Tuesday, 4 August 2015

A Hare Brained Tale

"Hare Brained"

Perhaps  go and get a cup of coffee to read this blog post. Sit back and relax and smile when appropriate!
Last week I held wonderful workshops here in UK. My courses are held in Hampshire, Jane Austen country which is just outside London and very easy to get to. I live in a rural setting and can enjoy seeing hare in fields around my cottage as I walk Bailey each morning. I love wildlife and adore painting it. On one of my courses last week an artist asked me to demonstrate how I paint hare. And so I worked from her resource photo and promised to finish five minute "one on one" step by step at home, to share on my blog. So that she could see what I did when working from my imagination.

I try to sit with every artist on my workshops for  quality " one on one" time at some point. To work out what problems they are hitting personally and then I can hopefully help them cross bridges in overcoming their hiccups when painting in a loose style.

Below is the few minutes personal demonstration I gave to the artist. Sometimes it is impossible for someone working in a loose style for the very first time to  work out where a starting point with their brush is. As there is no pencil line to follow in my technique. This demonstration was just that. Finding a starting point and stopping when we could see the hare appearing. Then of course detail was added. And their finsihed result was fabulous.

For this demonstration the starting point was the whole hare's face, not the eye for a change!

At the end of the workshop I addressed the group of attending artists with my closing speech for the day and asked if there were any questions. There were some fantastic ones. Some created laughter, some were thought provoking. But I am going to share one of my responses.

How did I find my style and have I ever been put off from painting this way?

Years ago when I first started working in watercolour I loved painting hare but always with just one ear or one eye. Don't ask me why. I just loved it. I felt my work said so much more with half the subject missing. It started with an eye of one particular hare I had painted that was so gorgeous I didn't want any surrounding colour or detail to detract from it. This hare brained idea actually led me to what is now known as my style. I loved it and my paintings started selling really well.

But at an exhibition one day, a highly respected and leading professional artist approached me to offer me advise. He told me I wouldn't get anywhere in an art career by painting one eared or one eyed hares. In fact he was so adamant I should follow his style and paint in a more traditional manner if I wanted to be successful. I remember feeling quite hurt at the time. And yes tearful. Because I loved his work way back then and respected him as one of my art idols. But in a few words he had shattered my bubble of feeling happy when I paint.

I returned home and thought about what he had said. He had crushed my artists soul.

But I continued to paint in a way that made me happy. 
And guess what?
 I seem to be doing okay! 
 Quite a few people seem to like Jean Haines books as they sell internationally, my workshops are always fully booked in UK and abroad and I am continually opening emails with fantastic invitations. I am also in galleries.

 The point of this story is. I paint for me. I have always painted for me. I paint what makes me happy. Not how I am told to. I paint from my heart. And I have ignored anyone from that day onwards who has advised me in a negative fashion.

So, to everyone who feels like giving up. Please don't!

To anyone who has been told they will never be an artist. Who says so? 
You are an artist by being you! 

Never let anyone crush your artistic soul.

And another point to close. Painting isn't all about selling, winning prizes or exhibiting. Or even being famous. Its' about creating and loving the feeling when you do.

Have you finsihed that coffee yet?

Happy painting and when I say that, I mean it!



Dees said...

The hare is so very beautiful....and so are your words of encouragement...
It some how made me think of JK Rowling and her story...she too was told she would never be a bestselling author and no one wanted to represent her work....
Your style is unique...I hope the man you mentioned will be a gentleman and tell you he was totally wrong one day...
I had a great cup of coffee with you ...
Happy tuesday!

Susan Crouch said...

Beautifully said (and painted!), Jean - thank you for your wise and freeing words.
Susan Crouch

Graciela De Luca said...

Muchas gracias por compartir esta anécdota maravillosa 💕

Anonymous said...

Love, love, love you! Your encouragement is amazing and your joy is contagious!
You've inspired me to follow a life's desire & I've had a wonderful year learning about & painting watercolor!
Many blessings & thanks, Janet

Glenda Prince said...

I have been following you for several years and will continue to do so because I love the way you paint and how you speak from the heart!
I have your books and DVDs and can't wait to get your new one. Please don't change your style; you are a breath of fresh air!!
Glenda Prince

ladywonderbrush said...

Thank you so much! My tea was great!