Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Deepest Pain

Sweet Dreams
2016

As a child when I was hurt or upset I would quietly paint or draw. I would escape into my own world to release the pain. I still do.

This morning started like an ordinary day, but I knew it wouldn't be. I had to take our beloved Bearded Collie to the vet for surgery. I have mentioned Bailey so often on my blog and on my workshops. He has been my loyal companion for over thirteen years and I love him unconditionally.

My heart is breaking as I type the news that my  lovable companion is no longer with me. During an operation this morning Cancer was found and the situation was far worse than we expected. We lost our four legged family member and friend, our sweet Bearded Collie this morning.

As in my childhood. I escape via my art. I can't bring my wonderful fluffy pup back to life but I can keep him near me via my brushwork.

My heart is aching so badly.

But I am so grateful for all the years of fun and love we have shared.

Forgive my personal heartfelt blog post.

Sometimes life isn't always perfect.

Dear Bailey, we will miss you with all our hearts. To everyone who loved my beautiful dog,thank you so much for loving him over the years. I am going to miss him terribly.







Goodnight Sweet Friend.


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Tuesday, 20 September 2016

There! Cat in Watercolour 2016

 Cat in Watercolour

There has been something stirring in my soul for some time now. I have had a feeling that has been unable to contain. I knew I was crossing bridges with my own personal art journey but couldn't and still can't put my finger on what really is happening. All I do know is that ever since I wrote my latest book " Paint Yourself Calm" I haven't felt the same as an artist.

I am calmer when I work. My washes are more exciting. I cannot wait to paint each day and each simple exercise from " Paint Yourself Calm" reconfirms what I know about pigment and how it interacts on paper. I think I needed to slow down. I needed to go back to basics and remember the simplicity of clean fresh pigment hitting water and all the magic that it can produce when left to play at random.

I am so grateful for writing that book. It has changed my art completely.

Like every artist who wishes to grow I want more from my own work. But in all honesty with teaching workshops in UK and abroad , plus exhibitions and writing I haven't had very much time just for me. Time to quietly paint and think about what I want to achieve. I spend so much time helping other artists that I have fallen to the bottom of the list in my attention giving. These last few months especially have seen me encouraging others on their art journeys to take time out and think about what they want to achieve. I needed to take my own advise.

I know I can paint but I also know I can be far better. 

This week I have been playing with small studies and experiments on painting cats. But in my head I saw something beautiful that just had to be tried on paper. A level of art that I knew I could reach but wasn't quite getting. In skill.  This afternoon I achieved the cat painting that was in my mind.  I am over the moon. The elusive result that I so wanted to achieve. I managed to achieve it.

I have always believed in allowing pigment to talk when working with it. I let colour tell me what it wants to do. And I love capturing light in watercolour.  Today I combined my washes with my subject and really allowed them to interact. I am really happy with this result. It is how I have wanted to paint for a very long time. I am finally nearer to my goal of where I want to be as an artist. The change is exciting and frightening because I am now setting myself new goals.And I believe we all should. Otherwise we accept what we know and never change.

Below is a close up of the cats head. 
I have deliberately used watermarks to create the face section.


Close up of the cats face in watercolour. The "once in a lifetime" perfect watermark exactly where it needed to be to create the ruff of fur around the cats neck.

I actually became very excited as soon as I started painting this cat. I played with colour in my warm up washes. As described in "Paint Yourself Calm". I liked what I saw had developed, so painted a cat wash immediately while the working colours were still fresh in my mind.

The first exciting wash is below.

 
First wash for my exciting pigment interaction cat.

I feel this is me, painting at my best, And I want to paint even more glowing paintings like this that are full of light and life.

Oh how I wish I had 48 hour days and so much more energy to paint right through them without taking a break.

This is exciting.


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Note

I recently fell in love with hummingbirds and for no reason started painting them non stop. I received several emails telling me that this was an exciting symbol of great change in my life. And friends have noticed my art is changing. I think the hummingbirds maybe were an omen. They feel " lucky".

We will see!

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Catalyst 2016 : Cats in Watercolour

 "Catnap"

Well that's it. I have been hit by the "cat bug" and badly. Every single wash or blob of paint that I create seems to lead to a cat painting like these two simple pieces. Which happened as if by magic.

