Monday, 21 August 2017

Crazy: A different day.

"Grumpy Babes"
Swallow chicks in our carport from this year.

Today probably proves just how crazy I can be but it was not the day I had planned. I headed to my studio first thing this morning to work on all the emails I have received enquiring after my 2018 Workshop programme which I have to admit is almost fully booked already. I had then hoped to work on my book. But my husband came into my studio and told me I should check the garage to see what had happened. I dreaded the sight when he explained what it would be.

Each year we have enjoyed watching swallows return to nest in our car port. We patiently move our cars out of the car port each year so that the swallows may nest without us disturbing them or them making a mess on our cars. When the last of the fledglings has learnt to fly we happily move our cars back in the car port. The swallows have had two broods this year and as we thought they had finished nesting for the season we moved the cars in yet again. But lo and behold more nesting seemed to continue and we recently again moved the cars out of the car port.

And so, I have been watching the parents fly in and out of the new nest  and I have been eagerly waiting for the latest young family to show their tiny heads, eagerly waiting to be fed. Its actually the first thing I do every morning, check to see if all is okay. But this morning I raced to my studio first and missed the awful sight that was awaiting me.

Magpies have been attacking these beautiful birds all year but the swallow parents seemed to have always won and protected their young. Not so today. Their nest was completely destroyed and tiny bodies of their chicks were lain all over the garage floor. I was heartbroken. I gently picked each little cold form up and checked to see if there was any life in it but no.  I could feel tears welling up because I adore these additional wildlife family members each year.  But then something happened as I held the last but one chick. I held it in my hands for a while. And I thought I would try something completely stupid. before I knew what I was doing I held the little bird to my mouth and I breathed warm air into its beak. I know. I am nuts. But I just couldn't bear to see these poor little things lose their lives so horribly. I know nature is cruel but not on my watch it isn't. Believe it or not, the little birds tummy moved. I breathed into its beak gently again and there was a flicker of life.  I wasn't mistaken. It was so cold but it was breathing. I quickly tried the same trick on the last little chick and that too started breathing again. I carried both the chicks inside, wrapped them snuggly as if they were still in a nest and gave them some fluids, then let them rest in the warm.

 Shocked but recovering. Baby swallows

I raced outside to see if the parents were in sight but no. They hadn't been all day. I then doubled checked all the other little birds but they really had lost the fight. So now I had two little chicks, no parents to look after them.  Great. What now? My husband John was out. So here I was carrying a little make shift nest around trying to keep the chicks warm as I then started phoning around to see where I could get help. Our vet gave me the number of a wildlife centre and John kindly drove me there late afternoon where we were assured the chicks stood a really good chance of surviving. I am thrilled because I love our swallows so much and at least I felt I had helped.

Coming around and wanting to be fed.

We returned home and I have continued to look to see if the parents have returned. As yet there is no sign of them. I have been told once a nest is destroyed the parents rarely  return. 

What a day, I am exhausted from trying to keep up with all my emails, write and rescue.

But I can honestly say I have never given a baby bird the kiss of life before. And perhaps I shouldn't be telling anyone that I did.

But isn't this a nice change from all my art posts?

 Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned.
Perhaps when you walk into a hopeless situation you should never give up. 
Perhaps a miracle can happen. 

This is how I found one of the tiny birds. 
Cold and lifeless. 
But it has a chance now. 

I didn't give up.


Sunday, 20 August 2017

2018 USA Workshops Tour : Places Available in New Orleans and Hawaii

Colours of a Workshop

Earlier this year I held workshops in Florida and New Orleans and absolutely loved both locations. And in 2018 I will be returning as well as holding workshops for the first time in Hawaii which is really exciting. There are still a few places available on this tour in New Orleans and in Hawaii . How too book and who to contact is below.

Wow! This is a fantastic location for a workshop as it is above an art store which is owned by the most enthusiastic art store owners that you can ever imagine. I found myself buying and trying new products which led me to painting poppies in vibrant new shades and with fun techniques The first two workshops sold out so quickly that I have agreed to add an extra course which is now open for bookings. If you would like to come and have fun do please contact the store urgently.

