Tag Archives: the formative years

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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As an artist I like to think that I communicate through my paintings, however as a human being, I realise more and more that the real art of communication, the sharing of emotions, feelings and concerns is often difficult.    For most of us the learning and re-honing of communication skills will be a work in progress until the day we depart from this zone….

The rapid watercolours in this post are from the Boathouse Studio series. 



It’s all too easy to make snap judgements and to categorise others, and then to impose our own ideas of what’s right and wrong.     

Depending on our life experiences, especially during the formative years, when our minds our like blotting paper, we are taught to view the world in a certain way, and it is here that the basis for our communication skills are formed.


A recent letter from my daughter reminded me of how easy it is to compartmentalise certain areas of our lives.    Christie’s observations had sparked a light bulb moment for her and then consequently for me.    

Christie had examined her feelings and concerns and then had the courage to communicate them to me.   




Christie’s courage has removed a box/compartment, which in turn, allows for a freer flow of real communication.   



Like anything of substance, we need to practise and work on our communication skills.

The following quote from Mark Twain, points this out so eloquently.

“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech”.


A Bientôt