Tag Archives: Cristeve the Cat

Cat Naps….

Cristeve the Cat – watercolour/gouache

Animals teach us so much….including the restorative values of a cat nap.

I find that the natural rhythms of the body and mind usually suggest a cat nap at about 2.30 to 3 p.m:)

A fifteen minute cat nap can change the whole nature of the day….from possibly feeling a little sluggish to being wide awake and ready to go:)


“Every child is an artist………..” Picasso.

It was Picasso who said –

“Every child is an artist.   The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

In the midst of a rather gloomy train of thought with regards to Black Friday and the mad commercialism of the holiday season, a brilliant ray of light entered into my day – one that reminded me of Picasso’s words.  

Meir Rogers, a five year old artist from Chicago sent me one of his beautiful pictures and all of a sudden everything made sense.

In Meir’s painting we see the freshness, spontaneity, wonder and pure magic that the artwork of a child brings.     Thank you Meir 🙂

Birds by artist Meirs Rogers  

Meir's birds 2

“Think left and think right and think low and think high.  Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.”   Dr. Seuss

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

When we observe children at play we see them following the words of the great Dr. Seuss.    Filled with curiosity and playfulness they take in all that surrounds them and much more.

Sad to say that by the time we reach adulthood, most of us have lost touch with and confidence in our inner creative energy.

Painting with children in Somerset, UK.    These children would be in their early twenties now.    They love to watch an artist paint….in this instance, I was painting Cristeve the Cat for them.   After I left them they painted their own version of Cristeve the Cat. 703984_10151335674775396_172685478_oIf we adults could time travel back to our earliest formative years, when the world appeared as a kaleidoscope of colour and shapes, we could regain our natural curiosity and love for colour and form.      We might see things in a much broader context than the one prescribed to us by our cultural experience.

Painting portraits with a group of children in France.     

til August 10 129As adults we forget how wonderful it is to play with colour….We are concerned about how we appear to others…..which often stifles the creative process.

In children we see a freedom of expression…..especially when a child is encouraged.    In Meir Roger’s case I happen to know that he receives great encouragement from his parents and grandparents.   I wish that this were true for all children.

Working with children in Brittany, France on a mural for their school.      I will always remember when the children sang me the song….’Red and Yellow and Pink and Blue………………. – a very special moment.      (these children would all be in their mid thirties today…..til August 10 126It saddens me greatly to hear a child chastised because they are making a mess, being silly or not behaving in a normal fashion.

Words such as these can stay with a child for the rest of their life and prevent them from experiencing the joy of creative expression.              Encouragement is key.

It’s OK to fail at being normal, whatever that is……When we observe children exploring their creative energies, we see other ways of seeing and being.    12314060_10153693416745396_9179756764978779361_nOver the years, I have collected a lot of children’s art….and have had many beautiful portraits painted of me by children from around the world.

As I observed six year old Beatrice focus with complete confidence on her artwork, it was a delight.   As is often the case when painting portraits…a very special connection is made.

A portrait of me by 6 year old Beatrice from Portugal. 20-11-15 - 1 (933)Painting water colour portraits of two very special young girls in Portugal 13076555_1162891533744325_7774473167615565835_nMy suggestion to children or adults as we approach the holiday season is to get paints and paper and make the creative process an important part of the festive season….and of course for every other season.      If you are not sure where to start…why not paint your own wrapping paper….now there’s a thought…..p-kids-hand-painting-owpMN8ZSw8-1And last but not least I leave you with a watercolour of  Cristeve the Cat and a magical hummingbird.    12238351_10153687926025396_2738025815690721220_oA bientot –

http://www.zazzle.com/janet-weight-reed-gifts     http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk


The Garden

Although I was born in London, I grew up in the county of Kent, also called The Garden of England.

Where there were once bluebell woods, fields full of hops, fruit trees, and dancing lambs in the spring time, today we see enormous change in the form of housing developments and motorways.

Given its close proximity to London, and the Channel Tunnel, Kent has become a major throughway by train or car for commuters and for those traveling to the wider continent of Europe.

As an only child, I loved our garden and the surrounding woodlands.    I amused myself by digging holes in the garden with the hope that i might reach Australia.     I would bury jars with notes and little toys…..maybe they are still there:)

When I returned to the UK in 1993, I made my home in the Magical Town of Crickadoon (Crickhowell, Wales), and it was here that with the help of Mother Nature, I developed my own little Secret Garden. 

