Tag Archives: picasso

“Every child is an artist………..” Picasso.

It was Picasso who said –

“Every child is an artist.   The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

In the midst of a rather gloomy train of thought with regards to Black Friday and the mad commercialism of the holiday season, a brilliant ray of light entered into my day – one that reminded me of Picasso’s words.  

Meir Rogers, a five year old artist from Chicago sent me one of his beautiful pictures and all of a sudden everything made sense.

In Meir’s painting we see the freshness, spontaneity, wonder and pure magic that the artwork of a child brings.     Thank you Meir 🙂

Birds by artist Meirs Rogers  

Meir's birds 2

“Think left and think right and think low and think high.  Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.”   Dr. Seuss

When we first enter this world, we are naturally full of curiosity and wonder.

When we observe children at play we see them following the words of the great Dr. Seuss.    Filled with curiosity and playfulness they take in all that surrounds them and much more.

Sad to say that by the time we reach adulthood, most of us have lost touch with and confidence in our inner creative energy.

Painting with children in Somerset, UK.    These children would be in their early twenties now.    They love to watch an artist paint….in this instance, I was painting Cristeve the Cat for them.   After I left them they painted their own version of Cristeve the Cat. 703984_10151335674775396_172685478_oIf we adults could time travel back to our earliest formative years, when the world appeared as a kaleidoscope of colour and shapes, we could regain our natural curiosity and love for colour and form.      We might see things in a much broader context than the one prescribed to us by our cultural experience.

Painting portraits with a group of children in France.     

til August 10 129As adults we forget how wonderful it is to play with colour….We are concerned about how we appear to others…..which often stifles the creative process.

In children we see a freedom of expression…..especially when a child is encouraged.    In Meir Roger’s case I happen to know that he receives great encouragement from his parents and grandparents.   I wish that this were true for all children.

Working with children in Brittany, France on a mural for their school.      I will always remember when the children sang me the song….’Red and Yellow and Pink and Blue………………. – a very special moment.      (these children would all be in their mid thirties today…..til August 10 126It saddens me greatly to hear a child chastised because they are making a mess, being silly or not behaving in a normal fashion.

Words such as these can stay with a child for the rest of their life and prevent them from experiencing the joy of creative expression.              Encouragement is key.

It’s OK to fail at being normal, whatever that is……When we observe children exploring their creative energies, we see other ways of seeing and being.    12314060_10153693416745396_9179756764978779361_nOver the years, I have collected a lot of children’s art….and have had many beautiful portraits painted of me by children from around the world.

As I observed six year old Beatrice focus with complete confidence on her artwork, it was a delight.   As is often the case when painting portraits…a very special connection is made.

A portrait of me by 6 year old Beatrice from Portugal. 20-11-15 - 1 (933)Painting water colour portraits of two very special young girls in Portugal 13076555_1162891533744325_7774473167615565835_nMy suggestion to children or adults as we approach the holiday season is to get paints and paper and make the creative process an important part of the festive season….and of course for every other season.      If you are not sure where to start…why not paint your own wrapping paper….now there’s a thought…..p-kids-hand-painting-owpMN8ZSw8-1And last but not least I leave you with a watercolour of  Cristeve the Cat and a magical hummingbird.    12238351_10153687926025396_2738025815690721220_oA bientot –

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Creativity: the key to physical, emotional and spiritual well-being

