Wednesday, 22 July 2015

" Presence "

 Lost for Words
Sometimes its' impossible to find the right title to go with a painting.
"It looks better on me" comes to mind when I see these beautiful creatures with their ivory tusks.

I am preparing my studio for filming my new DVD with Townhouse Films here next month. While tidying up  my store cupboards it has been really incredible coming across not only products but old paintings that I have kept to remind me of my art journey. I envisage being an old lady looking through my collection of watercolours one day and remembering when and why they were painted. And where. That is of course if I can remember!

They say elephants never forget. So it is timely that I  reworked an old favourite of one this afternoon. I made this piece more vibrant using my favourite Daniel Smith shades. Layering and building up colour. I loved working the textural colour veins in the top right hand corner. You can see a close up of these below.

 Watercolour veins worked in watercolour to add interest in the background. 
Isn't this a stunning shade of blue?

I wonder if you noticed the baby elephant at the foot of the painting? Hidden and protected by its caring and doting mother. It is only just there. As is the rapidly declining population of these stunning creatures.

Hidden baby elephant at the foot of the painting.

My heart aches when I think that in generations to come these  gentle giants may be a thing of the past. Wiped out by mans' greed. It is such an awful thought. And yet so much of our wildlife is suffering at the hands of the human race. 

How ashamed those who  are behind their loss should feel.
Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know I care so much about animals. They have no voice of their own so it really is up to us to do our bit to raise awareness and help if we can where and when needed. Thank you so much for all the lovely messages from my last blog post  with the previous elephant painting. 

It really does help to know I am surrounded by people and friends who, like me, care.


Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Colour and Light in Watercolour : Collectors Edition

The new edition of "Colour and Light in Watercolour" is now available on for pre order.

Please be aware there is not just one but two versions of this book. As a celebration of its' relaunch it has been decided by my publishers to launch a very special collectors edition which is a beautiful hardback. This is a limited  print so once the hard back edition has sold out that will be it and the book will from then on only be available in the paperback form.

Some people prefer hard back and some  prefer paperback. This is a very wonderful chance to choose which ever you prefer. I am a hard back kind of buyer. I like to have my art books on my coffee table to read  in the evenings. But a paperback isn't so worrying if you use it while painting and get pigment splattered all over it! So you have a lovely choice of either or, or as one artist has told me  today. They are happily buying both. One will get covered in watercolour, the beautiful hard back will stay pristinely clean!

If you are interested this is the link to

There is a paperback available.


Will You Miss Me When I am Gone?

Elephant in watercolour.
Is it appearing or disappearing?

I am sat quietly working in my studio. Experimenting with all the art products I have accumulated or been given over the years. I haven't painted an elephant for a while so began to create one in this dramatic first wash. Yes, this is one of those days where colour dictates my subject rather than I.
But as I painted this majestic creature my mind began to wander. How many of us adore elephants ? How many wildlife artists or photographers enjoy capturing their images? Many across the world. But I have to ask the question. What wildlife animals will artists of the future be painting because so many are sadly disappearing. The plight of elephants due to poaching for ivory is a frightening one. I can't see why with all the technology and information we have at hand this isn't stopped before it is far too late.

How can we as a human race watch as these stunning creatures are annihilated for financial greed and ancient medicinal beliefs?

I wish I could paint a magic wand that would make people worldwide see sense to save these beautiful beings.

If only.

And so the title.

The elephant.

" Will you miss me when I am gone?" 


Sunday, 19 July 2015

Yellow Rose : On My Easel

Yellow Rose Coming To Life on My Easel

When the weather is so wonderful nothing beats sitting outside quietly and painting.

Outside my Kitchen window I have a flower bed that is created purely for roses. When the kitchen windows are open the perfume of these beautiful flowers wafts inside as the scent fills the air in our cottage  It is sheer heaven!

I had been painting ragwort  from the nearby fields but as the yellow and green shades I was using as a base for my ink additions in the abstract were so nice I thought I would use them on the yellow rose blooming at the moment in our garden.

I have allowed a central section of strong yellow to merge with turquoise for the main bloom shapes.  The addition of orange shades applied with the rigger from my personalised brush set helps the petals to appear.

In the lower sections there is a drop of left over blue ink which has merged to create the pattern you see which can be read as foliage shadows.

It has been a terrific painting day and I can't wait for tomorrow!

Life is good when we can see and enjoy the beauty around us.

