Tag Archives: greta chaffer artist

Chance or Fate?

“There is no such thing as chance; and what seems to us merest accident springs from the deepest source of destiny.”    Frederick von Schiller.

My cousin introducing me to Crickhowell (The Magical Town of Crickadoon) in 1993 – a place I had never heard of before…..was that chance or fate?…….Certainly living and working in Crickhowell for twelve years constitutes a very important chapter of my life, and indeed will always be part of who I am.

large self portrait – Crickhowell Wales 2000 – rapid watercolour/gouache20-11-15 - 1 (955)Yesterday I visited my good friends Greta and Martin.     We met 12 years ago shortly after I moved to London from Wales.     It was a Sunday afternoon and I was giving a portrait demonstration for Artslink – a group I had recently connected with.       After the demonstration, Greta and Martin introduced themselves and asked if I would be interested in giving a workshop for SOFAP (Fulham/Hammersmith Arts Society) to which I said yes.      They also asked if I was related to Carol Weight, who it turned out was one of the early founders of the Society.     In fact, Carel was my Father’s cousin.

From Carel’s Memorial Service at The Royal Academy. 

20-11-15 - 1 (956)I will always remember that first workshop….because I knew in every fibre of  my mind and body that I was in the right place at that moment in time.     Subsequently, during the past 12 years, so much of the work I have done and people I have met in London can be traced back to that Sunday afternoon when I met Greta and Martin.   Chance or fate?

My first portrait workshop with SOFAP – Fulham/Hammersmith Arts – eleven years ago20-11-15 - 1 (954)Recently, I have been experiencing a glut of ‘coincidences’ – or are they?     Six Degrees of Separation is the term we use to describe such happenings when we meet others for the first time who we find are in some way connected to our lives.

When in Portugal, some of the group were scrolling through my work on a pad and came across this painting – which is a ‘symbolic self portrait’ large oil on canvas – painted in my West Chester studio, Pennsylvania 1990.      They asked what the different objects in the painting represented.     I told them that the little egg cup in the front and centre of the composition represented my birth.     That it was given to me, and other babies born in England on 21st January 1946.    The silver egg cup has the inscription –  News Chronicle Centenary – 21st January 1946 – Janet Weight. 

At this point one of the group said that their family had owned the News Chronicle….for me a significant moment.    Chance or fate ?      The egg cup has been a Talisman for me throughout my life….and as I write this, it sits on a shelf in my book case.


Claudia Nottale came into my life when she was 17 years old.   Introduced through a friend, she came from Paris to live with me and my young family.     I knew from the moment I met her that she would play a significant part in my life…and indeed she has and continues to do so.

I have painted and sketched Claudia many times over the years…. charcoal when Claudia was visiting Crickhowell in 1995. 

20-11-15 - 1 (951)

It has been suggested to me that I write a book about the numerous  ‘coincidences’ that have occurred throughout my life….and indeed they will be a part of my book.  With the luxury of hindsight I can now look back and pin point how these events have shaped my life.

Like a tightly woven tapestry – our lives are intertwined.        When we look at a tapestry, like this magnificent piece from Hampton Court Palace, we tend to see the main features….but every thread is key to the whole….all of life is interconnected. P1120664I am quite clear that when these ‘coincidences’ occur in a glut…that the hummingbirds are indeed weaving their magic…..20-11-15 - 1 (788)

A Bientôt



Alexander McQueen – Savage Beauty – Exhibition

Where to begin?

The Alexander McQueen – Savage Beauty exhibition was filled with chiaroscuro – the drama of contrasting lights and darks both visually and emotionally, presented with the dramatic staging of spectacle synonymous with McQueen’s runway shows.



Darkened galleries with reflective light and mirrors added to a Federico Fellini like fantasy.  

Aldous Huxley’s, Brave New World came to mind along with Stanley Kubrick’s, A Clockwork Orange, and as I moved through the galleries, a sense of falling through the looking glass with Alice…..prevailed.    Feelings of a dystopian and Utopian world emerged. 


During his short life, (1969 – 2010) McQueen gained his technical prowess as a Saville Row apprentice….however, it was the marrying of the intangible with technical prowess and his enormous creative energy that brought this young man to the attention of Givenchy where he was chief designer from 1996 til 2001 and the likes of Isabella Blow (mentor and muse) who introduced him to hat maker Philip Treacy in 1992.

Throughout the exhibition we see his collaboration with Philip Treacy.    Both men influenced by the gentle and savage beauty beauty of nature. 


The high light for me was entering the inner chamber with its very high ceilings, filled with ethereal sound and reflective light, displaying artefacts and videos from the designer’s entire career.         

Like a rainforest where we need to be there to experience the bombardment of all of ours sense, so it is true for this chamber.


Powerful, exciting, disturbing and yet filled with immense beauty, this is an exhibition that will stay with me.

Thanks to my friend, Greta Chaffer for getting me in…… 

The Exhibition runs til 2nd August.

A Bientôt