Tag Archives: the apple exercise

The freedom to fly.

A young friend came to visit yesterday, and like so many single parents who work and in this case study, life had become overwhelming.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the details and distractions which make up our daily lives.    Before we know it, the day becomes so fragmented, that we are no longer able to focus on any one thing.

Having been in the same situation when I was considerably younger, I am able to write about this with conviction.    It wasn’t until I experienced a personal transformation when I was forty that I began to learn about boundaries and positive habit making. 

If we want to fly and experience personal freedoms then we must introduce some structure into our lives.     I have learned that structure brings with it great freedom. 

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The question is….where to begin?    

Again, from personal experience I know that if I try to take on too much, it rarely works.    In short I sabotage myself.

The more aware I became of this process, I could see that this was a common thread for many.    For example, people would attend my workshops and get all fired up…..and then after returning to their ‘normal life’ –  the sense of momentum and exhilaration would leave.    What to do?

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I remember when I began to put structure into my life it wasn’t easy, because I had to start almost afresh.  New thinking, new attitudes and routines.     This also meant putting up some very clear boundaries to others who might not have been on the same path…..probably the most difficult thing of all.

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It was around this time, that I began to offer my ‘Fifteen minutes a day for one month – Apple Exercise’.    

It is important to note that the principle of this exercise works for just about anything – writing, physical exercise, etc.   

To do this effectively it is important that it is the same fifteen minutes every day and that all distractions, i.e. mobile phones are removed or turned off. 

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If multiple issues need to be changed….I would suggest only beginning with one thing.

After one month of fifteen minute a day, playful exercises are complete….a new habit will be formed, and with that new habit, will come freedom. 

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http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

A Bientôt

   

 

 

Taking notes

Although I love to work on large oil paintings, over the years watercolour painting has become a constant companion for me.      Easy to carry when travelling and a superb medium for warming up and taking notes. 

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I have been writing my blog for seven years.   Before e mail, I wrote letters almost every day, and I keep sketch books which are full of images and words, however it wasn’t until I decided to write a book, that I realised I needed to approach things in a different way.

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I have been mulling this over for quite some time, and then I was reminded of a workshop I gave years ago in the beautiful Hereford countryside where one of the participants felt totally overwhelmed by the vastness of the landscape……Her question was – How to start?

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I suggested that she observe a lovely old door which was part of a barn….and start there.     By the end of the weekend, she had put together about 20 sketches or vignettes within the landscape.      

These notes and gathering of information ultimately gave her a much greater understanding of the total landscape, and where she wanted to take her work.       

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For a long time I was focusing on the idea of writing an autobiography and then more recently I realised that I want total freedom of expression in my writing as in my watercolour painting, and so decided that I would write a novel.      

Initially, much like the woman in my Herefordshire workshop….the big picture seemed overwhelming, and then I began to approach things as I would my painting…..

For me the process works better if I have a hard copy, and so each day as thoughts come, I jot them down and print out.   Thus far I have compiled a stack of notes, which are beginning to make sense.  

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In short, I am learning a new habit….clearly I need to consult my Apple Exercise book:)

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

A Bientôt

 

 

 

Tutorial 10: – Seeing Differently

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an apple?

It could be the iconic Apple Mac symbol…or the shiny red apple that children take for their favourite teacher:)

What The Apple Exercise demonstrates is that the apple, along with everything else in life, can be seen in a myriad of different ways. 

Upside down and inside out…..

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If we were able to time travel back to our earliest formative years, from 1 to 3, when our world was a kaleidoscope of colour and shapes and our young minds were full of wonder, we could regain our natural curiosity and love for colour and form. 

If we are able to see the apple in many different ways, we will begin to see everything else differently. 

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A collage of apple exercise sketches. 

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This week along with a couple of watercolour demonstrations and more information about brushes and paper,   I will talk about the imagination, and how we can encourage it to blossom. 

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

A Bientôt

 

 

The Flying goose.

I leave you this weekend with a flying goose.

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From the book, ‘The Apple Exercise’

‘Given the fast pace of our lives today, and the fact that so many of us are plugged into technology of one kind or another, our collective sense are being deadened. 

Along with this comes a feeling of loss.    A loss that in many ways we are unable to identify. 

