Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Poppies in Watercolour : Vibrant Colour

 Poppy painting as a work in progress

Goodness as always is flying and it seems like ages ago that my last workshop was held in UK but it isn't actually that long. I have been working on my new book, experimenting and finding easy ways to paint popular subjects. I am aware that it is frustrating when you look at an art book and the full instructions are missing in a step by step. And it happens. 

Funnily enough this week I have been approached by a few artists who couldn't get a technique they had read about. And they were asking me if I could help them. As it wasn't my book I kindly suggested that they write to the author as maybe they could help them reach their goal.  I also felt it might be helpful to that particular author to know there was a problem with understanding the particular technique which isn't one I use.

I do help as much as I can, whenever I can, when asked questions about watercolour but this recent situation reminded me of a cook book I once helped put together for a charity when I was living in Hong Kong. The proceeds from the book were to go to an orphanage and everyone contributing was doing so for free.  Every recipe would be tested by a group of willing volunteers, myself included, and if the recipe was successful it would go into the charity cook book along with the contributors name. We had some fantastic recipes donated from all over the world and we cooked each one. Most worked beautifully but one recipe was a disaster. No matter who cooked that dish it never looked or tasted right. I had the horrible task of contacting the contributor to ask if they had made a mistake with the ingredients. There was silence at first at the end of the phone. Then came back shock and disbelief that their recipe hadn't worked. I then explained honestly that several teams of volunteers had each tried to cook the dish following the exact given instructions and not one had ended with a good or edible result. Finally the contributor admitted that they had left one very important piece of information out of not only thelist of  ingredients but also the method of cooking too. It was a "secret" family recipe and they wanted to keep it secret. But they had also wanted their name in the book. I suggested they forward another recipe with all the ingredients included and we would try that one instead. It ended happily . Their name and new recipe was in the book. A huge relief to all involved!

But some art books are like that too. One missing piece of information can really cause problems for anyone trying to follow any included demonstration instructions.

So here I am looking at this poppy painting as a work in progress thinking about how I could describe what I have just done so that in a book even the newest of artists will understand. And be able to follow my step by step. I may have an idea of  how to do just that. But if I left my blog post here that would be like the recipe with missing information story and terribly unfair to you!

How did I create the painting this far?

 This is all about water flow of course as you can see in the image above which way the colour is running. There is Cadmium Orange in this piece for very bold stubborn colour that is harder to move than other translucent pigments.. There is strong bold Perylene Red by Daniel Smith. Lots and lots of water moves the pigment across the paper which is turned as I work. Then  I have added a drop of black ink in the centres of my imaginary flowers, where I  think they will look good.. Just a tiny dot, not too much. 

Why Ink? Read on!

Now I can create patterns but how?

I haven't just used water. I have , with an old brush dropped on my still wet paper tiny dots of granulation fluid. This now forces the ink to push through the red and orange pigments forming gorgeous veins of patterns as they move. The Cadmium Orange is stubborn and slow to move but it does begrudgingly.

I am going to say here , this wouldn't work as well with quiet watercolour products. The red and orange shades I have chosen by.Daniel Smith are so powerful they really will give me fantastic patterns as they interact with both the ink and the granulation fluid.

The full painting as a work in progress can be seen below. It looks beautiful in reality. The power of the colour is lost on screen.

"Poppy Dance"
Work in progress

Artists Tip
If you can't follow a demonstration in an art magazine or book  try contacting the author/artist as your not being able to follow their written directions may help their next book or written article become better. Quite often each time authors write they too are on a learning curve and need to learn how to improve their descriptive skills. 
As long as they are of course sharing the "whole" description!

Perhaps my poppies now won't be in my next book as I have talked about them here so I will go and try another experiment but I must admit these are rather lovely!

Have a great day and  happy painting!


Thursday, 14 June 2018

Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour; New Book Available now!

Paintings from my new book
"Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour"

 Thank you so much to everyone who has contacted me to let me know you have a copy of my new book "Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour " which has just been released.

