Tag Archives: magical hummingbirds

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 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

 

 

 

 

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:)

78753759_10157768940635396_8647818480428515328_o

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……………

19676_238565440395_8106747_n

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How social media has changed my life

It’s important to note that when I was born at the end of WW2 the concept of social media…would have been pure science fiction.      This means that I had the good fortune to live for most of my life without it – which in turn means that I am equipped to live in both worlds – the real and the virtual……

The very real world of David’s courtyard in Olhao Portugal – watercolour20191024_114626I dipped my toes into the virtual world about 18 years ago when living in Wales.    At that time,  the WDA (Welsh Development Agency) decreed that every town, village and hamlet would have something called a tele-cottage…..This is where I learned the basic first steps of how to use a computer.

Olhao Portugal – close to the School – watercolour20191018_092639Without a real plan, I signed up for FB very early on (thirteen years ago) and began writing a blog about the same time…..It didn’t take long for me to recognise the potential of this medium….especially for visual creatives.

I had always been a letter writer, keeping up with friends over the years using snail mail….but all of a sudden I was able to communicate at a whole new level.

Four watercolour studies of shadow play on the courtyard olive tree at the school in Olhao Portugal.  http://www.artinthealgarve.com20191102_113140Through social media I was able to share my images.      It gave a platform for my magical hummingbirds, in ways that I could only have imagined before.

It didn’t take too long before my name became synonymous with the magical hummingbird along with the symbolic meaning these little birds hold for me. – i.e. the ‘unseen energy’ in our world.

watercolour. 20191103_111815Other elements of my work took on different forms after the advent of social media.

I have given workshops of one kind or another for forty years….but now through cyber space I was reaching people from around the world,  people who were interested in my teaching either in life or on line……

Which brings me to my next stage……Web cam. videos. 

Courtyard steps in Olhao Portugal. – watercolour74235539_10157674169065396_4511698166164226048_oDuring my workshop in Olhao Portugal last month, Dora Keogh, suggested that I make some web cam videos….

About six years ago I made a few youtube ‘taster’ videos.     To do anything more I knew I would need someone who understands web cam technology.    Immediately  Richard, the man who has fixed my computer for several years came to mind.    All things being equal it looks like we will begin this process very soon………….

From one of my sketchbooks in Olhao Portugal last month…..this is what I call note taking.    20191028_105016Watercolour taken from sketchbook notes – of one of my favourite Olhao trees. 20191104_100843

Another watercolour from the little courtyard at David’s house in Olhao Portugal 20191104_091721There is so much more to write on this subject which I will share in future posts.

The key is to treat social media as you would treat dealings in the real world and most importantly to always follow through and do what you say you are going to do.

watercolour/gouache20191103_104549    A bientot

Janet

 

“What is courage without risk…..?

“What is courage without risk….It wouldn’t really be courage, would it?  Jocelyn Murray.20191014_085042Simply going about our daily lives can often take great courage….however, every now and then someone we meet reminds us what the word really means      This was the case during my recent workshop in Portugal.

When I first met Angela at the School in Olhao Portugal, it was clear that she had some mobility issues.     The School had arranged a motor scooter  (quickly dubbed Angela’s chariot:) so that she could get around the streets of Olhao.     Having never ridden one before she quickly got the hang of it. IMG-20191009-WA0014I learned that along with mobility issues, Angela had recently recovered from cancer.   I also learned that she had not travelled for over fifteen years.         As she didn’t know me or anyone else in the group….Angela’s signing up for the course was an act of courage and trust.20191017_104531Although Angela has enjoyed sketching and art for sometime, coming to the School in Olhao was to be a first – a totally new experience.20191015_130719When everything is in place in our lives….health, money, etc. exhibiting courage can be easier.    We have more confidence when these vital elements are in place.        What ‘separates the men from the boys’, is when those vital ingredients aren’t in place, particularly with regards to health.     Then exhibiting courage can be more difficult.20190110_143030  

My course in Portugal is all about loosening up and letting go of pre-conceived ideas and the Chattering Monkeys that tend to fill our minds with all the reasons why we CANNOT do something!

Through loosening up and doing things differently, We learn that I CANNOT can be replaced with I CAN……

Taking this principle into all areas of our lives can change everything.     When Angela decided to replace I CAN’T with I CAN – when she signed up for the course…a whole new world opened up for her.20190108_134301This quote is from Angela when talking about loosening up.

“Even if I’m feeling scared I can still go for it.    When doing that, joy and laughter take over pretty quickly”.     

Something for us all to remember……

Magical hummingbirds are appropriate for this post as they demonstrate and exhibit great courage in all areas of their lives…..

A magical. hummingbird drinking from the sweet nectar of life…..20-11-15 - 1 (358)Wishing one and all a peaceful and creative day.

A bientot

Janet.