Tag Archives: sketch books

Earliest childhood memories and what they indicate….

Having recently celebrated my 74th birthday, I find myself thinking a great deal about my journey through life, starting with my earliest childhood memory.

An atmospheric sketch I made in Brittany France last May – watercolour/gouache69260072_10157477854895396_666887689538109440_oTen years ago I attended an Adlarian Workshop here in the UK.   The whole experience was good, but the one thing that made an impression and has stayed with me since was the Alarian understanding that we can learn about who we are and what our purpose in life is by acknowledging our earliest childhood memory.

A sketch from a balcony in the beautiful village of Saorge, Southeastern France – watercolour/gouche69855152_10157518440245396_6175012092211363840_oIn many ways I am fortunate to have a visual record of my life journey through sketches/ painting and more latterly writing.        Otherwise given that life seems to move so rapidly, I can see how easily it would be for memories to merge together in a bit of a blur.        Being able to look at sketch books over the years reminds me of all sorts of moments that I know might otherwise have disappeared into the ether and been forgotten…

walking the Brecon Monmouthshire Canal…Crikchowell Wales. – watercolour/gouache20200126_111008The story of my earliest childhood memory.

It was 1949 and my Mother and I were living in Dovercourt Essex.    My Father was still in the Royal Navy on an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean.    I can remember being cold (no central heating at that time – only coal fires).     Even at that tender age I knew that my Mother was not happy, and I can understand why.     Even though the war was over….my father was still away and my young mother was on her own with a small child.

rapid watercolour/gouache sketch from Brecon Monmouthshire Canal overlooking Crickhowell 

39887021_10156586330645396_9141085084848226304_nOne day when playing in the garden, I somehow escaped…and made my way into the centre of the little town where I had seen a beautiful and colourful carousel in the window of a cobbler’s shop.

When the cobbler came out to ask me where I lived, I gave him my Grandmother’s address in Kent…..Meanwhile, my poor Mother was frantic and the police had been alerted.

Dovercourt is a seaside town and where we lived was minutes away from the sea, sometimes a very rough sea…..causing much concern.

Seas and rocks….watercolour/goauche. 20200126_143102When I looked at this incident which was one of my clearest and earliest childhood memories I recognised that Escaping and seeking out the Colourful carousel were indications of my my life story. .

This is the sketch I made during the Adlarian workshop…of the three year old me  in front of the colourful carousel in the Cobbler’s window. 20200126_132619 And just to confirm my ‘escape artist’ tendencies….in this photograph I am wearing my harness and reins…complete with bells:)

til August 10 226

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A Bientôt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Observation, Imagination, perfect weather, a wonderful group and much more….(PART 2)

It is important to remember that this course is all about loosening up and at the same time focusing on observation and imagination……Shown here is just a fraction of the work completed…including the all important sketch books that everyone carried with them at all times.  

Once again the list of Janet Weight Reed tips and sayings given to everyone at the beginning of a course.

JWR tips and sayings

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The following are watercolours/sketches made by the group last week in Olhao Portugal. See previous post for an overview of the week….. 

Jayanthi.…has been coming to my courses for sometime.    This vibrant watercolour was inspired by the Saturday market in Olhao.

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Vibrant watercolour inspired by the Saturday Market in Olhao Portugal.   JAYANTHI

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Watercolour Montage of Olhao by Jayanthi – a classic example of observation and imagination, 72751416_1647334418734315_1797307774581866496_n

JILL (1). 

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A view from floating in the pool….by Jill(1)   watercolour.    IMG-20191011-WA0006

Flowers by the water at the Saturday Market by Jill (1) watercolourIMG-20191011-WA0005

JILL (2)

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from Jill (2) colourful birds from Saturday Market – watercolourIMG_2663

JILL (2).  Fruit and veg from the Saturday Market.  

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MOIRA came to my course in April and so it’s exciting to see her development….getting much looser:)

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IMG-20191012-WA0001MOIRAIMG-20191012-WA0003MOIRA – I like the drama in this pieceIMG-20191012-WA0002

DORA 

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Wonderful Vibrant painting by Dora.- watercolourIMG_1391Trees in the Nature Reserve Pine Woods by DORAIMG_1404DORA – Joe reclining on Armona beach with Olhao in the distance…IMG_1403

NAN

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NAN – Fish from the market. – watercolourIMG_1961NAN’s lovely Armona Island sketch IMG_1965

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NAN – The Mill at Parque Natural da Ria Formosa….watercolourIMG_1957

ANGELA

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ANGELA – Armona Island – watercolourIMG_0304ANGELA – from imagination. 20191008_161012-2

TESSA

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TESSA – Armona Island – watercolour

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Horse next Pine Trees in Parque Natural da Ria Formosa…….TESSA

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BOB

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BOB –  Olhao20191008_161032-2BOB –  B0B – Reflections from the Mill – Parque Natural da Ria Formosa20191008_161002

CLAIREwho sketched the whole time…..(unfortunately I don’t have photos of her sketches)…..but they were superb.    

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CLAIRE  sketching a the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa20191007_110040

CORYN –   Coryn and I might go on the road together….we would make a great comedy team:)

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The Mill Parque Natural da Ria Formosa- watercolour20191008_161141

CORYN – fish – watercolour20191008_161135

LIZ – casting a beautiful shadow at the Mill. – I am waiting for images.     Liz attended my course last October and so it was lovely to see her again…..20191007_102736

BRENDA – sketched all the time and made some lovely watercolours….Unfortunately I don’t have any photographs of them.    A fascinating woman – Brazilian and therefore fluent in Portuguese – and a glider pilot……

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MARY – who has attended my courses before, made some lovely watercolours – however again I don’t have any photographs of them…hopefully later.

