Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Glorious Spring : Feeling Alive

 Watercolour florals adorning my easel as works in progress

It feels so good to paint. I feel alive when there is a brush in my hand. Its' a feeling that I have grown to accept as part of my daily life. With the start of a new year I have taken time out to organise my studio, catch up on admin and planning plus paint.  But at the moment, I am painting just for me. These pieces are not intended to be in an exhibition or book. They are purely "me", me walking into my studio and painting for the sheer joy of painting and I am expressing the pleasure of doing so by leaping from one Spring floral to the next. Heaven!

I started this year with various experimental washes, then moved to small studies as a warm up to my larger work.  Today was a terrific feeling as I know I have finally caught up on some future tour management and emails. Leaving me some fabulous time to just move my brushes freely.

A friend is poorly so this  small bouquet is a " Get Well Soon" painting carrying a hopeful message for a speedy recovery. This was inspired by a small spring bouquet I created recently from a tiny bouquet of narcissus and hyacinth. This painting started life as a soft wash and the flowers were encouraged to "appear" in it.


  But I find working on small size paintings really restricting. It is only when I am stood at my easel, almost dancing to music that my paintings really take on a sense of life. In the lovely large painting  below daffodil heads are literally dancing in the breeze, which should be the painting title. I  am discovering where to put each new brush stroke by listening to what the painting tells me. Rather than racing to complete the composition in one go. I usually have a range of paintings from three to ten on the go at any one time. I have written about this way of working and why in my new book which will be launched later this year.

"Dancing in the Breeze"
 Free and Expressive, working on large paintings allows me to bring a sense of life into my work. Life that can be lost on smaller paintings.

So I am closing my studio today with that fabulous sense of " I can't wait to start painting tomorrow"

And what could be better than that. Having a whole new day of painting to look forward to!


Surrey Life Magazine Interview : December 2015

 Of cockerels, paint and parchment – An interview with Jean Haines

I have been so busy that I haven't had time to share wonderful news, interviews and exhibition updates. Here is a link to an interview I gave for the Surrey Life magazine. Thank you to Lizzie for an awesome day and meeting.



Sunday, 25 January 2015

Learning From Life

Daffodils from my garden

On my return from Australia last year I really thought I must have been jet lagged when our car first  arrived at our cottage. It was the first week in December and  by the side of the path leading to our front door were clumps of daffodils in flower. The next day I still felt tired from the long flight home but raced out to check I hadn't imagined what I had seen the day before. Sure enough, there were daffodils lining the pathways. I was amazed as this is the earliest I have ever seen them bloom. The next surprise , when wandering around our garden, was to see pale wild primroses blossoming too.

Unbelievable as it sounds the first clumps of daffodils are already way past their best. So I have started to paint them as they appear because by the time Spring arrives all my own garden flowers may have disappeared, and the Summer flowers will be on display.

But it is cold to paint outside and the frosty wind plays havoc with my determination to paint from life. But I have to. Why? I have become fascinated with working out which paintings of other artists are created from photographs and which have been painted from imagination or life. Sometimes we see similar things painted in similar ways. By painting from life I always have new colour combinations and  compositions.

For example, the group of flowers above had one bud facing  in the opposite direction to the three flowers facing me which were posing nicely for my composition. Several of the petals of one flower had been nibbled by wildlife. So in this piece, this isn't just me leaving areas to the imagination of the viewer. The sections left out  genuinely weren't there to paint. Nature actually aids my loose style more than anyone ever truly realises!

In the composition below a row of daffodils are swaying in the breeze. But I learnt a lesson from this scene. I have always found it visually pleasing to paint the heads of the daffodils all facing one way in the past, but of course they don't grow  this perfectly. The daffodil flower directions vary, buds appear amongst the clumps as the flower in a group blossom at varying times.

 "Spring Garden"
Work in Progress
I am still working on this glorious yellow collection and having so much fun because painting to me is sheer joy. It enriches my life. It isn't work or a chore. Its something I adore doing. And it is this passion that keeps me so very much alive and energetic.

But for now I want to get back to painting.

In yellow!


