Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Blluebell Woods 2017

"A Path of Blue"
Bluebell wood painting as a work in progress. 
 At the end of every day I paint something just for fun. I usually take a scrap of paper, literally throw colour on it and later try to make a painting out of it.
Today I chose bluebells as my subject and threw suitable colours all over a piece of paper. I chose yellow, green and turquoise shades for the first wash. As soon as this was dry I started placing bluebells in the foreground, adding tiny details as necessary  to make the painting look like  a woodland scene with larger flowers in the foreground. 
I am now gradually adding the bluebell detail in the distance and the piece is already looking quite charming.  I have to confess this painting is really annoying me as I have taken very little time on it and it is turning out beautifully. Where as the paintings I have been labouring over look gorgeous but don't quite match the freedom in this piece. We do try so hard as artists at times to create masterpieces when  sometimes, just playing with colour and experimenting in a relaxed mood can lead us to far better results.

I am loving painting these bluebell woodland scenes. This one may be my new favourite!

"A Path of Blue"
Bluebell wood painting as a work in progress. 
With bluebells beginning to appear in the distance.
Artist tips of the day
1) Try painting something that you know is aimed at ending up in the trash . Relax have fun and see what happens.
2) Choose a subject, throw colours on paper that match it then see if you can turn the colours into a finished piece.
3) Forget everything serious in life and just paint! 


Hawaii Watercolour Workshops 2018

 "Take Flight"
Hummingbird in watercolour 
Section of a large painting 

"Watercolour Inspiration"
 Exciting new two day workshops

Workshop 1. 13th -14th February 2018
Workshop 2.  16th -17th February 2018

 I am thrilled to announce that I will be holding inspirational watercolour workshops in Hawaii in 2018. These fabulous courses are aimed at being both highly inspirational and motivational. The emphasis will be on colour and energy in our work bringing subjects to life on paper with fantastic watercolour techniques. Stretching ourselves as artists, pushing the boundaries and finding the artist within us that is eager to shine. If you are looking for an injection of enthusiasm in your painting then this is the course for you. And what a great part of the world to enjoy painting in!
( N.B. Please note artists are requested to only book one of the two day courses as they are repeats ).

Full information on how to book, location and fees can be found by contacting


The location is Akamai Art Supply

Bookings are already taking place so please contact the store directly if you are interested in attending these exciting new courses.


Akamai Art Supply
Hale Kui Plaza
73-4976 Kamanu Street   #108
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740


Akamai Art Supply
Hale Kui Plaza
73-4976 Kamanu Street   #108
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740


Akamai Art Supply
Hale Kui Plaza
73-4976 Kamanu Street   #108
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740


Monday, 24 April 2017

Young Kingfisher in Watercolour

 "Young Kingfisher"
Work in progress

I am afraid I have taken all day to protect the wildlife by our cottage. Phone calls, emails. All day I have been in touch with one wildlife and waterway soctiey after the other trying to find out who could help protect the nesting moorhens on the stretch of canal near where we live.

I was genuinely horrified last week to watch canal repairs taking place disregarding my notification to the authorities of nest making taking place. I had watched moorhens carrying nesting materials back and forth to make their nests over the last few weeks. So to stand by and see their natural nesting vegetation destroyed was heartbreaking. But at the end of today I had good news in that I was told by the authorities no further repair work will be carried out untill the moorhens have nested and activity has lessened here. Thank heavens.

And so I happily started painting again. A young kingfisher that sits on a branch in our garden is  really calling to my brushes. He seems to be there in early morning sunlight and disappears as the day gets colder. Who can blame him. I feel like hibernating too at the moment because it has turned so chilly here in UK.

This morning this sweet, colourful,  little bird seemed to be leaning forward with his feathers slightly ruffled, as if they were listening to the gorgeous dawn chorus of all the other birds singing.

I love this angle of the tiny head.

Hence the painting which is on my easel waiting to be completed but it looks ss lovely I may just start another one. I particularly love the light on the feet of this little bird in my painting.

Have a great week ahead and perhaps the moral of my moorhen nesting story is

"Never give up!"

The moorhens never gave up and kept rebuilding their nests regardless of the workmen. And I didn't give up on them either by my trying to protect them.

"Young Kingfisher"

Friday, 21 April 2017

Disappearing Moorhens

Disappearing Moorhens
Work in progress

I have been unable to paint today.  I have been too upset. My heart sank as I watched vegetation removed from the canal by our cottage because I know this is where the moorhens nest each year. It has been a nightmare of a week. I love nature and I adore living here being able to see the young each year on the canal banks. Over time I have learnt that the birds have a very tough time protecting their young from predators such as magpie and heron who seem intent on killing all the young birds as fast as they are hatched. But this is the first year living here that I have witnessed humans create a problem for these nesting birds.

My husband and I watched in dismay recently as a barge delivered repair materials and left piles of items to be used later along the canal bank. Even this delivery was painful to watch as the barge disturbed the vegetation along the bank which houses the moorhens nests each year in Spring. But worse was to follow. I have been enjoying watching one particular moorhen swim back and forth daily adding the best bit of  reeds etc they could find to their nest, building it carefully to lay her eggs. But sadly this spot was exactly where the barge came. I really felt for the bird after all their hard work. But I was surprised and very impressed to see them start all over again building a second nest to replace the first. I contacted the local authorities to let them know that a nest and breeding was taking place exactly where the canal was to be repaired.