This was such a special book to write and one I have dreamt about putting together for so long. In fact this would have been my first book had things worked out differently but finally I was able to write it and I am glad I had to wait to do  so because I have learnt so much over the years that would have been missing from the demonstrations had this been written years ago. I can now pull on all I have gleamed from painting to share with others to create floral paintings that are unique, beautiful and of course a joy to paint.

It is available now on Amazon.com UK and leading art stores and art stockists.

Now I can wander around my garden and fall in love all over again with the flowers that were filmed here last year, remembering the very happy times of creating this very special publication.

Thank you so much again, for liking my books and helping me be an author. Every single time I get a kind comment about my work I think about how very lucky I am .

I am indeed.

Very lucky!

 My latest book "Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour"
Available now!



Colour Explosion

Colour explosion
Experimental work in progress

Oh my, am I having a great time in my studio.  I held workshops in UK recently and couldn't wait to get back to my own personal painting time to create. I am working on yet another new book and this one is filled with colour work to lift the soul and feed the artist within.

I am also doing so much research for this new project that I am out often, day and night looking into why art effects me in the way it does. It is definitely healing but far more than this it is energising. So do look out for yet another Jean Haines publication next year. For now I have so much gorgeous work to do involved with it that I cant wait to awaken each day. It is wonderful.

The above was just a fun playing experiment with colour and different products. Yes of course, artists who know me or follow me will instantly recognise some strong use of Daniel Smith watercolours but a lot more is in this piece as well as just colour!

I feel I should have a big sign over my head saying " Watch this space" as I never know what I am going to create next , but all I do know isthat I feel great and I love creating. Shouldn't we all?

Have a great day and happy painting to you!


Top 10 UK Watercolour Blog : Best Blog Award


 What a wonderful surprise! This week I opened an email to read that my blog has been selected as one of the top ten UK watercolour blogs. What thrilling news considering there are so many wonderful blogs on art to read if we only had time to enjoy them all.

I am so very grateful for being given this award and wanted to share my news as soon as possible but this week has been incredibly busy. Busier than usual but I will share why in another blog post.

For now I wish to thank everyone involved with selecting my blog for this award and I hope I don't let you down by not sharing as many fascinating posts as possible from here in!

Here is a link to the other winners, all wonderful and worth checking out!


Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Working with tissue and watercolour : Sunflowers

 Sunflower created with watercolour and tissue for texture effects.
Work in Progress.

Goodness, I was surprised at how popular my use of tissue paper would be. I had shared my recent work using this technique on my Facebook and Twitter pages as well as on my blog and the questions kept rolling in on how I work this way. Well the funny thing is I started working with tissue paper and watercolour when I lived in Dubai. Years ago. There I worked in watercolour, oil, pastel and mixed media. Often in the mixed media sessions I would use sweet paper or anything at hand to create textural effects and I had all but stopped working with these really old techniques. Until now that is. As I mentioned in my last blog post, this technique isn't new. It has been around for donkeys years. But perhaps when we have painted for such a long time(  as I have ) we tend to assume that everyone has heard of the techniques you pushed to one side many moons ago.

The reason I revived this technique to share was because an artist was desperately struggling to gain an effect they had seen and they just couldn't get the same results. I suggested they tried using tissue paper as the art effect they were looking at just didn't seem possible to achieve without it. Even though its' use had been omitted in the "how to" step by step instructions. We all have to bear in mind that not all artists share every single tip or detail about the results they gain. In fact, I'm always amazed at how secretive some artists can be. I do understand to be honest, if you have developed a fabulous style that you wish to show solely in galleries rather than teach.  I do completely understand in that situation. I find artists on my courses want to know everything I use and I freely share all my "unsecret" secrets.

But, back to the tissue. To answer a few questions. I do not use glue at all when working this way. I simply tear pieces of tissue and apply them on a painting where I feel the texture could be improved in the finished piece. Maybe sometimes one tiny piece of tissue could be enough. Over use of tissue paper can make your work look more like a collage than an actual watercolour painting. Once in place I soak the paper literally with colour of my choice. In the sunflower below you will see Cadmium Yellow strongly applied but in the creases of the tissue I have added Quinachridone Gold to enhance the yellow shades. 

