Tag Archives: art in the algarve

“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…….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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been re-booted…..

I am pleased to report that I feel better than I have done in a long while    Not only are my energy levels back to normal but it feels like my mind and body have been (as one of my friends put it) re-booted……..

“Some of my old memories feel trapped in amber in my brain lucid and burning, while others are like the wing beat of a hummingbird, an intangible, ephemeral blur.”   watercolour20190920_094645-2I am now very excited about the upcoming course at the school in Portugal (http://www.artinthealgarve.com) on the 2nd of October where we will be focusing on observation and imagination……and using the medium of watercolour to loosen up – `and free ourselves from fear based restraints.

Two minute watercolour sketch…..20190920_122614-2Like most people throughout my life I have experienced some important turning points.     Usually  events that I could never have imagined….and often events that turn out to be blessings in disguise.       When these events occur, I have found that it’s important to embrace them no matter how uncomfortable they might be.        My recent blip has turned out to be such an event.

“Beautiful is what we see.    More beautiful is what we understand.   Most beautiful is what we do not comprehend”.   Mira Bartock20190920_083902 “When you are convinced that all the exits are blocked, either you take to believing in miracles or you stand still like the hummingbird.    The miracle is that the honey is always there, right under your nose, only you were too busy searching elsewhere to realise it.     The worst is not death but being blind, blind to the fact that everything about life is in the nature of the miraculous.”   Henry Miller. 20190915_125625We tend to ignore the fact that there is a vast tapestry of energy that exists beyond our five senses…..that there is an unseen order of things.    For me the hummingbird symbolises this.

Hummingbirds are courageous little creatures……migrating huge distances and always drinking from the sweet nectar of life…..We can learn so much from them. 

Watercolour. 20190923_081333

And so  a week from Wednesday I am off to one of  my favourite places – the School in Olhao.   (http://www.artinthealgarve.com)    I will write a blog about the week after I return around the middle of October.

A quick sketch from the Saturday market in Olhao Portugal – watercolour/gouache43407049_10156706179130396_6856048434814648320_o

A sun drenched wall in Olhao  – watercolour/gouache from sketch book20190128_112330And finally the beautiful olive tree in the courtyard at the School in Olhao.    10295235_10152370607180396_8634046936488294426_oHave a lovely day and week ahead.

A Bientot

Janet

 

 

 

 

 

Another excellent week at the School in Olhao Portugal…http://www.artinthealgarve.com

For those who have followed my blog they will have seen mention of the Faulty Towers element to the School in Olhao.       When I say this I mean it in a very positive way.    The School and all who work to keep it running are wonderful individuals and the whole place has an element of quirkiness to it…..Just one of the many reasons why it is perfect for  exploring the creative process and why I love to return each year.

Here are  Larry and Margaret in one of the courtyards looking through to Pauline in another…..20190421_123852    This year a couple more events added to the Faulty Towers element    The narrow alleys around the School had been dug up for utility maintenance, plus for our first two days and then last day, the now sandy lanes were inundated with rain.      Regardless, it didn’t seem to deter anyone from having a good time with much laughter.

A lovely picture of Mitsuyo as we waited for Nuno boat driver to pick us up. 20190419_101419In total we numbered thirteen…however, in this group picture taken in the studio on the last evening, we are missing three of our company – Elizabeth who unfortunately became ill early on, and then Inara from Norway and her daughter Eva from Latvia who had to leave a little earlier because of flights.       IMG-20190428-WA0000Inara from Norway produced some beautiful work.    This quick study of me teaching is superb,20190423_113931And this lovely piece from Eva – who lives in Latvia…..This was a totally new experience for her. 

20190423_115753Another different element to this year was the addition of tutor Dora Keogh.    Dora and her husband John are Canadians who also have a home in Olhao…Dora joined us for all the painting and some of the messing around stuff as well:)       I really enjoyed this, and hope that we are able to work together again.

After a full on week with us, Dora went on to teach her group….who I was fortunate enough to meet.

Dora sketching, 20190423_145539As is often the case, by the fourth day, people are getting into a flow.         This gem was painted by Jayanthi…..and is a clear example of what happens when a flow is achieved. IMG-0501These two beauties came from Mitsuyo’s brush.      Mitsuyo and Larry live in Kaikoura New Zealand.        During one evening Larry showed some slides of this beautiful part of the world, plus some of Mitzuyo’s magnificent jewellery. 20190423_120224It is important to remember that my courses are all about loosening up and letting go of preconceived notions.      I can say that everyone stepped up to the challenge. 

