Tag Archives: art in the algarve

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

 

 

 

Overview of week with Art in the Algarve. http://www.artinthealgarve.com

This is the first of three blogs about my recent visit to the school in Olhao, Portugal – http://www.artinthealgarve.com.   The first is an overview, the second will show sketches/photographs from the group, and the third will be about my second week with my friend, artists Bonnie Dutton and Vicki Snaddon.

watercolour/gouache of Saturday market – Olhao Portugal. 20181008_130843My workshops are all about loosening up, letting go and getting into a flow and rhythm of work and most importantly enjoying the process.

The school at Olhao is set up in such a way that allows for the creative process to blossom….and although each course is only one week, much is accomplished.

The group dynamic is always important.     To date, everyone I have met adds something special to a course and this week was no exception.    What a great group!

These two photographs were taken when we were (all cleaned up on our way to dinner) in front of a black and white mural on the side of Pingo Doce the local super market in Olhao.    The mural depicts the lives of  the hard working fishermen and their wives.     Olhao is a working fishing town. 

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Four Australians, two from Perth, two from Sydney….a wonderful couple from Iceland, and some lovely Brits made up this group.     They were all great fun and most importantly accomplished a lot, especially in their sketch books, which I put a huge emphasis on.

Having arrived on the Wednesday – Thursday starts out with a loosening up demonstration.   It is a time for people to begin to feel comfortable within their new surroundings.    By the end of the day everyone feels like they have been there for quite a while…..

The sitting room in the Pool house leading out into one of the internal courtyards.  20-11-15 - 1 (165)On Friday we spent the day on Armona Island.    Nuno, a scientist and environmentalist takes us on his boat (approx 15 minutes).      He is extremely knowledgeable about the Lagoon and the Ria Formosa National Park.    From Nuno we also learn about the history of the fishing industry and folklore in and around the Algarve. 20180921_164238There was much sketching on the Island and at one point in the beach Cafe at the end of the Island, we sketched and sang along to sixties music.    Unfortunately I don’t seem to have pics or a sound track of that moment…….

Maggie May, Linda and Dorothy sketching after lunch at the really lovely A 3 wine bar and beach restaurant.     A new venue for us, but one the group thoroughly enjoyed.  20180921_144016After sketching, Joan and Dorothy take reference photographs.20180921_121813Maria from Iceland, sitting in the shade at the A-3 restaurant.     Maria filled her sketchbook and made many other watercolour studies….  She and her husband John were lovely additions to the group.  20180921_153527Lunch at the A-3 wine bar and beach restaurant.    A place I definitely look forward to returning to.    42292016_10217464505912458_7726417140667908096_nOne of the delicious dishes at the A-3 wine Bar and Restaurant. 

20180921_133715Saturday is market Day in Olhao.     Positioned in front of the two permanent market places, it runs along the water’s edge.     Filled with colour and energy, it is a place to ignite all the senses.    20181007_083252I took some of these peppers back to the school.   You will see in my next post that they were used creatively by members of the group.

20180922_095315Sunday is a studio day….where we begin to see the coming together of our observations, sketches and studies.

Plus, and this has become a new thing for my groups, we now go to Cafe Cantaloupe around 5.30 p.m. so that we can enjoy the superb Jazz (different groups each week)    Cafe Cantaloupe sits by the water and is the perfect venue for listening to good music…and of course sketching………afterwards dinner at Ria Formosa.

Linda, Lois and Angela sketching during the jazz performance. 20180923_182842   The pianist/singer from Bali was sublime, as was the rest of the group.     There are different groups every Sunday. 20180923_185441Monday we spent the day at Fuseta.     Some of the group thoroughly enjoyed this and others would have preferred to stay in Olhao to work.    I will  be talking with Camilla and Margarida about the possibility of a Free day for Mondays.    Those who wish to visit elsewhere could, others can stay in Olhao.      I think many feel that the getting to a from a place disrupts the flow of work.

I asked the group to pay special attention to the shapes, lights and shades of the boats and their reflections. 20181007_084216Along with daily demonstrations to get everyone’s juices flowing (this one focusing on shadow play) – I emphasis the need to warm up before each and every session.

Newspaper is excellent for warming up.…as are our sketchbooks.    Like athletes and dancers, painters do need to exercise each and every day.   By the way, Lizzy ….Please do send me your fabulous sketch of peppers on newspaper…..:)  42229931_10217458903932412_5798085856803684352_nGiven that the School is set in the middle of the old town of Olhao…everything, including the fish/vegetable markets, water, marinas, shops, cafes, etc are within minutes walking distance.        This allows for people to have a sense of independence.   Should they need a break they can sketch in the surrounding alleyways or by the water….or sit in one of the numerous local cafes sketching the interesting faces of the local people.

A face I found of particular interest.    Nut brown from the sun and a lifetime of hard work.     So much character. 20-11-15 - 1 (199)Some of us even got to do a little dancing……my oh my what fun…….:)

I think this photograph of Lois sums up the mood off the week.

 

 

 

20180924_131554 And last but definitely not least…none of this could happen without the hard work and humour of dear Margarida, Joanna and Camilla…..thank you all very much.    21192388_1633115536721920_90386551072864859_nMy next post will feature more photographs and some of the work accomplished by the group.    I will post this tomorrow.

A Biento

September – new beginnings and a time of renewal.

