Friday, 31 January 2014

Labrador Pup : January 2014

 "Labrador Study"
Yellow Ochre, Cobalt Turquoise and Winsor Violet
Winsor & Newton Shades

I am working on a new collection of watercolours for a spring exhibition in Hampshire this April. I am also creating exciting step by step demonstrations for my new book which will be launched in 2015 and on top of this I have been asked to paint a few pet portraits. This is where I have to confess that I don't accept commissions, purely due to the fact my time in my studio is where I paint from my heart, what I want to when I want to. This makes it very difficult for lovers of my cockerels, sheep, horse racing scenes or kingfishers for example if my paintings have all sold out in exhibitions. But I prefer to paint what I enjoy rather than what gallery sales dictate. In my world each of my paintings are of subjects I have fallen in love with and my imagination has leapt with excitement at the thought of creating each new piece. I have a beautiful collection of images that I can look through when time allows to paint as the mood grabs me and  right now my mood is drawn  towards painting animals. So if you have sent me an image please watch this space as I am curently working on a few pet studies.

My first lovely pet portrait is a rather worried looking, young golden labrador. The expression on their face is priceless. Either they think they are not going for a walk, or not going to have the treat in their owners hand. They are definitely looking at something intently with such a gorgeous face. They have tugged at my heart strongs and I couldn't resist painting them. I am sure if you own one of these  fabulous dogs you know exactly what I mean!

Because the coat on a labrador is smooth I am allowing watermarks in my painting to give the illusion of a sheen on their short fur. I am working in Yellow Ochre as my main base for the golden hue of  this labrador but to bring extra excitement to the shadows I have opted for a stunning Cobalt Turquoise by Winsor &Newton and heightened the drama with a touch of Winsor Violet for the shadows especially around the ruff section of the young dog.

As always I am not working from a preliminary sketch. My starting point was the right eye , closely followed by the addition of the left eye. Even at this stage I can feel the young labrador looking at me whilst I work.

My starting point, without a preliminary sketch,was the soulful eyes of the labrador

I have kept the "feeling" behind this painting very soft and gentle. Anyone who has attended my workshops will know that I actually " stroke " an animal while I paint,  meaning I use my brushes in soft sweeping movements as if I am touching fur following the directional line of the  dog hair.

This will be a very special painting and I hope to share it completed once I know where it is going, as in which gallery.

I love painting dogs. I love imagining the bond between each character and their owners. You almost feel as though you are painting "love" because the emotions from owning pets are so strong and very magical.

For now I need to get back to work but I hope you like this watercolour portrait so far!


Friday, 24 January 2014

Umbrella Girls : April Showers 2014

" Umbrella Girls"

As it is pouring with rain I became distracted from painting my gorgeous Spring flower collection. I have been listening to the sound of the rain on my studio window panes. I liked the pretty rhythm it made so decided to paint a rainy day scene instead. A while back, I went to a friends wedding in France. We were all dismayed to see the rain start just as the wedding party arrived at the church. I was one of the photograhers,  so managed to capture some stunning images to work from  in my studio. Two beautiful bridemaids arrived in long,white satin dresses. They shared an umbrella as they left the bridal cars. The umbrellas were black in reality but in my painting I decided to make the umbrella white to match the dresses. And of course, gery as a background wouldn't be a believable "Jean Haines" painting!

Everyone who knows how I work will understand that I never use a preliminary pencil sketch. I find my subjects by colour alone. I started this piece with the negative outline of the white umbrella. Once this was in place I allowed pigment application to literally rain "over" the shape.  It was beautiful adding colour at the top of the paper and watching it fall around the white space of the brolly. I loved it! Next I dropped flesh colour tones underneath the umbrella and left this stage to dry before working further.

 Umbrella Girls
Stage1.Gorgeous colour falling around my umbrella shape on paper.

