Tag Archives: magical hummingbirds

It’s April which must mean Portugal :) – http://www.artinthealgarve.com

After the weekend I return to the School in Olhao, Portugal – hard to believe another year has past.      http://www.artinthealgarve.com

It’s always lovely to be reunited with the olive tree that meanders up through the internal courtyards all the way to the roof of the School – and given that sun and warm weather is forecast there will be lots of wonderful shadow play to observe and paint:)    After a long, wet, cold winter it will be wonderful….and oh the light, let’s not forget the light. 10295235_10152370607180396_8634046936488294426_oI always look forward to being at the School – seeing Margarita and the rest of the team who make it feel like home, and being immersed in what I feel is one of the more conducive places to explore the creative process.      This year I am looking forward to it more than ever.

one of the exterior stairways in the School – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (936)One of the group sketching on Armona Island – 15 minute boat ride from the School. 20-11-15 - 1 (900)Quick sketch of fishing boats – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (63)The studio P1150901From top level of the School where the rooftops of old Olhao can be seen.  There is a small pool on the roof and another in one of the ground floor courtyards. P1150939Storks nesting top of one of the Olhao churches.       Olhao  part of the Ria Formosa National Park is a superb place for birders.    ImageOlhao is a working fishing town…. fish from the local marketImagesketching in the alley behind the School 20-11-15 - 1 (145) Playful hummingbirds to set the mood – watercolour. 

20-11-15 - 1 (38)Those who follow my blog will know that when I am away and painting, other than checking e mails, I have a holiday from blogging and social media…

After I return from Portugal I will have six days and then on 3rd May I fly to Boston.    I will post a blog before leaving.

A Bientot

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk 

 

 

The Second half of my trip to France…

watercolour – Caramany20-11-15 - 1 (1265)This post is about my week in Caramany, a small, ancient hill top village – in the Pyrenees-Orientales department in southern France.     A very beautiful area.

My friend the artist Suzy Davidson (www.suzydavidson.com) –  has been renovating an old ruin there for the past nine years …..all of this done whilst living in South Africa and and Malaysia.    Quite a feat.        On her regular visits, she has managed to organise builders, and much more…..and being a hands on person has done a lot of work herself, including building walls….wall6

To get there, I flew to Carcassonne and then a two hour drive to Caramany.     (On my return trip to Brittany and then London, I travelled by train – more about that in a minute)   

I left London just  before the ‘Beast from the East’ descended on the UK and Europe.  For the first three or so days it was freezing cold.     Fortunately Suzy had just installed two wood burners!

Suzy between house and atelier. 20-11-15 - 1 (1237)Initially it was too cold to paint outside (we actually woke to a dusting of snow one morning!) – and so I painted some interiors, plus portraits of the local Caramany people – again an excellent way to connect with people and to learn about a place.

A very warm spot next to a wood burner (now shown in this picture:)20-11-15 - 1 (1282)A rapid sketch from open window. 20-11-15 - 1 (1266)Built into rock, the community sits on many levels.     I took this photograph overlooking the courtyard to Suzy’s house with the ravine, village and hills beyond. 20-11-15 - 1 (1253)There are 150 full time residents – (during the summer months this number grows)     Through Suzy, I was able to meet some of the locals who not only made me very welcome but also provided in one case a delicious typically French five course lunch, and in another a superb evening meal.

Marie – a multi talented lady. – watercolour  20-11-15 - 1 (1347)Seven year old Capucine – watercolour 20-11-15 - 1 (1449)By mid week the sun was shining and in sheltered spots it was very warm.   I actually enjoyed my first al fresco lunch of the year.

Part of the village in mild sunshine. 20-11-15 - 1 (1507)Remy – Caramany resident – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (1441)Vivi – wife of Remy  – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (1440)I certainly hope to visit Carmany again during a warmer period when I am able do much more plein air painting.      I believe that Late April/May or September/October would be perfect….as I think the summers might be a little too hot for my liking.

Perpignan is about a 35 minute drive from Caramany, and so it was here that I caught the  first train on my way to Lorient in Brittany.      Other than the initial local train, I was travelling by TGV – the superb French train system which travels at high speeds and for the most part is very efficient.

