Tag Archives: magical hummingbirds

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……

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

I have been re-booted…..

I am pleased to report that I feel better than I have done in a long while    Not only are my energy levels back to normal but it feels like my mind and body have been (as one of my friends put it) re-booted……..

“Some of my old memories feel trapped in amber in my brain lucid and burning, while others are like the wing beat of a hummingbird, an intangible, ephemeral blur.”   watercolour20190920_094645-2I am now very excited about the upcoming course at the school in Portugal (http://www.artinthealgarve.com) on the 2nd of October where we will be focusing on observation and imagination……and using the medium of watercolour to loosen up – `and free ourselves from fear based restraints.

Two minute watercolour sketch…..20190920_122614-2Like most people throughout my life I have experienced some important turning points.     Usually  events that I could never have imagined….and often events that turn out to be blessings in disguise.       When these events occur, I have found that it’s important to embrace them no matter how uncomfortable they might be.        My recent blip has turned out to be such an event.

“Beautiful is what we see.    More beautiful is what we understand.   Most beautiful is what we do not comprehend”.   Mira Bartock20190920_083902 “When you are convinced that all the exits are blocked, either you take to believing in miracles or you stand still like the hummingbird.    The miracle is that the honey is always there, right under your nose, only you were too busy searching elsewhere to realise it.     The worst is not death but being blind, blind to the fact that everything about life is in the nature of the miraculous.”   Henry Miller. 20190915_125625We tend to ignore the fact that there is a vast tapestry of energy that exists beyond our five senses…..that there is an unseen order of things.    For me the hummingbird symbolises this.

Hummingbirds are courageous little creatures……migrating huge distances and always drinking from the sweet nectar of life…..We can learn so much from them. 

Watercolour. 20190923_081333

And so  a week from Wednesday I am off to one of  my favourite places – the School in Olhao.   (http://www.artinthealgarve.com)    I will write a blog about the week after I return around the middle of October.

A quick sketch from the Saturday market in Olhao Portugal – watercolour/gouache43407049_10156706179130396_6856048434814648320_o

A sun drenched wall in Olhao  – watercolour/gouache from sketch book20190128_112330And finally the beautiful olive tree in the courtyard at the School in Olhao.    10295235_10152370607180396_8634046936488294426_oHave a lovely day and week ahead.

A Bientot

Janet

 

 

 

 

 

A Perfect Day

 

I spent the past weekend with my life long friends Mick and Gail at their lovely home in Kent, not too far from where we grew up.

Gail, Mick and I went to school together when we were little children….i.e. five years old!    Although I left the UK in 1966 for the States and didn’t return until 1993, our friendship endured.

Interestingly we are all artists.    Mick a photographer/musician and Gail, writer, historian and musician.      There must have been something in the water at the school we attended.

This visit was super special because I got to meet Cosmo, their first grandchild….and he is an angel……

Cosmo in the garden…..such a joy. 20190829_140428

Mick – watercolour

1048835_10151869969370396_914185022_o-3Gail – watercolour1094709_10151869967675396_22212606_o-3On Saturday we drove to Viking Bay Broadstairs to reminisce.    It turned out to be a perfect day in every way including the weather.

Given that Mick and Gail live in the middle of the countryside we drove…..and immediately found a parking place just a minute from the Bay.    Good start…..

Broadstairs is a place where we spent a lot of our childhood….and so I am really happy to report that Viking Bay is relatively unchanged other than some new amusements for children at one end of the beach.            The pier is still the same and many of the cafes and shops overlooking the beach are still there…including Morelli’s ice cream and coffee which was our first port of call……and oh my it was good.   20190830_112841Overlooking this part of the beach is the old band stand….a place I always enjoyed as a child.        I have special memories of when my Grandmother would take me to Broadstairs for the week….just the two of us.    She would allow me to do all sorts of things including enter the talent competitions held on the band stand.  Such happy memories:)

On the bandstand this Saturday – no competition this time……P8300864P8300862Sixty three years, before when I was ten years old….close to the pier.    Time is such an illusion. til August 10 295As we walked along the promenade we happened upon this lovely woman with her even lovelier cat:).   Apparently the cat walked with her every day to the beach.    When we came across her, I had just been saying how much I look forward to having another cat of my own.     A good omen I think…..

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20190830_111558We then walked to the pier where we had the most delicious fish and chips….watched over by this very healthy looking seagull who I am glad to report behaved him/herself. 20190830_114442All the while, we talked about our childhood memories….It was such a gentle, lovely day….and again another reminder of the importance of making the most of every single moment.

As we sat there enjoying the views, sounds, and smells and of course our fish and chips, I was reminded of this quote by Alan Watts  

‘I have realised that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is…….’