I love how viewers often watch my art progress when they cannot see what is in my imagination. I know what is going to happen or appear next but they don't and they are often mesmerised. Even in this blurred stage of my painting I can see the outline of the two girls. The eldest bridesmaid in the foreground is holding the umbrella for her younger sister.

 Umbrella Girls
Stage 2. Adding the arm.

I had a fabulous time mixing flesh tones to create a warm glow on the arm. This young girl lives in France so I think her golden tan was natural. She positively glowed with the beauty of young clear skin that teenagers often possess.

Umbrella Girls
Adding hair to the first  bridesmaid and then an outline for the first bridesmaid dress.

Sadly this young girls gorgeous face was completely hidden by her thick and lustrous hair but in a way this fact adds to the mysterty of the painting. I know  this young girl was beautiful but the viewer of my finished piece will not.  I want to work on the second bridesmaid next and maybe even start a new painting as this is such a delightful piece to work on.

I was tempted to keep this  painting for my new book or solo exhibition unveiling but I imagined if I am enjoying painting it so much maybe the followers of my blog will too. And it is a complete change from flowers!


I have to add my that new book is now looking so exciting that it is very hard tearing myself away from writing it! I hope from this blog post you can get a feel of how wonderful my next book is going to be. Full of surprises and gorgeous step by steps!

Spring 2014 :Winsor & Newton Watercolours

My easel full of delightful spring florals!
Winsor & Newton Watercolours

I love this time of year. While everyone around me  readily complains about rain or grey skies, I become emersed in my art creating paintings full of the sunshine I long to see. This is one of the most magical effects of being an artist. You can leap to any season, or the weather you wish for, by the touch of a brush. As I look out of my window I see cold rural scenes with a gloomy grey sky.  But inside my studio vibrant colour such as  Cadmium Yellow and Cobalt Blue alone or combined making stunning greens which leap off my latest  compositions. Bringing instant warmth into my life. I am working on an exhibition  so loving my new work which is full of energy carrying a fabulous "feel good" factor. I will share news on where to see my latest work in my next blog posts.

For now I am enjoying my own sunshine!


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A Touch of Turquoise : Winsor & Newton Watercolours

A "Touch of Turquoise" adding drama to an "elephant" in  watercolour

I read a wonderful email from an artist who loves my work, explaining one of the reasons why is because they "expect the unexpeced" from me. A lovely compliment.  I do love to opt for  the unexpected way of painting favourite subjects and I constantly search for something new in my approach.  Although, sometimes, I do re-visit past techniques as if  I am visiting old friends.

Readers of my first book " How to Paint Colour and Light in Watercolours" may remember my painting of elephants with a touch of turquoise on a mainly  warm golden backdrop. The stunning blue added impact and drama. It is a fantastic technique to add a touch of the unexpected to a familar subject. I opt for strong contrasts when using this technique and it always  works for me.

I have Spring exhibitions coming up so I am currently painting a new watercolour collection. I have been incredibly inspired by the latest chapters of my new book that I am loving working on. I also have my annual " Beating the Blues" workshop next month which is always one of my most exciting and challenging. I am already excited at the thought of what is to come in February. What a great way to feel at the start of the year!

If you are looking for an exciting turquoise shade to experiment with I highly recommend "Cobalt Turquoise Light " by Winsor & Newton. It is a superb pigment that works fabulously on so many subjects. Definitely a  "must have " shade for your palette!

Copies of my first book are available on and from leading art book stockists.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Selecting Correct Colours for Subjects

.Colour Selection for painting Iris.
Winsor & Newton Watercolour Shades

Choosing the right colour for a subject can be difficult for the new artist. At times it can be a problem for the professionals too!  Diving into any painting without taking time out to choose the right colour beforehand can lead to unrealistic and disastrous results.  Whilst my work has a loose style if I am painting florals or portraits, for example, I need to use the right colours to give a feeling of "truth" behind each new piece.