Don't take a Day For Granted

"Spring Sunshine"

Last night I went to the movies for the second time this week. There were two films I had desperately wanted to watch. One was "Mr Turner" which I felt would see me leaving the cinema with a strong urge to paint. I believed it would give me an insight into the masters life and the genius that he was, a glimpse into the soul behind the masterpieces. I left that night feeling deeply disappointed and I cannot define why. The scenery and costumes were superb as was the acting. But something was so badly missing. As an artist my life revolves around how I see subjects I wish to paint and the emotions that are with me while I bring them to life. I expected more.

How different my reaction last night. I went to see " The Theory of Everything".  I am not ashamed to admit I cried during the film on several occasions. I felt my heart seized with emotions throughout the storyline. The lead character was played by Eddie Redmayne and towards the end of this movie he had to work solely with facial expression to act. How one can say so much without uttering a word is incredible. It was during these scenes that I felt moved the most.

When I paint I say so much through my art and I know at times I evoke emotions, this happens sometimes when I am teaching and not saying a word. I feel the people around me and the room is often charged with words that have not been said. I can't explain this well. But artists from my workshops will know what I am trying to get across.

In life there are times when the unspoken words speak louder than when thoughts are given a voice. Maybe it is true that actions speak louder than words.

This morning I came into my studio to quietly paint and again I find myself emotional, thinking about the life portrayed last night. A man whose life changed due to a debilitating disease. How brave and how inspirational.

I realise fully how fortunate I am to have my health. I have the use of my hands to paint, the gift of sight to see. My ability to talk isn't as important to me.  I can paint to show what I am feeling but it is a gift I don't take for granted. And I love singing. I love listening to music too.

For those of us with all these senses we shouldn't take a single day for granted. We have no idea what our tomorrows will bring.

So today, and every day, enjoy the gifts that you possess. Don't take them for granted and don't waste them.

You are blessed.


Thursday, 22 January 2015

Watercolour Sculpting


This week I visited the Tate Gallery in London to see the Late Turner exhibition. It was, as I expected, absolutely incredible. Turner was a genius. His way of working with colour and light to create stunning masterpieces can literally take your breath away.

I loved walking from painting to painting, taking my time to enjoy every piece on display. When I came to the watercolours my eyes were drawn to the exquisite use of detail  layering above superb use of colour that depicted atmosphere so stunningly. I loved listening to the audio guide, which explained about the artists life and technique. The stories behind some of the paintings were fascinating. One piece was titled as though it was an actual port but no, it was given the name after another artist that Turner admired. He used his imagination so much to create scenes that were breathtaking in their accuracy of places that never even existed.

Last night I was taken to see the movie of this masters life. I watched "Mr Turner"  but my inspiration  truly came from seeing his original art. I came home energised. I couldn't wait to paint today but initially I was distracted by the flowers growing in our cottage garden. But my mind couldn't stray from the imaginative landscapes I had seen at the famous London gallery.

I wasn't in the mood to paint light colours tonight. I wanted drama, impact and most of all, texture. I admired the  way Turner created  texture in his oil paintings. But as a watercolourist I wondered if I was limited by my favourite medium. I am not. I have worked as dark as I can this evening and used gouache to form  light and texture in places on a painting of an imaginary landscape. In a way, you could describe this technique as " Watercolour Sculpting". A way of working that I used to love when painting landscapes previously. Building up the scenes using layers of colour that get stronger until the last touches are almost neat pigment. Which can be moved and placed to form textural effects.

This simple scene has created a sense of excitement within me that I haven't felt for some time. I am yearning to come into my studio tomorrow and continue experimenting but possibly on more flowing backgrounds next. We will see.

For now, I am grateful to a man who passed away long before I was born. Who I hope would be resting in the knowledge that he will inspire generations  to come with his art.

What a great legacy.
A true inspiration
And a true master in watercolour and art.


Book Signing Celebration : The Manor Hotel, Moreton On the Marsh

Spring flowers bring so much joy to our lives 

Book Signing and Afternoon Tea

at The Manor Hotel

Moreton On the Marsh
June 16th , 2015

To celebrate the launch of my new book " Jean Haines World of Watercolour" I will be a special guest artist at the Manor Hotel, Moreton On the Marsh this June.

