Tag Archives: isle au haut maine

‘LIFE DRAWING LIVE’ on BBC4 TV prompted me to post this…..

In light of the new BBC4 TV show entitled ‘LIFE DRAWING LIVE’  which I viewed last night, I am re-posting a blog on the subject.

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 painted this rapid watercolour/gouache portrait of David, the model.   I like to get to know my models a little this way before beginning the days work. 20161207_142829There have been periods during my career when I began each day with a two hour life session in my studio.       I hope to have that opportunity again one of these days.

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, movement and gesture of my subject….

five minute watercolour study – male dancerp1160967I was fortunate to go to art school in the early sixties when the first year was dedicated to  life drawing.      Observation, observation, observation……

Twenty minute watercolour study on full sheet…(all the white is dry white paper).  the negative space shapes are vital in the overall composition.  20-11-15-1-432I believe that a strong foundation block frees an artist to explore their work with more confidence.    

Regular life drawing sessions help to build self confidence and most importantly hone observation skills. 

Ten minute full sheet study of Scarlett, one of my favourite models  p1160922Along 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 life painting session. 

p1160917

It’s exciting to see that ‘life drawing’ is back in vogue.    I  believe that people who attend sessions regularly recognise that along with honing observation skills it is a wonderful form of meditation.

In this instance one of my favourite models arrived with her new born baby….It was a magical session.     In the warmth of the quiet studio both mother and baby completely relaxed…..20-11-15 - 1 (780)Focusing on the loving and gentle hands of the mother.      Quite a few years ago I gave a weekend residential workshop in Herefordshire where we painted the hands and feet of models.   Excellent exercise. P1160912Capturing the gesture and seeking out the abstraction of the shapes produced. 20-11-15 - 1 (50)

Beginning in 1982 I began a series of works integrating the human form with the rock formations of Isle au Haut, Maine where I spent much time painting.     Thirty eight years later I am still working on this series.           

‘The moment people turn their backs on one another’. 6ft x 4ft oil on canvas. (1982)Painting of human figures in shades of brownFor those who would like to try life drawing – I suggest tuning into ‘LIFE DRAWING LIVE’  BBC 4 TV—–a good way to get started. 

Happy painting

Janet.

 

 

 

 

‘LIFE DRAWING LIVE’ on BBC4 TV prompted me to post this…..

In light of the new BBC4 TV show entitled ‘LIFE DRAWING LIVE’  which I viewed last night, I am re-posting a blog on the subject.

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 painted this rapid watercolour/gouache portrait of David, the model.   I like to get to know my models a little this way before beginning the days work. 20161207_142829There have been periods during my career when I began each day with a two hour life session in my studio.       I hope to have that opportunity again one of these days.

Twenty minute – full sheet watercolour and felt tip pen study – 

p1140272

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

five minute watercolour study – male dancerp1160967I was fortunate to go to art school in the early sixties when the first year was dedicated to  life drawing.      Observation, observation, observation……

Twenty minute watercolour study on full sheet…(all the white is dry white paper).  the negative space shapes are vital in the overall composition.  20-11-15-1-432I believe that a strong foundation block frees an artist to explore their work with more confidence.    

Regular life drawing sessions help to build self confidence and most importantly hone observation skills. 

Ten minute full sheet study of Scarlett, one of my favourite models  p1160922Along 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 life painting session. 

p1160917

It’s exciting to see that ‘life drawing’ is back in vogue.    I  believe that people who attend sessions regularly recognise that along with honing observation skills it is a wonderful form of meditation.

In this instance one of my favourite models arrived with her new born baby….It was a magical session.     In the warmth of the quiet studio both mother and baby completely relaxed…..20-11-15 - 1 (780)Focusing on the loving and gentle hands of the mother.      Quite a few years ago I gave a weekend residential workshop in Herefordshire where we painted the hands and feet of models.   Excellent exercise. P1160912Capturing the gesture and seeking out the abstraction of the shapes produced. 20-11-15 - 1 (50)

Beginning in 1982 I began a series of works integrating the human form with the rock formations of Isle au Haut, Maine where I spent much time painting.     Thirty eight years later I am still working on this series.           

‘The moment people turn their backs on one another’. 6ft x 4ft oil on canvas. (1982)Painting of human figures in shades of brownFor those who would like to try life drawing – I suggest tuning into ‘LIFE DRAWING LIVE’  BBC 4 TV—–a good way to get started. 

Happy painting

Janet.

 

 

 

 

Don’t judge a book by its cover……

‘Don’t judge a book by its cover….’

Much like a book cover, all too often we form opinions about someone or their work based on very little information – usually brief meetings, or in the case of visual artists, one painting, exhibition or gallery representation.

In this post, still thinking about how social media has, and continues to play an important part in my life….I want to address the difficulties of being pigeon holed as an artist.         This can happen on the back of one painting, exhibition or gallery representation as well as other people’s assumptions of who you are.