The dates are as follows:-

February 2/3rd 2018 NEW * open for bookings!
February 5/6th 2018   FULLY BOOKED
February 8/9th 2018  FULLY BOOKED

Contact details via this link for full information and advise for accomodation


Gold Coast Watercolor Society

1350 East Sunrise Boulevard

Suite 113

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

Workshop 1:  16/17th January 2018  FULLY BOOKED
Workshop 2:  18/19th January 2018 FULLY BOOKED

Art Center Sarasota
707 N. Tamiami Tr
Sarasota, FL 34236

Workshop 1:  22/23rd January 2018  FULLY BOOKED
Workshop 2:  24/25th  January 2018  FULLY BOOKED


"Watercolour Inspiration"
 Exciting new two day workshops with places available!

Workshop 1. 13th -14th February 2018   BOOK NOW!

Workshop 2.  16th -17th February 2018  BOOK NOW!

The location is Akamai Art Supply


Please contact the hosts directly in Hawaii and New Orleans if you would like a place on these new inspirational workshops! 2018 is going to be the best workshop year ever!


USA and Canada Workshops 2017

"Colours of a Workshop"

USA and Canada 2017 Fall Tour

It will soon be time for my 2018 USA and  Canada Fall Workshop Tour . It doesnt seem that long ago that I agreed to make a return trip as the last tour was so successful, enjoyed by everyone ho whosted and attended my workshops and each course was sold out. Due to the wait list for places in each location I happily agred to repeat the tour and return this year. However, in each location an additional workshop or workshops  have ben added to meet demand and these have still sold out  Whilst these workshops have been fully booked for some time it is still worth contacting the organisers to be placed on their wait lists in case of cancellations. I will also be giving a free demonstration in Seattle where I try to fit a whole workshop into my talk to show everyone how much fun working in watercolour can be. I will be signing books at the Daniel Smith Seattle store also.

My tour dates for Fall 2017 are :-


Monday-Tuesday, October 23-24, 2017. 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
2-Day WORKSHOP: Watercolors  SOLD OUT

Wednesday-Thursday, October 25-26, 2017. 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
2-Day WORKSHOP: Watercolors 

Friday, October 27, 2017. 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
FREE DEMO: Watercolors

Saturday-Sunday, October 28-29, 2017. 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
2-Day WORKSHOP: Watercolors 

Monday-Tuesday, October 30-31, 2017. 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
2-Day WORKSHOP: Watercolors 

Seattle Store

4150 First Avenue South
Seattle, Washington 98134
(206) 223-9599

Please call 206-223-9599 to register for events



Two day Workshops:

November 2nd – 3rd and November 4th-5th, 2017 SOLD OUT

Please note a third workshop has been added due to popularity but this has also sold out.

Please contact Janice via this link to be added to the wait list for cancellations. 



Oregon Society of Artists

 I will be giving three twoday workshops in Porltand, Oregon. These have sold out but please contact to be added to the wait list in case of cancellations 




Bookings are now open for my 2018 workshops in USA.  Information will be added to my blog in a new post shortly.




A Brush With a Woman : Solo Exhibition Opening September 1st, 2018

 Framed Owl watercolour from the new collection
To be on show in my solo exhibition in September 2018

My collection of  new watercolours have returned from the framers and were all beautifully wrapped  for transporting to my studio. Today was the day I had planned to get to work unwrapping each piece, measuring, pricing and ensuring the titles were all listed in preparation for my solo show.

I often think we walk into galleries to admire art whilst the work  behind the scenes is really what needs admiration. Months of  creating are what forms the basis for a collection. Then the framing choices for each piece has to be right. In most of my shows all my paintings are usually presented in white wooden frames which show off the freshness of watercolour as a medium. But  I feel certain subjects demand far more from a frame. The above owl painting I know is one of my favourite paintings to date. The eye is special. Wildlife quite often looks wonderful in wood or darker frames and this piece was sheer joy to unwrap this morning. It looks stunning in our home so part of me is already thinking " keep it!".  But it will go in the exhibition as it has been used on the gallery invitation and been included in promotional features.