I love " Catnap" above. My own cat Biscuit has been sprawled out all summer, sleeping with her legs stretched as far as she can stretch them. But now the days are drawing cooler she is pulling herself into a cosy ball shape when she sleeps to keep herself warm. She is a ginger cat, but my painting could be a Siamese. I have allowed the pigments to create whatever colour cat they wish to.

The little cat below really was just a run of colour that I added ears to and then whiskers.It was such fun to play with. But on my easel now is a huge piece of white paper and that will be where I now create something more serious.



"Catalyst"


I have a new found energy in my latest work. But when I am playing with colour on these smaller studies it will never be a "catastrophe" if they go wrong. On scraps of paper nothing really needs to be purrfect and a whisker of colour here and there can lead to the most stunningly simple of results.


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Thoughts for the day

1) Life isn't always purrfect and neither does our art have to be.
2) Whispers of colour can create something just as beautiful as bold colours.
3) Playing with colour can lead to some incredible new art ideas.

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Monday, 19 September 2016

"Patience" : White Cat 2016

"Patience"
White cat in watercolour

You may wonder why the title "Patience" for this white cat in watercolour. Well, the reason is that I am often asked to paint peoples pets. I don't accept commissions but,  if I love the particular character I am asked to capture in watercolour, I sometimes keep an image and when the mood takes me will paint it. And that is what has happened here.
A local farmer has a rather splendid white cat. In fact they rescue all manner of animals including a blind goat that keeps bumping into things. Understandably! But the goat is very happy. And white too by coincidence.

The photograph of the white cat I have been given is gorgeous but only half of the cat is in full view as half of it is in shade. The other half is in bright sunlight. This gave me many options on how to paint it but I opted for the above version. This grand creature is well fed and well loved. By the expression on his face Ifelt like calling this " Smug"!

I have painted two versions. This one will be going in a show at some point but for now I think I will just enjoy it!

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Monday Inspiration: Daily Washes

 Flowers seen from my studio window
Pigment still wet.

I must admit I laughed when I typed the title to this blog post. Monday in history was always seen as wash day but for different reasons. Washing would be hung on the line to dry. In fact a lovely memory came back to me about my stepmother as I typed this post. She was one of thirteen children who lived with their family in a mining town in Yorkshire. She used to tell me that being the first woman to have a full line of washing out on a Monday morning to show all the neighbours was quite an accomplishment. She would race to have spotlessly clean white linen on the line before any other woman who lived nearby. Each and every week and always on a Monday. Well she would be proud of me because before I walked Bailey, our Bearded Collie, today our bed linen was hanging on the line in our cottage garden but there is no one here to see it. It would probably make a great painting. But my Monday washes are very different and a lot more fun.

While I carried out my usual Monday morning chores of housework, dog walking and washing I thought about  what I would be painting today to start my week. I usually create three washes in different colours each day to act as a warm up to my serious painting time. But today I couldn't because my studio is surrounded by gorgeous summer flowers that will be fading soon as winter approaches here in UK. Days when I can paint bright cheerful flowers from my window will be gone and I shouldn't waste their beauty. Not while it is so abundantly here to view so easily.

So I decided to paint three washes of things that I can see from my window. With no cheating! I can see many flowers and I wanted different colours for each new wash. To make the start to my day interesting.

The first decision was easy as the golden gallardia flowers are still blooming right outside my window.

I started with a warm up wash of yellow as seen above.

 
 Wash 1.
Going further than a simple wash because I deliberately painted the flowers within the wash composition.

Next I needed a different colour flower for my second wash so I opted for blue. And I can see the last of the delphiniums flowering from my window. The wash for this tall flower is seen below.

Wash 2.
 Hints of delphinium flowers in shades of blue in my first wash.

My next wash now couldn't be golden yellow or blue shades. I wanted something completely different again. As a challenge to you I shan't say what this next flower will be , but can you guess? See the image below.



 Wash 3.
What is it? It is a flower but which plant?
Slightly harder than the previous two washes to depict but that makes the challenge of asking you more fun.


While  my warm up washes are drying I can now get back to my Monday chores. I will be bringing my washing in from the line, cleaning our cottage ready for the week ahead and making an appointment to take Bailey to the vet this afternoon. I also have admin to catch up on by email.  My exhibition opens this weekend and I need to talk to the gallery owner.