This is going to be a wonderful opportunity for  having a copy of my new book signed and seeing some of the step by steps included in it coming to life during the demonstration.

The event includes a yummy afternoon tea  which  means home made scones and clotted cream will be hard to avoid. But I will cope bravely by sampling some!

If you would like  to meet me please book early as there are limited places.

Information via this link

Chasing The Shadows

Chasing the Shadows
Light technique

I thought it could be fun to share my " Chasing the Shadows" technique again as I find it so useful.

Here I have two works in progress and I have placed them on my easel in strong sunlight. I photograph this stage to record it. And then decide which areas of the composition to leave as white or lighter sections. If I swapped the position of these two paintings I could gain a different view of how  colour placement would effect the results.

This tip is so useful as a teaching tool in art, to work with the natural light allowing nature to help discover where to add colour next.

I discovered working this way by accident and as it works so well for me its' a tip I just had to share!

 Try it, its' fascinating.


Glowing with Life

Life And Times
Daffodils from my garden, coming to life in an almost abstract watercolour
WIP. Work in Progress

Its' cold. The temperature outside has dropped and frost covers the fields nearby each morning. I quite enjoy taking my Bearded Collie, Bailey, for a walk in this weather as it certainly awakens my senses. I always come back to my studio with a face glowing from the wintry wind. It is a time when using yellow or golds to welcome me as I enter my painting "haven" is a sheer delight.

Along the driveway to our cottage the first of the Spring daffodils are bravely making an appearance and, as always, I wish to paint them. But my style is changing each year. I find I much prefer the more loose interpretation I am leaning towards these days than the more botanical approach I have used in the past.

 A contrast of style on my easel. Daffodils painted with more precise detail on the left compared to my abstract way of working on the right, where flowers are discovered in a loose abstract background wash.

I love that there isn't a right or wrong way to paint. There is just " your" way. Whatever makes you happy when you are creating.

I am definitely very much still on an adventurous journey. Learning from my previous paintings and leaping ahead into the new. Yearning to discover new ways to paint, new colours and new subjects at every opportunity.

A host of golden daffodils
Paintings I will look forward to walking in to see in my studio tomorrow morning.

Life is good and I look forward to so many painting tomorrows! 


Saturday, 17 January 2015

Making it Snow : Snowdrops


It is so good to be back in my studio after such a long break.  I started the day by painting wonderful yellow washes for daffodil watercolours. But as the day wore on the temperature outside dropped and the colour of the sky changed dramatically. It feels cold enough to snow and the earlier warm sunshine has disappeared.

I left the warm golden shades and returned to a mix of violets, blues and turquoise to capture snowdrops in soft falling snow. Initially I worked around negative shapes for the white of the flowers,selecting interesting, cool colour combinations for the backgrounds.

Before I knew it my easel was completely changed from a yellow to a blue collection of florals.

Easel collection of snowdrop paintings

I honestly cannot wait until tomorrow morning when I can race into my studio and make final touches to these paintings, if any/. I had a ball and this is just my first day painting in 2015. I don't intend to wish my life away but tomorrow cannot come quick enough!


Beautiful and Free

 Beautiful and Free
Spring flowers coming to life on my easel

Its' started. That wonderful feeling of absolutely nothing being more important than holding a brush in my hand. In a new year that is full of promise with high expectations from my world where watercolour is my passion. Thrilling me with  brilliant new subjects and old favourites to return to, like seasonal florals.

I have already purchased my first spring bouquet of 2015 and it has been on display in my cottage.the scent from the blue hyacinth is heavenly filling our home with sweet perfume. I have daffodils blooming in my own garden but I am loathe to pick them as they brighten each grey day with their stunning golden yellow hues. They have,  however made me yearn to paint florals and my easel is now displaying the beauty of Spring in a variety of loose, free, expressive paintings.

 A display of beautiful spring flowers coming to life as works in progress, on my easel. Making me want to race to paint daily.