There are many watercolour products available with confusing lists of shades. But some colours I simply cannot live without.  So how do I choose colour for my subjects? A wonderful tip is to hold tubes of colour next to the real subject and compare the colour on the bands of the tube, finding one as close as possible to it.

Winsor Violet by Winsor &Newton is perfect for painting Iris!

I also liked Winsor & Newton shades of Ultramarine Violet and I have found if I add a touch of French Ultramarine Blue to either shade I gain an added extra sense of drama.

Taking  time to think before you even pick up a brush to start painting is as important as your brushwork. And it saves so much time knowing that the shades you are working with are correct right from the start.

So, match your watercolour pigments to a subject before you  pick those brushes up!


Spring Easel : Cadmium Yellow

Spring washes of daffodils using Cadmium Yellow and Cerulean Blue
Winsor & Newton Shades

This is the time of year when sunshine is lacking in UK which is why working in yellow is such a fantastic feeling. I add instant warmth to not only work but my mood, simply by opting for sunshine colours in my subjects. As an artist I can leap from country to country, season to season all by the touch of my brush and it is fabulous.

I am working towards my 2014 Spring exhibitions and I have an image in my mind of the gallery being full of vibrantly alive paintings that draw the viewers into each piece. There should be a glow and a feeling of energy in the room throughout the show. So here are two pieces I am currently working on and there may be a thrid to make this a trio of floral paintings.

I have used Cadmium Yellow for the centres, and because it is such a powerfully rich pigment it has allowed me to use my size ten sable to form petals without adding extra pigment on my brush. By using water alone, moving away from my starting point for the petals, I gain a more delicate result with the Cadmium Yellow from the centres which bleeds into the surrounding flower formation. If you mix Cadmium Yellow with Cerulean Blue you gain a fantastic spring green which harmonises perfectly with the daffodils.

I will be adding centre detail and finding petal edges next.

Artist Tip : This is a great time of year to stock up on on new watercolour products so treat yourself  to a few completely new shades and maybe give your palette a spring clean while you are at it. Whatever you do, keep your pigments clean and fresh so that this shows in your results which will be glowing with colour, fresh and alive.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Spring Flowers: Winsor & Newton Watercolours

"Softness of Spring"
Winsor & Newton Shades

I had a wonderful email  recently asking me how I knew when to use soft or hard edges in a watercolour. I must confess I seem to use this technique naturally now ,without even thinking, and maybe thats' a great stage to be at as an artist. For some reason my brushes automatically seem to guide my hand and as well as my thinking process while a painting develops. Which doesn't really help anyone very much if they would like to know the answer to the question!

There are so many explanations on how to use soft and hard edges but for me it is a matter of balance in a composition. Too many hard edges give the feeling of a painting created from a preliminary sketch, often with all the detail showing. But too many soft edges can sometimes lead to an abstract effect where the viewer of the finished piece cannot even tell what the subject is.

If you look at the above painting of Spring flowers you can easily see how  several  petals merge into the background and also into each other as  the flowers meet.  The soft edges give a superb illusion of movement  whereas the hard edges let you know where the petals are.

My artists tip is to aim to lose part of your subject at the early stage of a painting. As the painting develops the minute you can tell what the subject is without any further definition , stop! Don't worry about adding every single detail or outline. Be brave enough to just paint what is necessary to tell the story and have fun experimenting.

All of my Spring watercolours will be in 2014 exhibitions. I will share details shortly.

Arte Umbria : Italy 2014 Workshop Place Available

APRIL 2014

Watercolour Course with Jean Haines

 Due to a cancellation there is one place available on my course in Italy with Arte Umbria

Full details can be found via this link

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Stunning: Spring is Around the Corner

  Narcissi on my easel this morning.

 I love Spring and I know it is on its' way but I am leaping ahead to painting my favourite subjects of  daffodil, narcissi and primroses, as I have Spring exhibitions in April.  The joy of working on these stunning flowers is that there is an added excitement of all the summer flowers to follow. And I learn so much from this work. Every year I look back to see what I did last year to see if I have grown as an artist. I take the good parts of  last years' paintings as my strengths but take time to imagine how I can improve on my style and technique.