My life is busy but I wouldn't want it any other way. It means I am alive!

But the joy in creating these simple warm up washes each day is that you always have an unfinished painting that you can gradually add to and if you like it you can start another bigger painting on the same subject, having learnt from any mistakes in your first warm up exercises. You now know which colours you like and those that didn't work for you.

I did manage to add to my yellow flowers and I can share what additions have been made in this blog post. See the images below.


 Detail added to my initial wash of golden flowers seen from my cottage window.


 Close up of the detail added to my yellow flowers.

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Artist Tips

1) Make time for three simple warm up washes each day. You feel better if you have moved your brushes even if its only for minutes.
2) Look out of your window and paint the first three things that you see, each selection hould be a different colour.
3) Leave your washes to dry and work on just one, adding detail. Leave it for a while and look at it with fresh eyes later to see how to complete it.
4) Choose your favourite first wash and paint a much bigger painting of the same thing.
5) Learn from your mistakes. Everything that goes wrong makes you a far better artist. So make lots of mistakes!


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Sunday, 18 September 2016

Paint Yourself Calm 2016



With a solo exhibition looming there is something I need.
And it is this book!





Thank heavens I wrote it.

I will be using it every day creating colourful washes to ease the excitement of my forthcoming solo show!


Its' time to relax!!!






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A Brush With a Woman : Solo Exhibition 2016


" A Brush With a Woman"
Solo Exhibition
Windrush Gallery
Burford UK

My solo exhibition opens this week at the Windrush Gallery in Burford.
I will be giving a demonstration on the Saturday in aid of charity so please book ahead if you would like to attend. Everyone is welcome to the Preview on the Friday evening but again please contact the gallery in advance to let them know you will be coming.

Everyone is welcome.

For full details please see the following link.


 


"Something to Crow About"
From my solo exhibition

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Watercolor Flowers: New DVD 2016

"Tumbling Roses"

I know my watercolour flowers have been so popular on my blog posts and in my exhibitions. So much so that when I was invited to film four new DVDs in Cincinatti earlier this year with Artists Network TV I was thrilled to include one on painting flowers only.

You can see a glimpse of my new DVD via this link



I have to say I was so impressed with the professional team at Artists Network who  understood how I like to teach and get my message across. They allowed me to create a film in line with my workshops.

So if you would like to watch me painting flowers, or feel you are on a floral workshop with me, this is the DVD for you!


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Painting Sunlight : 2016


 "Morning Sun"
(Copyright Jean Haines) 
My cat in morning sunshine.

I walked into our cottage kitchen this morning to see my cat soaking up the early mornings' rare glimpse of Autumn sunshine. Our ginger cat Biscuit reminded me of Buster, her sibling that passed away due to Cancer earlier this year. He would always sit in the full sunlight, blinking his eyes making me think he needed sunglasses. He would purr loudly as he caught each warm sun ray on his beautiful face.

Following yesterdays " What Is It?" blog post I couldn't resist painting a cat again this morning and what better cat to paint than one of my own. So this blog post is a tribute to my Buster, a very fluffy and affectionate male ginger that had the most massive of tails. In fact when he was a kitten I hoped he would grow into his tail as it always looked far too big for his little body.

I loved the experimental wash that I created yesterday that was aimed for the bin. So this morning I started a new wash using colours to represent my ginger cat. I allowed water to flow freely through my initial colour application and began dropping in my darks for the tiger stripe effect of Busters fur. I allowed this first wash to dry then began to add detail.  

A blinking cat was a challenge for me  as I love painting eyes open. It would have been so much more interesting to add an open eye here but then the story would change. My cat literally did blink in the sun and was often seen with his eyes half open. I managed to capture that effect by working around a fortunate area of white paper. This tiny white section acts as the highlight of my cats eye. This can be seen in the close up of Busters face below.



 "Morning Sun "
(Copyright Jean Haines)
Close up of the larger painting 

I rather like the crop of the large painting so will probably try this in a new painting now. Of course the title will be "Blinking!" 

