Tag Archives: love of colour

The Apple Exercise – for anyone wishing to begin the new year on a creative note.

Happy, peaceful, healthy and creative New Year to one and all.

The  ‘Apple Exercise’ is a positive way  to begin the new year for anyone wishing to express themselves and explore their creativity.

Throughout my many years of painting and teaching, I have heard over and over the frustration of those who would like to explore their creativity, but always seem to find that life gets in the way……..

The new year is a good time to re-think and re-look at the way we live our lives.   A good time to make new and positive habits.

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In principle this exercise is very simple and effective.   If followed three positive changes will occur:-

A new positive habit will be formed which will benefit all areas of our lives.   

Fifteen minutes of PLAY every day for one month will hone observational and technical skills.    

Participants will begin to ‘see differently’

There are three simple rules:-

Pick the same 15 minutes every day – a time that works for you. 

Set up a small table, such as a card table, which doesn’t have to be moved or shared. 

Turn off mobiles and any other potential distractions……

Here are just a few of the things you can use to explore and PLAY with.    If you don’t have artists paint, use house paint or anything else you can get your hands on. 

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If you are scared to mark a new piece of paper, then use newspaper, old magazines, wrapping  paper or inexpensive wall-paper lining.

Playing – using magazine paper, felt tip pen and some paint……20190104_112054

Allow yourself to doodle until you begin to relax.    Artists, writers, dancers, musicians all need to stretch and warm up.    PLAYING  is the best way to do this.

Remember that the apple is simply a ‘jumping off point’   – it doesn’t have to be copied perfectly.

This image helps us to remember the importance of Negative Space....the space that surrounds the subject we are painting.     By putting colour around the apple shape…the apple is revealed.

20190104_113225Given the fast pace of our lives today, and the fact that so many of us are plugged into technology of one kind or another, our collective senses are being deadened.

Along with this comes a feeling of loss.   A loss that in many ways we are unable to identify.

As we constantly try to fill the ever widening holes within us, with more and more frenetic activity and stuff, our frustration levels grow.

Feeding our senses through the creative process in all its many forms can produce almost miraculous changes, which can lead to a sense of well-being and fulfilment.

Warning  –  Beware of the Chattering Monkeys….

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Chattering Monkeys are the little demons that fill our minds with reasons why we should not, and cannot do something!

I am sure as you begin this exercise, they will be shouting out…‘you don’t have time to do this’, and you can’t draw or paint anyway…..

IGNORE THEM 

As you move forward with the apple exercise and establish a routine, you will find that the Chattering Monkeys will go away…….

Note these apples cast their natural colour into their shadows.    Each apple reflects upon the other.      All of life is interconnected….

20190104_120714When we first enter this world, we are naturally full of curiosity and wonder.

By the time we come to the end of our formative years, at around seven, the narrow definition that our culture has imposed upon us has taken hold.

By the time we reach adulthood most of us have lost touch with and confidence in our inner creative energy.

Colour effects our every mood and emotion.    Allow yourself to PLAY with colour….Apples can be any colour you wish them to be…..Be bold – make marks and surprise yourself with the satisfaction and joy this brings. 20190104_121604When we think of an apple we might visualise the iconic Apple Max symbol, or the shiny red apple that children take for their favourite teacher.

What the Apple Exercise will demonstrate is that the apple, along with everything else in life, can be seen in a myriad of ways.

Seeing the apple differently…….

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If we could time travel back to our earliest formative years, when the world was a kaleidoscope of colour and shapes and our young minds were full of wonder, we could regain our natural curiosity and love for colour and form.

Instead of just looking straight ahead, look in every direction, including up and down.

Instead of always sitting in the same chair view your favourite room from many different points of view

.Look at the whole – not just the shiny red outer image….remember there are fascinating pips inside the apple.      

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The creative process is all about experimenting.    Letting go of the logical information that our brains have processed during out lifetimes and embracing the concept of seeing our world in a much broader sense.

It is about awakening the senses.  

Stride out in confidence into this new year and enjoy the transformation that creativity and colour can bring.          watercolour/collage from one of my children’s book illustrations. 

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My book ‘The Apple Exercise’ can be found on the products page of my website at http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk 

My next painting course will be in Portugal beginning April 18th  at http://www.artinthealgarve.com 

a bientot

 

 

 

A Life Well Lived – Madame Nottale – a remarkable woman.

Madame Nottale died a few weeks ago.    Selfishly I would have loved to spend much more time with her, however at 94 years old she was ready to move on.     I feel a deep sense of gratitude for having known such a wonderful human being, whose life was indeed well lived.

A recent photograph of Madame Nottale with her daughter Claudia. 

P1050879When Claudia Nottale came to stay with my family in the States in 1978 she was just seventeen years old.    I had no idea at the time that she would become a life long friend.

Claudia Nottale – 17 years old – oil on canvas

10996105_10153048192965396_8451570209771699384_o-2In 1984 on one of my trips back to the UK and Europe to visit family and friends, Claudia’s Mother  invited me to dinner at her home in Marley le Roi, not too far from Paris.       I will always remember the first moment we met.        Her warmth and love shone through.

