Saturday, 30 March 2013

Ballet in Watercolour

Ballet Series Coming to Life in watercolour

I have a wonderful new collection of watercolours in progress for a Summer Show. Ballet has long been a favourite subject of mine  as my first paintings of figures were always of dancers. So here I am returning home to a subject that captured my heart so long ago.

I will share details of where these paintings will be exhibited later on my blog.


Wey Gallery "Essence of an Artist " Solo Exhibition 2013

A week ago today my solo exhibition at the Wey Gallery in Godalming, Surrey officially opened.  I wasn't happy with the original photographs I had taken at the Private Preview so I visited the gallery last week to take some more images to share online. To my surprise the two rooms displaying my watercolour collection have now become one, due to so many paintings having already left the show. 

Most of the paintings are shown currently in the online catalogue.
If you would like to visit the gallery full details can be found via this link.

Airedale Terrier : Dog Magazine Feature USA

Airedale Terrier coming to life in a watercolour on my easel

I am writing a feature for a Dog magazine in USA and working on a new series of dog paintings.

I couldn't resist sharing this stage of an Airedale Terrier in watercolour. This wonderful dog has a character that is larger than life. Amazingly as I worked on this painting a fabulous real airedale walked past my studio. It was so young and almost bouncing on its paws, excitedly pulling its' owner for a walk on the lead. The enthusiasm and energy in that dog has leapt into my brushstrokes as they are now going all over the place and in every single direction!

This piece is made up of  several layers because the breeds coat has superb texture. The head shape is quite square compared to the breeds I usually capture . And that gaze is to die for. Whatever this beautiful dog is looking at they aim to get!

Have a wonderful time painting a subject that you love and enjoy a variety of textures too in your work. Don't forget to always look for a section of light to play around too.

Hoppy Easter

Harry O' Hare

This year really  is flying! I have had some wonderful emails letting me know how much my blog is enjoyed and I am so grateful to everyone who has sent them. I am very aware my life is changing. When I look back at last year I still had time to share online regularly. And participate in several art society exhibitions. This year is very different as my free time gets less and less. I do remember one professional artist telling me a long time ago that if I have time to "talk" about painting online, I am not painting enough offline. And I laughed. But to be honest they were right.

I find my time in my studio is all about creating whether its painting for a gallery or for my new book. I know the hand in dates for society shows but I also know I don't have the work to spare as I have gallery exhibitions lined up. I am working on each collection quietly ensuring the subjects are varied.

I think there comes a time as a Professional Artist when you have to stand back and ask yourself what you want from your career, study where you are and plan ahead. I also realise there is such limited wall space in each society exhibition where new emerging artists would give anything to see their art. So in a way it feels almost selfish to take that space when the goal of showing is often to get recognised and into a gallery. Which I already am. So I am taking this year to solely focus on my gallery collections and my new book.

At the same time in my workshops I am encouraging everyone to submit for society shows because it is an experience that rewards you in so many ways. If you get rejected you need to consider why and move on. Please bear in mind it often isn't because your work isn't good enough. Its'  sometimes purely based on the amount of wall space available in each show. But do give yourself a new goal each year and aim to reach it. Then look back each Easter and see where you have been and  think about where you are going.

Spring is that time to energise and make the most of everything coming to life around you.Your art could be too!

Have a fabulous Easter !


"Harry O Hare" is at the Wey Gallery in Godalming as an unframed piece in the browser, so look out for him if you visit!

"Bring Me Sunshine"

Bring Me Sunshine

Everyone is disappointed with the long spell of cold weather that has hit England this year.Day after day we have woken to freezing temperatures. It feels as though the sun has gone on holiday during the Winter months and forgotten to return for Spring.

Which is exactly why I painted with glorious yellows in the above painting "Bring Me Sunshine", feeling the warmth of sunshine on my back when I painted the banks of golden rudbeckia that danced in breezes in my cottage garden from my memory of last years lazy,hazy days.

This piece made me feel fantastic when I painted it. It has energy, a feeling of  casual freedom and joy in every section. I danced whilst I created it, adding each brushstroke with a huge smile on my face. When the painting was complete I dreaded leaving it because that feeling of happiness it carried brought a glow into my studio that would be missed once it  left for the framers.

But the joy returned when I saw it framed and hanging in my solo exhibition at the Wey Gallery in Godalming. What has been even more fantastic is the brilliant feedback from visitors to the show who all say it really does feel like a burst of sunshine.