Happy painting!


I tend to work with a size 10 brush for flowers and add touches of pigment from my soft rigger which is perfect for painting detail. Which is why these two brushes are sold as a set. I tend to hold them both in my hands when I am working and they are so gorgeous to handle.

They are available from Jackson's Art Supplies. 

I am sorry to say I closed my on line shop due to the popularity of my brushes. Which sounds crazy but it is true. It was taking so much time. Even though I have a PA it was becoming a full time job just to handle my sales page yet alone take workshop bookings and enquiries. Now I am happy to say that Jackson's Art Supplies are selling my personalised brush range. I am thrilled! The problem my brushes are so popular that they are low in stock there too at the moment but more stock will be in soon. The size 12 of mine is an absolute favourite worldwide too and I just couldn't live without my set. Its' perfect for all of my work, and I love it!


Yellow Peril

 "Yellow Peril"
Mixed Media ( Not watercolour )
Ragwort in the field near our cottage.

It is hot, sunny and a beautiful day. I am listening to bees buzzing as I paint outside. Near our cottage is a field where horses usually graze. I love watching them and I have my favourites. But at this time of year they can't use the field due to a plant that appears annually. The owners of the stables will be out in force trying to pull out these weeds that can cause serious health problems to horses.

Its' amazing how something that looks so colourful can be so perilous.

Hence the title of my painting this afternoon. I am working through my studio cupboards and gradually working with products I have long forgotten about. Years ago before I became so passionate about painting only in pure watercolour I used all manner of things to create vibrant colour. Nothing was offlimits and I loved discovering new techniques and ideas to create texture an patterns.

I started painting in quite pale watercolour shades in UK years ago. I then moved to Asia. But it was my move to Dubai where I really fell in love with colour first. Here I experimented with other mediums. I worked realistic portraits in oil and pastel. And I played with inks for the first time. This was so long ago now that I had forgotten all about them. At this time in my life I had a wonderful group of International Professional Artist friends. We would often show together and we would take it in turns to meet in each others houses to paint together. My favourite weeks were the experimental sessions. Where one artist had the task of finding something unique to paint as the chosen experiment. I loved it so much. There were so many things we came up with as aideas. We tried just about anything to see if it would stain or interact as watercolour does. The ink session was a favourite  and the fun we had is still in my mind. What we mixed it with was interesting too. It wasnt used just on its own. And thats how I created the above painting. "Yellow Peril".

Painting a watercolour with the addition of ink today brought back many happy memories. All started by a wonderful surprise phone call. One of my dear friends from this art group is visiting me from Dubai this week. So this piece was  inspired by my talking to Vandana.

 The view  I was painting isn't quite so dramatic. I took the yellow of the ragwort and used it for the sky colour to  add more warmth against my selection of a dark background to create the "evil" perilous plant. 

Now I have studied the photograph I may just try this again as it was such fun to paint!

Peril for horses

You can read about Ragwort via this link.


Whatever you are doing, enjoy it ! Sometimes as artists we need a little break from our usual way of working. Today I had a holdiay of sorts. Painting with another medium.

But my favourite is still watercolour!


Saturday, 18 July 2015

Look What You Did?

"Jean Haines World of Watercolour"
Selling so well it has had to go for a reprint already! 
Can you believe it? I can't!

This week I was invited to the Annual Summer Party by my  amazing publishers and it was a fantastic night to celebrate so much. I met literary agents from all over the world and leading authors too who I had not met before. Authors who work in different arts and crafts.

I was thrilled to talk to the owners about the success and popularity of my books on watercolour. But my jaw dropped when I was told that my latest book "Jean Haines World of Watercolour" has had to go  for its' very first reprint already. This is incredible.  It has only just been launched officially and everyone at my publishers is over the moon.  As am I. But my face must have been a picture because I couldn't take the news in at first. I just stood in a stunned silence!

 I had previously been told that the pre order sales for "Jean Haines World of Watercolour"broke all records for a new book and that since the launch  orders for copies have flooded in.

Now, as I am sat here typing this news to you I feel as though I am typing about someone else because this could not possibly be happening to me. I feel like a tiny blip in the world of art. A small, insignificant artist who just loves painting and sharing their passion for  watercolour. I feel wonderful when I work quietly in my garden. And I wake with the eagerness of a child who knows they are going to enjoy the day each morning.

But to hear this incredible news has slightly knocked me for six.