So much could be said about her life….Mother of seven remarkable children, nurse, friend to so many, lover of nature and in her latter years when she had time for herself….the brilliance of her painting and  writing shone through.

Portrait of Madame Nottale in 1985…..watercolour/gouache

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She was a woman who exemplified what it is to live life well.     She exhibited great courage and at the same time compassion for others. – I would say that she spent much of her life alleviating suffering in others in tangible ways as a nurse and Mother and in less tangible ways simply by being who she was.    For to be in her presence was indeed a beautiful experience.

Madame Nottale drawing me September 2015

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She loved colour and chocolate…….two things we had in common:)    During her latter years she painted and wrote every single day.    The walls and every other surface in her room were covered in her work.

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Three  years ago, I made this watercolour of her….which I feel demonstrates her letting go of worldly worries and coming home to her true calling…..that of being an artist and writer.

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Deeply spiritual, and an inspiration to all……Madame Nottale must surely be in a heaven with unlimited paints, paper, brushes and pens…and of course surrounded with beautiful flowers and hummingbirds:)

A special moment with Madame Nottale……

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‘There are always flowers for those who want to see them.’     Henri Matisse.  

Moon, Mountains and Magical hummingbird – inspired by a drawing by Madame Nottale. 

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A Bientôt

 

 

One of those lightbulb moments…..

Watercolour/gouache sketch from the years I spent hill walking in Wales.   20-11-15 - 1 (35)

Five years ago, I attended an Adlerian Summer School, based on the teachings of Alfred Adler,  Austrian psychotherapist and founder of the School of Individual Psychology (1870-1937).

One of the workshops I signed up for was entitled ‘Earliest Childhood Recollections’.      It was Adler’s theory that if we could pin point our earliest recollection/memory,  we would find clues to what he referred to as our ‘private logic’ – metaphors for an individual’s personal lifestyle.

During the workshop, we were asked to go back to our rooms and make a sketch of our earliest childhood recollection.    This  exercise proved to be most revealing.

Sketch of my earliest childhood recollection.

This image depicts me at three years old standing in front of a cobbler’s shop fascinated by a colourful, miniature carousel displayed in the window.. 

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When I was three years old, my Mother and I were living in Dovercourt, Essex – a small seaside town.    This was immediately after World War II when my Father was still in the Mediterranean with the the Royal Navy.

Each day as we walked to the beach we passed a cobbler’s  (shoe repair) shop which displayed in its window a brightly coloured miniature carousel.       In a post war Britain, devoid of colour, it was a magical sight for a small child.

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One day, I escaped from our garden.    Given our close proximity to the sea, police were called and a general search was held.

I had somehow made my way to the cobbler’s shop and was found standing in front of the window transfixed by the colourful carousel.

And so how does this memory express my ‘private logic’ as a metaphor for my personal lifestyle?

Throughout my life, I have escaped from situations where I have felt hemmed in either emotionally or physically.    I have always loved colour, and today as an artist am known for my love of colour……..

watercolour – Welsh landscape

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For the first forty years of my life, I was a square peg desperately trying to fit into round holes.    It was very painful causing me high levels of stress and anxiety.

At forty, I experienced a major turning point, which was when I stopped being all things for all people and became true to myself.   With that came freedom.    To coin the late Joseph Campbell’s words – it was when I began to ‘follow my bliss’.

watercolour/gouache – Welsh landscape. 

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Over the years I have met many people who are struggling with what it is they want to do in life.    Often guided by teachers, family, society or circumstances towards careers and lifestyles that don’t fit with who they really are,  their lives  are often filled with an underlying sense of frustration.

Learning about Adler’s theory was a ‘lightbulb’ moment for me and has given much food for thought.        I am sure it might help others to see more clearly what their own ‘private logic’ is and consequently the lifestyle best suited for them.        Regardless, it’s a fascinating exercise.

As always, I leave you with a colourful, magical hummingbird flying free with Mother Nature.     Have a creative and peaceful weekend and week ahead.

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A Bientôt

 

 

 

More Cats.

Cats show us how to relax and hang loose…….

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They have no qualms about cuddling with one another for warmth and comfort….

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They are very comfortable in their own skin.     What you see is what you get…..

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They love sunshine…….

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And dreaming of colourful, magical hummingbirds. 

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A Bientôt

 

 

Colourful hummingbirds by Janet Weight Reed

I have been writing a blog for five years with a different server, but after many technical difficulties, I have decided to move here. 

As a working artist for forty years, I am known for my love of colour and spontaneous painting.  http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk      

Along with writing about my life as an artist, I will also post images that I am currently working on and occasionally watercolour tutorials.

Hummingbirds have always symbolised for me the ‘unseen magic’ in our world, and so for my first post I am offering several hummers.

 

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I saw my first hummingbird in the mountains of North Carolina in 1968, and ever since have been in awe for these flying jewels. 

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I paint other subject and have a particular love for portrait painting, however, it seems fitting that I should start this new blog with hummingbirds. 

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A Bientôt