This large oil on canvas (circa 1982) depicts the moment that people turn their backs on one another….(Part of a large series of paintings)Featured Image -- 19828

Making a living as an artist is not easy.     It takes tenacity, courage and a great deal of creativity.     As I look back on my nearly fifty year career I can see that my journey has been eventful, exciting, sometimes desperate, but throughout there has always been the knowledge that I was following the right path.

Despite the difficulties and disappointments along the way, I have, and continue to experience great joy as an artist and will forever be grateful to have chosen this path.

Large oil on canvas (circa 1990) depicting what was one of the most important turning points in my life and career. 

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By the time I painted this self portrait (circa 1990) – I had already learned that to make my way as an artist I would need to adapt to unusual situations and trust in my intuition.    By 1990, sadly my marriage was dissolved and I was left with no money or support.

Refusing to give up my life as an artist, I listened to my intuition and chose to live and work in my West Chester, Pennsylvania, studio, which at that time had no heat or running water.     I learned so much about myself during this period.

Along with giving workshops at the Chester County Arts Association, I began working with Bonnie Paul, a well established art consultant.       Bonnie provided the art work for large corporate entities….and through her I received many commissions.

Part of the studio in West Chester Pa., on Prescott Alley.   By this time I had heat and running water in the building.    

The large still life painting  you can see through the opening was part of a series of work that sold well and paid for renovations, etc.     Scan 74 

What I haven’t mentioned is that I began my career as a ‘wildlife painter’ – and so when I was commissioned to make a fund raising poster for the Philadelphia Zoo of course I jumped at it.    Proceeds from the poster were to contribute towards a new big cat area at the zoo.

Another way to make income and remember this is all before Social media…..

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In 1993, I returned home to the UK and moved to Crickhowell, Wales (the Magical Town of Crickadoon)  where I stayed with my cousin Lyn and her family.    Through Lyn and PJ’s design company, I continued to paint murals and at the same time give workshops. and exhibit. 

I took this photograph last weekend when visiting my cousin Lyn in Cardiff.   Here is Lyn standing in front of a large oil on canvas portrait I painted of. her in 1994. 

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It was during my twelve years in Crickhowell, that I was introduced to the internet.   It was still prior to social media, digital phones/cameras etc….but seeds were being sown and something about it appealed to me. 

It’s important to note that I only use social media to view other artists work and to show my own….I don’t use if for much else, which is why I still probably enjoy it. 

Social media allowed me to show hummingbirds, and all sorts of other work.   Many of my friends on both sides of the Atlantic have noted that social media joined up all the dots…..   In short it got me out of the pigeon hole syndrome…..

Detail from large mural…where I first began to incorporate the hummingbird symbolising the unseen magic in our world.  (circa 1989)30073021_10156254550480396_5015561812048311931_o

This past weekend, I filmed my first web cam demo.   Hopefully within a week or so it will be edited so that I can share with you all.    Another way that social media helps we artists.

For now I wish you all well and send a magical hummingbird.

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A bientôt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘LIFE DRAWING LIVE’ on BBC4 TV prompted me to post this…..

In light of the new BBC4 TV show entitled ‘LIFE DRAWING LIVE’  which I viewed on player last night, I am re posting a blog on the subject.

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.

20161207_142829Those who have followed my blog probably equate my work with hummingbird images, which of course is right:)   However I also love to paint the human form,

Twenty minute – full sheet watercolour and felt tip pen study – 

p1140272

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

five minute watercolour study – male dancerp1160967I 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 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 full sheet study of Scarlett, one of my favourite models  

p1160922Along 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 life painting session. 

p1160917

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

In this instance one of my favourite models arrived with her new born baby….It was a magical session.     In the warmth of the quiet studio both mother and baby completely relaxed…..20-11-15 - 1 (780)Focusing on the loving hands of the mother. P1160912Another model I really enjoy who wears blue stockings, 20200206_101535

I love grabbing the gesture and seeking out the abstraction of the shapes produced. 20-11-15 - 1 (50)

Beginning in 1982 I began a series of works integrating the human form with the rock formations of Isle au Haut Maine.        

If we wish we can use the sketches made in a life session and take them to new levels…..which can be where my last post  ‘How Does the Creative Process work’ comes I into play. 

large oil on canvas – ‘The moment people turn their backs on one another’Painting of human figures in shades of brownFor those who would like to try life drawing – I suggest that you tune into ‘LIFE DRAWING LIVE’  BBC 4 TV—–a good way to get started. 

Happy painting20200114_135504A Bientôt

 

 

 

 

There are no lines around Mother Nature….

Large oil on canvas…6′ x 4′ – Interconnections20-11-15-1-16Every now and then people send me images of paintings or sketches which I have long forgotten.      This week a friend posted a sketch (apparently she found it on the back of another painting) which immediately took me to a point in time that has continued to have a huge influence on my work.

This was the sketch……..One of many initial ‘rock and nude’ sketches from the early eighties. 

