Sunday, 8 December 2013

Middle Eastern Nativity Carol

I have just watched and listened to this beautiful carol from the Advent Calendar on
 Embrace the Middle East website... 

click this link: 

and listen to the Byzantine Nativity, whilst watching photos and ancient icons

from Egypt / Sinai / Bethlehem and Syria.

I found this very moving, especially after all the news from Syria

and after reading "Once Upon a Country " by Sari Nusseibeh

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Waiting...awaiting... ?

What a contrast!  All the news reports of "Cyber Monday" and the great buying spree ... and I was just gathering thoughts together about "Waiting... awaiting... "  and RS Thomas: "the meaning is in the waiting..."

What kind of Advent painting to begin?  ...mulling it over whilst cleaning the bathroom...hoovering...
 possibly the profile of a pregnant woman ?
 For me that would symbolize new life, hope, an expectant waiting...
...a long term awaiting...
for what ?  what are we really waiting and hoping for in our lives ? our society ? the world ?

"What am I expecting? "... this painting has just come through on a blog link:

and Ive just come across an Advent Calendar  about people in the Middle East:

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Retrospective on All Saints Day... Ive just found this beautiful poem:
and scroll down to All Saints
among other interesting things en route !

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

A Stir Up Sunday Christmas Cake for a nearby church has got me thinking life at the moment is full of a wide mix of ingredients:  wet towels hanging ever wetter on the washing line as the rain sleets down; yesterday's glorious sunshine golden autumnal trees & intriguing craft stalls; lovely silence group; a painting slowly growing layer on layer: deep reds & purples and brilliant orange-red dawn, looking forward to Easter; but in early morning bumper to bumper traffic crawling slowly downhill, dawn sunshine lights up a vista of buildings through the mist & thinking of the Philippines disaster, I suddenly imagined all these buildings flattened & a surge of flood water 5 m above high tide pouring up river, submerging the cars below.. how would we ever cope?  Then I read about the way climate warming has been miscalculated, leaving out temperature rises in the Arctic, leaving decision makers thinking it can be ignored as it seems to be going away .

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Calm after the Storm

It feels quite odd after all that raging wind to see blue skies and feel the warmth of the sun.

Looking through the news pictures of fallen trees & huge waves & hearing of lives suddenly lost, it seems we have been incredibly fortunate not to live just a few miles further north. Even just down the road a small tree snapped in half and several trees were still leaning brokenly onto one another. Everyone has their own story, but I was surprised how critical some comments were of those working away to get trees safely down & restore power lines tangled up in their branches. I do feel for those who had to close down their shops & cafes, and elderly people all waiting for power to be restored, but how can something like this just have a quick fix ?
All these storms around the world in recent years seem to be a real wake up call to tackle climate change. 
I read an interview with Bill McKibben, climate change campaigner : "My worst fear is that human beings wont put up a real fight against climate change. But I hope that we'll fight..." read more at   click on Features / Interviews/...  

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Geedon Gallery

Ive just visited the Autumn Exhibition at Geedon Gallery, near Fingringhoe, Essex

Its well worth a visit...but hurry...this exhibition ends on Sunday 20th Oct !

there are bird & animal sculptures that are a delight
and some really beautiful paintings

there are a lot of exhibits...
     .but just pause for breath...
                and soon you will be able to just zone in on one or two favorites...
 savour them slowly...

there are sofas & chairs for pausing & waiting till ... off you go again ...

I still have several paintings and delightful sculptures in my minds eye...

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Reflecting R S Thomas' Bright Field

" I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
 for a while...."

So many times over the past few months 
words from this poem have echoed through my mind 
I have been taken by surprise, sketched, painted
and occasionally even jotted down
the thoughts that come to me....

Dark green depths of trees in shadow
and two seagulls
glide slowly around one another.
Effortless bright wings against deep darkness.

Then the Green Waterfall:

Dense ancient woods
Trees, everywhere trees
Hillsides covered
With trees
 like gigantic woolly green lambs
And sheep that need shearing
Deep green, shaggy and
Tumbling like waterfalls
Over dark red rocks in circular ravine
Down into deep darkness.
Continually shifting patterns of dark and shade
As clouds chase overhead
Reflecting and enhancing one another
One moment a clear silhouette
With rocky outcrop
And small clump of trees
 Topmost leaves catching the sunlight.
A brief glimpse,
Swallowed by passing shadows,
Of glancing light, luscious green depths:
 Trees dancing towards the sea far below.
And we ? Do we delight
The Creator's eye,
Watching, waiting, wondering
In all this hidden beauty.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Paintings People Were Intrigued By....

