Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Glorious Spring : Feeling Alive

 Watercolour florals adorning my easel as works in progress

It feels so good to paint. I feel alive when there is a brush in my hand. Its' a feeling that I have grown to accept as part of my daily life. With the start of a new year I have taken time out to organise my studio, catch up on admin and planning plus paint.  But at the moment, I am painting just for me. These pieces are not intended to be in an exhibition or book. They are purely "me", me walking into my studio and painting for the sheer joy of painting and I am expressing the pleasure of doing so by leaping from one Spring floral to the next. Heaven!

I started this year with various experimental washes, then moved to small studies as a warm up to my larger work.  Today was a terrific feeling as I know I have finally caught up on some future tour management and emails. Leaving me some fabulous time to just move my brushes freely.

A friend is poorly so this  small bouquet is a " Get Well Soon" painting carrying a hopeful message for a speedy recovery. This was inspired by a small spring bouquet I created recently from a tiny bouquet of narcissus and hyacinth. This painting started life as a soft wash and the flowers were encouraged to "appear" in it.


  But I find working on small size paintings really restricting. It is only when I am stood at my easel, almost dancing to music that my paintings really take on a sense of life. In the lovely large painting  below daffodil heads are literally dancing in the breeze, which should be the painting title. I  am discovering where to put each new brush stroke by listening to what the painting tells me. Rather than racing to complete the composition in one go. I usually have a range of paintings from three to ten on the go at any one time. I have written about this way of working and why in my new book which will be launched later this year.

"Dancing in the Breeze"
 Free and Expressive, working on large paintings allows me to bring a sense of life into my work. Life that can be lost on smaller paintings.

So I am closing my studio today with that fabulous sense of " I can't wait to start painting tomorrow"

And what could be better than that. Having a whole new day of painting to look forward to!


Surrey Life Magazine Interview : December 2015

 Of cockerels, paint and parchment – An interview with Jean Haines

I have been so busy that I haven't had time to share wonderful news, interviews and exhibition updates. Here is a link to an interview I gave for the Surrey Life magazine. Thank you to Lizzie for an awesome day and meeting.



Sunday, 25 January 2015

Learning From Life

Daffodils from my garden

On my return from Australia last year I really thought I must have been jet lagged when our car first  arrived at our cottage. It was the first week in December and  by the side of the path leading to our front door were clumps of daffodils in flower. The next day I still felt tired from the long flight home but raced out to check I hadn't imagined what I had seen the day before. Sure enough, there were daffodils lining the pathways. I was amazed as this is the earliest I have ever seen them bloom. The next surprise , when wandering around our garden, was to see pale wild primroses blossoming too.

Unbelievable as it sounds the first clumps of daffodils are already way past their best. So I have started to paint them as they appear because by the time Spring arrives all my own garden flowers may have disappeared, and the Summer flowers will be on display.

But it is cold to paint outside and the frosty wind plays havoc with my determination to paint from life. But I have to. Why? I have become fascinated with working out which paintings of other artists are created from photographs and which have been painted from imagination or life. Sometimes we see similar things painted in similar ways. By painting from life I always have new colour combinations and  compositions.

For example, the group of flowers above had one bud facing  in the opposite direction to the three flowers facing me which were posing nicely for my composition. Several of the petals of one flower had been nibbled by wildlife. So in this piece, this isn't just me leaving areas to the imagination of the viewer. The sections left out  genuinely weren't there to paint. Nature actually aids my loose style more than anyone ever truly realises!

In the composition below a row of daffodils are swaying in the breeze. But I learnt a lesson from this scene. I have always found it visually pleasing to paint the heads of the daffodils all facing one way in the past, but of course they don't grow  this perfectly. The daffodil flower directions vary, buds appear amongst the clumps as the flower in a group blossom at varying times.

 "Spring Garden"
Work in Progress
I am still working on this glorious yellow collection and having so much fun because painting to me is sheer joy. It enriches my life. It isn't work or a chore. Its something I adore doing. And it is this passion that keeps me so very much alive and energetic.

But for now I want to get back to painting.

In yellow!


Don't take a Day For Granted

"Spring Sunshine"

Last night I went to the movies for the second time this week. There were two films I had desperately wanted to watch. One was "Mr Turner" which I felt would see me leaving the cinema with a strong urge to paint. I believed it would give me an insight into the masters life and the genius that he was, a glimpse into the soul behind the masterpieces. I left that night feeling deeply disappointed and I cannot define why. The scenery and costumes were superb as was the acting. But something was so badly missing. As an artist my life revolves around how I see subjects I wish to paint and the emotions that are with me while I bring them to life. I expected more.

