Tag Archives: magical hummingbirds

‘LIFE DRAWING’ – perfect for honing observational skills.

During the last few years it’s been great to see that life painting/drawing is back in vogue.

Some of the images in this post are from a life session I tutored in Chester, UK.

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 was fortunate enough to begin each day with a two hour life session.       I can’t think of a better way to get the creative juices flowing.

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 frees an artist to explore their work with confidence.    

Regular life drawing sessions help to build self confidence and most importantly build a strong foundation. 

Ten minute full sheet study of Scarlett, one of my favourite models  p1160922Along with nude models I also enjoy working with ‘costume models’ learning how to capture the human form beneath the drapes of fabric  – again it’s all about 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

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.      A  few years ago I gave a weekend residential workshop in Herefordshire where we only painted the hands and feet of our models.   An excellent exercise. P1160912Capturing the gesture and seeking out the abstraction of the shapes produced. – ten minute full sheet study. 20-11-15 - 1 (50)

Happy painting

Janet.

Painting over old sketches.

I am often asked the question – When is a painting finished?   

This quote from Jidda Krishnamurti is my jumping off point for thoughts on this subject.

‘There is no end to education.   It is not that you read a book,  pass an examination and finish education.    The whole of life,  from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.’

The piano – rapid watercolour/gouacheOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEach painting we work on (including preliminary sketches and warm up exercises) is connected to all the work we have produced in the past and any work we will produce in the future…….Everything is interconnected.

Unlike many jobs where there is a clear beginning, middle and finish – a painting can take minutes, hours or years to complete…….and even when the painting is not being worked on – the seed of it’s idea is still sprouting information, even if at a subliminal level.

I painted a ground over an old watercolour to make this image…A great way to recycle old paintings that haven’t worked.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASomething to consider is that striving for perfection can sometimes cripple the creative process.

As artists we seek to attain technical prowess, however it’s important to remember that warming up,  playfulness and risk taking are all part of the exploration and creative processOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlways try to work on more than one image at a time.     This can prevent overworking the painting and producing mud, particularly when working with watercolour!

When the question is asked – ‘where do I go next with this painting?’  It is time to stop.   Move onto the next painting and  invariably at a later date the answer will be revealed to your initial question.     Paintings communicate with us if we allow enough space and time…….            OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  When working on canvases….it is customary to turn paintings to the wall – sometimes for long periods.     This helps an artist to see the painting in a fresh light at a later date.    Any work produced in the interim feeds the artist with new information, which is often relevant to the original piece.          OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARegardless of the end goal…rapid sketches in any medium, along with honing observational skills help an artist to focus the mind.

Many years ago, I gave a workshop in Wales where a group of us walked the Brecon/ Monmouthshire Canal for one day.      Every fifteen minutes we stopped and sketched for fifteen minutes.….Initially, this was daunting to some of the participants….however, by the end of the day…people were producing quick sketches, filled with information.

The point of this story is that sketches had to be finished within fifteen minutes – which again was an excellent way of focusing the mind and also removing the desire to achieve the ‘perfect’ sketch.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen we focus on the journey and not the destination – we are freed from restraints which might otherwise interfere with the creative flow.   The joy and learning will be  found in the doing, and answers will be revealed in their own good time.

Janet:)

It’s time to Open the Doorways to our minds so that we can adapt to our changing world.

capturing shadow play on courtyard steps in Olhao Portugal – watercolour.   Disappearing steps symbolise for me – the unknown….P1160782If ever there is a place that is conducive to exploring the creative process….it has been the school in Olhao, Portugal where I have been fortunate enough to teach for quite a few years.      A place I have come to think of as a second home….

P1150689Situated in the middle of the old fishing town of  Olhao, and just a few minutes walk from the waterfront, market, shops, cafes, restaurant, etc. this school has allowed those who have visited to completely immerse themselves into the creative process.

After being met by Nuno at Faro airport, 20 minutes later we enter the School house.    It is in this inviting  space that so many freshly cooked meals have been served and enjoyed ….all overseen by the beautiful Margarida and Joanna.   It has also been a place of many interesting conversations and much laughter:)P1120438Margarida looking up from one of the lower courtyards.P1170645What is it that makes a place conducive to the creative process?    

I believe there needs to be a sense of harmony and cohesiveness.    I find that when people are running all over the place, never settling…there is fragmentation….which in itself can destroy the flow of creative thought and production.

ImageThe School has given us this, a sense of harmony and cohesiveness.  

When a new doorway between the School and Pool houses was introduced several years ago there was an immediate sense of further flow and harmony.       Almost like taking a huge gasp of fresh air….

The doorway became a metaphor for opening up creative expression. 

 When teaching I often talk about how changing one tiny part of a painting, changes everything, and so it is true for the doorways of life – we simply have to find and open them.

