Tag Archives: christeve the cat

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

My last post featured my stay in Brittany during the month of May.      

However, since then I have spent eight days in Kingston Hospital courtesy the wonderful NHS (National Health Service) and have been recouping ever since, all of which emphasises that none of us is ever creative enough to know how things will actually work out………….

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I was two years old in 1948 when the NHS came into being. Having been fortunate enough to experience very good health during my lifetime, I have not had the need to use the Service very much, however, I have always held it in the highest regard.    

It’s important to say that nothing is perfect…..and indeed when the NHS came into being the world population was approx., two and half billion….now we are rocketing towards eight billion! This of course puts great pressure on all institutions……including the NHS.  

My recent experience in Kingston Hospital has brought home to me how fortunate we are in the UK to have such a Service. If necessary we must go to the barricades to preserve it from those politicians who might see it as a cash pot!!! They are out there waiting to get their greedy hands on it……..

The beautiful Brecon Beacons…Wales – watercolour/gouache

A little known fact is that The NHS is available to everyone within the UK no matter how wealthy or poor….it does not discriminate.     I know that in countries where free health care is only given to those who  are lacking in financial resources….much division has been caused.  

Magical Hummingbirds – watercolour  

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So what happened to me?    I think it’s fair to say that I had probably been overdoing things, especially as I hadn’t been feeling 100% since the beginning of the year.    I had been experiencing breathlessness…something totally new for me, and after a couple of visits to the doctor, I decided to let time sort things out!

I suppose time indeed did sort things out only not in the way I had hoped……

Crickhowell from the Bluebell Woods – watercolour

Having just returned from a lovely wedding celebration in Atlanta, Ga, I was resting in my flat when all of a sudden I experienced extreme pain through my middle section and nausea.    After fifteen minutes, I realised something was very wrong and for the first time in my life, called an ambulance.

The ambulance service was superb.    Once they arrived I simply let go and gave myself to their knowledge and understanding.      Magical hummingbirds were clearly overseeing the situation.

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On the way to the hospital it occurred to me that this might be it. It also occurred to me that where and how we die is not of great importance, ….the key is how we have lived our lives.

Have we loved and been loved? Have we loved the experience of being alive and all that entails? Have we done and said the things we wanted to do and say? Have we been grateful for gifts that we have been given? All of this was mulling around in my head….

Maybe it’s because I oversaw the care of my Mother for eleven years at home and in nursing homes, that I am very clear that I prefer quality over quantity. In other words, I would rather live a shorter life of substance and joy than a longer life inhibited by ill health.

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And so I arrived at the A & E department ready for anything…and at the same time, although in pain, very peaceful and calm inside.

It was found that I had fluid on my lung, plus blood clots…one of which had destroyed my left kidney. {The good news is that my right kidney is still in good shape.}

I had gone to my doctor a few times since the beginning of the year, but hadn’t always taken her advice. I was convinced that whatever was going on would sort itself out! Well this time it didn’t….

summer tree – watercolour

For the following eight days I received superb treatment. So many tests, I lost count, plus constant updates from nurses and doctors and a feeling of being very well taken care of.

I have never enjoyed hospitals, or needles (had a serious needle phobia up until the age of 60) but this experience was different. I found it all very interesting and it’s left me wanting to learn more about the internal workings of my body.. It was as if fear was replaced with intrigue. Plus there was some wonderful ‘people watching’ to be enjoyed – although having said that I didn’t have the energy even to sketch!

Other than my lovely next door neighbour Jeanie who brought in clean pjs etc I didn’t tell anyone else that I was in the hospital. My two children in the States are still recovering from the sudden loss of their father in February and so I didn’t want to alarm them….and given that I was so tired, and occupied with tests, etc. I wasn’t up to people visiting me.

I did let my children know after three days….Since then they have been so very supportive and have told me not to do that again……

Brecon Beacons – Wales – watercolour

Since leaving the hospital, the support I have received has been wonderful….all of which I am very grateful for.

I suppose I am a little like a cat…..when I get sick, I tend to hide and nurse myself…..:) I even asked my dear friend Gail in Kent if I could hide out in their yurt. It hasn’t come to that, yet, but it seems like a good idea to me.