“It is my belief that the creative process in all its many forms is the key to physical, emotional and spiritual well-being”  The first time I drew from a life model was in 1962 when I was sixteen years old.     Once I became comfortable with figure/life drawing it quickly became one of my great joys….the place where I learned to see. Twenty minute watercolour from Boathouse Studio1397165_10152080311495396_774838983_o Throughout my career, wherever I have travelled or lived I have always tried to connect with a model or life group. When I moved to Crickhowell, Wales (The Magical Town of Crickadoon) in 1993, unable to connect with a model or life group, I started my own.    At that time the vicar of St. Edmund’s Church, which sits in the middle of Crickhowell was an artist, and backed the idea wholeheartedly.     I rented the parish hall once a week….hence the name of the series of paintings.   Nudes in the Parish Hall.  Rapid watercolours painted in Hay-on-Wye, Brecknockshire, Wales.     Another excellent group P1160978 I find that when I am drawing or painting a life model all feelings of stress and anxiety are removed.   It is a like a long meditation.    Good for body and mind.  Often when working in large unheated studios I would start the day feeling cold and uncomfortable.    However, as I entered into the zone of creative focus, all physical discomfort would disappear.    During these long painting sessions, (especially when working on huge murals), I felt no physical discomfort.    It was only when I stopped working and returned to the real world – that I would feel utterly exhausted and yet satisfied. Twenty minute post – Boathouse Studio. – watercolour P1160924 It was Picasso who said that artist’s spend much of their working time removed from their body – which in turn removes all the stresses and anxieties that come with day to day living – something I completely agree with. Rapid watercolours – Kingston upon Thames studio.  P1070127 I would recommend that anyone with an interest, whether abject beginner or more seasoned artist join a life drawing group.      In today’s world where so many have been desensitised and are plugged in 24/7 to some form of technology, it is a wonderful way to re-focus, and at the same time release stress and anxiety.  I love red hair….and so this model in a Richmond upon Thames studio had great appeal.  Rapid watercolour/gouache P1100780 A Bientôt

The Big Picture

It’s all too easy to see one or two images of an artist’s work and make judgements.     If an artist has been working for many years, it is better to see the big picture.   In other words examples of work from different periods in their career,  so that we can understand more fully where they are coming from.

I was reminded of this on Wednesday when friends came to see the two large canvases I am currently working on.   Although I have known them for eight years, they hadn’t seen any of my oil paintings, and were particularly interested in a ‘Symbolic Self Portrait’ – large oil on canvas – painted in 1989, because it is so different from anything they had seen previously. 

Everything in this painting, symbolises my life.   The photograph is of a large self portrait oil painting, currently housed in Wales. 

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My friends, are used to seeing me work in a spontaneous, free manner, and indeed that is how my work has evolved….however, by the mid eighties, I knew that I needed to re-hone my technical skills….I needed to bring consistency back into my painting and life, and to do that, I set myself the task of painting a series of large oils.

During this period, I had a large studio and so was able to work on several large paintings at the same time….which is my favourite way to work. 

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Each painting started with a formal underpainting.       Given the complexity of the subject matter, this was necessary so that I could  establish a solid composition before adding colour. 

Each painting became a ‘Biographical still life portrait’ of people near and dear to me at the time. 

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There were about 30 paintings in the series.     I am glad to say that they all sold, except for my Symbolic Self Portrait, which travels with me wherever I go, as a reminder of this period in my life.    

It reminds me that no matter how difficult things might be, that I can work my way through it…

This detail from a very large oil on canvas, represents my dear friend Sue Hineman.    Although Sue is no longer with us, I do have a watercolour portrait of her which always stays with me. 

 

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Although my natural instinct is to paint in a spontaneous manner, this four year exercise was probably one of the best things I could have done.   

Like a solid underpainting, this series proved to be a new beginning and foundation block.     My observational skills were honed, and an understanding of my tools and technical ability expanded. 

During the middle of my career, working with art consultants, I completed many corporate murals, which was a great way to bring money in and at the same time give me the freedom to explore my own work.     During this period, technical know how was key….my tools had to be an extension of my body….which is why I consider these ‘quilt’ paintings to have been an important foundation block. 

This very large oil on canvas, represents two friends, Dick McClure and Jean Frohling.

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As an artist’s life grows and evolves, so does their work.  

 When I returned to the Uk in 1993, and made my home in Crickhowell, Wales (the Magical Town of Crickadoon🙂 I had to focus on smaller works….namely because I was living in smaller spaces.    

However, during that period, I did complete two large panels for St. Edmund’s Church, Wales along with several large mural projects including one in what was then the new Cardiff Bay.      For these, I rented space from a good friend who had a small industrial park close by to the town. 

It never ceases to amaze me how our needs are always met when we are following the right path. 

This painting represents my dear friend Sammy who gave me the wicker chair, and Nicholas who gave me the quilt. 

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There are many more of these quilt paintings scattered about.      

Every now and then it is good to be reminded of where I have come from.     It helps me to understand more of what I am doing today. Each period, brings with it new experiences, insights, and understandings, and the good news is that this never stops……

As Picasso once said – ‘An artist’s best painting is their last painting’  – I like that. 

Wishing everyone a  beautiful weekend. 

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

A Bientôt