Tag Archives: SOFAP

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.


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. 

20-11-15 - 1 (951)

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



River Thames boat trip from Westminster to Hampton Court Palace with Tony

Portrait of Tony – oil on canvas 2010


Every few months, Tony and I get together to go to a gallery or the theatre – yesterday we took a boat ride from Westminster to Hampton Court Palace.      For years, I have been telling my visitors how fantastic this is….and so I thought it would be a good idea to actually experience it.

Weather wise a little disappointing in that we only saw blue skies for about two hours before boarding the boat….Here’s evidence of that.

From the Westminster Pier  (which is right next to Westminster Bridge and Westminster Palace – (the meeting place of the House of Commons and House of Lords) looking across at the London Eye and South Bank.


We set off for the four hour trip at precisely 12 noon…..as shown by one of London’s most famous landmarks, Big Ben.

Taken from the  boat. 


Meandering through the heart of London the boat follows the route that King Henry VIII travelled 500 years ago in the Royal Barge on his way to his favourite Palace at Hampton Court.

I was born in London nearly seventy years ago, and so have seen many changes to the city and skyline, especially during the  past twenty years.    There are far too many points of interest to show in this blog, but as an example here is the new MI5 Building at the south end of Vauxhall Bridge.


Another of London’s famous landmarks….the old Battersea Power Station, now  being converted into multi million pound flats, shopping centre and restaurants.      Apparently each chimney is being renovated/replaced at a cost of £10 million pounds!       All of this by a company out of Malaysia.


Parts of London, such as Wandsworth, where my Grandmother had a home on Wandsworth Common, are unrecognisable from the river….with again multi million pound flats flanking the shore line.

However, as we leave the hustle and bustle of inner London we begin to meander through the attractive suburbs of this huge city.    Passing through Chiswick and Putney where we saw many boathouses, scullers and rowing crews.

I am very familiar with this boathouse (Ranelagh) on the river bank at Putney because it’s where I have given many painting workshops for the Fulham/Hammersmith Arts Society – SOFAP



As we moved out through Fulham, Barnes and the Teddington and Richmond Lochs, we saw more and more wildlife.     Today, the River Thames is alive and well…with over 100 breeds of fish.   

I can remember as a child after World War 2, the River was heavily polluted and all the buildings in London were  black from the burning of coal.     When I was about ten years old in 1956 – coal was banned and the buildings were sand blasted to reveal the golden colour stone that we see today…..and thankfully the River was cleaned up.


Richmond Lock with Tony in the foreground. 


As we leave Richmond, and move past the little island of Thames Ditton we see our first glimpse of Hampton Court Palace with its famous brick chimneys, first built in 1514. 


The front of Hampton Court Palace.


Throughout the four hours,  the crew gave an informative and at times very humorous commentary.    I can’t recommend enough for visitors to London and for people who live here.

Tony and I had coffee and cake in the Hampton Court coffee shop, and then I took the bus home (only five minutes for me) and Tony the train from Hampton Court Train Station to Putney.

I can recommend now with real conviction….and would definitely do this again.    Thames River Boats runs this trip from April through October.    Timetables, prices (very affordable)  on the internet.

Enjoy the day.,

A Bientôt