Some paintings DO make you feel great.This one did!

Details of my exhibition at the Wey Gallery can be found via this link.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Atmospheric Watercolours

Atmospheric Watercolours

I have recieved so many emails from readers of my latest book "Atmospheric Watercolours" and truly wish I had the time to  share some of the amazing comments from very kind buyers who have shared how much my book has meant to them.

I am honestly completely overwhelmed by the enthusiasm,interest and obvious excitement held in  many of the messages.

Thank you so much to everyone who has written to me because at the moment I am pulling ideas together for my next publication and your worsd right now mean so very much to me.

A HUGE thank you from this very happy artist!


If you have yet to buy a copy you can find "Atmospheric Watercolours" from many online sources.

This is a great site for purchasing ,  via this link.

Wey Gallery "Essence of an Artist" Solo Exhibition 2013

"Essence of an Artist "
Solo Exhibition

The Wey Gallery

I am thrilled to hear that my solo exhibition at the Wey Gallery is recieving  such wonderful feedback from visitors to the gallery. The collection of original watercolours is very varied and several paintings have already left for new homes and art collectors.

An online catalogue is available to view via this link

 The exhibition details and information can be found via this link

Spring Excitement 2013

Kingfisher in a fantastic first wash

Every year at this time I begin to feel completely energised. Even though we have had terrible weather my heart tells me its Spring and that seasonal sense of exciting "Spring Fever" is hitting me giving me many ideas of subjects to paint for my new book, Summer Exhibitions and art events throughout the year.

At the moment I am working on a series of Kingfishers in watercolour with each new painting becoming even more vibrant than the last. The above is the first stage of a gorgeous painting that I love so much that it may have to stay in my cottage when its finished!

Artists Tip: Whatever you are painting do try to find new ways to work on a familiar subject with even more interesting results each time you pick up your brush!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

What is Watercolour?

Darks in the hydrangea painting.
As I worked this afternoon I remembered a question I have been asked recently that led to a rather long  discussion on what is, and what isn't watercolour. There will always be a debate on this topic because the artists who only work in pure watercolour will favour the explanation regarding art that has been created by watercolour products alone. In that, if you paint only with a product that has the words "Watercolour" on it, it is indeed watercolour.

But as many exhibitions accept acrylics, collage and inks etc. as watercolour I can fully understand the confusion and why the question is continually raised. It certainly does seem that any medium that can be used with water is classed as "watercolour".

I would love to hear of an exhibition that only shows and accepts paintings that have been created with pure watercolour alone. And know that every artist in the show has worked with similar products, from the same starting point. So that you could genuinely see a watercolour collection without any addition of acrylics, inks or water based oils. It could be very interesting.

I must confess I love experimenting to bring life and light into my work. I avoid the use of  other products because that , to me, is the excitement of working in this medium. The challenge. Seeing just how dark, bright or light I can go in each new piece. This afternoon I worked with dark shades, building up layers between hydrangea flowers in this piece and I like it. It has impact already and with a few  further leaves added will be complete. 

And whats more, I can honestly I can say it is " Watercolour!"

Hydrangea coming to life in a new composition.


Monday, 25 March 2013

Wey Gallery Demonstration March 23rd ,2013

Snowdrop in First Wash
Demonstration from Saturday at the Wey Gallery

On Saturday I woke to find our cottage garden covered in a blanket of deep snow. Normally I  would have been delighted, loving the chance to play with Bailey in it.  But this was the Saturday I had been booked to demonstrate at the Wey Gallery in Godalming during my solo exhibition "Essence of an Artist" which had opened the night before.

My husband is happy to drive in snow, but even he thought I should phone ahead to see if the gallery was going to open. But I made my way there and was so glad I did. The scenery on the drive to the gallery was so different to earlier in the week. Now the rural countryside was covered in snow.

It was a fabulous experience painting surrounded by finished paintings on the wall. As so many people had commented on my snowdrops in watercolour at the Preview, I decided to develop an unsual wash to show how my paintings evolve. I don't always choose my subject before I start painting. Often my mood will effect which colours I select. And I will often  opt for a colour combination that may be the complete opposite of what others may choose, for a similar subject. Which is why bright orange and purple became the background for this snow drop painting which I will complete later in the week.