Here is the garden in full bloom and my cat Cristeve, who inspired the book ‘Christeve the Cat Finds a New Home’, climbing the ladder put there especially for her to visit her friends next door.


I learned so much from this little garden.    It taught and reminded me of the natural rhythms and patterns of nature, and once again I was able to observe the interconnectedness of all life. 

When I first saw the garden it was a little plot filled with junk, and debris collected over many years of neglect.    It was fenced in, and had a small wooden shed in one corner….all very dilapidated and overgrown, but I could see the promise and potential. 

It so happened that I saw this photograph in a magazine, and knew that it would be my guide.    A jumping off point….a term I often use when using photography for painting reference.


The first thing I did, was to completely dig the garden over….and put down stone slabs.


The Magical Town of Crickadoon, is in the heart of the beautiful Usk Valley, Wales.    Over the centuries the land has been flooded and reworked by different gardeners making the soil rich with nutrients.     This little patch had been left fallow for over twenty years which made it ripe for growing.

Friends and neighbours in Crickadoon, gave me cuttings from their gardens….and slowly I watched my garden grow.


And grow


Everything I planted was to encourage birds, bees, butterflies, field mice, caterpillars and every other little insect that inhabit the soil we walk on, and oh my goodness they came along with their beautiful bird song, colour and energy.

I learned that as long as I nurtured the garden, the garden nurtured and fed my senses and soul.  

My sitting room had french doors opening up onto the garden, which meant that even if it was raining hard, I could sit inside and still enjoy the feeling of  being outside.

Scan 109 


I would sit on the little stone bench through the rose arbor with Christeve the Cat, listening to bird song and enjoying the beautiful perfumes of nature.       Magical moments indeed.

I was always reminded that even a tiny garden like this one, nurtures a whole community of seen and unseen life. 

til August 10 1037

To quote Frances Hodgson Burnett, from the book The Secret Garden   ‘If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden’

A Magical Hummingbird helping to pollinate gardens.



A Bientôt


Magical Hummingbird Cards

Four new Magical Hummingbird cards have been added to the products page on my website http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

Each card has a hummingbird quote inside. 

1)  ‘Hummingbirds symbolise eternity, continuity and infinity’



2)  ‘Hummingbirds are like flying jewels, bringing seen and unseen magic to our world’



3)  ‘Hummingbirds taught Cristeve the Cat to trust in the unseen help in our world’



4)  ‘Hummingbirds remind us that all of life is interconnected’


These four images can also be found in the book ‘Magical Hummingbirds’ which is also available through the products page on my website http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

A Bientôt


Magical Hummingbirds

From tomorrow, 20th September, my little book Magical Hummingbirds will be available through the products page on my website http//www.janetweightreed.co.uk


Through the illustrations and words, I hope to convey the seen and unseen magic that these tiny flying jewels bring to our world.

Since the mid eighties, when I began my Rock and Nude series,  (see Current Work on my website) I have been producing paintings that speak of the interconnectedness of all life and matter.

In 1990, I started to incorporate hummingbirds into my work.    In this large mural (oil on board) painted for an architect’s building in the United States, I first used the hummingbird as a symbolic image.


In the year 2000, when I began work on the children’s book ‘Cristeve the Cat Finds Her Home’ – I used hummingbird imagery to teach children to trust in the unseen help in our world.

In this image, Cristeve the Cat and the Tiger are guided by a hummingbird. 


In our fast paced, materialistic world we tend to focus on the perceived power of humankind.

The tiny hummingbird with its ability to fly forwards, sideways, backwards, up, down, and hover in mid air,  which are only some of its remarkable attributes, demonstrate to us that we can learn so much more from Mother Nature.

Many ancient peoples believed that hummingbirds were messengers between the worlds, symbolising eternity, continuity and infinity.


In my most recent painting a 5′ x 4′ oil on canvas, I have pulled from all the different elements of my life as an artist, to express once again the interconnectedness of our world.    Note the hummingbirds, and yes the painting is now completed.


On the 26th September, I will fly to Boston for a long weekend with my daughter and then to Atlanta to paint watercolour portraits and enjoy the wedding of a young woman who I have known since birth.    Happy days:)

I will be back here the week beginning Monday 14th October, when I will write my next blog about the trip.

A Bientôt