Lovely to see so many people at the Open Studio !

Having a wide variety of paintings, I am fascinated how people are attracted to completely different paintings...over the next few weeks I will show some of the paintings that really drew attention: 

Some were struck by the misty paintings: of the Needles & views inspired by walking along the old railway from Brightlingsea, or down along Alresford Creek..

 "Misty & Mystical..."

then, rather different, this one was painted using experimental fact the whole idea was entirely experimental... I love this blown glass decanter and thought it would look beautiful in candlelight ...but I was really surprised by the weird bearded shadow that reared up against the wall, reminding me of the song "Have some Madeira me'dear..." & finding two tipsy wine glasses from a glass blowing workshop, having fun moving the candle round until I discovered these fleeting effects of reflected light when the angle was just right...  
But with the room in total darkness except for one small candle, I could hardly see to paint !   So I found black paper & white chalk to make studies of the highlights...It was really exciting to see the paintings gradually emerging...and great fun thinking of the way it reflected the sense of humour in the song. ... one or two people really enjoyed this ...

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Exhibition & Open Studio ... this weekend !

13 -14 Sept: Art Exhibition at St Marys Church Wivenhoe

for details:   & click  Friends  page

Open Studio / mini pop-up gallery 14 & 15 Sept 3-5pm

Artists Directory   /   type in   "Janet Driver"

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Pyfleet Races

Pyfleet races at Brightlingsea this week... 
you never know what you might see: the boats trying to get around this gaggle to keep in the day they were all of those airless mornings when there was not even a whisper of a breeze ... 
like to see these paintings?
then come to my open studio in September

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Quiet Day

The begonias loved the rain (so much more refreshing than my watering can !)

and I was caught sketching when it added texture, I suppose...?

.and in fact I found the rain refreshing too... We visited Clare Priory for a Quiet Day, and were given a a warm welcome, along with other groups there that day...I found a quiet spot on a wooden seat with centuries old ruins on one side, and  prolific young pear tree on the other...but another nearby tree slowly caught my eye as I rested and relaxed into the deep silence all around...

the tree was old, gnarled, aged...and lots of dead leafless branches hung down in a tangle towards the ground...the white haired lady that looks back at me from the mirror, and who Im only just beginning to recognize as me, seemed mirrored in these branches gathering lichen...mmm... but then I began to realise there were leaves higher up...this tree, like me, was still very much alive !  But it was only as it began to rain that I noticed the fruit...

Rain suddenly pelted down, and I ran for shelter under another tree with much denser leaves and branches hanging down; a really natural umbrella... but only as I was standing underneath it, getting used to the dim light...only then did I begin to notice that under the leaves, on the inside, hidden away, this tree was bowed down with hundreds of deep blue plums...

Monday, 29 July 2013

Art & Faith : a week @ Lee Abbey

  Art & Faith...a week @ Lee Abbey, Devon :

home again, after a long journey...a fairly quiet weekend to absorb all the impressions from Lee Abbey...then a busy cleaning day...and instead of feeling my usual irritation at how dirty & dusty everywhere gets each week, I find myself remembering a young lady  singing  away while she was cleaning the bathroom just next to the one I had been using... Feeling sorry for her, I tried to joke about her having landed the worst cleaning job today...her immediate reply: “ Oh, I love this... I’m free to sing and pray all the time... “   and off she went to clean the next loo, her voice echoing all around me as I went on my way.

Lee Abbey is like that somehow, filled with the God of surprises, like a refreshing oasis for those who stay there for a few days.

Have a look at their website...

Art & Faith ??? ...well, I was coming to that...but first let me find a few photos to share with you....

...a beautiful place...but if you want to see the people ...   then you must visit Lee Abbey ...

tomorrow I will find time to add Art & Faith jottings....

ART & FAITH   “Seeing & Believing”: Dr Debbie Lewer & David Rowe  
I really appreciated the balance between David’s session, focusing on one painting, giving us time to really absorb and reflect upon try and let the artist communicate with us...and then afterwards the sessions with Debbie, who showed us a whole range of paintings following the theme “seeing and believing”. The slower, more meditative approach with silences seemed to enable us to think on a deeper level when we came to look at more paintings after coffee...

And now, the joy of being able to look up my favourites on the internet...

Wikepedia has a copy of the Antonello: Annunciation we focused on right at the beginning...and as soon as I found it I was struck once more by the depth of inner peace it conveys...only the possible flutter of the pages & the poised hand reminding us of the unseen angel...  
There were so many other paintings ...where to begin ?  Perhaps with a comment someone made afterwards, walking along and noticing a patch of grasses & wildflowers...”I shall never look at that the same way again after seeing Durer’s Great Piece of Turf....”