I am happy. No, that's an understatement. I am thrilled! Ecstatic but also a little overwhelmed. Because the more nice things people say about me the harder I work so as not to let those very same people down.

I owe the biggest thank you to every single person who has not only bought a copy of my books but also encouraged me, supported me and let me know they like what I am doing.

 I was told I am one of the publishers top authors. They said in a speech this week that without writers they wouldn't exist. 

I believe without you I wouldn't exist as an author. 

I wouldn't. 

Its' as simple as that.

So you are making my dreams come true which means I must work hard to make everyone elses' dreams come true.

Happiness creates happiness and it is a gift to give away. Not keep.

Thank you.

Thank you so much!


Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground Experiments

Experimenting with Daniel Smith Fine Ground Products
Adding exciting texture and life to flat sections of a painting

Wow! What a blast I am having experimenting with Daniel Smith Fine Ground products. I am very lucky as a professional artist as I am often given new products to try. In all honesty I only ever share them on my blog if I like them or they have given me something to grow from as an artist. And oh boy am I having fun with these fascinating products. There is so much that you can do with them but as a usually purist watercolourist I have avoided even experimenting with them. Until now that is!

So what was I given?

Here you go!
Daniel Smith Watercolour Ground in Mars Black and Buff Titanium.

 Daniel Smith Watercolour Ground in Mars Black and Buff Titanium

"I don't want the black so please don't give it to me" I hastily replied when offered these two products. 

" I never use black" I cried indignantly but the two pots  were placed in my hands by a smiling "contributor" to my ever growing range of Daniel Smith products. They wouldn't take no for an answer and laughed as they walked away from me.

" Just try them" He said and laughed. 

He knows me too well. Now it is over a month since I was given these to try and I found myself staring at them thsi morning thinking should I put them in a cupboard and forget them or have a play with them. And so I did the latter and what joy they are!

 First things first. I must admit I prefer a watercolour to be created just with pure watercolour products. But there is that inner yearning as an artist to know what is available on the market and experience what other artists  are using. I want to be current in my work and up to date. Aware of what is new and what I like when products come onto the art market. I expected to hate these product as they just aren't " me"

But am I wrong?

Firstly I had to find  paintings I could play with.  I had some rooster paintings I wasn't intending to frame so thought they would do for these experiments.

Please forgive me but I have painted on top of the two cockerels in my new book " Jean Haines World of Watercolour". I know I want shooting but they were at hand and I felt they would be a great piece to  add to!

So for Experiment 1. I have applied the Daniel Smith Buff Titanium Watercolor Ground over the faces of the two roosters and then used the Mars Black at the back of their necks, using a spatula for application and creating textural directional feather strokes as I applied the  product. I liked the build up but this has to dry completely before I add further watercolour on top.

I have chosen to lighten sections and add drama with the darker colour, where I applied Mars Black, at the outer edges of my subjects.

 Experimenting : I have chosen to lighten sections and add drama with the darker colour

 After this I was hooked. What else could I do? Like a child in a candy shop I started really looking for paintings to either destroy or improve. I was on a mission!

I found the second rooster I had intended to just add detail to, on the face, this weekend but instead I enjoyed using the Mars Black on the tail. Oh boy this is fun.

Just look at the difference now? The painting has far more impact with the textural improvements.


 The tail was looking flat and boring. 
I liked it before the application of Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground but......


Wow, what a difference and this was so simple to do!

Now I have to wait for these applications to dry completely before I decide what to do next.

But I can't remember when I had so much fun experimenting.

I would love to hear what you do with this product. Perhaps you could reply to my blog post and link to your art using this product?  Lets' see how much we can inspire each other and grow as artists!

Oh and by the way I was inspired to try this after receiving my Jackson's Art Supplies new catalogue. In it is a wonderful range of products to try . Included is an interview I gave to Jackson's when they asked me what my favourite watercolour was and why. You can also buy my personalised range of  "Jean Haines Watercolour Brushes" from them too!

Here is a link to the Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground page  on Jacksons Art Supplies web site

And here is a link to my personalised watercolour brush range. They are now so popular that  some of my brushes are currently out of stock but I have been promised they will be in stock soon!


But fo rnow , I can't stop. I want to get back to playing with these products. I feel as though I am five years old having great fun again and its is fantastic.

Oh, and thank you to the wonderful donor of this incredible product. You know who you are! And you were right. I love it!