I had taken a break from picking up my brushes. Mainly due to the hectic Christmas period and then I was hit by an annoying burst ear drum which really set me back. There is nothing worse than those days when, as an artist,  you desperately want to paint but can't. Now, however I am almost back to normal ,and having a ball.

My New Years resolution is to paint for me, to keep my joyous freedom in painting subjects I love when I want to, and ensure I have the free studio time to do so.

I also have a gorgeous new project that I will be working on so I'm researching quite a bit at the moment for a future new book. I loved writing my previous three but this is a move in a whole new direction for me. Its' a thrilling offer that I couldn't resist. I feel the start of a whole new adventure to share!

Whatever you are doing have fun, and enjoy moving those paintbrushes or observing the beauty around us. Most of the beauty I see is free, provided by nature. 

Nature being the most fascinating of teachers for any artist.


Friday, 16 January 2015

The Artist Magazine : Beating The Blues Competition ; February Issue 2015

Beating The Blues
A selection of blues from my latest feature in the Artist Magazine

In 2014 , I ran several successful watercolour competitions in the Artist Magazine in a series called "Dancing Around My Palette". The idea is to challenge ourselves as artists to try new colours and use them in unique ways. In the February issue of the Artist Magazine I am running a new challenge called " Beating the Blues".

 Readers are invited to submit paintings showing  use of gorgeous blues in unique ways.

The prizes for this competition are really special. Because five lucky winners will receive the earliest copies of my new book. Whats' more they will also win front row seats to see my demonstration at Patchings in the St Cuthbert Marquee, I will be signing their books after the demonstration. Also they will also win sets of Daniel Smith watercolours kindly donated by Jacksons' Art Supplies.

For further details you can see information via this link

I will be judging so please knock my socks off with glorious blue paintings  and lets' beat the blues!


Welcome to 2015 : Belatedly!

Jean Haines
World of Watercolour
To be launched in June 2015

I can't believe it is a month since my last blog post. Where has the time gone? Thank you to everyone who has sent emails asking if I am okay. I am, but goodness life has been so very busy. 

I must  admit, several years ago a leading artist told me that if I had time to spend online then I wasn't busy enough in my art career or painting enough. I had no idea then that they were right. I have been so busy that I havent had time to add to my blog. Previously, I was online so much sharing my art on social media and I loved it. I still do, so this isn't going to be a time where I disappear completely but my life has changed dramatically over the last twelve months and I now realise that I have been juggling so much.

My New Years resolution was for me to take time out to think about what I want from my art. For the third year running I am unable to participate in art society exhibitions. Mainly because of working on publications and preparing for solo shows. My tours and workshops have also taken my time and I have absolutely loved each one.

But where does that leave me facing 2015?

Well. My latest new book will be launched this year and I will be celebrating by  demonstrating at Patchings in summer. I am also a guest artist in USA at the annual Plein Air Convention followed by workshops in Seattle at the Daniel Smith head office. I have workshops in UK and later this year I am on tour again in USA holding workshops and book signing events in New York, St Louis, West Virginia and California.  I'm working on tours in 2016/2017 at the moment. And receiving some fabulous invitations.

I am also leaping into a rather  unique book that is not related to my previous three. It is something that has come about  naturally and will see me totally engrossed working on it, but I am also needing to research behind each chapter. This will do me good as an artist. I need to stretch myself to grow and if readers are to love it I really need to spend time thinking about how I can make it magical.

But more than anything else. I want to paint. I want to simply paint just for me. For the sheer enjoyment of painting. And for artists who are desperately searching for a successful art career can I offer this little bit of advise. Think hard about what you really want from an art career. For me, I feel so lucky to be living such a wonderful life via my art but I am having to be careful not to let the workshops and teaching side of my career take over from my personal time painting.

Which is why this year I have limited my UK workshop courses. And avoided too many abroad. I apologise for none in Italy this year. But I simply needed more time to paint and write.

I am going to be popping on my blog, catching up on Facebook and yes, popping onto Twitter too.

But mostly, when I go very quiet , I am having a ball painting!

I hope you are too.