When I looked at all the wrapped paintings this morning my heart sank a little as the sun was shining outside and I would have loved to have worked in my garden. I also know tomorrow I will be sat at my computer  for most of the day working through the many emails I have received  asking about my UK workshops next year. Today I had no time to go through them and I know I have promised to reply to everyone on Monday, tomorrow.

So I reluctantly got on with my task of carrying each painting to be unwrapped, measured,priced and then re wrapped ready for the show. Soon I was feeling that heady excitement an artist often feels when they see their collection together. It does look  so beautiful and there are many " favourite pieces" in the collection. I will give a few sneak previews on my blog over the next few days, as time allows, for those who can't get to the gallery.

For now, just a few more paintings need to be unwrapped. A job well worth doing and I cannot wait for the 1st September when the collection will  be on show for the first time.

If you would like to come, meet me or have a book signed I will be at the gallery on the evening of Friday 1st September from 5.30 -8.00 p.m . I will also be at the gallery on Saturday morning 2nd September. for a coffee morning so everyone is welcome !

Here is a link to the gallery, please contact them for full information regarding the show or for your invitation to the Friday Preview event. 

Almost finished! Checking frames of paintings for my solo show


Saturday, 19 August 2017

UK Watercolour Workshops 2018 : How To Book

My Cottage Garden
Hard work but so worth it!

Open for booking now!

Following on from my last blog post I would like to explain how booking for my UK Watercolour Workshops is working this year.  In the past, I had a fabulous PA, Christine, who kindly sent out  my UK workshop programmes to everyone who was on my email contact list. Christine retired last year but we both realised that places on my courses were sold out long before I even had the chance to advertise them.  Because of this situation I have been inundated with emails over the last few years from artists and newcomers to my work asking me "How on earth do people get a place on your workshops?" There has even been a joke recently that getting a place on my workshops is similar to getting tickets at Glastonbury, such is their popularity!

It is true my courses in the past have sold out the minute dates have been announced. I do put my all into each course and I'm not happy unless everyone attending has left feeling 100% inspired from my sessions.

But this year I am doing things very differently. To give everyone a fair chance at getting a place I have told everyone to keep en eye on my blog for  UK workshop announcements. The programme of 2018 courses has now been formed and is ready to be sent out to anyone who is interested in coming to one of my courses. If you are reading this you are among the first this week to hear about my next years programme.  But I have already been inundated with messages and as I am handling the bookings personally it is taking me time to even forward the workshop list and from Monday next week I will have contacted everyone who has contacted me so far. 

How to find out what courses are available?
There are a limited number of two day and one day courses available in 2018 in April, May and August. Because I travel for my international courses and exhibit , my time to teach in UK is now getting less each year.
 Email me as on
You will be sent a workshop list with all the information you need on courses, dates, fees and location. 

How do I select a course?
 Choose a course that appeals to you most of all. But bear in mind all are intended to be exciting, highly inspirational and motivational.

 What level of artist do I have to be to come?
 My workshops appeal to everyone. I have many professional artists come to me because they have lost the buzz when they paint. All their enthusiasm has been lost so I give them a boost, a renewed energy bringing back the joy in their approach to painting. Beginners come too and they love being introduced to the fantastic world that is watercolour. So everyone is welcome but do mention when you book a course if you are new to painting, as it will help me guide you to your best workshop selection choice.

Should I be nervous?
Absolutely NOT! 
If you come on one of my courses in minutes you will be at ease and I can safely say that I'll help you relax and love painting.  

How do I pay ?
Once you have selected your  workshop you will be sent a second  email with paying options and only when this  payment has been cleared your course  and place is confirmed. 