The hummingbirds are weaving their magic…… watercolour26198604_10155949289200396_7377987670122973739_o

This magical hummingbird is drinking from the sweet nectar of life…………………

A Bientôt

 

 

 

 

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New Beginnings.

magical hummingbird….watercolour/gouache – symbolising the unseen magic in the world. 20190819_113531It’s been a couple of months since my last post.       I have spent this time relaxing, recouping, painting, writing and contemplating.    

I am glad to report that I am feeling very well,  in  fact better than I have in a long time which has brought me to the conclusion that  my recent medical adventure has been a huge blessing in disguise.      It has given me the opportunity to stop and take stock.

Kara Olivia (my cousin’s daughter) bathed in sunlight and shadow in the kitchen at Ty Gwynn – Crickhowell, Wales.     Such a happy memory.   1994.20190822_091130  I have been blessed in so many ways throughout my life.    For the most part robust health, two fantastic children, many wonderful friends, and of course my work which always sustains me. 

In the bedroom of my London flat I have what I call my ‘memory wall’.      As I lie in bed contemplating these images, I am reminded of my grandparents, parents, children, husband, friends, animals and more.    All the people and animals who have contributed so much to my life…… 53062468_10157044824235396_9002121108748500992_oThese images remind me that all the planning in the world doesn’t necessarily give you what you want or expect….rather it’s about living each and every day to the full and not worrying about future or past – or that which we cannot change.      

I have always found that when I get out of the driver’s seat…..wonderfully unexpected things can and do happen.     For me this principle underlies the true magic of life. 

My cottage garden in Crickhowell Wales – a place I had never heard of until my Cousin introduced me to it….and now a place that will forever be paramount in my heart and life. 10583023_10152641107430396_6295196619295273313_oChristeve the Cat allowing a friend to join her on the garden shed roof…..cottage garden Crickhowell Walestil August 10 119In 1993 when I returned home to the UK and specifically Crickhowell (AKA The Magical Town of Crickadoon) I made the decision to stop driving.      

I will always remember my eye doctor in the States telling me to let him know when I am on the roads, so that he could keep off  them…..true story:)        The fact is that during the 28 years that I drove,  I hated it.      One of the only rows I can remember my husband and I having was over my not wanting to use a stick shift!    My brain simply doesn’t work that way…….

After 1993, I designed my life so that I would not need a car.    In Crickhowell, I could walk to the butcher, baker, candlestick maker, and so much more.   If I needed to get to Abergavenny for the train, I took a taxi.      I walked everywhere and loved it, and of course was very healthy.      I continue to be an advocate for efficient and inexpensive public transportation systems and some walking every day…..

Looking towards St. Edmund’s Church and the centre of Crickhowell from the River Usk. 

306064A600000578-3408080-image-a-15_1453287838756Sadly in 2005 I had to move to London (again totally unexpected) for work and to be closer to my Mother in Kent who was not well. 

At the time, I was dismayed to say the least.   I didn’t want to leave Crickhowell.   However, as I look back over the past 12 years since I have been in London, I can see that so many blessings have come about because of this unexpected and unwanted change in my life.       None of us is ever creative enough to know how things will actually work out……

I was reunited with Josie and her many animals. (Josie has known me since the day I was born)…..I learned so much from Josie.   54437101_10157075342345396_1929582768614801408_oI have met so many people because of moving to London, and have been introduced to many new people and lovely places around the UK and other parts of Europe.

All of which reminds me that at any given time, there are people and places in this world that we have no knowledge of, but will ultimately play profound parts in our lives.    

And that’s where I am right now….at another new beginning – I can feel it in my waters:) 

watercolour/gouache from  SW France – from one of my many sketchbooks. 20190818_124327And so who knows what the future will bring.?….The answer to that is – none of us!    

Maybe the magical hummingbirds know…….watercolour/gouache51620254_10157014875500396_2357562279542652928_oWishing one and all, no matter where you are in the world, a lovely September. 

A Bientot

Janet. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

None of us is ever creative enough to know how things will actually work out…..

My last post featured my stay in Brittany during the month of May.      

However, since then I have spent eight days in Kingston Hospital courtesy the wonderful NHS (National Health Service) and have been recouping ever since, all of which emphasises that none of us is ever creative enough to know how things will actually work out………….

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I was two years old in 1948 when the NHS came into being. Having been fortunate enough to experience very good health during my lifetime, I have not had the need to use the Service very much, however, I have always held it in the highest regard.    

It’s important to say that nothing is perfect…..and indeed when the NHS came into being the world population was approx., two and half billion….now we are rocketing towards eight billion! This of course puts great pressure on all institutions……including the NHS.  

