Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Seeing the Light , Paint Yourself Positive. I am back!


"Seeing the Light"
From my new book "Paint Yourself Positive" which will be out in May 2019
Available to pre order from Amazon.com
Watch out for the limited edition hardback copy. 


Well that wasn't the way I expected to start 2019 but here I am at last back writing on my blog and now I feel as though I will never catch up as I have so much to share but I have not been able to get on my blog until today. 

Firstly. My Health. I am now only seeing one specialist, the cardiologist and I have been wearing a monitor that is directly linked to the hospital in case of any more " hiccups". I'm glad to say there has only been a small blip and so far I feel much better. I am completely rested because we went to St Lucia for a two week break , my specialist thought it would be a good move for me to rest in the sun and I feel brilliant again.  But not quite up to teaching just yet. Small steps! 

Now I must say the biggest thank you to everyone who has been so kind writing to me and replying here, concerned about me and how I am doing. You really made such a huge difference to me. Hearing everyone telling me to take it easy helped so much. I genuinely was so heartbroken to have had to cancel my tour and that added stress on top of my feeling unwell. I seriously hate letting anyone down.

I have been sensible and cleared my tour diary for this year. I think its' wiser to get better to a point of being 100% well enough to give my all when I teach, as I always do. I can't give workshops that are not 100% full of energising tips ans ideas. Its impossible for me to do anything by half measures and I have a very high teaching standard ethos that I love working to. So I will work on a schedule for 2020 that is really special full of new colours, techniques and ways to be inspired by working in watercolour. News o fthese wil be shared later this year.

The other thing that has helped me so much is reading my new book. "Paint Yourself Positive" launching this year. I had no idea when I wrote it that I would be the one needing it. I have had to think positively to get through the ups and downs of the last few months. I have had to believe that nothing serious was wrong with me and that I will be back teaching in the future. This is simply a temporary blip and it is giving me the much needed time to work on a completely new workshop programme. Don't worry, it won't be chnaged in format but it will be even better. I have thrived on hearing artists on my courses telling me they have never felt so stimulated in all their lives. Its' been so much fun that I intend to continue.

For now though?

Well I must share photos but we have two new members of our family. Bentley and Teddy, two tiny puppies who are growing every day. They are Australian labradoodles and are so good for my soul. I laugh each day watching their antics and I have no end of people asking to puppy sit if I travel That won't be for a little while but they will be in safe hands when I do.

So, now back to painting and wow how can I share with so much to choose from.

I will be back on my blog regularly from here in so please watch this space and thank you so much for waiting for me to return!

Happy painting

Jean

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Health and workshop update

Colour Blast 2019

USA 2019 Spring Tour Cancelled

Ironically my last blog post was titled " We can't always have what we want" and now I can't. Because right now I should be judging the New England Art Society exhibition in Boston followed by workshops there and further courses in two California locations including the California Watercolor Association.  But sadly I have had to cancel everything on this trip due to health hiccups. 

I am so sorry to disappoint everyone who had booked my courses but my health took a serious and completely unexpected turn.  I am seeing specialists. To say I am heart broken is an understatement as I have to date never had to cancel any of my courses apart from when I famously broke my ankle whilst teaching in Australia. There I tried to persuade the surgeon that if he patched me up I only had two days teaching to go after which I would happily return to the hospital and  have the obviously needed operation. Even then, with my determination strongly working I did teach the next courses which were in UK albeit in a wheel chair with my foot elevated, rather than let anyone down. To date I have never let anyone down if I can help it.

Now the situation is out of my hands and I must follow advise.

As my family and friends keep telling me  "Health has to come first" which is hard for me as my artists on my workshops have always come first in my career. Their pleasure, enjoyment and happiness is always all that has mattered to me and it is why I love teaching so much.

It should be a few months before I can make future plans.

For now I am resting, following doctors orders and painting quietly in my studio.

This is not how I saw 2019 starting. But hopefully the rest of the year is going to be brilliant.

I have been in touch with all the workshop hosts and locations. But to everyone who has missed out on this trip I really am so very sorry. Believe me, if I could have come I would have!



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Wednesday, 16 January 2019

We Can't Always have What We Want

 Snowdrops forming created by using a negative edge technique to place the flowers on an initial first wash. A work in progress, first stages of a painting.

We can't always have what we want, when we want it. And so we need to learn to adapt , wait patiently and enjoy whatever it was we yearned for when it finally arrives, if it ever does. In my case at the moment my wish is to see snowdrops in my garden before I leave for USA and my next workshops there at the end of this month. It isn't a huge wish. It isn't incredibly important. But to me it would mean the world if they could just bloom now. I love painting from life and I want to paint them in my garden in their natural settings. But as they are not appearing just yet I am having to use a collection of my own photographs, past paintings and my imagination to work from to create. Which probably isn't a bad thing because this way my colour choices and techniques to act as backgrounds will probably be far more innovative. As seen above in a close up of my latest snowdrop painting.