Cancellation Fee and Refund Policy
Please read this carefully if you are thinking of booking a course.  In the past I have been really generous by either not having a cancellation fee or refund policy in place but it hasn't worked for several reasons. Full details are now given at the time of booking.


So next week I will be contacting everyone who has already got in touch or who is still to contact me.

Stage 1. Email me for course details
Stage 2. Email me your workshop choice
Stage 3. Pay to confirm your booking.

As simple  as one,two,three!

So if you haven't contacted me already, please do so now!
Title of your email:  UK Workshops 




Thursday, 17 August 2017

UK Watercolour Workshops 2018

Jeans cottage garden full of gorgeous  flowers and wildlife just waiting to be painted!
Hampshire, U.K. 

I know everyone has eagerly and patiently waiting for me to announce next years UK workshop programme.Well I have good news! It is ready and bookings will be open from next week. Booking is very different this year. In the past  everyone on my email list has received early notification about my upcoming workshops before they were published online. This meant my courses were virtually sold out before many newcomers even knew about them. To be fair , I have changed the way bookings are taken. Now everyone gets the news at exactly the same time and has the same chance to gain a place. I laughed when an artist recently commented that getting a place on my UK workshops is almost like getting tickets for Glastonbury! But here we are.

Location : My workshops are always held in 

Winchfield Village Hall
Station Hill
RG27 8BX 

Accommodation : There are many local Bed and Breakfasts nearby, plus hotels easily found online.

Courses: There are one and two day courses available but as always, places are strictly limited on each to ensure everyone has my personal attention throughout the session. Each workshop is aimed at being highly motivational and inspirational. The idea is to leave eager to paint when you return home or to your studio!

Dates : UK Workshops  run in April , May and August 2018 .
Full details will be sent with course descriptions and workshop fee to all interested artists on application for a place..

Depending on weather,  the two day workshops may include a visit to my garden after the first days session. 

So what do you if you wish to book a workshop in UK with me next year? Email me straight away!

Please note, all bookings will be taken by me personally by email. On a first come first served basis. No booking is confirmed until full payment has been cleared.  And please read the refund policy before signing up.

Contact me now on


Hampshire is a beautiful place to visit so accompanying non artists usually have a terrific time and are welcome to join us on the two day workshop get together after class.


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Brush With a Woman Exhibition Collection 2017

 "Badgering On "
Original Watercolour
Size : W70cms x  H60 cms

Solo Exhibition at 
81, High Street,
RG29 1LB 
 Tel : 01256 701082 

My solo exhibition opens at the Frame Gallery on 1st September 2017 with a preview event to celebrate this exciting new body of work. there will be favourite subjects in the show but as always, often only one of each subject. The above is the only badger in the collection and it is a beauty. The claws, eye and fine detail bring this wonderful animal to life. Badgers have always been close to my heart and I watch them regularly, usually at dusk. Magical, magnificent and a sight to behold.

To see or purchase this original painting please contact Jan at the Frame Gallery.

Please note: Paintings can be reserved in advance as favourite subjects tend to go quickly.


Something Out Of Nothing

A colourful accidental blob of colour turns into a posy of red flowers 

A wonderful start to my day was a call from my publishers to go through the early proof of the first half of my new book.  I had previously sent off my text and images and my ideas for the initial lay out, and the publisher has come back with the look and feel of the book as it will be when the book is published. There is something so very exciting about this stage of writing. The book has taken a life of its' own and is looking so gorgeous already, that writing the next chapters is all I want to do at the moment and with no workshops for the next few weeks my focus can solely be on writing and putting the next temptingly pleasing demonstration sections together.

I usually stretch myself too thinly between teaching, exhibiting and writing when my I know that my heart purely wants to paint. And it has taken me some time, and courage to back away from teaching in UK for a whole year to simply do just that. Paint. But my art work is now so much better and I have so much more to share. I love the description that we, as humans, are like cars, and we can't run on empty.  Whilst I admit that I wasn't running on " empty" with inspiration, I wasn't giving myself enough free time to " top up my inspirational tank" to research new ideas. I have done that now and feel so much better for it!