For those who were watching the demo, I have left that green corner in the foreground so far. If you remember, at first I wasn't impressed with this section but then later fell in love with the pattern that formed. And the contrast between the cold , dull area here compared to the warmer , more striking section at the top  of the composition.

I love demonstrating! I always go for the unexpected and have fun, taking risks and telling the audience I may not have worked with that colour way before. It worked beautifully here!

Please don't forget I will be demonstrating at Patchings Art Festival in June every day this year so  come along and enjoy  "exploring"  with watercolour.  I will have more to share by then!


A huge thank you to everyone who braved the bitterly cold  weather and snow to see me on Saturday!

Wey Gallery "Essence of an Artist" Solo Exhibition 2013

"Favourite Winner"

Last Friday was the Private Preview of my solo exhibition "Essence of an Artist" which opened at the Wey Gallery in Godalming, Surrey.  The show looked wonderful when I arrived early before the doors officially opened. I knew this could be my only chance to gain a few photographs  on the night, and I was right!  The wall on the right as you enter the Wey Gallery showcased some of my horse racing scenes whilst opposite on the left there was a display of floral paintings including geraniums and Spring daffodils. Once inside, the variety of subjects displayed led you through to owls, hare, dogs and pheasant and then further into the gallery there is a further selection of  my watercolours including Cyclists, Venice and people were in the  next room of the gallery.

"Essence of an Artist"
Solo Exhibition 2013

The champagne flowed, so much so that I am still suffering a little today from enjoying myself on the night. The party that followed the opening went on until one in the morning so it was amazing that I made it to the demonstration at the gallery that I gave the next day! Thank you so much to everyone who braved the snow to visit the gallery and watch my demonstrations that day.

Unfortunately the key piece of the show  " Favourite Winner" shown at the top of this post, sold before the exhibition  had even opened so I am afraid the cover painting from the catalogue is not on display. The owners were at the Preview and as they love it so much I know it will be in a great home. It will be flying to Australia in the near future.

The show will run through until April so please visit if you can. For those who live further away there is an online catalogue available from the Wey Gallery web site. Many of my pieces are shown in the  online display so  you can visit the gallery to see my show, virtually via this link.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Signs Of Spring

Daffodils singing in Spring

Its the day of  my solo exhibition preview at the Wey Gallery in Godalming. Yesterday, I had this wonderful idea that I would be taking today quietly and looking forward to tonights opening. I should of course have known by now that life has a wonderful way of throwing you all manner of situations when you least expect them. Many are often totally unplanned and you need to go with the flow.

So instead of painting quietly this morning I have been working on images that may be suitable for a magazine and I am thrilled. Its'  these surprises that make life as an artist so  brilliant!

I am making the most of the daffodils in my garden. capturing them dancing in the breeze and painting as much sunslight as I can when I see it aswe have had such  cold weather this year so far.

I will share on my blog how my preview goes tonight , over the weekend.


Thursday, 21 March 2013

Finding the Positive from a Negative

Hydrangeas, only just visible in this watercolour first stage.

Yesterday afternoon I loved working in vibrant yellow to bring sunshine into my studio on a dull, grey, cold UK day. The weather outside really is off putting. Even taking my gorgeous dog Bailey for a walk isn't appealing this week.

But it is amazing how much we can litf our moods simply by painting in bright cheerful colours. The strong yellow from yesterdays Rudbeckia flowers was still tempting my brushes this morning so I started a new collection of Hydrangea. Before long with a medley of purple, dark green  and a huge splash of Cerulean Blue the cluster of the hydrangea flower heads started coming to life. This piece is glowing off screen and there isn't even a hint of my favourite orange shade.

I have favourite sections in this composition already.

Sections glowing softly with beautiful vibrant shades

The soft pastel shade  in the painting are  pronounced even moreby the dramatically dark corner in the foreground.

Dark negative edge giving a striking effect next to the pale flowers

Whatever you are painting and whatever the weather, bring some sunshine into your work by splashes of glorious yellow. Theses shades make you feel fantastic as you work and give warm, glowing results that are a joy to behold.

The negative is the weather this week. The positive is my "sunshine" way of working around it!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

I Love Golf?

 The Swing
Beginning of a golf scene on my easel

Do I love golf? Yes I do but I don't play!

My husband plays golf several times a week and these are the days when my studio and home are extra quiet, giving me much needed time to paint and work on upcoming exhibitions. I do love the angles when golf players take their swing. So this could be a wonderfully exciting new series of the future!


Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Don't Think!

Beautiful narcissi coming to life in watercolour

We think too much. And we worry too much.

We worry our results won't be as we wanted them to be.
We think about the outcome far more than the pleasure of the creative journey.

Everyone is in so much of a rush to " get there" when they don't even know where "there " is.

Do you worry about what you are going to paint?
Do you worry about whether or not you are going to get a great result when you first pick up your brush?

All these negatives can flow into your work.  It is far better to simply enjoy colour flowing across paper, feeling the passion  for painting coming alive each time you move your brushes. This leads to making you a far better artist, eventually, because you love what you are doing.

Have a few scraps of paper daily to just have fun with, to bring out the inner child within you. Randomly place your favourite colours on the paper then from there, later move to painting something a little more serious.

Do make time to actually LOVE painting!

It is so much fun when you do!


Monday, 18 March 2013

The Wey Gsllery "Jean Haines" Exhibition Collection 2013

Greeting cards that will be launched this Friday
at the
Opens March 22nd ,2013
6.00 - 8.00p.m.

I am thrilled. My new collection of cards arrived this morning and I eagerly opened the boxes to see the six new card designs. Especially selected to accompany the original artwork of each design in my solo exhibition which opens at the Wey Gallery this Friday. They look fabulous! This new card collection will be launched on Friday night at the Celebration Preview event. Everyone is  welcome to attend. Copies of my book are also on sale as well as my DVDs.  I will be happy to sign books while I am at the gallery on the Friday and Saturday.

The gallery has already recieved  tremendous interest with favourite subjects already being asked about re prices and availablity. If you are interested in a certain subject you are welcome to contact the gallery directly and they will be able to help you.

The collection includes horse racing scenes, cyclists, owls, dogs, pheasants, people, flowers,elephants, landscape and hare all in vibrant glowing colour. The subject range in the collection has grown over the last few months as the build up in preparation for the show came to a close.

Now I am eagerly waiting for Friday night when the preview will begin. There will be live music and I will be giving a short talk at 7.00 p.m. on my art and technique. The opening will be followed by my demonstrating at the gallery on Saturday 23rd March.

So, two dates for your diary.

Friday March 22nd 6.0 pm - 8. 00 pm  Preview Event with a short talk at 7.00 p.m.

Saturday 23rd March. Watercolour Demonstration 11.00 am and 2.00 pm. 

Book signing throughout the two days.

Cards will be launched Friday night and on sale throughout the show.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

St Patricks Day 2013

"Oh, the music in the air!
An' the joy that's ivrywhere -
Shure, the whole blue vault of heaven is wan grand triumphal arch,
An' the earth below is gay
Wid its tender green th'-day,
Fur the whole world is Irish on the Seventeenth o' March!
~Thomas Augustin Daly"


I have lived in so many countries  and everywhere, without exception we have celebrated St Patricks Day with friends.  In Hong Kong I wore an emerald green dress to the St Patricks day Ball. In Dubai I visited the Irish Village with friends.   It seems this is a day when the whole world comes together and pretends to be Irish. Its' wonderful!

I hope the spirit of friendship across the  world and that incredible sense of fun linked with mischievous leprechauns hits you today like magic.

Have a superb St Patricks Day!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Colour : Daniel Smith Watercolours

Foxgloves worked with a combination of watercolours

I know everyone is fascinated with the watercolour shades I use and always feel it unfair not to mention which products I am using when sharing my paintings online.

I had no idea what I would be starting when I began painting foxgloves. They have now become one of my favourite and best selling floral subjects. Since childhood I have always been  amazed at their regal beauty,standing tall in the woodlands where I grew up. As you walk past them, some seem to disappear into the shadows whilst others are caught in bright sunlight as in the painting I am currently working on.  

There was a beautiful painting of foxgloves similar to this one in my latest book "Atmospheric Watercolours" which sold in one of my last years exhibitions. I always meant to paint a piece like it for my own cottage and today as it was raining, I  felt the need to  create something magical with a cheerful feel about it. And this is what happened.

The foreground is  created with a gorgeous Daniel Smith shade. "

Daniel Smith
Extra Fine Watercolours
Perylene Green

It is a very strong vibrant green that seems to add drama to any composition.Definitely one to add to your wish list of colours to try!

