Tuesday, 23 March 2010

In Love With Fred

"In Love With Fred"
Early stage of an original watercolour by Jean Haines.

It happens sometimes. Many artists will recognise the heavenly feeling of that magical moment when you just know a painting is right. From the very beginning it holds that special something  and you are drawn to it like a moth to a flame.

To me a successful painting is often where the artist has completely fallen in love with their subject long before they even pick up a brush. If the enthusiasm and excitement is there at this point magic will surely follow.

I know Fred and I love Fred. As a subject he is purrfectly delightful and his character is quite amusing although he may think he has a somewhat regal air. There is no doubt about it. Whichever way you look at him, for a cat Fred is  rather special!

I have some gorgeous Winsor and Newton 300lbs  Rough Surface watercolour paper. It was begging to be painted on. The surface felt wonderful as the texture was purrfect for painting fur. I started painting Fred by laying a soft wash of fresh clean pigment to depict the coloured sections of his fur. With my thumb I gently "stroked" the fur of the outline into the background. I often do this when I am working with animals to gain a sense of their being.

I have fallen back to Chinese Mentors influence. She came from Shanghai and time I spent under her guidance in China has stood me in good stead for brushwork control. Patience for using  each  mark to tell a story. And the value of  really thinking before you paint.

 While working I stopped and looked at the cat appearing from the wash in front of my eyes and that wonderful rush of excitement hit me. You know instinctively when something magical is about to happen. This was one of those moments. I am amazed at how many artists race to finish a painting when every single brushstroke is so enjoyable to witness in its own right. I take time to love every wash, every colour addition, every  brush mark or water effect and I use them all to enhance the beauty in each painting I create.

With my technique anything can happen at any moment. Every action counts towards the final destination.

With no preliminary sketch to guide me I have to find and place  every single feature accurately but in a way that creates and illusion of movement.

To me this piece is the beginning of a wonderful journey and I am in no hurry for it to end. I know where I would like to go with the final result but I so want to enjoy getting there.



cheryl said...

as always brilliant Jean so so love your ability to create,the colours you use the composition.Hope you can teach me your patience I am one who doesnt watch the paint dry, in too much of a hurry to finish and end up with mud yet I love your description of how you are in the process.lok forward to my journey with you.

Kaye Parmenter said...

Jean, I love Fred took, thanks for sharing him with us! Like the rough paper and your eye again is fabulous.

Crystal Cook said...

Jean this is absolutely beautiful. I am just amazed! And I love what you said in your post too. Thanks for the inspiration! I can't wait to see this one finished, not to rush you or anything ;)