This reminds me of Meg Stephens, a Welsh artist who painted grasses and wild flowers, hoping to show the beauty of our vanishing natural environment.

Does God speak through art as he does through nature? Debbie asked...heads nodded...readings in worship echoed the paintings: e e cummings : I thank you God for this most amazing day.... & R S Thomas’ Bright Field... & here springs into my mind Jyoti Sahi  and his paintings where Christian symbolism is shown immersed within nature...    

the longer you look at this painting, the more you can see ...

Deeply moving, questioning and challenging works of art...
I cannot begin to unpack it all...   

At one point I jotted down “ worship & looking at pictures both require the same kind of attention....relaxing and waiting to see what comes & allowing things to surface in their own good time...”

Things will continue to surface from this Lee Abbey Week for a long time !

Monday, 24 June 2013

Palette Knife Painting

I've used  palette knife now and then for various paintings, usually to drag a highlight over a darker colour,
or to paint textured rocks, as in this painting, based on rocks & spray along the Moray Firth...

 I began with the rocks, and let them dry before using the knife again to give the effect of waves splashing up and spilling out all over the rocky surfaces in the foreground.

 Last week I decided to have a go with a larger palette-knife painting,
 based on cliffs seen whilst walking along the Dorset coast.

This time I painted the whole picture with palette-knives... not a brush in sight.
Its all painted "wet-in-wet" too...and now just drying before adding final highlights...
perhaps after watching some Wimbledon tennis !

Here is a preview detail:

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Oil Painting Tuition

garden studio

small group/ individual tuition 

Essential Oils, Part 1 & Part 2

scroll down for further information

 Tuition...  contact me now for autumn 2014 

more details: click Tuition page on blog pages

Oil Painting 4 U ?    Why not try it and see... 

Essential Oils      

Small group tuition 
      in a garden studio in Wivenhoe [ near Colchester ]

         next course begins October 2014
                           For details click on "Tuition" page above

To register interest: email me now:


Interested in Quiet Days / Prayer Painting ?
Email me for details
& See Prayer Painting page on my website:
Why not join in prayer painting for the people of Syria, Gaza, Iraq, Nigeria... Sudan...  wherever / whoever  you wish to pray for ...?

email me ....

Sunday, 9 June 2013

News: Exhibitions & Open Studios

This summer I hope to have paintings in local Exhibitions

& to take part in 

Colchester Open Studios

 during weekends in September 2013

I will post dates & times when my studio will be open


September 14th & 15th weekend: 

  •  Art Exhibition at St Mary's Church, Wivenhoe

further details:
click on Friends of St Marys / events ... for full page details

Friday, 7 June 2013

paintings on the go...

As usual, I am working on more than one painting at the same time.
I know these look incredibly different, but they are both being developed from sketches & photos of things that interest me whilst walking along the River Colne. 
There were so many misty mornings earlier on, with trees looming up in all kinds of odd shapes, which became great fun to paint.

Then came sunshine dancing off the water, so bright you could hardly bear to look...and the mirage effect looking out from Brightlingsea towards Bradwell that has always fascinated me since I first saw it years ago.
I have often stared with eyes half closed against the glare thinking ...'if only I could paint that effect...' There was nothing for it but to have a go !   Like many artists, I am rarely satisfied with the result...but then that leads to further experiments...

 I read just the other day that even Monet was often dissatisfied with his paintings.

Trying to communicate something of the wonder of a fleeting moment when the light bounces off the water in such a way that you stand transfixed with the sheer beauty of dazzling light...I am trying the impossible of course...but maybe, just might trigger a similar memory in someone...

Sunday, 19 May 2013


                                                      Unfinished Pentecostal Symphony...

for another joyful Pentecostal painting, try this link to Biblical paintings from West Africa... and then you can move through their paintings at leisure...

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Needles, Isle of Wight

On holiday... the Needles
were often covered with misty clouds pouring down all around them. But now and then we caught glimpses, ...hints and guesses ...  

These oil paintings were completed at home, after making several sketches...

 I have also done a series of paintings as the light changed at dawn...the sunlight shines onto the white of the rocks , reflecting yellow, purples and blues as the sun rises through the mist. I will add these to another post one day...
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Saturday, 4 May 2013

"In the beginning was the word..."

This is perhaps my best known oil painting since it was chosen as a Christmas Card in the C of E collection a few years ago and sent greetings all over the world!

To see more of my artwork click on this link