However , back to my book. Towards the end of the discussion on changes to be made I walked to my easel and allowed colour  to run over a scrap of paper. I let this colour dry completely while the conversation began to close and slowly, bit by bit, afterwards I added shapes where I could see them in the original red " colour blob". 

My garden must be continually on my mind as small flowers and individual petals emerged with encouragement from my brush work and colour additions.

 Colour blob before too many detail of flowers has been added

It is strange how something can be made out of  nothing. Just a random red wash.
A throw away piece, just playing with colour, relaxing. Thinking about nothing else in the world. 
Just finding that time to unwind and simply paint no matter what the painting is.




And a break.

But now its' time to paint seriously again and work on my book.

I'm looking forward to it! 


Artists Tip for the day

 Don't take yourself too seriously when you paint. Allow yourself to just play with colour now and then. You may discover something new, you may just love the freedom of playing and most of all, you will be moving your brush minus the pressure of always having to paint a serious piece.

Monday, 14 August 2017

My Life Is In Your Hands

Sweet Pea flowers appearing in the first stages of a new watercolour composition

This week I sent a very long reply to an email I had received and as I pressed send I realised I should possibly share some of my response. Purely because it may be helpful to other artists, art teachers and beginners to painting. 

The email title that I received was " My life is in your hands"  and the message had landed in my junk mail. I get so many messages daily that I do look through and delete any that may appear to be spam. I am afraid with this title I was on the point of deleting it when I realised the message was completely genuine. It wasn't asking for money or a donation. It was sincerely asking for my help as a professional artist. The message was long but it explained why it had been written. To ask my help for the sender to become a professional and successful artist. I was asked to guide them to making a career from painting. Which was a compliment as the sender admired my art and my own career.

Bearing in mind that I didn't know the sender or hadn't met them on a workshop, my advise in one way could only be limited . But I took time to absorb what they were asking of me. I slept on my reply and then responded. Basically, this is how I feel so I am sharing my advise here on my blog too.

Success comes from hard work at any skill, which means you need to take time to learn. Success isn't an instant thing that anyone can simply achieve because they hold a desire to be famous or indeed successful. It takes far more than simply wanting that goal to reach it.

I need to explain that in my case I do not see myself as , nor did I aim to be, a famous artist or indeed one that is necessarily successful.  I do what I am passionate about and I share my passion for working in watercolour. It is this love, and this love alone that I feel has aided me in reaching the point in my career where I am now. And because of my journey, and how much I have loved it, I am in a very good position to help others reach their goals or make their dreams come true. Which I try so hard to do with my books and  on my workshops.

But what is success? Is it making money from a career or being happy? Or ideally a combination of both.  I don't see what I do as a job. I see painting as a wonderful way of enriching my life. But what happened from my own time spent painting over the years has led me to a fantastic place in life where I enjoy meeting people from all over the world on my courses . And invitations  keep coming in for me to hold more at home in UK and internationally. Also, I love writing my books hoping to inspire others.

 I advised the sender of the email to take time to consider where they want to be and how they are going to get there. I explained this point clearly. I fear when anyone places their focus on success alone, they may miss out on the joy of creating because the pressure they place on their shoulders to sell art or be famous can overtake it. Which is the complete opposite to my of working which is to be consistently passionate about painting. I believe if you love your own art, as in you love creating it and enjoy  striving to be better each time you paint you will eventually get somewhere as an artist.

Many people simply paint because they love painting. And that is  wonderful.

But if you want to be successful as an artist professionally here are my tips.

1) Study from the best artists whose style you admire. Really study from them including looking at how long it has taken them to be successful in their careers. You should find their success hasn't happened over night.

2) Practise. Practise non stop and keep finding ways to improve your art. Never be satisfied, always want more from yourself.