Remember : Yellow on top of yellow gives you yellow! So be bold with additional colour choices and applications.

Sunflower on my easel using tissue paper to create textural effects.
Work in progress

Let the painting dry and then continue painting on top of it as normal. Use the patterns created by the tissue to form part of your subject. In this case the sunflower petals. And I have really scrunched up tissue for the centre of the flower to give a fascinating focal point. 

Experimenting is fun. Learning new and revisiting old techniques is fun also. So give yourself permission to play and who knows where your results will lead you . Hopefully to stunningly gorgeous paintings that are unusual an beautiful.

As I mention to everyone in my classes. I never keep secrets about how I paint. I enjoy sharing the way I work far too much. Life is so much better this way and I always think others could use my ideas and come up with something even more fascinating. So there you go!

By the way this is acid free wrapping tissue paper I am using, not the kind you dry your tears with! 

Have fun!


Monday, 4 June 2018

I'm back! Watercolour and Tissue Paper

 Texture Effects on Watercolour Wash


I am finally back on my blog after what seems like ages yet again. Firstly I was so busy and also recovering from a few health blips. I am delighted to share the news that I feel so much better thanks to two very wonderful specialists, each treating different problems. I am so happy and very much more energised which could be a problem as I already had so much energy before! 

Last week I had workshops in UK which saw artists attending from all over the world including France and Australia. We had such a wonderful time and an almost party atmosphere crept into the teaching room at times. The enthusiasm each day was tremendous and I left last week desperate to get to my studio to experiment with new ideas and oh boy have I experimented!

The wash above and below have been developed using various techniques which will be shared in my next new book. Oh yes, there is another Jean Haines book on the go and its' gorgeous! But I know you will want to know how I created the texture effects in these pieces so I will tell you now, it is not by using cling film but tissue instead. Tissue paper creates beautiful patterns and allows colours to bleed more easily.

Yes there is Cascade Green, desperate to be seen at the top of the above wash against Cadmium Yellow. An opaque shade that is lost behind the very strong use of Phtalo Blue.

Below you can see a close up of the same painting.

The reason for my sharing this technique which has been around for donkeys years is that an artist on my courses last week told me they were struggling getting certain effects. They had been told you could achieve them with cling film. You can get great patterns with cling film especially if you apply it carefully to create deliberate pattern effects. But tissue paper can be crumpled far more easily. What the artist was asking was how to gain this efect which is far softer. You can paint over the tissue paper to form lines and gorgeous patterns. As seen in these two fun experimental images.

Close up of  texture effect gained by using tissue paper.

  These paintings were purely created for fun with no subject in mind. I will use this as a background for a landscape painting possibly. But next I will paint pieces using the same technique with subjects in mind and see where that leads me.

I am off to a great start to the week ahead.

I hope you are too!

Stay inspired and keep trying new techniques.



Thursday, 24 May 2018

Painting FROM the bin : Those scraps of coloured paper!

"Cherry Blossom"
Created on painted paper found in my bin. 

Do you throw away paintings that you don't like, or crop paintings you do like and end up with small pieces of paper that are covered in colour. Pieces that look deliciously tempting to paint on and seem far too good to throw away but are not good enough to frame?

I love those pieces. I learn so much from them because there is never any pressure to achieve anything because they were thrown away anyway. They are worthless in their own right so you have nothing to lose by experimenting or overworking on top of them by adding further layers or details.

I found a gorgeous square piece of paper with colour on in my bin. It was so dark that I had no option but to paint on top with white gouache to achieve some light areas.  I applied colour by following the line that was already there to apply a few blossoms. The pink background  gave my new freshly added white flowers the illusion of being pink not white. With my rigger brush I added a few centres and branches and the result are seen above.

Now here I must confess this piece will go straight back in the bin as I don't feel it is frame able. But I will now start a new composition keeping some sections of paper white using my original colours as the background option. This little "play break" led me to some great ideas for new work.

This was so much fun. All by delving into my studio bin and seeing what was there as coloured paper to play on.

So before you throw your trash out, check if you can play on top of any of the scraps of paper in your own bin.

You may just surprise yourself!

Have fun painting !