Friday, 15 March 2013

"Essence of an Artist" Solo Exhibition March 22nd-April 2013

"Adrenalin Rush"
The colour and excitement of the race highlighting energy and the determination to win.

"Essence of an Artist"
Solo Exhibition
Godalming, Surrey.

Private Preview, Friday, 22nd March 2013
6.00 p.m - 8.00 p.m
Celebration event with wine and live music. Artists Talk at 7.00 p.m.
Everyone welcome.

Watercolour Demonstration, Saturday 23rd March,2013
11.00a.m.  and 2.00 p.m

Location details can be found on the gallery web site


A week today the Private Preview for my solo exhibition at the Wey Gallery will take place. There are over fifty new original watercolours in the show with many new subjects being launched for the first time. My passion for colour will be evident in the collection as well as the paintings that depict action as in "Adrenalin Rush" which is part of my new cycling series. The emphasis in each  piece is  the use of colour to depict the scene. From soft shades of Spring to bold colours where emotions are high as in energetic sports,. There is an excitement building at seeing the body of work on show for the very first time and I am really looking forward to the preview.

On many occasions a Private Preview means by invitation only. This is a celebration of art so to everyone reading my blog, this is your invitation to the opening night and you are welcome to attend. As usual there are my very large paintings on show plus  several surprises. As always one "lucky hare" will be displayed in the show. My tradition is alive and well, just one hare that will bring me luck and its' new owner I hope!

If you want more details please contact the gallery directly and if you are thinking of attending the demonstrations on Saturday please do contact the gallery so that they can be aware of numbers in advance.


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Kingfisher in Watercolour

"Kingfisher Blue"

I have fallen in love. Please don't misunderstand me as I adore my husband and believe I am one of the luckiest women in the world to be married to such a great guy. But every now and then something will happen  in my studio that gives me the heady rush of what I can only describe as a teenager falling in love for the very first time or having their first kiss. Its' the most amazing of feelings.

This week I painted my first kingfisher and all of a sudden I can't stop painting them. They are so stunning. Of course, they suit me because they contain two of my favourite qualities for a magical composition. They have vibrant colour combinations including my favourite bright orange, and they move quickly. Finding the perfect blue has been interesting and today I settled on Scmincke "Helio Turquoise" which is gorgeous and now will be in all my horse racing scenes as well.

Working in my style, approaching new subjects all the time brings a happy energy into my life that is incredible. People ask me how I can do so much. I am almost like a child on a new adventure each and every day. I think that youthful energy flows into my studio and paintings.

I am so excited at the moment that I have to start a new painting straight away. My new collection of Kingfishers will be in a Summer Exhibition. More news on this later!


Monday, 11 March 2013

Watercolour Demonstrations 2013

Owls on my easel for upcoming exhibitions this year.

With a full year ahead and my workshops starting in UK next month, I am making the most of my quiet time painting in my studio before I start travelling and showing this year.

My UK workshops were fully booked  for 2013 almost as soon as the dates were released last year. And the list is already growing for places in 2014. My Australian workshops in Brisbane are fully booked but at this time in typing I still have a few places available in New York and Texas. A new date has also been added in Dallas but that workshop has also filled really quickly so may not be advertised. I will be promoting my workshops in Mexico which take place in November shortly.

It is really exciting meeting artists from all over the world. I am so passionate about working in watercolour that to be able to share in person is a fantastic feeling. But  I always feel I should apologise for not having any places on my workshops each year but I will be demonstrating at the Wey Gallery in Godalming during my solo exhibition.

The best news is that I will be at Patchings this year for the whole of the 2013 Art Festival.  And I will have original work with me so please check on the Patchings web site if you would like to watch me paint, and please say hello if you  attend. I loved it there last year, so much so , that I enthusiastically agreed when I was invited back this year. Not just for one day but for the whole event!


Artist tip for the day: If you have fallen in love with a subject do paint it over and over again until you really know it well. But with each new painting find a way to create something completely unique. Never paint the same thing in exactly the same way if you don't wish to become bored with your work! 

This is a hobby or career that will last you a lifetime if you stay passionate about it.

Wey Gallery Exhibition Greeting Card Collection 2013

"Too Whom"
Original Watercolour and Greeting Card Design 
from the "Jean Haines" Wey Gallery  Collection 2013

This morning I placed my order for the greeting card designs that will be launched along with their original paintings at my solo exhibition, "Essence of an Artist", which opens with a Private Preview on March 22nd, 2013. 