‘Let us reflect on what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on the basis of that’.  From ‘Buddhist Offerings’ 

watercolour/gouache – Rays of sunlight as I walked through the woods1917262_186338425395_7900997_n

Moving from August into September has always meant new beginnings for me.        Along with the onset of cooler weather and visible changes in nature….there is also a perceptible change in mood.      Children go back to school and many return to work. The world around us becomes busier.    I am speaking from an English point of view.     For my friends living in the southern hemisphere….there are also new beginnings – for them Spring is arriving.

Those who follow this blog will be aware that I usually go to Portugal in April.    This year, I am also returning on 18th September for a workshop at the school in Olhao http://www.artinthealgarve.com      The School is one of my all time favourite venues – a wonderful places to explore the creative process.

Olhão Portugal – http://www.artinthealgarve.com – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (936)After working with a group for the first week, fellow artist and good friend Bonnie Halsey Dutton http://www.bonniehalseydutton.com  arrives from South Dakota to give a course.     As always we take these opportunities to spend some time together.     I will also see another artist friend, Vickie Snaddon, who has a house not far from Olhao. It is Vickie who runs the beautiful lodge in Belize http://www.pookehilllodge.com     Needless to say, I am really looking forward to it.

Given that Olhao is part of the Ria Formosa National Park...beautiful wildlife abounds – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (226)watercolour

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Nesting storks on one of the local churches.    ImageI With its courtyards, communal areas and excellent studio space, plus shops, cafes, markets, Lagoon  all within a few minutes walk from the school – plus of course the wonderful Margarida and Joanna who take care of all our needs….what more could an anyone wish for.

The Pool House courtyard….I love all the levels, shapes and shadow play. P1150740The studio. P1150901The 150 year old Olive Tree that meanders from one of the courtyards up through the three levels of the school.   You can see the blue of the roof top pool through the tree. P1150724watercolour20180703_105444

Another exciting development this year is that I have been invited to exhibit five watercolours at the Chongqing Museum of Art, China.   This is part of a French/Chinese annual cultural exchange.    I was invited by French artist Claude Lesur  who organised an exhibition I had in France eleven years ago.   The opening in Chongqing will be on 17th November and next spring the exhibition will come to Paris.    I will write more about this after I return from Portugal.

The Art Gallery in Chongqing where the exhibition will be held. 

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20180702_121621This has been one of the best years I can remember.   I have visited places, friends and family I love and along the way enjoyed wonderful conversations and much laughter.   I am so grateful for this moment in time and that I have been able to focus on what is truly of value in my life.

The magical hummingbirds have been with me all the way……

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A bientot

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 

 

 

Art in the Algarve 2017 – Overview – http://www.artinthealgarve.com

Another beautiful stay at the School in Alhao Portugal – http://www.artinthealgarve.com.         One week of sketching and writing on my own and a second week of tutoring a lovely group.

The group numbered fifteen and represented several different countries, UK, Canada, Cyprus, France and Ireland.

Here we are about to enjoy one of Margarida’s wonderful freshly cooked meals. 20-11-15 - 1 (972)I have written several blogs about the School and how conducive it is to the creative process.     David Clarke, founder of the School clearly understood what was needed.   He was a man of vision, and I for one will always be grateful for his gift to artists.

Three of the group working in one of the internal courtyards. 20-11-15 - 1 (981)Somewhat like the Tardis the outside doesn’t give away its many different levels, rooms, studio, and courtyards.

There is much to observe within the boundaries of the School.      The shadow play alone is magical.

150 year old olive tree in one of the School’s courtyards – producing exquisite shadow play. 20-11-15 - 1 (849)

20-11-15 - 1 (851)Given that the School sits in the middle of the old town of Olhao, which is a working fishing town – it is not necessary to get into a car during the entire week.   Everything one could need is within minute’s walking distance…..and for many sketching and painting around the town is an endless source of interest and inspiration

One of the many alley ways of Olhao…..20-11-15 - 1 (1056)Olhao history is long and fascinating…..Dating back to Roman times, with a clear influence from the Moors and Northern Africa, (400 miles away)     Much of the town is in need of restoration…however, this gives it a special kind of charm.  It is not the usual golf course, commercial touristy Algarve that we tend to see on advertisements….it is quite unique and very ‘earthy’.

Alleyway behind the School. 20-11-15 - 1 (145)Two of the many old doors that can be seen throughout the town…..along with decorative tiles ImageMarry the character of the town with the fish markets, busy fishing port and the beautiful Barrier Islands which are just fifteen minutes away, part of the Ria Formosa National Park, and it soon becomes apparent that there is much to explore, observe and paint.

Fish Market just a minutes walk from School  –olhao market

As is custom we were taken by Nuno and his lovely dog to Armona Island (10 minute  boat road) for a day’s painting and lunch at the Armona 4 Restaurant.   Armona is one of the Barrier Islands offering  beautiful beaches and given that there are no cars on the Island a respite from our busy world.

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Children playing with shells on Armona….20-11-15 - 1 (913)

One of Armona’s beaches…..magic

A mental image I am left with from this year was of one of the group floating in the small roof pool as a stork flew directly over her.       There was definitely magic in the air…..20-11-15 - 1 (832)Storks that nesting in Olhao. Image

Along with examples of the Group’s work, plus an outline of how the day/week is structured – in my next blog I will share more pictures of the Group sketching and painting in and around the School.

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During this visit and my short trip to Cardiff just before leaving for Portugal….Six Degrees of Separation were very much in play….in other words the magical hummingbirds were indeed weaving their magic.    More about this in my next blogs.

On that note, I can’t resist but to leave you with two of those magical little creatures…..

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A bientôt