3) Be unique. This is the most important tip. In my early years of exhibiting, galleries used to tell me they had turned away other artists who seemed to be too much like me. Their answer to the new artist to the  gallery was " We already have one Jean Haines , sorry" which sounds harsh but it was true. You need to be yourself, original and interesting which leads me to my next tip.

4) Be you. Find your own style. Yes there are many artists out there already painting everything in so many ways but I honestly believe that style is a huge part of who we are so let your personality shine and realise there is only one you and that is who a gallery wants to see. You.

5) Never give up. No matter what happens if your dream is to be successful keep fighting for that dream to come true.There may come a time when you need to face the fact you should follow another path but there are many roads to a successful career in art and you may just be on the wrong one.

6) Take rejection on the chin. It happens to everyone. Not every person that you meet is going to like your art. Accept it and realise that you too might not like their idea of a great painting!

7) Understand that success isn't given to you on a plate.  You have to work really hard for it.

8) Finally.  As much as other artists can offer you advise, it may not be the advise you want to hear. Have confidence in your own judgements. And your own ability.

I must admit I was really concerned to read that someones life was in my hands regarding their art career. But we never know what is happening on the other side of a computer screen and this artist asked for and needed my help. I hope I gave it well.

Keep painting. keep loving moving your brushes and keep looking for ways to make your work even more interesting.

For now I am getting back to painting the sweet pea flowers seen at the top of this blog post. I can't wait to finish them!



Saturday, 12 August 2017

A Brush With a Woman Exhibition 2017 : SOLD

"Taking Flight"
Blue Tit in Flight
Painting from my next solo exhibition 2017

It's started happening already! 

My next solo exhibition takes place in September and already I have received interest in favourite subjects long before the show has even opened. The above painting of a blue tit in flight has been reserved before the show as someone really loved it and desperately wanted to make sure it was theirs. This happens quite often with my shows as collectors seem to know there might only be one of each subject such as hare or wildlife.

I do have some fantastic pieces in this new collection and everyone is welcome to attend.  But if you are after a certain favourite subject please keep an eye on my blog as I will share some of the paintings with full details from time to time before the show so that you can get an idea of what will be available and for sale.

If you wish to come to the Preview Evening please contact Jan, the owner of the gallery for an invitation. Please bear in mind you will be most welcome, I will be there and happy to sign books and greet you.


Finland 2017

Interview in Finland

I am home from a wonderful trip to Finland where I taught two sold out workshops. Beautifully hosted and organised by Gunvor  Sarelin Sjoblom. My time their literally flew by and I met so many wonderful people. I really would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended my courses there but a huge special thank you must go to Gunvor because this idea was her " baby".

Gunvor attended my workshops in UK last year and loved them so much that she invited me to hold workshops in Finland where she lives. At first I thought my schedule for 2017 was already so tight that I held back on accepting the proposal. But finally I realised I had a one week slot available and gave these dates to Gunvor. That was it! From there everything was arranged as in venue, and artists started to book one of the two courses.  Both workshops sold out and had wait lists for cancellation places.

When I arrived I was thrilled with the teaching venue, full of natural light and every artist had plenty of personal space to work.  I loved each group so very much. I have to also say this is the first time a group of artists broke into song whilst I was demonstrating. The atmosphere was happy and light and so magical.

All too soon it was time to return to UK and I have some lovely photographs to share when I have more free time but right now I am desperately catching up in my studio. I have many new invitations for workshops to reply to. It never ceases to amaze me that just one person wanting me to visit their country can be as wonderfully effective as this last week in Finland.

Gunvor was that one special person on this trip who made things happen. A dream come true.

Thank you Gunvor and thank you to every artist making my first teaching trip to Finland so fantastic!


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Finland Workshops 2017

 Just a note to explain that I leave tomorrow for my fully booked workshops in Finland so my blog may fall quiet until I return. It really has been an incredible few weeks with guests arriving here from Daniel Smith in USA and also last weekend I was at a wonderful event with my publishers where I was honoured with such glowing compliments about my books, very humbling and really so heart warming.

