Tag Archives: drinking from the sweet nectar of life

A Perfect Day

 

I spent the past weekend with my life long friends Mick and Gail at their lovely home in Kent, not too far from where we grew up.

Gail, Mick and I went to school together when we were little children….i.e. five years old!    Although I left the UK in 1966 for the States and didn’t return until 1993, our friendship endured.

Interestingly we are all artists.    Mick a photographer/musician and Gail, writer, historian and musician.      There must have been something in the water at the school we attended.

This visit was super special because I got to meet Cosmo, their first grandchild….and he is an angel……

Cosmo in the garden…..such a joy. 20190829_140428

Mick – watercolour

1048835_10151869969370396_914185022_o-3Gail – watercolour1094709_10151869967675396_22212606_o-3On Saturday we drove to Viking Bay Broadstairs to reminisce.    It turned out to be a perfect day in every way including the weather.

Given that Mick and Gail live in the middle of the countryside we drove…..and immediately found a parking place just a minute from the Bay.    Good start…..

Broadstairs is a place where we spent a lot of our childhood….and so I am really happy to report that Viking Bay is relatively unchanged other than some new amusements for children at one end of the beach.            The pier is still the same and many of the cafes and shops overlooking the beach are still there…including Morelli’s ice cream and coffee which was our first port of call……and oh my it was good.   20190830_112841Overlooking this part of the beach is the old band stand….a place I always enjoyed as a child.        I have special memories of when my Grandmother would take me to Broadstairs for the week….just the two of us.    She would allow me to do all sorts of things including enter the talent competitions held on the band stand.  Such happy memories:)

On the bandstand this Saturday – no competition this time……P8300864P8300862Sixty three years, before when I was ten years old….close to the pier.    Time is such an illusion. til August 10 295As we walked along the promenade we happened upon this lovely woman with her even lovelier cat:).   Apparently the cat walked with her every day to the beach.    When we came across her, I had just been saying how much I look forward to having another cat of my own.     A good omen I think…..

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20190830_111558We then walked to the pier where we had the most delicious fish and chips….watched over by this very healthy looking seagull who I am glad to report behaved him/herself. 20190830_114442All the while, we talked about our childhood memories….It was such a gentle, lovely day….and again another reminder of the importance of making the most of every single moment.

As we sat there enjoying the views, sounds, and smells and of course our fish and chips, I was reminded of this quote by Alan Watts  

‘I have realised that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is…….’

The hummingbirds are weaving their magic…… watercolour26198604_10155949289200396_7377987670122973739_o

This magical hummingbird is drinking from the sweet nectar of life…………………

A Bientôt

 

 

 

 

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An Accident of Birth – short story about Sid the Boxer

I always carry a sketchbook and watercolours with me so that I can make quick sketches of the fascinating people I come across.

This short story is about one of those meetings.    The day I met Sid The Boxer.

Sid the Boxer.    watercolour  20190304_141151I first visited Barnes, SW London in August of 2005.

I was preparing to leave Wales where I had been living and working for thirteen years  to move to London, primarily for work, and to be closer to my failing elderly Mother.     It had  been suggested that I rent rooms in a house in Barnes in SW London.

This particular visit was to take a look at the area before making the move in October 2005.

On what was a lovely summer’s morning, I packed my watercolours and something to eat and went off to explore.

I found a promising place in a little park next to the river Thames between Barnes and Mortlake and set myself up on a bench.     During the next hour or so I enjoyed the sense of peace and tranquility that comes when I am painting and communing with nature.

Across the little park from where I was sitting were a group of people on another bench.    Other than this group and myself, there seemed to be no-one else around.       Eventually the group got up and began to walk towards the river and then towards me.     My first thought was that I hoped they wouldn’t want to chat with me and disturb my solitude.

As the group steered towards the river (thank goodness) one of its members broke away and came directly towards me.       He was a big man with dark glasses, drinking a large can of beer and generally looking rather disheveled.      He said ‘Hey love – you wanna paint my portrait’?     I looked at him and said ‘Actually yes – I would love to on the condition that I paint one for you and one for me‘.      I motioned for him to sit at  the end of the bench.

Clearly very surprised at my response….he actually became quite nervous.     ‘Did I mind if he drank his beer‘?   ‘Should he take his dark glasses off’?     I told him to make himself comfortable and then as I painted him he began to tell me about his life.

His name was Sid the Boxer – be was born into a gypsy travelling family and had spent most of his life in reform schools and prison.     That he had only recently been released from Wandsworth Prison for attempted murder.   Banned from every pub in Barnes and surrounding areas, he basically spent most of his time wandering around with his friends during the day time, until they could return to their hostel.

As dangerous as this might sound, I knew instinctively, intuitively that there was nothing to be afraid of.       I learned that Sid had a daughter who he hadn’t seen for over thirty-five years.   Sid had been a very good boxer and he went on to tell me this talent had kept him alive and given him respect when in prison.   It had been his protection.

As we came to the end of our time together, he asked if I had gone to a special school to learn to be an artist.    I told him that I had gone to the Medway College of Arts in Rochester Kent, and he exclaimed with great delight.   ‘That’s where I went to Borstal’ – (a boys reform school for the uninitiated)”!