P1150733 

It is now time to open the doorways of our minds.    Time to allow new thinking and creative expression to flow through previously blocked areas.    

Flowers for sale at the Saturday Market.    ImageAnd of course wonderful fresh fish………..ImageVisits to Armona Island, a fifteen minute boat ride from Olhao, were always very special.      I would like to spend more time on Armona Island. P1160130  

150 year old olive tree in main courtyard……a tree synonymous with he School. Image

Through the school I have met some wonderful people..and made lasting friendships.     I will always be grateful for the day that David Clark contacted me to see if I would be interested in being one of his tutors.    

Mostly I thank him for his vision which I believe will live on in ways that none of us is creative enough to know about at this time.   

I know that David’s legacy will continue through conversations, paintings, friendships and so much more. 

Thank you David, Camilla, Margarida, Joanna, Nuno (1) and Nuno (2) and I must not forget Carlos who opened up the doorway between the two buildings:) 

I hope to see you all soon in beautiful Olhao. 

Janet. :)X

The Intangible healing of creativity –

“The creative process in all its many forms is the key to emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing.”   Janet weight reed

My hummingbird imagery symbolises the unseen and intangible in our world.    Just because we can’t see or touch something doesn’t mean it’s not there or is having a profound effect on our lives.

20190218_111017The Aboriginals, Native Americans and many other indigenous peoples around the globe have a deep understanding of our spiritual, physical, social and cultural connection to the land.       They believe all of life as it is today, human, animal, bird and fish is part of one vast unchanging network of relationships.       They understand fully the importance of land management towards our health and overall wellbeing. 

Crickhowell Wales – watercolour-  the continual flow of Mother Nature. 52905723_10157042659595396_8724979844233822208_oIt seems that many people today,  young and old from all sectors of society,  are experiencing physical and emotional illnesses and distress.         Given our fast pace of life and that so much of the world’s population is now plugged into technology of one kind or another, is it any wonder  that our collective senses are being deadened?

 In this fast watercolour sketch from Portugal last October, everything within the image is interconnected.    There are no starts and stops…no beginning and no ending, rather a continual flow.

20180930_125738Feeding our senses by spending time in the natural world, is healing.   However, like all good medicine, it needs to be enjoyed on a consistent basis.

Many have forgotten the simple pleasure of sitting beneath a tree and how restorative it is.    14435032_10154437102300396_4492475642371147944_oI have been listening to a radio programme about the power of the placebo…and how it has been shown time and time again to cause a sense of wellbeing even though the recipient is fully aware that they are taking a sugar pill.     This has everything to do with mind, body connection.

When we immerse ourselves into the creative flow, our minds are taken into what I call deep time.     A place that is totally different from our clock watching, rushing to the next appointment type of time.       An intangible sense of calmness and wellbeing ensues.   We return to what we were designed for – being part of nature and engaging our senses.

Portugese children on Armona Island playing with shells….20-11-15 - 1 (913)    Trying to exist in this brave new world and finding a space for creativity, in all its many forms….might for many sound impossible.

I have raised a family and worked all my life and like most people have lived through some very stressful times.      I have learned that if I simply stop….and give myself some soul food each day, I am immediately calmed and feel a sense of well being.    Soul food time enriches and supports everything else we need and have to do in life.

It costs nothing.   It doesn’t mean major life changes.     It simply means addressing the part of ourselves that is in desperate need for daily food and nurturing.

Brecon Beacons Wales 46361144_10156801851710396_7419123831345774592_o

From Buddhist Offerings….

‘We see that life, composed of this mind and body, is in a state of continual constant transformation and flux.      There is always the possibility of radical change.    Every moment – not just poetically or figuratively, but literally – every moment we are dying and being reborn, we and all life’ 

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Since I first wrote this post we have all experienced a radical change.  

The Coronavirus Pandemic has given us all, individually and collectively, time to re think our lives….and hopefully learn what is important and what isn’t.

Janet 🙂

 

‘LIFE DRAWING’ – perfect for honing observational skills.

During the last few years it’s been great to see that life painting/drawing is back in vogue.

Some of the images in this post are from a life session I tutored in Chester, UK.

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 was fortunate enough to begin each day with a two hour life session.       I can’t think of a better way to get the creative juices flowing.

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 frees an artist to explore their work with confidence.    

Regular life drawing sessions help to build self confidence and most importantly build a strong foundation. 

Ten minute full sheet study of Scarlett, one of my favourite models  p1160922Along with nude models I also enjoy working with ‘costume models’ learning how to capture the human form beneath the drapes of fabric  – again it’s all about 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

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.      A  few years ago I gave a weekend residential workshop in Herefordshire where we only painted the hands and feet of our models.   An excellent exercise. P1160912Capturing the gesture and seeking out the abstraction of the shapes produced. – ten minute full sheet study. 20-11-15 - 1 (50)

Happy painting

Janet.

