191006_184842

Thank you one and all for a lovely week – and of course keep painting and sketching.

Janet.

 

 

 

Observation, imagination, perfect weather, a wonderful group and much more…….http://www.artinthealgarve.com PART (1)

So here we are the group of October 2019.       I knew four of the group – however the rest were completely new to me, which is part of the joy of it all.   I never know what delightful surprises will turn up…..

The group in front of a small section of a mural depicting the history of fishing in Olhao.   20191006_182753We were a group of  seventeen.    Thirteen stayed in the School and four of us were billeted in ‘David’s house’ just two minutes away.      (David, a man of vision, was the   founder of the school.

Two of the group, Joe and Allan,  were non painters however they both contributed greatly to the success of the week.      A new expression has been coined….‘Everyone needs an Alan:)’  

Of course, none of what we do at the School could be achieved without the beautiful Joanna, Margarita and Camilla…..Thank you so. much. 21192388_1633115536721920_90386551072864859_nAfter  breakfast the day always begins with a demonstration….and then we paint until 1 p.m.ish when we have lunch, either at the School or at a local restaurant.

One of my demonstrations.   watercolour 20191008_091417The emphasis of the course is all about observation, imagination and of course loosening up.    Use of sketch books is vital.

After lunch there is a two hour free period when people can continue painting, enjoy a siesta, sit by the water…or in a local bar and sketch…

At four we meet up for another demonstration and a sketching spree…..this time in some of  the surrounding streets. 20191003_172009Part of the goal was to take our sketch books back to the studio and make paintings from the sketches (these watercolours will be shown in next blog)…..Here we enjoyed a beautiful day at the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa.   It was my first visit there, and I would definitely go back again. 20191007_110449Having walked through beautiful pine trees, we were confronted with this lovely view of the old Mill.    Needless to say we concentrated on reflections….20191007_101132Friday was spent on beautiful Armona Island – a fifteen minute boat ride away…when lots of sketching was done and another delicious lunch enjoyed at a Beach cafe. 20191004_115930Giving a little demo on Armona Beach…..a lovely moment. IMG_0890

On Sunday before dinner we enjoyed live jazz and cocktails at the water front.    My photograph doesn’t show it, but the sky was simply beautiful….full of pink and red…and the live music and general atmosphere wonderful. 20191006_184751-2Moira and Dora enjoying the jazz……IMG-20191009-WA0020Enjoying a delicious tapas meal at ‘David’s Bar’.   a fun evening. 20191003_193101

20191003_193109And in another local restaurantIMG-20191009-WA0002After another day of sketching and painting I did a couple of portrait demonstrations.

This one is of dear Dora Keogh – a fellow tutor and artist.    It is such a delight when she is part of the group.     watercolour/gouacheIMG-20191007-WA0017My view as I reclined on the chaise in the Pool House courtyard….for my daily siesta:).     The healing nature of naps…..I love them. 20191008_142205Quick watercolour/pen sketch taken from the Saturday market. 20191008_091430Angela hanging around the ice cream shop……I was there to, but you can’t see me:)IMG-20191009-WA0014Saturday market sketch/demo – watercolour/gouache20181008_130843Because everyone produced so much good work, plus filled sketch books, I am putting the work of participants on a second blog……

The view from my bedroom door at David’s house……20191003_152334Early morning walk through Olhao when the town is still relatively quiet and cool. 20191008_081830The lovely 150 year old olive tree that meanders from one of the internal courtyards up to the top level of the School. P1150724

I am already looking forward to April……..

A bientot

Janet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy 80th Birthday Tony

Happy Birthday Tony………..OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is my friend Tony’s eightieth birthday today.

A therapist, lover of poetry, theatre and much more, Tony is a good friend and an especially good listener.     An attribute that seems to be lacking in our society today.

Oil on canvas.   I painted this about nine years ago.      Since this painting and the header photograph, taken around the same time, Tony lost his favourite hat…however it will live on in these two images. 10391587_193140250395_3859836_nTony is a man of his word and completely trustworthy.     When I first met Tony I was going through a difficult period and it’s fair to say that in many ways my trust of others had been tarnished.      Over the years, Tony has been one of those people who has helped to restore that trust within me.

So thank you Tony and I hope you enjoy a wonderful day.

A quick sketch of Tony during a recent conversation…..

Tony Orange     May hummingbirds surround you this and every other day…..watercolour/gouache51620254_10157014875500396_2357562279542652928_o

A bientot

Janet.