How different my reaction last night. I went to see " The Theory of Everything".  I am not ashamed to admit I cried during the film on several occasions. I felt my heart seized with emotions throughout the storyline. The lead character was played by Eddie Redmayne and towards the end of this movie he had to work solely with facial expression to act. How one can say so much without uttering a word is incredible. It was during these scenes that I felt moved the most.

When I paint I say so much through my art and I know at times I evoke emotions, this happens sometimes when I am teaching and not saying a word. I feel the people around me and the room is often charged with words that have not been said. I can't explain this well. But artists from my workshops will know what I am trying to get across.

In life there are times when the unspoken words speak louder than when thoughts are given a voice. Maybe it is true that actions speak louder than words.

This morning I came into my studio to quietly paint and again I find myself emotional, thinking about the life portrayed last night. A man whose life changed due to a debilitating disease. How brave and how inspirational.

I realise fully how fortunate I am to have my health. I have the use of my hands to paint, the gift of sight to see. My ability to talk isn't as important to me.  I can paint to show what I am feeling but it is a gift I don't take for granted. And I love singing. I love listening to music too.

For those of us with all these senses we shouldn't take a single day for granted. We have no idea what our tomorrows will bring.

So today, and every day, enjoy the gifts that you possess. Don't take them for granted and don't waste them.

You are blessed.


Thursday, 22 January 2015

Watercolour Sculpting


This week I visited the Tate Gallery in London to see the Late Turner exhibition. It was, as I expected, absolutely incredible. Turner was a genius. His way of working with colour and light to create stunning masterpieces can literally take your breath away.

I loved walking from painting to painting, taking my time to enjoy every piece on display. When I came to the watercolours my eyes were drawn to the exquisite use of detail  layering above superb use of colour that depicted atmosphere so stunningly. I loved listening to the audio guide, which explained about the artists life and technique. The stories behind some of the paintings were fascinating. One piece was titled as though it was an actual port but no, it was given the name after another artist that Turner admired. He used his imagination so much to create scenes that were breathtaking in their accuracy of places that never even existed.

Last night I was taken to see the movie of this masters life. I watched "Mr Turner"  but my inspiration  truly came from seeing his original art. I came home energised. I couldn't wait to paint today but initially I was distracted by the flowers growing in our cottage garden. But my mind couldn't stray from the imaginative landscapes I had seen at the famous London gallery.

I wasn't in the mood to paint light colours tonight. I wanted drama, impact and most of all, texture. I admired the  way Turner created  texture in his oil paintings. But as a watercolourist I wondered if I was limited by my favourite medium. I am not. I have worked as dark as I can this evening and used gouache to form  light and texture in places on a painting of an imaginary landscape. In a way, you could describe this technique as " Watercolour Sculpting". A way of working that I used to love when painting landscapes previously. Building up the scenes using layers of colour that get stronger until the last touches are almost neat pigment. Which can be moved and placed to form textural effects.

This simple scene has created a sense of excitement within me that I haven't felt for some time. I am yearning to come into my studio tomorrow and continue experimenting but possibly on more flowing backgrounds next. We will see.

For now, I am grateful to a man who passed away long before I was born. Who I hope would be resting in the knowledge that he will inspire generations  to come with his art.

What a great legacy.
A true inspiration
And a true master in watercolour and art.


Book Signing Celebration : The Manor Hotel, Moreton On the Marsh

Spring flowers bring so much joy to our lives 

Book Signing and Afternoon Tea

at The Manor Hotel

Moreton On the Marsh
June 16th , 2015

To celebrate the launch of my new book " Jean Haines World of Watercolour" I will be a special guest artist at the Manor Hotel, Moreton On the Marsh this June.

This is going to be a wonderful opportunity for  having a copy of my new book signed and seeing some of the step by steps included in it coming to life during the demonstration.

The event includes a yummy afternoon tea  which  means home made scones and clotted cream will be hard to avoid. But I will cope bravely by sampling some!

If you would like  to meet me please book early as there are limited places.

Information via this link

Chasing The Shadows

Chasing the Shadows
Light technique

I thought it could be fun to share my " Chasing the Shadows" technique again as I find it so useful.

Here I have two works in progress and I have placed them on my easel in strong sunlight. I photograph this stage to record it. And then decide which areas of the composition to leave as white or lighter sections. If I swapped the position of these two paintings I could gain a different view of how  colour placement would effect the results.

This tip is so useful as a teaching tool in art, to work with the natural light allowing nature to help discover where to add colour next.

I discovered working this way by accident and as it works so well for me its' a tip I just had to share!

 Try it, its' fascinating.