I don't know what I expected to be honest. A delay in the work? Time allowed for the birds to hatch their eggs and move on with their young? That was obviously too much to expect because yesterday  a work party arrived and a group of men started repairing the canal bank. I talked to one of the men and pointed out where I had seen nests being built. He looked at the spot and said he could see no evidence of nests. From his viewpoint above I am sure he couldn't. The moorhens make their nests hidden amongst the reeds to protect their young.

And today the whole bank on the usual breeding site has had vegetation removed. I haven't seen a single moorhen all day. But this evening the moorhens are back swimming the length of the cleared canal bank as if they are looking for their home.

I am heartbroken. I know there are far more important  issues in the world than a few moorhens breeding and I am telling myself off for being so stupidly upset about this. But when we first moved into our cottage there was only one pair of moorhens. Now the numbers have grown. But I know, this year there will be no young despite my informing authorities of nests in this area.

How very sad.

And how very thoughtless of the local council to approve this repair work at this time of year.

One very sad artist here hence the appalling painting above but it represent my feelings

"Disappearing moorhens!"

Moorhen chick from last year


Monday, 17 April 2017

Getting It Wrong


 On my workshops I am often asked " How often do you put work in the bin? " 
( Trash can to my American friends! )

I think there is a myth that every professional artist only paints a masterpiece every single time they pick up their brushes. And many do. But there are also many artists who enjoy experimenting with technique, or who are not completely satisfied with their results so they bin a painting to start a new one. But no painting time is wasted. By painting repeatedly we are instilling good painting ways into our creative sessions. The mistakes we make improve our work. Without paintings that are going wrong we are simply standing still in time, and possibly not getting anywhere in our personal art journey. That is, of course, unless we have reached the level we originally aimed to be as artists. At which point it is wonderful to enjoy it. But not everyone is that lucky or happy with reaching their destination.

I enjoy the journey in learning continually and growing each time I pick up my brush but i do make mistakes which I still learn from.

The funniest mistake I made recently was not with painting. Swans visit our cottage garden daily and almost live here. I can't help it, I name all the wildlife that inhabits our garden. We have Hector the heron, Russell crow and many other daily visitors. But a new young swan arrived this Spring and I eventually gave him the name Sebastian. He accompanied Sydney, our regular swan visitor,  but Sydney didn't seem very happy at first with the extra guest here and he often showed his disapproval.

Or so I thought.

This week the display of aggression by Sydney turned into an act of courtship and I quickly realised that Sebastian needed a new name. Hence the title " Sabrina" for the swan watercolour study above.

As I spring cleaned my art studio today I watched as these two swans glided by, on the water outside. They looked so regal and Sabrina seemed to be smiling. In fact I  am sure she winked at me. But that could just be my artists' imagination. Either way, she made a delightful distraction from hanging paintings in my studio and generally cleaning up. Tomorrow I can walk into my painting space and enjoy painting and get back to working on my book.

And my painting of Sabrina, painted in between clearing up, will greet me and smile at me.

What a lovely way to start my day!

Pleased to see you!


Artists Tips

1) Don't stress over paintings that don't work out. Learn from them.
2) Paint and more importantly, enjoy painting.  
3) Prepare your painting space for the next day and look forward to using it.
4) Think about what subject you would like to paint most of all and how, the night before you wake to paint!

Happy painting


Bluebell Madness

Bluebell works on my easel this morning

There is no doubt about it. Spring Fever has hit me badly. I am gardening, spring cleaning and painting, working on a new collection and experimenting for my new book.

There is also no doubt that as an artist I have changed. My style is evolving as happens from time to time. My colours have gradually become more vibrant but a new boldness is also touching some of my recent compositions. I seem to drift between soft muted shades to the more dramatic contemporary way of working and I love the differences. As they effect my results on a variety of old favourite subjects.

Like bluebells.

From the light touch of yesterday, deep atmospheric woodland scenes are now emerging on my easel full of colour and excitement.

Where this artistic "woodland" path will lead me I have no idea but ,oh boy, my next book is going to be rich in information and ideas to get everyone racing for their brushes in the way that it has me racing to paint each day just from writing it.

Spring Fever?

"Jean Haines Fever " maybe!

I love it!


Sunday, 16 April 2017

Woodland Walk : Bluebell Woods

"Woodland Walk"
Bluebell woods in watercolour

I know I am very lucky to live in such a beautiful place, near bluebell woods that are so calming to walk through at the end of the day. And I am aware that some of my friends are going through so much right now as life, at times, has a way of being so unfair. 

To my friends who need this, a calming poem and woodland walk.

Walk with me and take my hand
I'll listen and try to understand
Whatever ails you, let it go
Take in natures' beauty
While you breath out , really slow

Listen to bird song , so soft and sweet
Enjoying the woodland path beneath your feet
Your worries you can leave, for now, far behind
 As the peace of this haven
Brings you peace of mind

Its'  hard to feel stressed when  surrounded by calm
At one with nature,  where nothing can harm
Just fresh air and blue skies
No clouds to be seen
Simple colours around you. Healing blue and green

Rest your soul , rest your body
With nature be one
As you take in last rays of the afternoon sun

And love at Easter

To all