What is interesting about this painting is that it was inspired by a closing exercise in my studio yesterday which was on a scarp of paper destined for the bin and it is in the bin now. But I hadn't intended painting cats at all. I am working on several projects involving art features and not one includes a painting of a cat. But from here in I think I am back in love with painting these feline creatures. They are purrfect for watercolour pigment effects and I just feel a series coming on.

Watch this space!


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Saturday, 17 September 2016

Well I Never!

 Image 1. 
First Wash
What is it?


This morning I created a few warm up washes as always, but on one piece of paper I had literally thrown left over colour from my palette, allowing it to fall and dry where it wanted to. I had expected to put this piece in the bin to be honest. But when I looked at it later I could see something so obvious just waiting to be painted.

Look at Image 1 above. can you see what it is? 
Let us see how good your imagination is. 
Look for the subject in the above wash before looking at the images below.

If you can't see it I will add a clue in the image below.


 Image 2.  Look for the fluffy tail

 Having added a negative edge to make the tail I could see in this wash come alive I next added a hint of the back of the mystery subject found in my first wash. See below. Bear in mind this painting wasn't created with a subject in mind It just happened.

 Image 3. The hint of the back of the animal added.

The images below should now give more of a clue as to what is appearing.


 Back of the head added and the lower foot ( paw! )

Granulation effect in the wash which is purrfect for fur.



 Ears added 

And below a few whiskers
 
 "The Cats Whiskers"
To be completed.

Now the above painting isn't intended to go in a frame by any means but rather than throw it in the bin without showing you I decided to share it because this is exactly how I learn and gain ideas. From looking at my washes and seeing what subject is in them.These ideas form the basis for my many paintings.

And now of course I want to deliberately paint a cat!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. It was purely aimed at being inspirational. Working with a wash that already has blobs of paint in places you may not wish them to be can limit creating a painting worth framing, but it can still certainly wake your imagination up and lead you to new  ideas for better work.

Artist tip? Have fun creating and look in your washes for subjects before throwing them in that bin!


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A Request. 
If you find any of my blog posts inspirational and use the ideas from them could you please be kind and link to the original blog post if you share your work from them online, so that others may enjoy my posts  too? 
Thank you!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Wedgewood Goats : 2016

 "Wedgwood Goats"


Actually even the title of this painting makes me smile. I love the subject which is from my own original photograph taken whilst on a sailing trip around Turkey. We had stopped at a small village and wandered past all the buildings. Following a small track which was so pretty I came across these goats. I loved how the sunlight played on their backs and  my first painting of them was included in my book "How to Paint Colour and Light in Watercolour" A book that was so popular that it has been recently relaunched with the 50% more content that couldn't fit in the first edition.

On my workshops one lady in particular adores the original painting so much which hangs in my cottage. And she has always wanted to buy it, no matter what the price is. But I loved the memory and the original painting from my first ever book. Sometimes no matter how much you are offered to part with a piece you just can't. And this is one painting that has always meant so much to me. i still hav eit and it still hangs in my cottage.

But today I re visited these goats and painted them on a blue wash. In blue. Hence the title for the painting below " Goats in Blue". Originally the painting was in all brown shades. But I love this new unusual version too.

In the version above so much information is missing. The goats seem to be floating with no hints of grass beneath their feet. Below I have added ground to "anchor" my animals in the composition and I have strengthened the line between the two goats, separating them more strongly so that you can easily see where one starts and the other stops.


"Goats in Blue"

I never know what I will paint each day which makes racing to my studio so exciting. All I know is that I want to paint and having three washes from the day before to always work on stretches my imagination. Without this blue wash I would never have created my "Wedgwood Goats" and I must admit I quite like them.
And I have only used one shade of blue!

You can read about my daily washes in my latest book "Paint Yourself Calm" which helps lead you to paintings like this.


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You can buy the new edition of my book "Colour and Light" in watercolour via this link at a really reasonable price!



Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Learning : Roses in Watercolour



 
 Rose painted in my garden this afternoon

The sun is shining brightly and on days like this it is impossible to sit and work in my studio. It has been such a busy year for me. I've flown to Cincinnati to film four new DVDs which are now available from Northlight.com. I have been on tour in USA and Canada last Spring and I am about to head off my my Fall 2016 USA tour. I have held my workshops in UK and appeared at Patchings Art Festival this summer. At times I have felt as though I needed roller skates on to keep up with myself. Add to that a launch of a new book "Paint Yourself Calm" and my life does appear to be anything but calm career wise!