In my mind I have an image of a painting of narcissi that I sold in an exhibition last year. It was soft and delicate and from the minute it went into the show I regretted parting with it. Before I could change my mind it had sold o someone who instantly fell in love with the painting . The excitement on their face  is still playing on my mind. When I talked to the buyer they told me my painting had a sense of energy, life and sunshine in it that would always make them feel good when they looked at my piece in their home which is a wonderful thought.

Painting makes me feel good. Some subjects make me feel on top of the world and Spring flowers fall into that category. I only paint them at this time of year and exhibiti them in the Spring. So this is a time of year I really look forward to.

We should make the most of every season as they certainly fly by far too quickly!

Close Up of  my favourite section in my narcissi painting, so far!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Sunshine Inspiration : Primroses in Watercolour 2014

Cluster of woodland primroses developing in a new watercolour

I woke this morning to clear Cerulean blue skies and gorgeous sunshine. Its' amazing how just looking at beautiful weather can not only lift the spirits but it also makes the whole world seem like a far better place.

I had shared primrose paintings on my blog yesterday and they were still on my mind this morning. The Cerulean sky this morning gave me the idea of a delightful soft backdrop for a new painting of primroses which I started this afternoon.  I have been ignoring this particular shade on my palette recently but I am finding it perfect for mixing Spring "greens".

The first wash laid as a foundation was in Cerulean Blue and Perylene Maroon leaving a space in the centre of the paper for my flowers. I used my big wash brush for this part which I find so relaxing! Next I formed individual flower edges with my gorgeous size 10 sable brush which is perfect for this style and subject.

Finally I used my rigger brush for the fine detail around the edge of some petals. The painting still needs a little more definition to make it hold the "wow " factor but its' almost there!

Close up of petal edge detail

 Full details on how to purchase my brushes from my web site can be found via this link

I demonstrate washes for primroses in my first DVD "Amazing Ways With Watercolour" which is also available from my web site.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Looking Back and Forward : Primroses

Woodland Primroses

I love looking through my files at favourite paintings  I have created in previous years. I have happy memories of where I painted each piece and when. None of my work throughout the year seems as important to me as my flower paintings each Spring, which seem to burst with life  and a glow of  the sunshine to come in Summer months.

I have grown so much as an artist and each year I stretch myself by looking back to where I have come from in technique, with an added sense of excitement as to where I am heading.  I never want to paint a subject and feel " Thats' it, I can do this".  Its' the sense of adventure that fills my heart each time I pickup a brush that I love and the heady feeling when new ideas hit me. Many are doing just that at the moment as I work on my new book.

Spring Inspiration

Whatever you are painting  and at whatever level, always strive to be better as an artist. Never give up , keep searching for that extra special way to create a unique result that makes you love painting even more.

Its' going to be a brilliant year full of fantastic watercolours.

Happy painting!

Favourite primrose watercolour, almost complete.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Thinking of Spring : Narcissi in Watercolour

 Narcissi on my easel 

The weather is atrocious so I am doing what I always do, and that is escape in my mind to sunnier days in Spring via my brush.  I have Spring exhibitions this year in Hampshire and Gloucestershire so my next collection will be favourite subjects and new ones. 

Today I was thrilled to see my favourite white narcissi already in the florists. So I took the opportunity to start new washes today. These are such delicate flowers and yet listening to heavy rain  my creative spirit fell into the trap of using brighter colours to alleviate the greyness I can see outside my studio window. I will be sharing on my blog more regularly now that New Year is over so I hope to have lots of wonderful colour combinations coming up!

 Strong colour combinations forming the base for my new narcissi painting.White of the paper has been left for a few of the petal shapes.

 Happy painting and may 2014 be full of wonderful watercolours ,colour, life and energy,

Best wishes


Beautiful Narcissi in Watercolour