Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

Trip To Westport Washington May 17, 2018

Filed under: Art,Painting,Weather,Westport Washington — Janet @ 2:40 am

This was a trip to the West as the title implies. My husband Ian and I are more familiar with Westport on the West Coast of Ireland.  The 2 Westports are approximately 6000 miles apart and very different.   Westport Washington – a Marina waterfront with many many fishing boats, places to eat, gift shops, a kite shop, ice cream shops, etc.  But the area in the background is one long strip of motels and guest houses – overnight to longer stay facilities catering mainly to RV’s (Recreational Vehicles).  Unfortunately some were in a bad state of neglect and decay.  Others looked more cared for.  An eclectic mix.  And to add to the impression I had were grey skies and a chilly wind.  Contrasting with this I visited the local library – a very clean, modern, up to date, facility and apparently well used by a local clientele in midMay.  The real season for Westport Washington I understand is August.  That’s when all those condos and beach houses are used by their owners.  But as for the more permanent year round population, I was just trying to figure it out.  I think I would have similar questions in many summer coastal resorts in off-season.  Having said all that, I loved the place where I stayed (possibly the only guests).   It had a certain off-season charm.  Glenacres.

IMG_1894   At Glenacres, a path leading down to the more muddy area, note the dark clouds in the distance.  It was overcast the whole time I was there – not really very long – less than 48 hours,  But the host at Glenacres said he was feeling sun-deprived.  A not uncommon feeling in an area near Grayland?

Despite my wet feet and overcast skies, I just wanted to set up my easel and start painting.  But maybe from indoors at a picture window after a brisk walk in the wind on the great expanse of beach.


Same Age As …… July 9, 2017

Filed under: Artists,David Hockney,Famous people,Painting — Janet @ 8:41 pm

David Hockney Painting  David Hockney painting.  It’s his 80th birthday today.  We’re the same age!  Wish I were as talented!


Norman Rockwell April 29, 2017

Filed under: Americana,Art works,Artists,Norman Rockwell,Painting — Janet @ 6:46 pm

Norman Rockwell Lineman   Lineman, painting by Norman Rockwell

I am not familiar with this particular painting by Norman Rockwell, but I certainly like it.  A classic American image.


Autumn Is Coming August 27, 2016

Filed under: Fruit,Gardening,Painting,Paintings,Seasons,Skagit Valley,Travel — Janet @ 1:08 am

We went up to the Skagit Valley for a 24 hour getaway.  It was wonderful.  It is such a beautiful area between the mountains and the sea.  Fields of fruit trees, flowers, corn and much more .  This morning I took an early morning amble outside our bedroom.  I thought I was in the Garden of Eden, a pear tree, a plum tree, fruit just dropping at my feet – and then a cat appeared to confirm my feeling.  She/he scampered off and disappeared in the field of corn.

Yesterday evening there was a great squawking overhead.  We went out on our deck to see what that was all about.  GEESE – IN  V  FORMATION.  Superb!

I had the intention of possibly finding/buying a painting of this beautiful valley – but failing that I feel inspired to try creating one oneself.  There is a lot of subject matter!


IMG_1123  pears abound       IMG_1121  Ripe for the picking. and note all the pears and plums on the ground


map laconor



Hillary Mantel April 6, 2016

Filed under: Authors,Hillary Mantel,Painting — Janet @ 2:34 am

hillary mantel  painting of Hillary Mantel by Louise Weir for The Guardian newspaper


More Rug Ideas August 11, 2011

I found an old photo album from my early days of rug making back in the 1970’s.  I might modify that sentence to say serious rug making.  30 years previously I had made several latchet hooked and braided rugs – I was serious enough about those at the time but they were  done more as a teen-age hobby.  My serious rug making took off in the mid-1970’s when I purchased an upright loom.  It was a Squirrel loom which I imported to Fiji from New Zealand.  I was part of a burgeoning arts and crafts movement among the ex-pats.  The Fiji Arts Club had been going for years and years but its members concentrated on painting and drama.  I dabbled in painting and went along for the Tuesday morning outdoor painting sessions.  I did not receive much encouragement there but met a number of people with similar interests along the crafts lines.  There we were, each either accomplished in their particular craft, such as candle making, or pottery, or weaving, or wanting to become so.

So a new group was in the making and became the Fiji Crafts Association.  Our first exhibition was very exciting.  At that point I only had a table loom but was happy to be a part of the developing bigger picture.  And I was stimulated to get a floor loom so that I could move on to weaving rugs.  Simultaneously, the Fiji Arts Club decided to have a small crafts section as part of its semi-annual exhibition.  And that was where I sold my first rugs.  Encouraged by my success, Ian turned his hand to acrylic painting, a latent talent to say the least, and his paintings sold even faster than my rugs.  Heady days!