My aftercare has been excellent and is ongoing. Still lots of tests…including heart scans…. It’s all quite fascinating.

Church Path – Crickhowell – watercolour

I was asked by a good friend yesterday what has been the most important part of my life. My answer ‘creativity’.

It is this one element that has made sense of everything else and has enhanced and nurtured the great joys in my life, – my children, friends, animals, etc. It has also been a great buffer against the trials and tribulations that we all experience through life’s journey.

Those who read my blog will know that I am always banging on about ‘The Creative Process being the key to Emotonal, Physical and Spiritual Wellbeing’. It’s true.

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This experience has given me cause for much reflection.

Painting, writing, gardening, and all sorts of other creative endeavours will take precedence.

Much more time spent communing with Mother Nature……

As little time as possible in cities……

And I definitely need to organise my life so that I can have a cat again…..:)

Christeve the Cat – watercolour/gouache

Fortunately I don’t have anything on my calendar until October….and so my plan is to just hang loose. Each day I am able to do more writing and painting….and as I said earlier am feeling better all the time.

I hope everyone else is enjoying their summer and keeping well….and of course being creative.

A Bientot

Janet

Returning to Crickhowell (AKA The magical Town of Crickadoon)

Watercolour sketching at Curlews – overlooking the beautiful Usk Valley where the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains meet. 17353562_10155013949100396_7123396617463630765_nI start this blog where I finished off last time.    I had just been driven by Heather from the beautiful Rhiwiau to the busy little market town of Crickhowell where I met up with my friend Jane at the Dragon Inn.  

Looking down the High Street towards the Dragon Inn and River Usk.     The hills you see are Llangattock where one of the biggest cave complexes in UK can be found.  img-2516-jpgI lived in Crickhowell for twelve years from 1993 til 2005.      During that time, along with commissions and teaching,  I worked on a project, entitled Focusing on the Future which used the power of art to teach children about their environment and issues such as  trust, loneliness and homelessness.      Without going into all the details, it almost made it, but sadly in the end it had to be put aside.

Christeve the Cat (who appeared at my cottage door during a violent storm on Christmas Eve 1996) was the key character in the project along with hummingbirds symbolising the unseen magic in our world, and as anyone following my blog will know…the magical hummingbirds continue to thrive.

Christeve the Cat with magical hummingbird.   From Focusing on the Future project. 1487662_10152647679605396_162251845225224083_oOn this visit I stayed at the Dragon Inn which brought back many happy memories.   When I first returned to Wales in 1993, I stayed with my cousin and family who initially introduced me to Crickhowell, and then I moved into a small flat over the antique shop right next to the Dragon.      The people who ran the Dragon at that time, allowed me to use the functions room to paint portraits and entertain my guests….how wonderful is that……

The Dragon Inn Crickhowell, which I highly recommend.   The food is superb. 20180713_093632One of the many portraits I painted in Crickhowell.   This is Ken…a man of Wales.   As I painted people, I asked them to talk about their lives in Crickhowell all of which I have on cassette tapes.   watercolour15042281_10154594783145396_4050497219327933999_oIn hindsight, when I arrived in 1993, it was the end of an era,     With the advent of technology the area has become busier, but thankfully because of protection offered by The Brecon Beacons National Park, it still keeps its charm and has a great sense of community.

I walked for at least two hours every day – initially with the company of Bumble, the beautiful golden lab that I included in the paintings in St. Edmund’s Church.  Through Bumble I met the people of Crickhowell.

One of my many favourite haunts was the Bluebell Wood.  watercolour sketch20180717_075614 It has taken a few years for me to feel totally comfortable again in returning.   I think along with feelings of sadness, I felt a sense of letting many people, especially the children down because the Focusing on the Future project didn’t come to fruition.     However, I am now pleased to say that all of those negative feelings have gone, allowing me to thoroughly enjoy this very special place again.

When I return now it is lovely to see many of the people I would encounter every day when I lived there.    It was such a pleasure to enjoy a meal with Zena the post mistress..one of the many lovely people who were such a big part of my life.