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For those who have followed my blog for a while, they might remember other posts about this period, however the unearthing of this sketch has prompted me to tell the story of how the series came about and more importantly why it continues to influence my work and thinking today.

In 1981/82 – I was invited to paint on Isle au Haut, a rugged island (about the size of Manhattan Island, New York) part of Acadia National Park, Maine.      At that time other than a few lobster fishermen, for the most part the Island was uninhabited.   There was a depot where basic provisions could be bought.    Blueberries, clams  and other natural delights could be foraged and the fisherman were always happy to sell some of their catch.

I took this photograph from the Internet as in 1981 we didn’t take a camera…everything was recorded with brush and paints.  

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Boom Beach.      Ecologically speaking this is a very young Island….there is a sense of rawness….which I loved.

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Initially, I was interested in painting the rocks….and indeed made countless watercolour sketches.      After returning to the mainland, It was from these sketches that I painted large canvases.

One of the first Rock paintings – large oil on canvas.   I believe this painting is in Colorado.  Note that it was signed before I began to use my maiden name as part of my signature (Weight Reed)

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As I observed and explored the Island, the deep understanding came to me that  ‘there are no lines around Mother Nature – Everything is fluid’        All of life is interconnected.   

I  believe it is because we have ignored this basic principle that our world is in such a mess today…..!

The more I observed, I saw human form within the rock formations, which lead me to begin a large series of work where I consciously integrated the two elements.     (My header painting was the first in that series, and I am glad to say it is now with me in London)

Another in the series….large canvas. 

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Over the years, I have travelled a great deal and lived in different places.   I have had big studios, and small studios….which often account for my working in one medium or another.     In other words a big studio usually equals large canvases….smaller studios mean paper pieces….and when I am travelling and painting…watercolour is a much easier medium to manage.

Currently I am living and working in a relatively small space in London which is a good base to travel from and at the same time oversee the care of my 95 year old Mother who is in a nursing home close by.        However, should that change I plan to spend much more time in France, and other parts of Europe, and ultimately develop a studio in Marmite Heaven.…(more about that in another blog)

One might ask – how the magical hummingbirds are influenced by this period?    

Hummingbirds are a constant reminder of the wonders and fluid nature of all life.  watercolour/gouache

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A Bientôt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The creative process is all about experimenting…….

‘The creative process is all about experimenting, letting go of the logical information that our brains have processed during our lifetimes, and embracing the concept of seeing our world in a much broader sense’.    From my book – The Apple Exercise. 

This image is from my ‘interconnections’ series which I started in 1982 and am still working on.     It was inspired by a photograph I came across in a magazine  of a Mother and Child who had been caught up in a Mexican drug war.

Although Mother and child were dead – the last action taken by the Mother was to try and protect and hold her child in her arms.

I was so moved by the image, that I had to honour the lives of these two human beings.   The swans symbolise fluidity, intuition and emotions: –  the hummingbird unseen magic, and the rocks and water the natural elements that we come from and will return to.

Watercolour and Gouache. P1120730

A Bientôt

Processing information beyond the Intellectual – Interconnections

I have a relatively small bolt hole in London where I paint and live.    Consequently I have had to be creative in organising the space.  It’s more studio than living which suits me very well.

Along with my watercolour painting, I work on large canvases and have paintings stacked against walls, etc.      However, the light is good, and it meets all my needs until Marmite Heaven is revealed.

This image shows my new watercolour brush on the work table in the foreground and a large oil on canvas (still a work in progress) against the wall.P1160490

This is the story behind the series….and how it has developed since 1982, when I first spent time on Isle-au-Haut – an island in the Penobscot Bay – Maine.   I am hoping to return there next year.

In hindsight, I can see that until this point – my work was all about acquiring technical know-how and very little about the intangible – or thinking beyond the intellectual.     

It was while water-colour painting and sketching the incredible rock formations on Boom Beach, Isle-au-Haut,  that I had the sudden and intense insight that all of life is interconnected….I began to see and understand the ‘whole’ rather than life in fragmentation and can now see that this was when I began to process information beyond the intellectual…..

This large oil on canvas was painted in 1982 after my insight on Isle-au-haut.    Here I have integrated the human form with the rock formations…….It’s about the poignant moment when people turn their backs on one another. 

Although this painting might appear to be unrelated to the large canvases I am now working on…..in fact they are totally interconnected.            

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Since 1982, I have worked on many corporate/private commissions, exhibitions and so on, but throughout the journey, it is this series that holds my real interest.

When painting, regardless of size or subject matter….the fact is that when we change one tiny fraction of a painting – we change the whole….and this is true for life.

I believe that until we as a human species fully understand this concept….we will continue to self destruct.      

More about the paintings I am working now….

When I sit and observe nature….I see a symphony of colour/shape/shade/light – and natural rhythms.     There are no beginnings or endings – everything is interconnected. 

Using symbolic imagery – my goal, as this series develops, is to establish an intangible energy and rhythm in the paintings – celebrating the interconnections rather than the separations…

A Bientôt