By Jean Haines
By Jean Haines
First Wash of beautiful Hollyhocks from Monets' garden in Giverny, France.
This has been an incredible week full of magic and many memorable moments. I held two watercolour workshops. One was "Watercolours With Life" covering my technique and the second was "Animals Only" which is definitely going to be repeated in the future.
On both sessions as always I met the most wonderful people and I know I am so lucky to do so. On the first workshop a lovely lady called Anna thoroughly enjoyed the day and achieved so much in a short space of time. What fascinates me most is that someone like Anna will come to one of my workshops after painting in very tight detail for years, discover a new approach to painting, let go and absolutely enjoy themselves creating the most magical of results.
I often sit and work by demonstrating one on one in the later part of the day creating individual studies on various subjects chosen by each artist in the group. This is a personal way of giving my time and guidance plus tips. When I came to sit by Anna I was delighted to see she had chosen a favourite image of mine. I visited Monets' garden in Giverny a while ago now and took so many photographs as memories to always keep my spirit in that amazingly inspirational place. Each time I pick up a brush with one of these images I feel a sense of wonder. Anna must have felt the same as she started to work because her first wash was gorgeous. But it was losing something in her translation.
This particular flower had started growing sideways rather than upright as you would expect from a hollyhock.
Anyone who knows me well will be familiar with my art terms and vocabulary which you will discover in my book. I have my own words to describe how I work and see things. I call quiet washes "whispers" and louder washes or detail "shouts". They work perfectly to my style and I know artists who know me smile when they hear me say them. Anna had captured the idea of a "whisper" perfectly but was lost on how to "shout". I sat quietly next to Anna and painted the above first wash to demonstrate that quiet sections in any painting work well when they are combined with a few more exciting and bolder sections. Deep blue fading to pale became very beautiful and this also enhanced the white of the petals. The pair of us became enthralled with what was happening on my paper.
Anna then followed my demonstration and I am thrilled with the outcome, a gorgeous creation of soft colour enhanced by darker gentle "shouts"!
As always I have left my own workshops very eager to paint quietly and that is what I intend to do next!