We shook hands and Sid the Boxer left with his sketch and I kept mine.     As I thought about our meeting, I recognised what an accident of birth our start in life is.   In the random nature of things, Sid had been dealt a tricky hand, however he used his best attribute, that of being a boxer to survive.

Wherever Sid the Boxer and his sketch is, I send him this magical hummingbird, and hope that he is able to drink from some of the sweet nectar of life – if not in this life, maybe the next……..

20190117_095823The moral to this story, is to never leave home without a sketchbook…..You never know what interesting person you might meet……

A Bientôt.

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

http://www.artinthealgarve.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magical hummingbirds for Mary Oliver

The American poet and writer Mary Oliver (1935-2019)  died last week.    However her soul and spirit will live on in her beautiful and evocative words.

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She asks her reader    

‘Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life…..’  

20190115_094047She reminds us that material stuff clutters our lives.

“I have a notion that if you are going to be spiritually curious, you better not get cluttered up with too many material things……”

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We are reminded of the importance of giving time, power and energy to that which we love and feel passionately about.

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”20190115_092149

“You do not have to be good.   You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.   You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves…….”20190120_145359

In this poem she speaks of her intense love for Mother Nature and the smallest of birds flying among the scarlet flowers……..and that she cannot wait to be the hummingbird……26733700_567669383565711_6812376656265793633_n

Thank you Mary Oliver for showing us how to drink from the sweet nectar of life….like the magical hummingbirds.

20190117_095809A Bientot

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

http://www.artinthealgarve.com

Painting nudes in Chester, and my visit to Liverpool

In early December, I was invited by my good friend and fellow artist, Maria Do Rosario Tavares (Miza to me) to give a painting demonstration for a group she is working with in Chester.    The subject, ‘life painting’  – one of my favourites.      It was only a two hour session, but a very good one.    The group and the model were lovely.

To warm  up I made this rapid watercolour/gouache of David, the model.

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Those who have followed my blog, probably equate me with hummingbird images, which of course is right:)   However, today I thought I would share with you just a tiny fraction of the nudes i have painted in the last few years.

Twenty minute – full sheet watercolour and felt tip pen study

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I love short poses – preferably five to 20 minutes max.     This enables me to capture the energy and movement of my subject….

five minute watercolour study

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I was fortunate to go to art school at the beginning of the sixties.   For the first year, we made charcoal drawings of nudes, almost exclusively.      I quickly learned what an important foundation block the observation of the human form is.

Twenty minute watercolour study…(all the white is dry white paper)

20-11-15-1-432In the late sixties, it was said that the ‘busts were thrown out of the studio windows’ and were replaced with a less formal mode of study.      Personally, I feel that if you have a strong foundation block – it frees an artist to explore with more self confidence….much as I believe, that ‘self discipline equals freedom’   

Ten minute study using one of my favourite models  

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Along with nude models we also worked with ‘costume models’ learning how to capture the human form beneath the drapes of fabric  – again honing observational skills.

This man modelled for me in Paris….a beautiful dancer.   I often do quick portraits of my subjects in a nude painting session. 

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It’s exciting to see that ‘life painting/drawing’ is back in vogue.    I  believe that many people who attend life sessions recognise how relaxing it is…..in many ways it is a form of meditation.

twenty minute watercolour – 

20-11-15-1-48After the painting session, Miza and I returned to New Brighton a suburb of Liverpool.    Later, we took a tube train which ran beneath the River Mersey…..(it was not crowded !)  this took us into the centre of Liverpool….where we met fellow, blogger, artist, and all round amazing person, Dina Cuthbertson, and then my goodness did we have fun:)

Twenty minute portrait of Scarlett – during a life painting session. 

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I left Liverpool knowing that I want to return.    The people were so very friendly and I hear more and more about the art scene there….excellent galleries, etc.

The magical hummingbirds were clearly with me during my quick but very sweet visit – always reminding me to drink from the sweet nectar of life…..

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A Bientôt

 

For all magical hummingbird lovers…..

For all you magical hummingbird lovers, please check out my new line of hummer products presented by HummingbirdHQ.com on

                                     WWW.ZAZZLE.COM  

Just enter my name in the search engine….

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Janet:)11103130_10153167729850396_3849010582039597816_o

 

 

Unseen Magic….capturing movement in watercolour

In my workshop yesterday we talked about capturing movement using the medium of watercolour.      Magical hummingbirds are the perfect subject to demonstrate this.

The magical hummingbird drinking from the sweet nectar of life….watercolour

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To capture movement, I need to experience it in my own mind and body…and then transport the feeling of energy to paper.

Often it is the very fast, spontaneous images which work best.

watercolour on a gouache ground….20-11-15 - 1 (53)

These rapid/spontaneous images take less than a minute to complete.     The idea is to transfer the feeling as rapidly as possible onto paper.

watercolour

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My suggestion to artists who wish to produce a more representational/realistic image, is to warm up initially with these rapid sketches…..This will hone observational skills and have a positive impact on finished work.

watercolour – a medium perfect for capturing a moment or essence of my subject. 

20-11-15 - 1 (115)It’s also good to imagine the stillness of a hummingbird – a rare moment for we humans to see….but nevertheless part of this amazingly magical creature’s charm.

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I wish everyone a beautiful weekend….Janet:)

A Bientôt