To stimulate this interest in painting and weaving we seemed to be surrounded by all sorts of inspiration.  Not the least of which was this piece of bark sculpture, which we found in the forest somewhere in Fiji.   We labelled it Mbala mbala, took it back with us to Dublin, and had it sitting in our garden there for years.



the three little boys are of course James, Andrew, and David

Sort of in line with this tree bark sculpture, I found an image of Sepik art and translated that into a stitched rug.


        My stitched rug based on an image from Sepik art.


    Emily Carr painting

So the three above images are in my mind as I work on my latest rug.  The exact direction I am going in is not quite certain – it’s all evolving.  Some people like to work with strict cartoon and adhere to it religiously – I prefer to let my designs evolve as I go along.

   the rug to date


the orange and red that I started out with came from this orginal image in the little Norwegian rya booklet



Frosty reading January 5, 2010

Here’s a book to match the weather we’ve been having.  A wonderful book by Tove Jansson, an author I read many years ago.  Sometime in the 1970’s I read The Summer Book by this author and I thought it was absolutely magical.  It was about an artist and her grandaughter living on a tiny island in the Gulf of Finland.  I saw The Summer Book more recently in a new edition – thought it looked familiar but had to buy it and reread it.  Now I have read The True Deceiver, first published in Finland in 1982.  Now it has been translated into English and published by Sort of Books 2009.

Again, Tove Jansson’s writing is very atmospheric.  Somewhat austere.  Richly rewarding.  The story is set in a small village in Sweden, in the dead of winter.  There are 2 main characters, both very mysterious,  one woman cunning and devious, the other woman very naive and trusting.

Maybe some of you remember Tove Jansson better for her very popular children’s books. 

This photo was taken from Wikipedia.  The date for this book is 1948. 


Artistic Recollections March 10, 2009

Filed under: Art works,Family history,Memories,Painting,Postcards,Sketching — Janet @ 2:03 pm

miscellaneous-ian-079 Work in progress Traditional Musicians, my latest oil painting

Thanks to joining the Art Group at the bowling club, I have renewed my enthusiasm for oil painting.  This morning my mind was wandering back to some early sketching that I did one summer when I worked in Ogunquit Maine.  Ogunquit has been a popular spot for artists for many years.  Stretching back to the late 19th century, there was an artist’s colony located in Perkins Cove in this small costal fishing village in southern Maine.   I think that my uncle’s mother, known to me as Mimi, was a part of this artist colony in the early 1900’s.  In any event she was a recognized artist and she and her sister, auntie Alma, had a shop called the Brush and Needle Studio.  The “needle” was Auntie Alma’s part of the business and the “brush” was Mimi’s.  Some of Mimi’s work now resides in the Ogunquit Museum of American Art.   I remember her hand tinted postcards in particular.  And ever since, I have had a fondness for postcards of this type. 


In the course of time Mimi and Auntie Alma retired and the Brush and Needle Studio was sold to become what is now Barnacle Billy’s.  Looking on the web, I find that 2009 will be Barnacle Billy’s 48th season so the Brush and Needle was probably sold in 1960 or 1961.  In the summer of 1957 I worked in the Brush and Needle.  I lived upstairs over the shop in a small room, under which the fishermen kept their dories.  My job was not only to serve in the shop in the afternoons but also to cook for Mimi and Auntie Alma.  They were so busy during the summer months that they needed someone to cook for them.  My meals were very rudimentary for these 2 gentle elderly vegetarian ladies.  After breakfast I had a couple of hours of free time and I used to walk the Marginal Way to Little Beach where I sunned myself and had a good swim in freezing water.


For pictures of Ogunquit and the Marginal Way and other scenic spots along the Maine Coast try http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotos-g40790-w10-Ogunquit_Maine.html  Ogunquit is a beautiful much loved summer location.   Our family’s introduction to this area came in the late 1940’s when my aunt and uncle purchased a hotel there.  Subsequently they expanded to own 2 other hotels, 2 of which continue today, long after my aunt and uncle sold them.  My aunt continued to have a beach view apartment in the Sparhawk but she at age 94 has now relinquished it and resides year-round in Florida.


I have a great fondness for Ogunquit.  Back in 1957, the summer I worked there, I wish I had taken more than a passing interest in the artistic aspects of my surroundings.  How I would love to go back and immerse myself in a summer of painting those marvelous views.