Behind the scenes I have had so much good news that it has been impossible to share everything on line. But I am touched and honoured that a very special painting of mine has been selected to appear on the cover of an international magazine. I have also been approached to write for several magazines, new and existing.  I have an exhibition opening next week at the Windrush Gallery. And as always so many emails to reply to.

 But the sun is shining and all I want to do is paint. And that is exactly what I did today.  I started my day in my studio with three very different and very heavenly washes that I cannot wait to work on further. Then I went into my garden and sat by my favourite rose which is called " Compassion". I watched bees hover over it. I observed a butterfly sat  on top of the soft, silky petals. And my favourite rose is the one I have captured in watercolour above. Quite simply, because the flower itself is simply beautiful.

As I worked today I had a phone call from my publisher. Even more good news. Can I possibly take any more I wonder? I don't know, but for now all I am going to do is paint and learn from nature. The best teacher there is if we take time to sit quietly, listen, look and think about what we are really seeing.

Summer in UK will be coming to an end soon. Days like this will be disappearing. I cannot waste a second. And on that note I will get back to painting!

Whatever you are doing, do take time to realise life is precious. Our tomorrow is never guaranteed. Nor our painting time. Paint when the mood grabs you and when your heart is begging you to.

I do.

 And its' pretty wonderful.

Happy painting!

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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

I have a rigger and I know how to use it!

 Detail added by using my rigger to form petals to a rose wash

I thought it might be fun and helpful to add this little blog post. I see so many artists on my workshops ruin a gorgeous painting because they race to complete it or they go in to add detail far to heavy handed.

Can I make a suggestion?

If you have a gorgeous first wash take your time adding detail.

Add one brushstroke at a time, making sure it is perfect before you race to add the next one.

The time while you are painting and working this way can be far more relaxing and the end result so much more pleasing.

One rigger brush stroke at a time will build my rose painting up. And if I stop to look at it after each new brush stroke is added I can enjoy the beauty of the rose developing.

Don't race!

Take time to " smell" the roses whilst you are painting them.

You can see the difference a few brush strokes makes to my rose painting above and below before the extra detail was added.



Rose painting before the extra detail was added.


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What I have Always Wanted : 2016

 Rose, a work in progress, painted in my cottage garden

It is funny but I had almost forgotten. Years ago I had always dreamt of living in a cottage with roses climbing around the front door. Well, we lived in Hong Kong and Dubai for a long time so this never happened. And we never seemed to settle. As soon as we did another move came into play and our new home became our old home quite quickly, and often.

But now I am settled and I am living in a cottage and I do have roses climbing around our cottage door. One has rather large blooms which until now I haven't painted. But one day this summer I sat outside and caught its' beauty in a first wash. Then something happened and I couldn't complete the painting. It was put to one side with my good intentions of getting it out to finish it that never happened. Life got in the way.  But happily I took the first wash out today and looked at it. With fresh eyes as you do when you have a break from something. It is lovely,glowing in colour and begging to be finished. As it happens the plant is blooming again with the last rose of Summer. So I can use a real flower to work from to finish the piece.

Whenever I paint roses I always aim to paint their perfume rather than the plant itself. And here I am doing just that.

I have added gently to the centre of the rose bringing this wish to life so that it makes more sense. Before the detail is added to a first wash it is like a loose abstract having no story to tell. Or at least it has a story but too many parts are missing. Can you imagine watching a movie where parts of the script are missing and you have to make them up? That is what a good loose painting can be like, or a bad one. A poor loose painting has far too much information missing so the viewer has absolutely no idea what the subject is. But a good loose painting leaves just enough information missing for the viewer to fill in the blank sections. They know exactly what the subject is and they love the mystery about it.

But when we are enjoying painting sometimes it is far too hard to stop. So we over work by adding too much detail, turning our work into a more realistic style where we have crossed a line and either have to go the full hog and add all the detail or give up.

Below is my rose so far. More detail needs to be added possibly but it has a gorgeous feel to it at the moment and it is making me feel happy to work on it.



