Tag Archives: magical hummingbirds

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.

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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 

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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

 

Remain in the simplicity of the present moment.

Do not encumber your mind with useless thoughts.   What good does it do to brood on the past or anticipate the future?   Remain in the simplicity of the present moment….From the book Buddhist Offerings 

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During the past few weeks, I have been reminded of the importance of remaining in the simplicity of the present moment.

My Aunt Peggy was one of those people who seemingly always lived this way.      Recently, aged 97 and receiving hospice care, she succumbed and passed on.      Given that I am her only surviving relative, I am currently involved in organising her funeral which means I will be away from here for a while longer.

Aunt Peggy as a young woman. til August 10 151I have been surrounded with strong, and unusual woman all my life – from my Grandmothers, to my Mother and Aunt Peggy.

Peggy had a great influence on my life.    When I was just three years old and visiting my Grandmother in London, I saw one of Peggy’s sketch books, and it was at that moment that I knew I would be an artist.

I never heard her complain or say anything negative about others.    She always encouraged me.      I feel blessed to have had her in my life.

Peggy at 96P1140070 Nearly ten years ago, Peggy lost her only son, my cousin James – aged 57….and although I know it hurt her terribly she never complained.      Although Peggy was not a religious woman in the conventional sense, she was deeply spiritual and believed that eventually she and James would be reunited…..

I anticipate being away from here for the next two weeks at least…..and during that time, I plan to surround myself and Peggy with magical hummingbirds…..She would like that:)20-11-15-1-71A Benton

Fear and Love

There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love.

“When we are afraid, we pull back from life.   When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement and acceptance.   We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and imperfections.   If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create.    Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open hearted vision of people who embrace life.”     John Lennon.

watercolour/gouache20-11-15 - 1 (462)All of life in interconnected.     Mother Nature and the Magical Hummingbirds  remind us of this as they work together rather than in opposition.

watercolour/gouache20-11-15 - 1 (1023)Most cultures teach us that safety is found in separation and disconnection.

If we really believe that what happens in one part of the world doesn’t affect the rest of the world, we are in fact living in denial, convincing ourselves that we are safe.

To rely on disconnection for protection is to rely on falsehood.

watercolour/gouache20-11-15 - 1 (772)Mother Nature has given us the perfect example of what happens when we respect the laws of interconnection and also what happens when we don’t……..

watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (1026)

From the book – Buddhist Offerings:

You menace others with your deadly fangs but in tormenting them, you are only torturing yourselves. 

A Bientôt

Chance or Fate?

“There is no such thing as chance; and what seems to us merest accident springs from the deepest source of destiny.”    Frederick von Schiller.

My cousin introducing me to Crickhowell (The Magical Town of Crickadoon) in 1993 – a place I had never heard of before…..was that chance or fate?…….Certainly living and working in Crickhowell for twelve years constitutes a very important chapter of my life, and indeed will always be part of who I am.

large self portrait – Crickhowell Wales 2000 – rapid watercolour/gouache20-11-15 - 1 (955)Yesterday I visited my good friends Greta and Martin.     We met 12 years ago shortly after I moved to London from Wales.     It was a Sunday afternoon and I was giving a portrait demonstration for Artslink – a group I had recently connected with.       After the demonstration, Greta and Martin introduced themselves and asked if I would be interested in giving a workshop for SOFAP (Fulham/Hammersmith Arts Society) to which I said yes.      They also asked if I was related to Carol Weight, who it turned out was one of the early founders of the Society.     In fact, Carel was my Father’s cousin.

From Carel’s Memorial Service at The Royal Academy. 

20-11-15 - 1 (956)I will always remember that first workshop….because I knew in every fibre of  my mind and body that I was in the right place at that moment in time.     Subsequently, during the past 12 years, so much of the work I have done and people I have met in London can be traced back to that Sunday afternoon when I met Greta and Martin.   Chance or fate?

My first portrait workshop with SOFAP – Fulham/Hammersmith Arts – eleven years ago20-11-15 - 1 (954)Recently, I have been experiencing a glut of ‘coincidences’ – or are they?     Six Degrees of Separation is the term we use to describe such happenings when we meet others for the first time who we find are in some way connected to our lives.

When in Portugal, some of the group were scrolling through my work on a pad and came across this painting – which is a ‘symbolic self portrait’ large oil on canvas – painted in my West Chester studio, Pennsylvania 1990.      They asked what the different objects in the painting represented.     I told them that the little egg cup in the front and centre of the composition represented my birth.     That it was given to me, and other babies born in England on 21st January 1946.    The silver egg cup has the inscription –  News Chronicle Centenary – 21st January 1946 – Janet Weight. 

At this point one of the group said that their family had owned the News Chronicle….for me a significant moment.    Chance or fate ?      The egg cup has been a Talisman for me throughout my life….and as I write this, it sits on a shelf in my book case.

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Claudia Nottale came into my life when she was 17 years old.   Introduced through a friend, she came from Paris to live with me and my young family.     I knew from the moment I met her that she would play a significant part in my life…and indeed she has and continues to do so.

I have painted and sketched Claudia many times over the years…. charcoal when Claudia was visiting Crickhowell in 1995. 

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It has been suggested to me that I write a book about the numerous  ‘coincidences’ that have occurred throughout my life….and indeed they will be a part of my book.  With the luxury of hindsight I can now look back and pin point how these events have shaped my life.

Like a tightly woven tapestry – our lives are intertwined.        When we look at a tapestry, like this magnificent piece from Hampton Court Palace, we tend to see the main features….but every thread is key to the whole….all of life is interconnected. P1120664I am quite clear that when these ‘coincidences’ occur in a glut…that the hummingbirds are indeed weaving their magic…..20-11-15 - 1 (788)

A Bientôt