Between Perpignan and Narbonne – I was able to see the lagoons with Pink Flamingos….what a treat.     After a quick change at Narbonne onto Toulouse, – Toulouse to Paris and Paris to Lorient where Elisabeth and Herve were waiting for me.    The train was right on schedule.        It sounds like a long day, and it was but given that the trains are so comfortable and everything on schedule….it is a far better way to travel than flying!.    An excellent opportunity for reading, writing, thinking and people watching.

A rapid watercolour/gouache in my sketch book looking down on the reservoir beneath Caramany….It was extremely windy and cold that day. .   20-11-15 - 1 (1545)

Now onto my next trip where I will be giving a workshop at the beautiful school in Olhao Portugal  http://www.artinthealgarve.com      starting Wednesday 18th April….

We have received two late cancellations and so if anyone is interested in joining us on what is always a wonderful week, please contact Camilla at +44 203 2877 140

I have a limit of 12 for these workshops and am fully booked for September.   

At this time of year, especially after our very cold spring, the thought of arriving at the School is such a treat.     The top of the old olive tree that grows up through the centre of the School….simply beautiful. P1150724

I finish with a pile of magical hummingbird watercolour doodles 20-11-15 - 1 (1646)

 

A Bientot

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

 

 

Time is free, but it is priceless……..

20-11-15 - 1 (248)“Time is free, but it is priceless.    You can’t own it, but you can use it.   You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.    Once you have lost it you can never get it back.”   Harvey Mackay.

Having just celebrated another birthday, I am only too aware of the rapid movement of time and how precious every moment is.

Flowers from an English country garden.   A beautiful moment in time. 27164812_10156033362095396_1542881300197917602_oWhen I sit observing Mother Nature’s bounty, I am reminded that all of life is fragile and temporary.    A flower in full bloom reminds me that beauty is a fleeting and enjoyable event,  however it is the full evolution of a plant that teaches us so much more.

watercolour27164538_10156023231000396_5682597220846199362_oAs Charles Darwin said – ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent – it is the one that is most adaptable to change’

This is possibly one of the many reasons that I am so attracted to the hummingbird.   The Hummingbird goes into a deep torpor during the cold nights – a death like sleep where the little creature lowers its metabolic rate by as much as 95%.      As the warm sun rises, so does the metabolic rate of the hummingbird.    The tiny bird awakens from this state with enough energy reserves to see it through the first feedings of the morning.      The hummingbird’s circadian clock triggers its time of arousal, one or two hours before dawn.

watercolour/gouache16463495_10154868634630396_3944780471682145171_oCircadian rhythms are found in human beings and most living things, responding primarily to light and darkness in the environment.       However in today’s 24/7 techno charged world where time zones are crossed without even a thought and light pollution prevails around major cities,  we humans seem to have lost track of the natural rhythms of life.     Our time clocks are out of alignment .

watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (268)Is it any wonder then, that so many are feeling stress and an inability to slow down and relax?    Is it any wonder that many young children who are glued to screens, often in their bedrooms, never feel at rest?

Potting plants in a Somerset garden20-11-15 - 1 (1101) From Marcus Aurelius – ‘Time is a river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.’

All of which convinces me how important it is to make the very best of every moment we have, because once that moments gone, it will never return.

watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (1121)

A Bientôt                           http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

 

The colours of Autumn….

“Autumn’s the mellow time”      William Allingham

I am off to Wales and Somerset to be with good friends and of course take photographs and make watercolour sketches.     As usual I will take a break from technology during this period.

Back here around the 24th November.

Brecon Beacons – Wales – watercolour22289730_10155714657220396_7484313288302574968_oMist over the Usk Valley – Wales – watercolour21731439_10155640296835396_1011210038349474506_oCrug Howell – Usk Valley Wales – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (1)view from Curlews – overlooking the Usk Valley Wales – watercolour21587193_10155634459635396_3638491708032799665_oBrecon Beacons Wales – watercolour/gouache22424479_10155722668785396_4972642561881605246_oI will of course travel with the Magical Hummingbirds….20-11-15 - 1 (772)

A Bientôt.

http://www.zazzle.com/janet+weight+reed+gifts        http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

Playing and letting go…..