Rose, close up of added detail


It is funny but I started this blog post talking about what I had always wanted. A rose climbing around a cottage door. But I realise that isn't what I had always wanted. I wanted a home. To settle in without leaving it other than to travel for breaks and holidays. I have a dream come true. My home is lovely and I love living here. It is a cottage with roses climbing around the door. And strangely, I think that is part of why I love to teach watercolour. It brings me so much joy, as I meet people who have dreams of their own that relate to art. To painting. And I want to help them reach their dreams. because there is nothing more satisfying than helping others. I am in many ways " opening doors" to a fantastic art world where anything is possible. As as I often paint roses , they are climbing around that "open door to a magical art journey".

So to close my blog today I have a few thank yous' to give. To some very special artists who have either been on my workshops or read my books. I have noticed on Facebook that you are mentioning me for inspiring you on your own personal art journeys. And I want you to know how very grateful I am for the very kind mentions. I know you are now inspiring others by how you are painting so this circle of learning goes on and on, with no end. If we give and share from our hearts.

Thank you, a huge thank you to everyone who has passed on how much they have enjoyed my teachings  whether it is in my books, DVDs, or workshop form. I hope to continue sharing for many years to come but people like you make me want to give even more. And I intend to!

Thank you!


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Monday, 12 September 2016

Anything Is Possible

The Magic of Venice

Many artists paint Venice scenes. And I have to admit the above scene is a favourite of mine to paint. I had always wanted to visit Venice and see the sights that so many famous artists before my time created. Pieces of art that inspired me to paint in watercolour. Paintings like the wonderful works by the master,  John Singer Sargent. These  always left me mesmerised. I wanted to not only paint Venice but I wanted to see for myself how beautiful this magical place is. And I did. I was lucky because my husband  treated me to a very special Wedding Anniversary there one year and ever since I have painted from my own photographs the visions that took my breath away.

Above is a new watercolour that really was my opening to this weeks painting time in my studio. This piece has,as always, made me want to work on more architectural scenes in watercolour.

On my workshops so many artists tell me they are scared of painting buildings or sights like these and yet in my style anything is possible. Actually, in my case, anything really was possible as I had always dreamt of visiting Venice and I did.

If you want something badly enough I believe it will happen. 

Just as being an artist or improving your art can  be achieved. 

Just never give up on a dream because dreams can come true.

And anything is really possible.

It really is!

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Saturday, 10 September 2016

Lupin in Watercolour 2016



 "Defying All Odds"
White lupin in watercolour


The second wash from my three daily warm ups today was a white lupin. You can see the first wash below on my easel before any detail was added.


 
 This mornings three warm up washes.

I began to add detail little by little to my first wash of the white lupin as seen above.
Below you can see I worked a negative edge on either side of my white flower to bring its form clearly to life. I also started adding detail to each individual small segment of the plant itself. I have used Cascade Green and Cadmium Yellow, with Cerulean Blue as the background colour to represent summer which this blue does so well.

 
Gradually adding detail to my first wash.

I love the small green buds at the top of this plant so they were added next.


 Almost complete but not quite.

The final painting is below. 



I have given this painting the title " Defying All Odds" because it is a summer flower. Despite the cold weather we now have it is bravely putting on the most wonderful display ever. It has decided it is still summer. And I not only applaud it, I have painted it to remind myself that summer hasn't completely gone.

Titles of a painting are fascinating don't you think? If you saw this title for this flower in an exhibition you wouldn't understand why it had such a name. But doesn't that title sound far better than " White Lupin" ? In itself that is a great tip. Choose interesting titles for your paintings. Don't paint something wonderful then saddle it with a boring name!

And now I want to paint a huge piece. A massive flower bed full of white lupins. That would be magical. Just painting three warm up washes then working on top of them can lead you to amazing new ideas. Never underestimate time spent on these experiments. I am convinced my art is improving because of them. And yours can too!

Time to paint!

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Berries in Watercolour 2016

"Fall"
 Berries in Watercolour

Following on from my previous blog post I have now added to two of my experimental washes. 

Below are the three warm up washes I created this morning, by choosing subjects to paint that I could easily see from my studio window. I should explain that it is raining outside so I am painting inside in the comfort of my painting haven rather than facing the damp, cold  English weather outside. 