The card collection will be on sale exclusively at the gallery during the show and includes two horse racing scenes, one cycling race, an owl, a dog and a pheasant.

It was really difficult choosing just six designs but each represents a favourite subject of mine that I adore painting. 

These cards  look wonderful framed,to be given as gifts or simply to send to a friend!

I am really looking forward to the show opening as the colours and selection of subjects is now so varied that even for me as the artist excitement is building at seeing over fifty original paintings on display.

You can  find full details about my solo show via 

Please note: This show is a celebration of my passion for watercolour and everyone is welcome.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Montpellier Gallery, Cheltenham Exhibition 2013

Winning Streak

Montpellier Gallery
Spring Exhibition
 12th-30th March, 2013

I am delighted to have been invited to show at the Montpellier Gallery in Cheltenham.

Opening Tuesday 12th March 2013
During Cheltenham Race Week Festival, there will be a
Champagne & Oyster Bar in the gallery, every evening from 6pm until late. Sponsored by Bollinger & Ayala Champagne Houses

Full details can be found via this link

Happy Mothers Day 2013

Beautiful Bouquet
Flowers on Mothers Day 2013

I am wishing everyone who follows my blog a wonderful Mothers Day filled with love.

As a child I use to pick primroses each year with the community from our village.The baskets of  small flowers would be gathered and made into sweet little posies of yellow, to be given to each Mother in church on the following Mothering Sunday. As an adult I look back and remember feeling so excited when it was my turn, as a little girl to walk up the aisle on that special day, be given my posy which I would then carefully carry back to my Stepmother who would be sitting in the pew at Church. I would hold it as if the flowers were as fragile as a basket of eggs. Terrified I would break a single stem or bud. It was such a simple act. There was no card or gift. It was all about being a family and letting the woman who had nurtured and cared for you know how much they were loved. My face must have been a pciture as I carried that small bouquet, that I had picked myself.

Maybe this is why I love painting spring primroses so much, in that they bring back happy memories for me.

Today I opened beautiful cards and arranged flowers. As I type , I realise the message is the same as years ago. And that is simply, to let your Mother know how much you love them.

Happy Mothers Day!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Spring, Glorious Spring

Daffodils coming to life in watercolour.

I have some wonderful Spring subjects on my easel at the moment. As the sky looked dull and grey this morning I decided that, no matter what, I would work in yellow today to create my own sunshine. The day passed. Stunning elephants and beautiful hare have started to appear in a variety of paintings. But my heart was still screaming at me to work in yellow by this evening. So I took the wash that I had already started of daffodils last week and gently added a few more touches. Now a fabulous effect of the flowers coming to life, and jumping off the paper at me, is occuring. I always feel excited when this happens. And I know this will be a new favourite painting of mine.

I meet so many artists who are always in a rush to finish a complete painting in one go.When often the half finished painting will tell you what it needs, if you take time to enjoy its different creative stages. Each day that passes looking to see what you can add next.

Artists Tip: Don't race your work.Enjoy each brushstroke and listen to what your painting is telling you.Does it need more darks? More Detail? And where?

I never race towards my destination. I love enjoying the journey far too much.
I hope you enjoy yours too!


Sunday, 3 March 2013

Pheasant Shooting

"Pheasant Shooting"
Copyright belongs to Jean Haines

Someone asked me recently if there was anything that I cannot paint. My answer is , I don't know because I haven't tried painting everything yet!  I have a wide variety of subjects in my exhibition at the Wey Gallery including some wonderful pheasants . And as a friend of my husband had asked me recently if I could paint a shoot scene, my artists mind leapt at the chance this afternoon.  I looked at the colours in the central well of my palette and they were perfect for my winter scene. I am delighted as the figure is already coming to life. Snow will be on the ground and I am going to love working this on a far larger painting.

I often meet artists on my workshops who tell me they can't paint boat scenes, or landscapes, or portraits. When I ask them if they have tried and they  reply that they haven't, I wonder how they know that they can't paint them?

Artist Tip : Have a go at painting everything,especially the subjects you think that you can't paint. They may just turn out to be your favourite and best subjects!

Happy Painting!


Saturday, 2 March 2013

Bearded Collies in Watercolour

"We Three"
Bearded Collies

Because I  have been lucky enough to be owned by and fallen in love with the Bearded Collie breed they will always be one of my favourite subjects to paint. And my collection of paintings over the years has grown.  One of the most popular original collections have been my rows of Beardies, painted from days walking groups of these wonderful dogs  together.