A completely different experience was to enjoy Celia’s and Oswald’s ceramics studio 4Elementos Ceramica & Azulejo in the middle of Olhao.      Our group and all the other groups coming to the School this year will make individual tiles to line the walls of the downstairs loo at the School……A fun idea that was enjoyed by everyone. 

20190420_111958Celia explaining to us how the colour of the glazes aren’t necessarily what they appear to be!IMG_5035The tiles produced by some of my group……what fun. 20190422_182605Demonstrating a loosening up exercise working from a colour ground. IMG_5135Boat driver Nuno taking us to Armona Island.     Note to the left is his beautiful dog who is always there to greet us. 20190419_102133One of many fine meals….this one at the Beach Cafe on Armona….fresh grilled fish and vegetables….and lots of lovely fresh air. 20190419_141944On this day we ate at a really good Indian restaurant in one of the Alleys in the middle of old Olhao.     I am no connoisseur of Indian food but this was delicious and Jaynthi, who knows all about India said it was very good.    I look forward to returning there.     IMG-0440Love Moira’s quick sketch on Armona Island.     My photograph does not do it justiceIMG-20190427-WA0009-2It’s important to recognise that many of these artists are used to working in a much tighter way…..It’s always gratifying to me to see when the looseness starts to show.     IMG-20190427-WA0004

I believe that by PLAYING every day and allowing ourselves to loosen up we benefit our expressive work as well as our more considered paintings.       It’s also more difficult that one might initially think.     To get into the preverbal flow, it is both a technical, physical and emotional challenge.     A week at the School is an excellent way to begin this process.

A beauty from Dora..     Capturing the shadow play and light on the pool in the Pool House courtyard.

20190423_125701There are so many more paintings to show…..Please check Art in the Algarve FB page…plus my FB page, twitter and instagram.

I had to include three of the School’s children.     The twins belong to wonderful Joanna who does all the housekeeping,……wonderful to see them growing every year….20190420_083126Carlotta is Margarida’s youngest……Unfortunately I didn’t get any of Beatrice this time.

All part of the School’s quirkiness……and special charm. 20190423_130149And wonderful Dora inviting everyone for a beer…..This was the biggest beer container i have ever seen:)

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Focusing on the loosening up element.     This time I took a roll of white wall paper lining, which we pinned to the studio wall.     The perfect place to make marks, PLAY and see what our brushes are capable of doing.

Making marks on wall paper lining……20190423_083506

Sketch books as always were key to this workshop.      We carried them with us everywhere we went……

I loved this from Eva. 20190423_094401Sketching at the Saturday market. 20190423_115913Famous for the storks that nest there every year, this little tree is right across from the Ceramics studio.    A great place to sit and sketch. 20-11-15 - 1 (491)

As always I want to thank Margarida and Joanna for all their tireless work…..and Camilla and the girls that added to the fun….plus the two Nunos…..:)      None of this would work without them.

Also a very special thanks to Margaret for having us all in fits of laughter  with her updated nursery rhymes during the last meal at the school.      I am sure they can be found on instagram.

Another sketchbook delight from the Saturday market. 20190423_115917

One more thing that made this week very special.     I met a lovely American couple on the plane from London to Faro.    Laura is a superb artist and her husband Marty, a doctor.     The day after we met they came to visit the school and brought with them their children and grandchildren.    How wonderful is that.    These are people I will definitely be keeping in touch with.

Keep painting, and remember ‘wet brush no paint’ – it can do wonders……….

A Bientot

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

FB – Twitter – Instagram.

 

 

 

 

It’s time to travel…..

I am off to the School in Olhao Portugal early next week  http://www.artinthealgarve.com Then France for the month of May and after that a wedding in Georgia USA mid June.