“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 The Apple Exercise – Janet Weight Reed. 20-11-15 - 1 (1079)I like to begin my day with a warming up exercise.      This awakens my senses and connects me to my materials and environment.           With regard to subject matter – it can be anything.   It is  helpful to have a ‘jumping off point’.      In this instance, I used a picture of an Iris.    In itself very attractive as a photograph but lacking in vibrancy and energy.

20-11-15 - 1 (1012)Our minds tend to be conditioned by what we have been taught, rather than what we actually see or feel.      When I look at this photograph, in my mind’s eye I immediately see a field of Iris infused with energy, light and shade.

All these images are 5 minute studies.    They are all about observation and letting go of preconceived notions.       Remember – it’s only paper.

20-11-15 - 1 (1011)    It is important to note that even if your end goal is to paint a detailed, realistic image, warming up and exploring a subject in this manner will help enormously. 20-11-15 - 1 (1001)If we were able to time travel back to our earliest formative years, (1 to 3) when the world appeared as a kaleidoscope of colour and shapes.   When our young minds were full of wonder, we could regain our natural curiosity and love for colour and form. 20-11-15 - 1 (1067)As pointed out in previous blogs…any fear of messing up a good piece of paper, can be removed by using newspaper or brown wrapping paper to start with.   Simply allow yourself to put strong marks onto the paper.     See all the wonderful things that your paintbrush can do….and have fun. 20-11-15 - 1 (1079)The more we exercise and practise our creative thinking, the easier and more fluent the process becomes.

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

20-11-15 - 1 (716)A bientot 

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk        http://www.zazzle.com/janet+weight+reed+gifts

Mother Nature’s reminders of not to take life for granted….

“Even with all our technology and the inventions that make modern life so much easier than it once was, it takes one big natural disaster to wipe all that away and remind us that, here on Earth, we’re still at the mercy of nature”  Neil deGrasse Tyson – Scientist

Fires fuelled by drought, high temperatures and wind along with other catastrophic natural disasters are all contributing factors to the millions of displaced people roaming the earth looking for somewhere to live and work.

Quintin – watercolour     P1150314It is very easy for those of us with a roof over our heads, food in the cupboards and an ordered infrastructure to live within to believe that we are OK…..All those awful things only happen to other people.     It would seem that we take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.

Tom – American poet20-11-15-1-745I was prompted to write this post because two people I know have been effected by the terrible fires in California.       All of a sudden ordered lives have been turned upside down and inside out……For many life is now unrecognisable.

The same of course can be said for the people so badly pummelled by recent hurricanes and flooding…..Within hours, all that was ‘normal’ – has changed.

Lyn  1003044_10151806614305396_576151846_n

Although I have never been in such a catastrophe – I have had major changes in my life which have meant learning to live in new ways.     Most certainly, they have taught me never to take anything for granted.

When people’s lives are torn apart…it takes time to pick up the pieces – to start again.     Orderly lives are replaced with fragmentation…..routines disappear until new ones are established.     The more adaptable we are, the better.

P1160910Speaking from personal experience, change can come with new opportunities.   New ways to see ourselves – new ways to live our lives.

Once again, I believe that the creative process can help and indeed maybe guide some into a new more creative way of being.      Creatives are very familiar with seeing life in many different ways….which is the kind of thinking that needs to prevail at such times.

Children playing with shells on Armona Island Portugal. 20-11-15 - 1 (913)One friend said it was very difficult to know what to take when having to leave a home very quickly.   A home filled with years of memories and all the things we tend to take for granted.

Peter Redmond 192175_10151147549835396_728758025_o

Learning to respect Mother Nature is key to living well on Earth.    Every time a piece of litter is dropped – although it may seem insignificant – it shows a lack of respect for our beautiful Earth.

My daughter Christie with two magical hummingbirds. 20-11-15-1-496

“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted”.   Aldous Huxley

A Bientôt