I am constantly asked for more cards and for more  originals of this particular composition so will be releasing some new work  this year. If you are a Bearded Collie lover and to the many people who have emailed me about this collection, I will be in touch as soon as I can about  my new work.

They are wonderful dogs. And so much fun to be owned by!

Who Nose?

Terrier coming to life in Watercolour

I have been asked to write another feature for a Dog Magazine in USA. As it happens I have several paintings of dogs that are temptingme to move my brushes at the moment. This one, in the image above, is quite special in that I started a demonstration during one of my workshops and showed the owner of this little dog how to paint not only a nose but also how to choose unsual colour combinations to bring their fabulous subject to life.

Firstly I immediately fell in love with my subject which is a great start. I will be honest, if something doesn't appeal to me I simply won't paint it. My time with a brush in my hand is so  special that I never force myself to paint anything that doesn't have an emotional connection attached to it. And life is too short to waste a second painting things that you don't really like!

This dogs cute little face was so expressive and their personality looked full of life which is understandable for a terrier breed as they are so bouncy and energetic. And this fact led to choosing  colours that were full of light and energy too.

A plain black nose can be so boring, hence so much colour around my capture in the first stage above. I am going to love completing this piece and that too is an important factor.

Loving painting is far more important to me than any other goal. The sense of pleasure when everything goes right,that sense of wonder when a subject first comes to life in front of your eyes is magical. This is why I write,paint and share my love for this medium, nothing else. And I can't wait.,as always to get painting!


Artist Tip: If you don't love the subject you are working on don't waste time on it. Find something that turns you on and makes painting sheer pleasure instead!

Friday, 1 March 2013

New York Watercolour Workshops 2013

Hogweed Dynamics!

I have just heard there are a few places available on the second of my workshops in New York this fall. So if anyone is interested please could you contact me on as soon as possible.

Experimental Flowers : Primroses

Primroses leaping out of an exciting varied wash.

Last night I had a dream about a painting. I know I have been eagerly looking forward to seeing the first primroses in my garden and must admit, that while I was in Spain  I did wonder how many flowers would be out in my garden on my return. I particularly love the clusters of pale lemon primroses which bring back so many memories from my childhood. I would walk in woodlands then in Wales . Even as a little girl  I fell in love  with their form and beauty.

So I suppose it wasn't surprising that I dreamt about a painting of them.  But the painting wasn't in my usual style. It was dark and almost antiqu elooking. The composition was of a cluster hit by a ray of light. But the flowers looked as though they were almost tumbling down a mossy bank.  I was so happy when I woke today and walked my dog Bailey because I came across a beautiful cluster, sat in very green moss. Against the dull,dark background of woodland on a grey day they looked just like the floral painting in my dream.

Which is why this morning I started a painting allowing colour to flow in the direction of light. I left two main flowers to be the stars of the show, as focal points. Then half hid the other primroses  in shadow by softening their edges. The first wash was yellow and pink with hints of Indigo. I then used Indigo again to make an outline around the negative shape of my primroses. By adding water to encourage colour flow, this  addition of pigment as a layer  interacted well with the yellow to give me soft green effects for hints of leaves. I stopped at this stage because I like it so much as it is but it does need further touches.

But one experiment will often lead to another and as the image in my dream was so dark and vivid I worked on another wash. This is a different composition but I am still working on the tumbling effect seen in my dream. If you observe this second wash you may see more texture in the dark foreground? This was achieved by using ink, allowing it to intermingle with the still damp watercolour pigments. I like it but have to admit this can't be classed as a pure watercolour in my eyes. As soon as the ink was added I would  have to claim it to be mixed media. Although I know many artists may disgree.

Primrose Wash. Watercolour and Ink

The excitement of experimenting is something we all should enjoy and as regularly as we can. If we worked in exactly the same way each time we picked up our brushes we could be denying an element of fun and freshness to seep into our results. So I have two paintings, one with slightly more defintion of the flowers. One with less definition and ink textural effects.

Now I want to paint a third composition and combine the two ideas a little. By the way, everyone has views on what is and what isn't watercolour. For me if a product says watercolour on the tube,then that is what it is. And the challenge of working with just that, to see what I can create is absolutely magical!

Happy Painting!