I leave you with some sketches and photographs from Portugal….

watercolour/gouache sketch from the Saturday market Olhao Portugal 43407049_10156706179130396_6856048434814648320_oClare sketching on the Island of Armona – a fifteen minute boat ride from the School. 18403517_10155206867690396_5892022252939504336_nquick watercolour sketch – Culatro island 20-11-15 - 1 (63)A simple and lovely lunch of grilled fish on the Island of Armona. L1080100watercolour – steps in Olhao Portugal 20-11-15 - 1 (936)The 150 year old olive tree in the School courtyard Olhao Portugal  10295235_10152370607180396_8634046936488294426_oOne of the many characterful faces of Olhao Portugal.     Olhao is a working fishing town. watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (199)Dancing and music during the Saturday market – Olhao Portugal 12916733_10153992590920396_3025259967763687254_oRapid watercolour of sun setting in Portugal P1160789Jazz at Cantaloupe Jazz Cafe, Olhao Portugal.    Excellent for sketching .20180923_185441A sun drenched wall with trees – Olhao Portugal 20190128_112330I leave you with colourful magical hummingbirds….   watercolour/gouache20190108_134301A bientot

 

 

 

 

 

The Intangible healing of creativity

“The creative process in all its many forms is the key to emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing.”   Janet weight reed

My hummingbird imagery symbolises the unseen and intangible in our world.    Just because we can’t see or touch something doesn’t mean it’s not there or is having a profound effect on our lives.

20190218_111017The Aboriginals, Native Americans and many other indigenous peoples around the globe have a deep understanding of our spiritual, physical, social and cultural connection to the land.       They believe all of life as it is today, human, animal, bird and fish is part of one vast unchanging network of relationships.       They understand fully the importance of land management care towards our health and overall wellbeing. 20190219_073051It seems that many people today,  young and old from all sectors of society,  are experiencing physical and emotional illnesses and distress.         Given our fast pace of life and that so much of the world’s population is now plugged into technology of one kind or another, is it any wonder  that our collective senses are being deadened?

 

 Technology has changed the whole world dynamic. 

 

In this fast watercolour sketch from Portugal last October, everything within the image is interconnected.    There are no starts and stops…no beginning and no ending, rather a continual flow.

20180930_125738Feeding our senses by spending time in the natural world, is healing.   However, like all good medicine, it needs to be enjoyed on a consistent  basis.

Many have forgotten the simple pleasure of sitting beneath a tree and how restorative it is.    14435032_10154437102300396_4492475642371147944_oI have been listening to a radio programme about the power of the placebo…and how it has been shown time and time again to cause a sense of wellbeing even though the recipient is fully aware that they are taking a sugar pill.     This has everything to do with mind, body connection.

27164538_10156023231000396_5682597220846199362_o     This photograph was taken on a hot day last October on my friend’s farm in Portugal.   I had just finished teaching a course and needed time to relax, focus and meditate.     Once I began to sketch and most importantly open my senses to all that surrounded me, within minutes I felt calm and refreshed. DSC_6669When we immerse ourselves into the creative flow, our minds are taken into what I call deep time.     A place that is totally different from our clock watching, rushing to the next appointment type of time.       An intangible sense of calmness and wellbeing ensues.   We return to what we were designed for – being part of nature and engaging our senses.

Portugese children on Armona Island playing with shells….20-11-15 - 1 (913)    Trying to exist in this brave new world and finding a space for creativity, in all its many forms….might sound impossible.

I have raised a family and worked all my life and like most people have lived through some very stressful times.      I have learned that if I simply stop….and give myself some soul food each day, I am immediately calmed and feel a sense of well being.    Soul food time enriches and supports everything else we need and have to do in life.

It costs nothing.   It doesn’t mean major life changes.     It simply means addressing the part of ourselves that is in desperate need for daily food. 46361144_10156801851710396_7419123831345774592_oOne hugely important factor so often overlooked is that of populations growth.

I was born in London in 1946, right after World War 2.     At that time the world population was approximately two and a half million.    Today the world population is seven and half million and rapidly rising. 20-11-15 - 1 (135)This tells me that more than ever before we need daily soul food and to renew our connection with the natural world. 

If we don’t give ourselves this precious time, we are doomed to be like hamsters running around a wheel…..feeling utterly frustrated and exhausted, and at the same time achieving very little. 

I made this quick sketch when visiting my son and his partner on their farm in Pennsylvania last spring.     Their neighbours are Amish.      We have much to learn from such people. 20190125_123816From Buddhist Offerings….

‘We see that life, composed of this mind and body, is in a state of continual constant transformation and flux.      There is always the possibility of radical change.    Every moment – not just poetically or figuratively, but literally – every moment we are dying and being reborn, we and all life’ 

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A bientôt

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk –   The Apple Exercise. 