I have so much to share but as days pass so little time to share recently. From new paintings. terrifically exciting ideas on new ways to work in watercolour, new colours and products and oh so much more. But I will try to catch up when I come back.

So all I can say for now is

"Watch this space!" 

But even more importantly can I thank everyone, for following my blog, for encouraging me on my art journey and for liking my art. I am a watercolour addict. I will never change but I love that I am offered so much support and love from so many people worldwide. 
Thank you!


The Joy of a Cottage Garden : Hollyhocks in Watercolour

 Hollyhocks in watercolour
Painting in my garden in soft afternoon summer light.

Yesterday was one of those glorious days where you just know you simply have to paint outside. The sun shone in the late afternoon as clouds cleared from what had started out to be a grey day. In our cottage garden is the tallest of hollyhocks in a stunning dark colour. I have eagerly awaited the first blooms to appear on this stunning plant , but a stream of guests meant that my painting time dwindled rapidly.

But I had that luxury of being able to sit outside in sunshine yesterday and aimed to capture the silky petals of this almost black flower. I love hollyhocks. The best I have ever seen, or at least the most memorable have been in Monet's garden in Giverney, France. Painting this flower in my own garden took me back in time to that fabulous visit and memory where I was so inspired by my hero, an artist who has greatly influenced my own personal approach to creating.

 The photo below shows the soft afternoon sunlight. Isn't it beautiful? Now imagine this with birdsong and butterflies hovering around me as I worked.

 Hollyhocks in my garden and my painting of them.

 Below you can see the flowers I am creating in watercolour. In some lights they appear to be almost black in colour.

Hollyhock close up.

I think in life we often have to grab moments of beauty, sunshine and calm when we can.

And yesterday was one of those moments.

Happy painting.


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Leaping Into a New Journey With Colour

Abstract colour flow experiment
Butterfly wings appearing in an exciting new approach to painting with watercolour

I think it happens to all artists after a long period of painting in a similar way. 
We want more.
 More excitement, something out of reach in technique . 
Something new. 

Although I like to think I am always experimenting, I do feel that right now I am taking a massive leap in my approach to working in watercolour. I am moving in a fabulous new direction. Or perhaps my "friendship" with my favourite medium is guiding me towards reaching an unknown destination.

I had started making small changes with colour application and watercolour techniques on my workshops. These new ideas not only had artists on my classes fascinated but I too, left each course eager to take my colour work ideas further. But only when I had the luxury of time in my studio. I knew I needed thinking space, quality free time and peace to evolve the initial ideas in my head into something more fruitful. I have that luxury at the moment. This year I took a break from teaching to write my new book. In fact I have two contracts to write two new books , not just the one I am currently compiling. There are different products and ideas appearing in each new publication.

But while writing and thinking carefully about what I would like to see in an art bookas a reader, a thought has been niggling me on what I use and why. How I apply colour is an area I have been changing drastically. Yes, my water use is vitally important as well. But the ratio of pigment and water combination is an area that I have been playing with rather a lot recently. Leading to some amazing outcomes. I know as artists we must understand we will never " know it all". There is always something to learn, just as there is in life.

This morning I took my Daniel Smith watercolours and tried something completely new. I am not ready to share this painting method yet because if it doesn't work consistently or isn't easy to follow when I demonstrate there will be no point in teaching it. But my new way of painting truly is the most exciting way of creating that I have come across in a very long time.

The above first wash is created with pure watercolour and water. The dynamic colour effect is due to the water application. And I can't wait to work on this piece further when it is dry. I know now what the subject will be but this painting will be created keeping the atmosphere and abstract effect. 

I have been photographing butterflies non stop lately so it isn't a surprise that I can see one already appearing in this abstract. The wings of one are almost there. Although this wasn't the goal or original intention. The wash was just an experiment in colour work.

The nicest part of this particular colour project was that my friends Katherine and John, from Daniel Smith visited my home yesterday. And studio. I showed them my new work and colour experiments I have been recently covering and loved their enthusiasm and excitement at my results. When you are connected with people who are as highly passionate about colour as you are it is so lovely to discuss and debate the endless possibilities that shape how we all paint and enjoy creating.