I started today by painting on fresh white paper. Two beautiful clean washes emerged with white space to add my snowdrops. They looked......... actually they look perfect but something is missing from them. A sense of excitement I feel. They look almost wooden and pre sketched with absolutely no movement. I looked at them on my easel, these first snowdrop paintings and considered all that I didn't like about them. They could easily be replicated. They looked preplanned to the point of being dull. I'd left no room for spontaneous additions of  further flowers. They actually looked "predictable" in that millions of exact same paintings could be around all over the universe.

Which led me to look at a few exciting washes I had already that had not been paintedon,  to act as backgrounds, and I found one that was perfect for this adventure in creating.

Now my heart was beating familiarly. I was excited at what could happen next. I easily saw where my first snowdrop flowers could be placed on the wash and then I sensed the familiar oak leaves at their base from my garden scenes last year. There is movement, life and positive energy in this piece and hints of the cold weather that is here in UK at this time of year.

It thrills me.

I can't wait to work further on this piece. It is far more enjoyable and it really has been inspired by my reading my own book " Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour" . In this flower book I offer ideas on how to create white subjects and how to make your flower paintings more interesting. I listened to my words in the book and painted from my heart which now feels far more alive!

Below you can see the whole painting as a work in progress so far.


"Snowdrop Heaven"
A work in progress.


Artists Tip for the day

Do you feel your work is becoming predictable? As in are you painting the same subjects in exactly the same way with the same techniques and colours each day? If it is, are you happy? If not how are you going to change your art?

It is a new year. Now is the time to really go for gold if you want to have fun and feel stimulated when you paint. Which in turn should lead you to fabulous unique results.

So here is a challenge.

Look back to something you painted last year and paint it now in a completely different way using new colours and techniques. Then compare the two paintings and see which you prefer!

Stretch yourself and find the inner artist that may be lurking screaming to get out!


Create!


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Sunday, 13 January 2019

Stan and Ollie : The Movie

 Stan and Ollie 
Five minute impression

Last night John and I went to see the movie " Stan and Ollie", which tells the story of Laurel and Hardy, legends in the world of comedy.

All day today I have heard the tune they danced to in my mind, and  I have smiled every single time. But it wasn't the movie that touched my heart so much as the memories it brought flooding back of my father. My Dad worked so hard, like many, to feed his family and make sure we had a roof over our heads and food on the table. Ours was not a grand house but it was spotlessly clean and my stepmother was so proud of it. She had come from a family of thirteen who were mainly male and all miners. Times were hard and there was so little to laugh at back then but laugh they did. 

Dad used to love watching this pair of comedians. He would sit laughing until tears rolled down his face. In fact at times I thought he was about to have a heart attack, so strong was his laughter and his holding of his sides as he did so. I remember not understanding the humour as I didn't " get it". I honestly didn't at the time. But this week I was fascinated by the idea of learning about the men who made so many people laugh out loud.  Which led to us as a couple to be sat in the movies watching the film last night.

I found the film very slow in places. I felt sorry for how these wonderful men were treated at times. But I watched and found myself holding back tears at the very end of the film. It was so moving. The friendship, strong sense of companionship, compassion, understanding and road these men travelled throughout their career was touching. And it makes you wonder, how many people did they make laugh in their life times?  During times when people desperately needed to laugh.

I " 'get it" now. Completely.

And if my Dad is looking down I would love him to know I do.

I found myself grabbing a small scrap of paper this afternoon as I closed my studio painting session. I mixed a few skin tones very hastily using Alizarin Crimson and Yellow Ochre to begin and started to place two face shapes in blocks of colour on paper. When I create faces in watercolour in this way with no preliminary pencil sketch it really is a situation where a face appears or it doesn't. Its' almost a spiritual experience and I wasn't surprised when Ollie started to make an early appearance. Laurel seemed to like him taking over until his own smile appeared.

Side by side this incredible pair led an interesting life. I hope they knew how much they were loved and how much joy they brought into the world. My early stages of their faces I didn't capture on camera as I only had my Ipad to hand. These last few stages show how the painting of  Laurel and Hardy is forming. I like the stage below best of all.They are almost there but not quite.

 I couldn't resist sharing.

This ones for you Dad, you'd have loved the film!


Stan and Ollie first wash,
Essence of a duo.