Rapid watercolour of chicken……Something playful for the weekend.

Something PLAYFUL for the weekend…..

The word ‘mud’ comes up quite a lot when talking about watercolour painting.    This rapid watercolour sketch of a chicken is all about avoiding mud…..

20-11-15-1-486

For those who are nervous of using good paper…allow yourself to play on newspaper, inexpensive wall paper lining, or anything else that might be at hand and I always suggest working on at least two pieces at once….four is better:)

Just begin – You will note that all the whites in this image are  dry white paper.     

20-11-15-1-481

If you are using a photograph – remember it is simply your ‘jumping off point’  

20-11-15-1-482

View the colours and shapes of your subject – as if it were a jigsaw puzzle and remember there are no lines around Mother Nature…    Everything is fluid…which is why watercolour is the perfect medium.

20-11-15-1-486One very important technique I have used in this little demo is to take a clean wet brush – using it to tease paint out which is already on the paper.      This gives an element of control and helps to keep the dry white paper areas.

Remember there are no mistakes in this fluid painting….allow the watercolour to perform its magic – and most importantly allow yourself to Play. 

 

 

A Bientôt.

 

 

 

Painting over old sketches. Time to PLAY and WARM UP….

I am often asked the question – When is a painting finished?   

This quote from Jidda Krishnamurti is my jumping off point for thoughts on this subject.

‘There is no end to education.   It is not that you read a book,  pass an examination and finish education.    The whole of life,  from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.’

The piano – rapid watercolour/gouacheOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEach painting we work on (including preliminary sketches and warm up exercises) is connected to all the work we have produced in the past and any work we will produce in the future…….Everything is interconnected.

Unlike many jobs where there is a clear beginning, middle and finish – a painting can take minutes, hours or years to complete…….and even when the painting is not being worked on – the seed of it’s idea is still sprouting information, even if at a subliminal level.

I painted a ground over an old watercolour to make this image…A great way to recycle old paintings that haven’t worked.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASomething to consider is that striving for perfection can sometimes cripple the creative process.

As artists we seek to attain technical prowess, however it’s important to remember that warming up,  playfulness and risk taking are all part of the exploration and creative processOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlways try to work on more than one image at a time.     This can prevent overworking the painting and producing mud, particularly when working with watercolour!

When the question is asked – ‘where do I go next with this painting?’  It is time to stop.   Move onto the next painting and  invariably at a later date the answer will be revealed to your initial question.     Paintings communicate with us if we allow enough space and time…….            OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  When working on canvases….it is customary to turn paintings to the wall – sometimes for long periods.     This helps an artist to see the painting in a fresh light at a later date.    Any work produced in the interim feeds the artist with new information, which is often relevant to the original piece.          OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARegardless of the end goal…rapid sketches in any medium, along with honing observational skills help an artist to focus the mind.

Many years ago, I gave a workshop in Wales where a group of us walked the Brecon/ Monmouthshire Canal for one day.      Every fifteen minutes we stopped and sketched for fifteen minutes.….Initially, this was daunting to some of the participants….however, by the end of the day…people were producing quick sketches, filled with information.

The point of this story is that sketches had to be finished within fifteen minutes – which again was an excellent way of focusing the mind and also removing the desire to achieve the ‘perfect’ sketch.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen we focus on the journey and not the destination – we are freed from restraints which might otherwise interfere with the creative flow.   The joy and learning will be  found in the doing, and answers will be revealed in their own good time.

P1130684

 

‘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.

 

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving to friends and family in the States….

Which brings me to this very amusing picture that my daughter Christie sent via WhatsApp last night.    When this was taken around 1980 WhatsApp and all the rest of the social media stuff was pure science fiction.

I always got up at about 5 a.m. on Thanksgiving so that I could feed the animals..and then get the turkey into the oven for a long slow cook.   Bear in mind that cooking is not my best attribute, however I did this for years and remember oh so well all the routines and traditions  that surrounded it.   My husband Bill must have taken this picture…..again long before digital cameras. Happy memories:)

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This photograph was taken around the same time….although here I am doing something I feel more comfortable with……

IMG-20191127-WA0010

Its hard to believe that we are now entering the festive season.    The past year seems to have melted away.

My daughter Christie will be joining me here on the 16th of December for ten days….for which I am very grateful and then next May I will spend two weeks on the farm with my son Jarrod and his partner Kendle.   Happy days indeed.

The beginning of the festive seasons means it’s time for some Christeve the Cat in the Magical Town of Crickadoon images.

Here Christeve the Cat looks down from her favourite tree at the little cottage that looks so cozy and warm…..wishing she had a home of her own…..

Note that the magical hummingbirds surround her……………

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Those of us with food in the cupboard and a roof over our heads do indeed have much to be thankful for.    It’s vital that we remember all those who are not so fortunate…..

A Bientôt