Following my warm up washes I chose one at a time to work on further, taking each to a finished stage but I am also using these experiments as an idea for future work.

Below you can see this mornings warm up washes.


 Warm up washes. The berry wash has cling film on it to create patterns for foliage..

Once the wash of the berries was dry I added individual berries on top of my first wash using gold and red shades. This stage you can see  in the image below.

 Stage 2. Adding bolder coloured berries on top of my first wash.

Next I sat and observed the real berries outside. Their foliage fascinates me as it is turning with the approach of Fall. The leaves are yellow, gold, red and green and the stems connecting the berries to the branches are also interesting. Soon my focus was  moved well away from the gorgeous, ripe, round berries to the interesting shapes surrounding them. I loved adding leaves, then stems and finally more berries.

I am delighted with the result below but I can only achieve this effect by sitting and studying the real thing. Far too often we paint without actually looking closely at what we are painting. We race to add colour. We race to complete a painting. But we don't take time to simply look and that really is the most important part of being an artist. 

Looking.


"Fall"

Now of course I want to paint more berries which is the point of my exercises. To make me want to paint even more than I do already.

Oh how happy I am to be an artist!


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A rather odd close to my blog but I have recieved an email from a kind follower of my blog letting me know that an artist is not only copying my art but they are also copying my blog posts with very little personal interpretation or addition of their own unique material. They are recommending three washes a day, and warm up painting exercises like mine as their own original ideas. All taken from my books, blog and DVDs. Including my subjects. I am not going to contact or name the artist. But I will say this to them. When you use another artists material and publish it as your own you are not hurting the other artist at all but you are losing respect and credibility as an artist yourself.  So if you are reading this message, please try to share your own work and your own teaching ideas on your blog. In the long run, it is you that will benefit.


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Saturday Washes 2016

 Saturday warm up washes

When the weekend arrives I like to try to add something new to my usual painting routine. As everyone knows I always paint three warm up washes daily before I start painting more seriously. This gets me into my quiet, peaceful, painting zone where only I exist on my wonderful, calm planet. Helped greatly by the exercises in my latest book " Paint Yourself Calm"..

Now I wake and paint first. Everything else in my life can wait until I have spent one hour putting colour on paper. Just one hour. Or even thirty minutes if I have no more time on the weekend to spare.

Today I decided to paint three loose washes of subjects I could see from my studio window. Golden Gallardia flowers are dancing outside the window. Moving in the strong breeze so they were ideal. Next I looked in the opposite direction and saw a white lupin. I haven't painted a lupin this year so this plant intrigued me and was perfect for my second choice. Which left me with one more decision. I decided on the ripe berries of a plant  behind the lupin.

Below you can see my three first washes on my easel. These washes are intended to give hints of the subjects minus any full detail. Creating theses can train my eye for observation and improve my skill for choosing colour combinations. I can also look at the value of a good composition in each warm up painting.



 Warm up washes of golden flowers, berries and a white lupin.
First stages of a painting, times three.

Next I added detail to each wash to bring the chosen subjects to life, making them  slightly more recognisable.

Detail added by adding brush strokes that tell more of the story in each piece.

Next, I choose which wash appeals to me most and surprisingly  today it is the white lupin. The subject I least wanted to paint. As it is Autumn, I really thought I would get into painting the golden flowers or berries more, but this white flower was more of a fascinating challenge. I loved the light in the painting I created , seen below. And I like the composition too. Which is very simple.


 Lupin with more detail added to the first wash, gradually bringing the flower to life.

Below you can see the dry result of my lupin painting so far. It needs very little to complete it and I now feel like starting a new painting of the same subject using the same colour option.



Lupin in watercolour

No time experimenting or working with warm up washes is ever wasted, You learn with each colour placement and each brushstroke. Today I had a ball. And now I have a choice of new ideas of ways to paint what I see from my studio window!


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Optional Artists Challenge.

1) Take three things that you can see. Don't choose all easy things to paint!
2) Paint these three subjects  in a loose first wash telling some of the story of what you are seeing.
3) Add a little detail to each first wash then leave. 
4) Take your favourite painting and finish it but don't add to much detail or you will lose the spontaneity of your first wash "energy". 


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