Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Patchings 2015 : Patchings Fever Strikes Again!

 Foxgloves on my Easel 
A group of ladies had to miss my demonstration at Patchings last week. As their coach was leaving during my presentation. So I painted a little private demo to show them how I work.  These foxgloves plus a few other subjects.

Patchings Art Festival 2015

I am home after a fantastic week at Patchings Art Festival 2015. Each year I think it can't possibly get any better and it always does. It was amazing this year. As I left my cottage in Hampshire last week and began the journey to Nottingham, where the festival takes place, I mentioned to my friend who was accompanying me that this would be my last year for a while. I felt perhaps I would focus on my painting and books next year. At least that was the plan! We arrived at my personal marquee the day before the event officially opened and started unpacking the car. Once the marquee was completely set up we headed to the hotel where we were staying to check in. Exhausted, but happy with how day one had gone.

Patchings opened on the Thursday and it was absolutely packed. Crowds streamed into the site and there was so much for them to see.  Immediately, I was surrounded by wonderful visitors who came to see me all day from the very opening right up until after to the close. I gave three demonstrations this year. Having been sponsored by St Cuthberts Mill who manufacture the gorgeous watercolour paper I work with.  When I went on stage in the St Cuthberts Mill main festival marquee the tickets had sold out and I began my demonstrations each day to a full house. 

( FESTIVAL TIP :  I need to explain here, that if you are thinking of coming to Patchings next year, please either buy tickets in advance to see me on stage or go to the information desk where tickets to each demonstration are on sale. Please do this as soon as you arrive to make sure you get a seat.)

I am used to being on stage now but must confess when I see  a sea of faces in front of me I always feel privileged, overwhelmed and humbled that people want to watch me painting and I aim to make my presentations as fascinating as possible. And different!

The Wasp and the Fly!
Everything started wonderfully for  my first Patchings 2015 stage demonstration. I loved the atmosphere and the audience. I was well into my first demo when I felt water running down the side of my face. The marquee was so hot where I was stood on stage painting under the lighting. As I was opening the show the fan adjustment here needed tweaking and was. But these hiccups can happen due to the unpredictability of the weather. I carried on painting ignoring my melting face as a fly landed slap bang  in the middle of my work. Laughingly I gently moved it and explained it hadn't bought a ticket to see me ! It kept coming back which was really funny. It obviously liked orange, the shade I was working with. But then something even more unexpected happened. I felt something moving in my left ear. More accurately it was moving, trapped in my hair above my ear. I had a head set on for the microphone so getting to it wasn't going to be easy. I assumed it was the fly again. But then I heard a familiar buzzing and realised a wasp was trapped in my hair and was wriggling to free itself. I imagined being stung in front of the three hundred people in front of me and also how I would react. I don't think it would have been calmly. But I managed to keep my cool and think about how I would get out of the  situation without distracting from my demonstration or spoiling things for the audience. I calmly placed the fingers of my free hand in my hair and quickly managed to flick the wasp backwards, free and behind me. Which was a huge relief until it dawned on me that was where the cameraman Bob was standing! Right behind me! Oops! I had unwittingly flicked the wasp right in his direction!  I turned and started trying to get the wasp away from Bob then quickly returned to my painting on stage.  As if nothing had happened of course. It must have looked rather comical but I just kept going as if it happened all the time. Looking back it really was rather funny!

I loved how the audiences came into my marquee after my presentations each day to see the true colours of my work. This colour can be lost on the large screen so being able to show the finished pieces in daylight really helped. I also adored the questions everyone asked me about how I paint, what paper I use and what colours are my favourites. I had lots of new tips to share and always will give these away as I discover them. Its who I am to share. And the more I give the more seems to come back to me. In art, warmth and friendships.

I do use fabulous paper. Saunders Waterford and|Bockingford and it does make a huge difference to my results.

My demonstrations were sold out every day. My personal marquee was constantly full and I sold out of my books which was fantastic as this was my new book " Jean Haines World of Watercolours" official launch. I am thrilled!

Patchings Fever!

I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am to everyone who came to see me. And after the very first day there I found myself making plans to return to Patchings in 2016. It is so magical. There is something about the event that grabs you by the heart, inspires you, lifts your spirits and makes you want to race home to paint. And as always I am eager to return. So much for a year out ! Its' the crowds that are pulling me back. Everyone kept asking me if I would be there next year and I found myself saying. "Of Course!"  My workshops are fully booked so quickly each year that here is a place people can see me working and get a chance to ask those questions re problems they are experiencing in their own art journeys.  And I love to help if I can.

On my return home, I have a million things I have to do this week and I have deadlines to meet. But I raced into my garden and started painting foxgloves while "Patchings Fever" is still with me! Trust me. There is such a thing as " Patchings Fever" and it is very addictive!

Special Thanks yous! 

To Chas and Pat Wood, a huge thank you for creating the magic each year and ensuring it continues, getting better and better.

To St Cuthberts Mill. Thank you so much for sponsoring my demonstrations. You are wonderful!

To all the Team at Patchings including the many volunteers who work so hard to make the event run smoothly, guide the many visitors and add to the magic. Thank you so very much for all your incredible help. You are the best!

To Paul at Daniel Smith. Thank you so much for laughingly coping with my enthusiasm about Daniel Smith watercolours . Please bring more Cascade Green next year and thank you so much for my Pimms. To everyone who was in my demonstrations, yes I did have one on the very last day after I had finished painting! 
To everyone who came to see me. Thank you SO much. Your kindness, support, words of encouragement and feedback are never taken for granted. 

To Lindsay, my wonderful friend who was my assistant this year. You were fantastic. I couldn't have done this without you and realised at times we needed at least three people selling to cope in my marquee.. How magical was that to be so busy! Thank you so much. 

To Search Press. Thank you for delivering  my books this year as I had such a large order. I am delighted to share the news that every single copy sold!

So the leading question is.

And am I really going back next year?

Oh yes! And I cannot wait. But having listened to all the questions from visitors this year I have something very special planned for my demonstrations in 2015. I am going to share dates and details of Patchings Art Festival 2015 in a later blog post but do keep June free so that you can come if you haven't already visited this very special festival. And do come back if you have. See you in 2016!

Patchings is  inspirational on so many levels.

Now I need to get painting!

Back to my foxgloves!

Sunlight lighting the foxgloves by the use of cadmium Yellow. Many tips shared during my demonstrations on stage at Patchings Art Festival are included in this colourful soft wash.
Do keep painting, experimenting and having fun with watercolour


Jennifer Branch said...

What beautiful foxgloves! They must have been wonderful demonstrations. Great keeping calm with a wasp!
I usually use Twinrocker but I'll have to try Bockingford and Waterford!

okielois said...

Got your new book from Amazon today to Broken Arrow Oklahoma. Hope I don't stay up all night reading.