Blissful Sunday



Double Trouble


Sunday is my day of pure relaxation but I am often found in my studio still on the weekends as I simply love painting. With my next new book complete I can begin to think about other projects that are waiting to be completed. Right now I am working daily with USA on a fabulous new venture, details of which will be released soon. But I race to my computer each morning to begin photography sessions and then I send the images that are needed to complete this next entrance to 2019 as part of my art adventure. Its' exciting.  This means by the end of January I will have completed two exciting projects and I have many more to look forward to.

I'm staying with painting fish at the moment because I see mine each day, coming up to be fed regardless of the cold weather.

I am using a variety of colours in this collection but anyone who has been on last my years' workshops should instantly recognise my favourite shade Daniel Smith, Aussie Red Gold, coming into play on each goldfish. Its' such a great colour. I can use it almost in its' neat form for strong bold colour placement or use it heavily diluted with water to gain a more translucent appearance. Perfect for painting fish submerged under water




Close up of a section of Pure Gold

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Life is golden. Living life with a positive attitude is a blessing. Instead of seeing grey days of winter I see time to recharge my batteries and we all need that luxury from time to time.  So instead of racing around I'm actually tackling one project at a time instead of zillions and loving every second.

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Artists challenge?

Relax and simply think about what you would like to paint when you next pick up your brushes.
Think about a subject that really turns you on, one that you are desperately eager to paint and imagine what colours you would use to create it.
But now for the hard part.

You can't paint it physically today!

Paint it in your head several times swapping colours and the composition around as much as possible.

When you pick up your brushes next, paint the one that pleased you most.

I have already done that.
And I can't wait for tomorrow to come!

Plan to keep your energy levels and enthusiasm as high as possible this year to make your creative time feel brilliant yet alone achieved in your results.

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Saturday, 12 January 2019

Green With Envy!

Green Envy
Colour fun  using my favourite Daniel Smith green shades

In winter with so little colour around it's easier to see and enjoy the variety of green shades in the evergreen plants and trees that show off so well at this time of year.

Just going for a walk is magical as I take time to study each green shade I see. Has it a blue hue? Are there brownish tints on the leaves, if so where? If I was to paint a certain plant, like ivy or holly for example, which green shade would I use? There are so many to choose from and it is fun deciding which would be best in colour matching exercises.

I loved writing the winter section in my latest book " Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour" as it made me really see clearly how gorgeous winter can be.


Having said that I have always been fascinated with colour but I have often wondered where the saying " Green with envy" comes from. Or the description" Green Eyed Monster"  . I have green eyes but I hope I'm not or ever have been a monster!  I first started reading up about colour years ago. Its' rather neat to understand where sayings and ideas relating to my favourite shades originated from.

Ancient Greeks believed that if you were pale you could be seen as being ill, complexions would be a clue as to what ailed a patient. Lack of a healthy colour indicated illness possibly connected to bile  problems, giving skin have a slight greenish hue.  This is certainly how I have felt in the past when I used to suffer from sea sickness. I always felt my skin had turned green.

From this belief green became linked to illness, it was also thought that jealousy could cause problems with over production of bile. Hence jealousy caused the green appearance of the skin and the saying " Green with envy" now makes sense. Sort of!

Fascinating isn't it?

However, while there is beautiful weather I'm off for yet another walk to see how many green shades and ideas I can come up with before the day is out.

Have fun seeing green!

Artists challenge

How about discovering one new green shade before January is over. It has to be a green shade you have never used before.  I would love to hear what you find if you would like to share your discovery in a reply!


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Friday, 11 January 2019

USA Spring Tour 2019 : Boston and California

"Pure Gold Too"

It seems unbelievable as time is flying by so quickly but I will be on tour again in February this year. This time visiting completely new teaching locations to me in Boston and California. Details can be found below. Whilst all the workshop classes are already fully booked I will be giving demonstrations in each location. Information is given below regarding dates and details of when these will take place. My demonstrations are pretty high energy full of many tips on how I work and create. They give a good insight into what my workshops are like too! I will be book signing at these events also.

 2019 USA Spring Workshops
 
 BOSTON
New England Watercolor Society 
 
I am honoured to be the juror of the New England Watercolor Society 2019 Signature Show. Full details of my demonstration here can be seen in the following link
 
(Feb. 2 Juror demonstration, 5-7pm )
 
Workshops
 1/2nd February Fully Booked
 4/5th February  Fully Booked
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CALIFORNIA
 
 Coachella Valley Watercolor Society
Demonstration details February 11th 2019 
Workshops
12/13th February 2019 Fully Booked
 14/15th February 2019 Fully Booked


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California Watercolor Association
Demonstration details 20th February 2019
 
Workshops
 19/20th February 2019 Fully booked


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