Section of a Study for an original painting of Venice.
By Jean Haines
This morning I am quietly painting in my studio working on my next book and new collections for Autumn exhibitions.With the excitement of my book launch at the Mall Galleries last week and the wonderful art events I have been involved with it has been difficult for me to find quality time recently to do what I love most of all and that is to paint.
Now I have that time my enthusiasm has never been higher. I have a really exciting body of work building up that will be on show soon. I look at all these new "treasures" and look back to how I started painting years ago and how I have changed and grown as an artist.
I first started painting in an illustrative style with many botanical flowers. All captured in perfect detail with delightfully clean fresh colours. As time went by I found this form of working didn't suit my personality. It felt too tight and restrictive. So I then became engrossed in painting traditional landscapes. These were all connected with the English countryside I had grwon up surrounded by. Idyllic country scenes with tracks leading through fields or lanes leading the eye into the distance. Quaint cottages or village scenes would call to my brushes with the colour of foliage on the trees changing with the seasons. After a while these too didn't seem to make my heart sing whilst I worked. At that time I felt as though I was merely going through the motions of attempting to be an artist. As if I was just one of a large number of creators rather than being unique in my own right.
It was only when I moved to Asia and then Dubai that my artists soul really started to develop. In England for years I had been watching watercolourists capture skies in a variety of hues that covered mainly blue or grey. In Dubai I saw skies alive with vibrant shades of golds and reds. In Asia I saw old buildings against new especially in Hong Kong. I adored how the edges of walls were often far from perfectly straight in the many ancient buildings I witnessed whilst travelling around Europe and my time living in France helped me see scenes that really were wonderfully exciting that had been painted many times by masters who lived long before my time on this wonderful earth.
My landscapes sold well and favourites soon disappeared but my journey in watercolour kept leading me to even more exciting exploration into what my favourite medium could or couldn't do. I had and still have a thirst for all that is new and thrilling. It isn't surprising that these experiments have led me away from the more traditional and classical way of painting. Even so my brushwork and final detail are often hints of my previous years of training. I couldn't achieve the results I am gaining today without all the time spent studying in my past.
I smile when I hear a surprised expression of "I didn't know you painted landscapes!".
Amongst many other subjects I will aim to capture a beautiful scene and when I do paint landscapes I love them. But I believe variety is the spice of life and as mine is so colourful every single day brings me new joy . I may return to an "old friend" like a favourite landscape or scene from Venice. Or I will walk into my studio and go off at a completely different tangent with something completely out of the ordinary. Like blue sheep!
A memory just came into my mind of an elderly lady who lived in the village where I grew up in Wales. I was very young and already creating in a variety of ways. They said "How wonderful, you never know what Jean is going to do next do you but it's always something beautiful!" She was old,frail and lonely after her husband had passed away so my visits or small bouquets of wild flowers to her never went amiss. I like to think she saw more in my childs innocent handful of white daisies or golden buttercups as I did. A simple beauty that brought a beaming smile. I was fasinated in colours even then. I always have been.
One thing I am sure of. I will never be bored or tired of working in watercolour. I still always see the beauty in life. There is so much to see and capture. On top of this there are so many ways to capture everything in art. So many styles, colours and techniques. I am so grateful for being born with an artists eyes. I cannot for the life of me imagine missing all I see daily around me. And I am so very grateful for the gift of sight.
I may be painting landscapes today but tomorrow? Who knows! I am true to what they said about me as a child to the adult I am now.
"Expect the unexpected with Jean"
.........and I love life this way!