I have just re-read Virginia Woolf’s  – A Room of One’s Own.     It has been at least forty years since I last read it.   Back then it didn’t resonate with me in the way it does today.  .

 

The Apple Exercise – for anyone wishing to begin the new year on a creative note.

Happy, peaceful, healthy and creative New Year to one and all.

The  ‘Apple Exercise’ is a positive way  to begin the new year for anyone wishing to express themselves and explore their creativity.

Throughout my many years of painting and teaching, I have heard over and over the frustration of those who would like to explore their creativity, but always seem to find that life gets in the way……..

The new year is a good time to re-think and re-look at the way we live our lives.   A good time to make new and positive habits.

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In principle this exercise is very simple and effective.   If followed three positive changes will occur:-

A new positive habit will be formed which will benefit all areas of our lives.   

Fifteen minutes of PLAY every day for one month will hone observational and technical skills.    

Participants will begin to ‘see differently’

There are three simple rules:-

Pick the same 15 minutes every day – a time that works for you. 

Set up a small table, such as a card table, which doesn’t have to be moved or shared. 

Turn off mobiles and any other potential distractions……

Here are just a few of the things you can use to explore and PLAY with.    If you don’t have artists paint, use house paint or anything else you can get your hands on. 

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If you are scared to mark a new piece of paper, then use newspaper, old magazines, wrapping  paper or inexpensive wall-paper lining.

Playing – using magazine paper, felt tip pen and some paint……20190104_112054

Allow yourself to doodle until you begin to relax.    Artists, writers, dancers, musicians all need to stretch and warm up.    PLAYING  is the best way to do this.

Remember that the apple is simply a ‘jumping off point’   – it doesn’t have to be copied perfectly.

This image helps us to remember the importance of Negative Space....the space that surrounds the subject we are painting.     By putting colour around the apple shape…the apple is revealed.

20190104_113225Given the fast pace of our lives today, and the fact that so many of us are plugged into technology of one kind or another, our collective senses are being deadened.

Along with this comes a feeling of loss.   A loss that in many ways we are unable to identify.

As we constantly try to fill the ever widening holes within us, with more and more frenetic activity and stuff, our frustration levels grow.

Feeding our senses through the creative process in all its many forms can produce almost miraculous changes, which can lead to a sense of well-being and fulfilment.

Warning  –  Beware of the Chattering Monkeys….

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Chattering Monkeys are the little demons that fill our minds with reasons why we should not, and cannot do something!

I am sure as you begin this exercise, they will be shouting out…‘you don’t have time to do this’, and you can’t draw or paint anyway…..

IGNORE THEM 

As you move forward with the apple exercise and establish a routine, you will find that the Chattering Monkeys will go away…….

Note these apples cast their natural colour into their shadows.    Each apple reflects upon the other.      All of life is interconnected….

20190104_120714When we first enter this world, we are naturally full of curiosity and wonder.

By the time we come to the end of our formative years, at around seven, the narrow definition that our culture has imposed upon us has taken hold.

By the time we reach adulthood most of us have lost touch with and confidence in our inner creative energy.

Colour effects our every mood and emotion.    Allow yourself to PLAY with colour….Apples can be any colour you wish them to be…..Be bold – make marks and surprise yourself with the satisfaction and joy this brings. 20190104_121604When we think of an apple we might visualise the iconic Apple Max symbol, or the shiny red apple that children take for their favourite teacher.

What the Apple Exercise will demonstrate is that the apple, along with everything else in life, can be seen in a myriad of ways.

Seeing the apple differently…….

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If we could time travel back to our earliest formative years, when the world was a kaleidoscope of colour and shapes and our young minds were full of wonder, we could regain our natural curiosity and love for colour and form.

Instead of just looking straight ahead, look in every direction, including up and down.

Instead of always sitting in the same chair view your favourite room from many different points of view

.Look at the whole – not just the shiny red outer image….remember there are fascinating pips inside the apple.      

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The creative process is all about experimenting.    Letting go of the logical information that our brains have processed during out lifetimes and embracing the concept of seeing our world in a much broader sense.

It is about awakening the senses.  

Stride out in confidence into this new year and enjoy the transformation that creativity and colour can bring.          watercolour/collage from one of my children’s book illustrations. 

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My book ‘The Apple Exercise’ can be found on the products page of my website at http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk 

My next painting course will be in Portugal beginning April 18th  at http://www.artinthealgarve.com 

a bientot