This work and new art journey is magical, energising and soul lifting. Can I wait to get started painting each day now?. 

You bet I can't!

Brushes, colour, here I come.


Artists Tip for the Day?

Don't accept there is only one way of doing things. There are known paths in art that have been travelled before. And there are destinations you never knew existed. 
Be an adventurer when you paint. 
An explorer into the unknown!


Monday, 17 July 2017

On Angels Wings : Butterfly in Watercolour

"On Angels Wings"
Butterfly in watercolour

I am participating in the Butterfly Count at the moment here in UK which means taking time out to count the butterflies I see in a specific amount of time. The number of butterflies I am seeing range from twenty to well over forty, depending on the weather and where I am  daily. In my own garden I see more than when I am anywhere else it seems and I am now learning about the varieties, some of which I have taken for granted for years without sadly knowing their name. I thought I knew what a "Comma" butterfly was until recently. I had gotten it confused with another kind but now I do know what they are and I am painting them. 

The above painting is of a "Comma" butterfly which was sat on a tall purple verbena plant outside my studio door. Very handy for photographing and for getting quick colour swatches to work from!

I have given so many demonstrations over the years and my butterfly paintings have always been extremely popular as subjects. But now I am taking time to sit still and study butterflies for longer period of times perhaps it is only natural that my art of them should improve.

I am having a ball so I have a feeling more butterfly paintings will follow.

How glorious summer is when you can paint outside with the sun on your shoulder and enjoy life!

Artist sTip of the day?

Get out and learn from nature. Admire it. Study it. And paint what you see!



Saturday, 15 July 2017

"Hare Less" Hare in Watercolour

"Hare Less"
Hare in watercolour 
Copyright Strictly Jean Haines

I am back to what I love painting most of all. Wildlife and ,of course, this means hare. These wonderful creatures have brought me so much luck in my art career. So much luck in fact that when my husband asked me to paint a gift for a friend I knew exactly what the subject would be. Something that brings luck. John rarely asks me to paint anything for friends but on this occasion the friend has been so wonderful to us that the gift choice seemed right and we know they love my art as they have a small collection purchased from galleries and exhibitions.

The fact this painting will not be in a show may disappoint the galleries who represent me as they have been asking for more of my hare paintings recently. But more will follow. This one will bring me luck too I feel.

For now this special piece will be given to someone who I know will love it.

I see wildlife regularly and always watch fascinated. But I fear  without protection this natural sight of wild animals, that I grew up surrounded by, may be a thing future generations see less and less of. As their natural habitat is removed for more hosuing for humans and the awful wildlife crime that destroys it so inhumanely. 

For now I will take in the beauty of this hare, less in a painting is more in my eyes. But more hare to see would be magical.

Happy painting


Friday, 14 July 2017

Summer wouldnt be Summer without ? Roses in Watercolour

 As Soft as a Summers Day
Roses in watercolour.

Who doesn't love Summer? And for me the sunshine season wouldn't be complete without a new painting of roses. Although I actually have several beautiful ones on the go at the moment. In our cottage garden the rose blooms are stunning this year. So I am spoilt for choice as to what to paint next. What a terrific situation to be in.

I picked the heads of three pink roses yesterday. Flowers that had become battered by recent rain fall. They had broken in awkward places on the stem so were too short to put in a vase. But rather than discard the very short stemmed blossoms I floated the rose heads in a crystal bowl and admired their formation and beauty that way. 

I started this piece by painting a very soft pink wash on paper and allowed it to dry before adding the petal detail.

As I painted, I listened to birdsong, glanced up and saw butterflies passing now and then and felt sunshine on my shoulders.

The mood of this piece is "Peaceful". 

I love it and can't wait to continue or start a new painting.

Early stages of my roses in watercolour. 
My peaceful mood is shining through in this.  And perhaps my gentle artists soul.