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Tessa and Bob are from Sydney Australia and so on their way home from Portugal they stopped in New York and bought some new paints.      They are now in beautiful Vancouver where I am quite sure they are sketching every day.

These are the pigments they picked up in New York. IMG-20191011-WA0007I couldn’t finish this post without including our two non-painters Joe and Alan.   They contributed so much to the week on many levels and were a great deal of fun.   20191006_184713-320191006_184842

Thank you one and all for a lovely week – and of course keep painting and sketching.

Janet.

 

 

 

A day at the School in Olhao Portugal

One of the group sketching on Armona Island…..20-11-15 - 1 (903)People who sign up for courses at the School in Olhao – http://www.artinthealgarve.com come for several reasons, – yes of course the possibility of sunshine and being with like minded people, but for most it is to explore the creative process.       All levels of ability and experience are welcome.

Those that attend my courses usually come to ‘loosen up’ and so today I am going to talk about the process I use to help people to do this.

After a delicious 8.30 breakfast….we gather in one of the courtyards or studio for our morning warm up.     “Like athletes and dancers, artists need to warm up every day. Playful exercises will  help to awaken the senses”. – Janet Weight Reed

I begin the day with one or two quick demonstrations….an example of one. 

20-11-15 - 1 (995)At this point it doesn’t matter what the subject is, the key is to open one’s eyes and begin to see so that we ready ourselves for the day’s sketching and painting.

A goal of mine is that each person take home with them one or two new tools/techniques.

Something as simple as learning what your brush can do is vital information.    Understanding how different papers re-act….and so on.     By allowing ourselves to play we learn these things.

A warm up exercise by one of the group……20-11-15 - 1 (1018)

I emphasise the use of sketch books throughout the week to record both images and notes.  

A warm up sketch by one of the group showing me giving a demonstration…love this 20-11-15 - 1 (999)After the morning warm up, each person then decides where they would like to sketch.    Some choose to stay within the School with its endless supply of inspiration….or to  go out into the surrounding alleyways and town…..all within a minute’s walk of the School.

For those who have never enjoyed plein air sketching, this can be somewhat daunting, but I find that once people take the leap…..they quickly learn to enjoy the experience.

A sketch by a member of the group who came for the first time last year and had never sketched before…….now she can’t stop….20-11-15 - 1 (1023)After plein air work some members of the group bring their sketches back to the studio setting where they continue to develop their work.

This lovely watercolour from Jayanthi was taken from one of her many sketches from the Saturday Market.18198393_1511394575560684_5675669900655837280_nThose who have followed my blog will know that I believe the creative process in its many forms is the key to mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing, and so the week in Olhao is not only learning about new tools and techniques, but also experiencing those moments of deep contentment and wellbeing that the creative process can bring.

From one of the groups sketch book 18157384_1504663029567172_1420997864278064881_nI believe that by loosening up we advance our observational skills.    Regardless of what kind of work we would like to develop,….the loosening up process will help you to reach your goal. 

It’s important to remember that when plein air sketching…technique comes secondary to observation.       Observation is not just about looking, it’s about seeing.     Therefore,  rapid impressions of the subject helps us to actually see what it is we are looking at…….then if we wish to refine a sketch…..so be it.

20-11-15 - 1 (930)After a morning of sketching – we then join together for lunch at 1 p.m.

Each tutor has their own way of doing things, but I always have a two hour free period after lunch.    Some like to take a siesta….others to go out and about around the Town – observing life….etc. but it seems to work work well.

At 4 p.m. we come together again in one of the courtyards where I give another demonstration.

Two of the group this year were Botanical artists…..and so loosening up for them was a totally different experience.     They both jumped in wholeheartedly….allowing themselves to break free from their normally, very beautiful and detailed work.       One of the loveliest compliments I received from one of the ‘Botanicals’ (as they were dubbed) was at the end of the course when she expressed how much she had gained from the loosening up process.

One of my afternoon demonstrations…using one of the group as a model 20-11-15 - 1 (993)We then work from 4 p.m. til 6 ish.

I am very aware of body clocks and rhythms and so do try to plan a day where people have time to renew and organise thoughts.

At 6 – 6.30 ish people freshen up and prepare for the evening meal….which is always filled with  much conversation,  – a vital part of the week.      Sometimes the meal is taken at the School….freshly cooked by the wonderful Margarida.….or we go to a local restaurant….again just minutes walk from the School.

Speaking of Margarida…..This year there was a new addition – Charlotte – sister to Beatrice.    Yes, last year, Margarida was pregnant

You can just see her bump in this large water colour demonstration I did last year. 20-11-15 - 1 (93)

Here she is with the beautiful Charlotte….A woman of many talents….20-11-15 - 1 (865)And….lovely Joanna, who does the housekeeping and makes our  breakfast every day,  brought the twins to see us….who have grown so  much.

The twins….part of the School tapestry….20-11-15 - 1 (866)I couldn’t possibly finish this post without sharing the beautiful portrait of  me drawn by six year old Beatrice….(sister to Charlotte)….I will always cherish this.

Me – by Beatrice. 20-11-15 - 1 (933)For more images of the group’s work you can go to Art in the Algarve on Facebook http://www.artinthealgarve.com

My choice to day is to Soar above all the madness with the magical hummingbirds….

 

976253_10151660779970396_1579837650_o-2 no sigA Bientôt