We enjoyed a fantastic evening, and a lovely day of  painting, at Curlews with Sally and Gareth Reese, children and friends…it was perfect.     Company, food, and of course the amazing setting.

The view from Curlews..watercolour16904783_10154965677830396_2036381033997258090_oAnother good friend, Lizzy Wilson joined us for a day…..bringing back many happy and some difficult memories.    Lizzy was so supportive when things didn’t work out with the project, and helped me to clear my studio before moving to London.

A sketch of Lizzy shortly before I moved to London in 2005. 20180725_084258I could go on and on, but needless to say, Crickhowell and the whole area holds a very special place in my heart.    I will now look forward to many more visits.

I finish with this poster from the Focusing on the Future project featuring Theodore the Tiger, Christeve the Cat and a magical hummingbird.   watercolour10468017_10152494449725396_6097248723310984565_o

May the magical hummingbirds be with you all.

A Bientot

http://www.jcrhumming.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A very special visitor…..Boo Boo Chevalier

Boo Boo Chevalier….(yes that is his name)  with one of my large oil paintings as a backdrop.     A good friend and Boo Boo came to visit recently. 20-11-15-1-357I have loved many cats and dogs, however during the past 11 years since London has been my base, I have learned to enjoy other people’s animals.

I continue to look forward to living and working in Marmite Heaven where cats, dogs, chickens and all manner of other creatures will abound.

Because I believe in visualisation – here is a large oil on canvas – work in progress (5ft x 4ft) – of a mythical Marmite Heaven, based on many of the places where I have stayed in France.

Note that Chriseve the Cat is observing the village and a cockerel is sketched in…….hummingbirds to come……20-11-15-1-763Which brings me to  Christeve the Cat of the Magical Town of Crickadoon.…having a conversation with a tiger – overlooked by a magical hummingbird….

In my world  of imagination anything is possible……watercolour illustration for children’s book703902_309194122518618_437499646_oAnd Tarrantino whose company I recently enjoyed in Wales….watercolour/gouache from sketch book. 20-11-15 - 1 (406)  Just as the creative process is the key to emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing, so I believe is the natural world which  – definitely includes the likes of Boo Boo Chevalier. 🙂

And of course the Hummingbirds that symbolise for me the unseen magic of our world. 20-11-15-1-453

A bientôt

 

 

 

Monochromatic Underpainting for St. Edmund’s church, Crickhowell, Wales

Monochromatic underpainting for one of the two panels in St. Edmund’s Church, Crickhowell, Wales.

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I lived in Crickhowell, Wales (aka – The Magical Town of Crickadoon) from 1993 til 2005.

In 1995 I was commissioned to paint two large panels for St. Edmund’s, the ancient church which sits in the middle of Crickhowell.

Because I wanted the panels to tell a story, I began work with monochromatic underpaintings, which allowed me to compose the paintings before adding colour.     These  formed a  foundation block showing the tonal range and overall rhythm of the composition.        During this process, changes can be made and indeed many were on both panels before colour was added.

The two finished panels….`My friend Cyma Horowitz standing with me beneath the panels.

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When I was commissioned to paint the panels, I was given the following passage from Song of Soloman as inspiration.

‘Arise my love and come to me for the winter is past the rains are over and gone.      Flowers appear on the earth, the season of singing has come, and the turtle dove is heard in our land’  (Song of Solomon 2:10-12) 

I had already fallen in love with the outstanding natural beauty of the area and its people, and so this passage resonated with me.     My daily walks prompted a sense of deep gratitude and celebration.     Using symbolic imagery, my goal was to integrate these feelings with the words from the passage and I particularly wanted the paintings to speak to the children of the area.

For example, the egg shape window in both panels represents new life; the peacock – everlasting life; the calla lilies – trumpets,  and so on.    The children of the area are depicted as angels.    Many of the animals represented I knew and loved.     The church spire and 16th century bridge that crosses the River Usk are included.

To the left of this detail is Bumble the golden labrador.    Bumble introduced me to the people of Crickhowell as I took her on long daily walks.   Christeve the Cat is front and centre and a friends beautiful sheep dog sits to the right. 