My recent experience in Kingston Hospital has brought home to me how fortunate we are in the UK to have such a Service. If necessary we must go to the barricades to preserve it from those politicians who might see it as a cash pot!!! They are out there waiting to get their greedy hands on it……..

The beautiful Brecon Beacons…Wales – watercolour/gouache

A little known fact is that The NHS is available to everyone within the UK no matter how wealthy or poor….it does not discriminate.     I know that in countries where free health care is only given to those who  are lacking in financial resources….much division has been caused.  

Magical Hummingbirds – watercolour  

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So what happened to me?    I think it’s fair to say that I had probably been overdoing things, especially as I hadn’t been feeling 100% since the beginning of the year.    I had been experiencing breathlessness…something totally new for me, and after a couple of visits to the doctor, I decided to let time sort things out!

I suppose time indeed did sort things out only not in the way I had hoped……

Crickhowell from the Bluebell Woods – watercolour

Having just returned from a lovely wedding celebration in Atlanta, Ga, I was resting in my flat when all of a sudden I experienced extreme pain through my middle section and nausea.    After fifteen minutes, I realised something was very wrong and for the first time in my life, called an ambulance.

The ambulance service was superb.    Once they arrived I simply let go and gave myself to their knowledge and understanding.      Magical hummingbirds were clearly overseeing the situation.

watercolour

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On the way to the hospital it occurred to me that this might be it. It also occurred to me that where and how we die is not of great importance, ….the key is how we have lived our lives.

Have we loved and been loved? Have we loved the experience of being alive and all that entails? Have we done and said the things we wanted to do and say? Have we been grateful for gifts that we have been given? All of this was mulling around in my head….

Maybe it’s because I oversaw the care of my Mother for eleven years at home and in nursing homes, that I am very clear that I prefer quality over quantity. In other words, I would rather live a shorter life of substance and joy than a longer life inhibited by ill health.

watercolour

And so I arrived at the A & E department ready for anything…and at the same time, although in pain, very peaceful and calm inside.

It was found that I had fluid on my lung, plus blood clots…one of which had destroyed my left kidney. {The good news is that my right kidney is still in good shape.}

I had gone to my doctor a few times since the beginning of the year, but hadn’t always taken her advice. I was convinced that whatever was going on would sort itself out! Well this time it didn’t….

summer tree – watercolour

For the following eight days I received superb treatment. So many tests, I lost count, plus constant updates from nurses and doctors and a feeling of being very well taken care of.

I have never enjoyed hospitals, or needles (had a serious needle phobia up until the age of 60) but this experience was different. I found it all very interesting and it’s left me wanting to learn more about the internal workings of my body.. It was as if fear was replaced with intrigue. Plus there was some wonderful ‘people watching’ to be enjoyed – although having said that I didn’t have the energy even to sketch!

Other than my lovely next door neighbour Jeanie who brought in clean pjs etc I didn’t tell anyone else that I was in the hospital. My two children in the States are still recovering from the sudden loss of their father in February and so I didn’t want to alarm them….and given that I was so tired, and occupied with tests, etc. I wasn’t up to people visiting me.

I did let my children know after three days….Since then they have been so very supportive and have told me not to do that again……

Brecon Beacons – Wales – watercolour

Since leaving the hospital, the support I have received has been wonderful….all of which I am very grateful for.

I suppose I am a little like a cat…..when I get sick, I tend to hide and nurse myself…..:) I even asked my dear friend Gail in Kent if I could hide out in their yurt. It hasn’t come to that, yet, but it seems like a good idea to me.

My aftercare has been excellent and is ongoing. Still lots of tests…including heart scans…. It’s all quite fascinating.

Church Path – Crickhowell – watercolour

I was asked by a good friend yesterday what has been the most important part of my life. My answer ‘creativity’.

It is this one element that has made sense of everything else and has enhanced and nurtured the great joys in my life, – my children, friends, animals, etc. It has also been a great buffer against the trials and tribulations that we all experience through life’s journey.

Those who read my blog will know that I am always banging on about ‘The Creative Process being the key to Emotonal, Physical and Spiritual Wellbeing’. It’s true.

watercolour /gouache

This experience has given me cause for much reflection.

Painting, writing, gardening, and all sorts of other creative endeavours will take precedence.

Much more time spent communing with Mother Nature……

As little time as possible in cities……

And I definitely need to organise my life so that I can have a cat again…..:)

Christeve the Cat – watercolour/gouache

Fortunately I don’t have anything on my calendar until October….and so my plan is to just hang loose. Each day I am able to do more writing and painting….and as I said earlier am feeling better all the time.

I hope everyone else is enjoying their summer and keeping well….and of course being creative.

A Bientot

Janet