As we constantly try to fill the ever widening holes within us, with more and more frenetic activity and stuff, our frustration levels grow even more. 

Feeding our sense through the creative process, in all its many forms, can produce almost miraculous changes, which lead to a sense of well being and fulfilment.’

 

Next week, more tutorials and information about watercolour brushes and paper. 

Wishing everyone a beautiful and creative weekend.

A Bientôt 

 

Tutorial 9 – The tree

I am using all the same techniques I have demonstrated in the previous tutorials to paint this tree. Image

Frame 1.  

Having loaded my brush with a juicy mix of Burnt Sienna and Prussian Blue, I suggest the shadow side of the tree….and then with a clean, wet brush pull out the paint. 

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Frame 2. 

Using a rigger brush and  the same mix of Burnt Sienna and Prussian blue I begin to suggest branches. 

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Frame 3. 

I now begin to add foliage…and at the same time move the colour to the bottom of the image.

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Frame 4.

For the finished tree, I add more darks and lights to the foliage and then scrape out with my knife.   Note that at all times, I am moving colour around the image.

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Frame 5.

This is another example of a tree trunk, using all the same techniques as above.

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Remember that fifteen minutes a day of regular practise is better than 5 hour binges once a month.

My book, The Apple Exercise, which talks about all these techniques is available through my website at http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

Happy painting.

A Bientôt

 

Tutorial 5. Warm up landscape.

In this short video, I am using the same techniques used in the Calla Lily tutorial.

This is a warm up exercise that I have used for many years. You end up with a little landscape painting, which again can be modified in many different ways, by changing the horizon line, adding some mountains, etc. The key is that it’s all about warming up and playing. By the way any colours can be used.

Before e mail, when I would send lots of snail mail around the world, I would paint these little landscapes on the envelopes. A great way to warm up, and the receivers always enjoyed.

For the sky area I am using – Winsor & Newton Cotman series, Turquoise and Dioxazine Violet.

Between the sky and land, Winsor & Newton Gold Green, and a mix of Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna for the foreground.

I use a knife or credit card to scrape out grasses in the foreground.

It’s important to note that I don’t use black in my watercolours. Rather I mix Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna for my darks. I would suggest that you play with swatches of this combination.

Note that I bring colour from the top of the painting into the foreground….because the sky naturally reflects upon the land. Everything reflects and everything is interconnected. This also helps to balance and bring harmony to the image.

This little story points out how our minds are conditioned by what we are taught, rather than what we actually see or experience.

When giving a workshop in Wales one beautiful sunny January morning, one of the participants painted a landscape he had seen on the way to the workshop. He explained that the fields in the landscape was actually blue, and then went onto say that as there are no blue fields in winter, he painted them brown……..

The fact was, the man had seen blue fields. He had seen the reflection of the clear blue sky onto the white frost covering the fields. Rather than believe what he actually observed, he instinctively chose to go with what he had been taught.

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

By the time we come to the end of our formative years, at around seven, the narrow definition that our culture has imposed upon us has taken hold.

Happy warming up and playing.

All these exercises can be found in my book The Apple Exercise. The book is available through the products page of my website at http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

A Bientôt

Tutorial 4. Establishing consistency to work.

Throughout my years of painting and teaching, I have heard many times the frustration of those who would like to explore their creativity, but seem unable to establish consistency in their work.

Remember it’s better to do a quick warm up exercise for fifteen minutes a day than to have marathon painting sessions twice a year!

I would suggest three elements be put into place to do this exercise.

1) Pick the same 15 minutes every day – make sure it’s a time that works for you.
2) Set up a small table, such as a card table, which doesn’t have to be moved or cleared.
3) Turn off mobiles, or any other potential distractions.

It takes 28 days to form a new habit. If you follow this simple format three things will occur….
Consistency, technical skills, and most importantly observational skills will improve.

You can read more about this in my book ‘The Apple Exercise’ which can be found on the products page of my website at http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

In this one minute video, I am playing with paint….I am using white paper, however newspaper or anything else will be fine.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Barack Obama.

I came up with the ‘Apple Exercise’ over 30 years ago because in principle it is very simple and effective.

A Bientôt