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As I added colour, I took into consideration the colours used in the stained glass windows and alter dressings – therefore seeing the church in its entirety as my canvas.

I see the underpainting as a metaphor as I compose and establish new rhythms in my life today.

A bientôt

7th anniversary of blogging….

I happened to mention on Tuesday when Claire and friends were visiting, that this month represents my 7th year anniversary for blogging

I spent the first five years with another server before making the very positive move to WordPress.

Throughout the seven years, Magical Hummingbirds and Christeve the Cat have accompanied me, and so this blog is dedicated to them.

Christeve the Cat and the magical hummingbirds – watercolour

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Seven years ago I didn’t know what a blog was….for some reason it just felt right and so I     listened to my intuition….

Two hummingbirds with lilies – watercolour/gouache

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Through blogging, I  have met wonderful people from around the world, some have become virtual friends, and some I have had the good fortune to meet in person. 

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I have learned a great deal from reading other people’s blogs.    

I have been introduced to writers, poets, painters, and all sorts of people whose paths I probably would not have crossed otherwise. 

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Shortly after I began to write the blog, my then 87 year old Mother became very ill….and for the first two and a half years I spent a great deal of time commuting back and forth to my Mother’s home in Kent overseeing carers, etc.

The blog allowed me to stay grounded and connected. 

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At that time, I had been planning a permanent move to France but as we all know life is full of surprises.

By staying in the moment and going with the flow…I found my flat in London five months after I began to write the blogand today, it is still my studio/bolt hole in the UK.

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Throughout many changes and travel the blog has been a constant.

Along with exercise and meditation which have been part of my life for many years, blogging became an important part of my morning routine.    

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The whole blogging experience has been enriching and life enhancing on many levels.     I am so grateful that I listened to my intuition seven years ago. 

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Most importantly, I want to thank all the people who have followed my blog over the years…

There are some who have been with me almost since the very beginning.    You know who you are:)

A Bientôt

How does your garden grow? With Silver Bells, and Cockle Shells……..

As is the case with so much today, gardening has become big business, where many have lost touch with the simple pleasures of working with Mother Nature to produce areas which encourage birds, bees and butterflies along with Silver Bells, and Cockle Shells…..

When I was living and working in The Magical Town of Crickadoon, I took over a tiny plot  – which had laid fallow for over 20 years.    Given that it was situated close to the River Usk – the soil was rich in nutrients.      I used to say that if I stuck my thumb in the soil, it would grow.

Rose/clematis arbour in the  garden

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As soon as I saw the tiny plot of land, I visualised the cottage garden…..rather like a secret garden, where all manner of life could enjoy and flourish.

The first thing to be done, was to clear years of accumulated debris – turn the soil and lay flagstones.     The little shed in the corner was to stay….as was the water butt.

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I received cuttings from my many friends in and around the town…and slowly but surely, I watched my garden grow.

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An old iron ladder found during the initial clearing, was propped up against the wall so that Christeve the Cat could visit the neighbours next door…..

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Slowly but surely my initial ideas came to fruition.    Along with Christeve the Cat, the birds, bees and butterflies loved the garden – it became a place of tranquility and great joy for me.

This tiny patch of land fed all the senses…..visually it delighted, the sounds were those of  nature, and the smells, especially after it had rained, were intoxicating.

One day, when Marmite Heaven is revealed….I hope to nurture another garden.

View from the living area into the garden….

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A Bientôt

Phoebe Friday – a budgerigar named Henrietta and other doggy friends…..

10626134_10152668477555396_8591676068519698226_o It’s Phoebe Friday – which means I get to visit Phoebe the Jack Russell, Henrietta the budgerigar and Josie who has known me since the day I was born.      Always a lovely thing to do. Josie and Phoebe having a conversation…. P1110581 Henrietta the Budgerigar – Phoebe becomes very jealous when I talk to Henrietta….. P1140095 Two beauties I see when visiting friends in Wiltshire. P1130660 P1130715 And Bertie Bull Dog….a friend of Cristeve the Cat P1140667

And of course some magic for the weekend in the form of a hummingbird.

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Have a lovely weekend.

A Bientôt