Wednesday 28 April 2010

All Change

First Babe Appearing watched by " Ghosts " of Others in the background!

As we are moving this week I will be offline while I set up my new studio this weekend. My new cottage has an owl house so  we are hoping to have new tenants in it  in the future. 
I have replied to as many emails as I can before the move and as soon as I am back online  you will hear from me if you haven't already!


Good News Follow Good News

"Taking The Lead"
Original Watercolour by Jean Haines

The last twelve months have been really exciting in my art journey but each week now something even more wonderful seems to happen. I feel as though I am  part of an amazing chain of events that are almost too good to be true. I am known for painting from my heart and my passion for watercolour . By simply doing what I enjoy is bringing  me so much pleasure.

Last weekend  I submitted paintings for the SWA.Society of Women Artists Annual Exhibition. I was thrilled to hear my work has been accepted and that I am now a full member which is a huge honour. 

I had submitted work to the SWA  for the first time in 2009 and won the Anthony J Lester Art Critic Award for my collection of cockerels. This year I was torn because my cockerels are  now leading me into wonderful opportunities in so many directions including galleries and charities. Two special cockerel paintings will be in Auctions in London this year to help raise funds for some wonderful children. But when it came to deciding which six paintings and which six subjects I should submit this year to the SWA my heart was really torn.

I wanted to show my versatility as an artist and yet I felt safer if I was putting putting six cockerels forward. Right up until the very last minute I was still unsure of which paintings to choose . However I made the decision and my choice can be seen at the Mall Galleries this July. This is where you will find out if it was cockerels or not!

To find out more about the exhibition and  details on how to become a member please see the following link
This is an amazingly inspirational exhibition with a huge variety of styles and subjects in all mediums so definitely one not to be missed! 
On another note I have sold out of my racing scenes and will be working on a new collection shortly. In truth I have sold out of many of my favourite subjects at the moment. As my original paintings are limited in several galleries it is a sheer joy  knowing the passion I hold for watercolour is enjoyed which in turn really is a wonderful nudge for my enthusiasm to keep picking up my brushes. But I will still always paint what my heart tells me to paint. It is who I am and to change now I feel could  affect my  free style and technique. And I love that no one knows what to expect next from me. It adds to the excitement.

Thank you so much to everyone who has let me know personally how much you are enjoying my blog. I keep meeting people or receiving emails with  such lovely comments.  I tend to type and then press send not imagining anyone is actually going to really read my  post or look at my blog. And then I hear such touching and  incredible feedback that really inspires me to share more.

Thank you SO much,because of people like you I do share and will always continue to do so.



Original Watercolour by Jean Haines

What started out as a simple first wash in watercolour and initial thought aimed to create one baby owl soon turned into a group  of three and I can sense the addition of a fouth appearing  in the lower  foreground. That is the sheer joy of working in this technique. You may think you know where you are going but until you  arrive you are never really sure. In my mind I had envisaged one baby owl in a fabulous background. But then I continued to add " eyes" and got carried away. Now I am sat looking at this scene and  can easily see a whole series of paintings emerging from this one.

I have had such an exciting week which has been full of good news after good news. Maybe this is the magic that is flowing into my work lately but I am  so very happy!


Monday 26 April 2010

Feeling Sheepish

"Feeling Sheepish"
Original Watercolour by Jean Haines

For a few seconds yesterday I allowed the world to stand still as I stood in my garden and listened to the sounds of the sheep and lambs in nearby fields. This year every single morning on my walks I have passed field after field of  young lambs  literally bouncing around as young do enjoying life to the full and making everyone who sees them feel young too. It is impossible  not to smile  whilst watching them play.

The older sheep look on with disinterest. Almost with the expression of " You'll learn" on their faces.

I learn so much from  these daily walks with my dogs and cannot help wondering if the older more seasoned artist often looks on at the new enthusiastic watercolourists in the same way.With a wise smile knowing all the experiences they will face. Knowing how in time they too will look at others younger than they in their art journey and smile with their own knowledge of years of exhibiting, teaching  or writing.

I am like the young lamb. Bouncing around with endless energy, embracing every new experience with open arms, always thrilled to see something new to paint and always on the search for that  extra special new way to paint it. My enthusiasm must seem really amusing at times yet I am constantly told that I am a breath of fresh air bursting into the art world with  infectious joy  and genuine excitement whenever I  am showing, painting or demonstrating. I hope my first book gives a clue as to how I feel about watercolour.

Maybe one day in years to come I will be  more like the older sheep but I hope not!

Spring Lamb coming to life in a first wash celebrating watermarks and colour fusions.


Watercolour Workshops 2010 Update

Watercolour Workshops Update.

I have a few places for workshops available on the following dates.

June 2010

I have two places available on the following two workshops due to unavoidable cancellations.

June 1st     Watercolours With Life. The popular one day session  working minus a preliminary sketch to capture the essence of a wide range of subjects.
June 2nd    Animals Only. A great day looking at ways to bring animals to life in watercolour using a variety of interesting techniques.


September 2nd Autumn Gold  A one day session looking at beautiful gold subjects which aren't always Autumn related! Surprises in store as we  explore texture and  new appraoches to working in watercolour. One place available.


October 26th Watercolours With Life With a Difference. This workshop will be looking at backgrounds, compositions and ways to add drama and excitement to what could otherwise be seen as a boring subject. You will be required to bring extra materials with you  for this session and a list will be provided nearer the date. At present there are a few places still available.


These are my only workshops  until Spring 2011  so please could you book early if you are interested to avoid disappointment. Please contact me ASAP on



Watercolour Workshops With  A Difference.,

Getting the best out of YOU!

I know  there are many regulars who adore my Spring workshops and look forward to the dates being  posted. To be fair to everyone who wishes to come I will post them on my blog and web site in September and there will be a few surprises as I am  hoping to hold an art event at this time also which will be a three day event. There are some wonderful new sessions next year so watch this space for  more details when dates  are ready to be announced!

Professional Artists Retreat 2011

If you are a professional artist looking for inspiration I am considering hosting "Artists Retreat 2011" next year for a variety of mediums including demonstrations by top artists during a weeks period which will include painting on location in local beauty spots, an inside venue, free time to explore Jane Austen countryside along with evenings out in  charming English pubs ending the week with a painting day on the  water.  A welcome and leaving party are on the agenda. The aim is to refresh our painting and teaching batteries, inspire each other and have a break from professional life whilst absorbing an injection of energy into art.

Places will be strictly limited for maximum enjoyment and everyone coming will have access to full privacy of being here.


Life : A Work in Progress.

Snowdrops in Spring.
Work in Progress.

I am smiling as I type the above words " Work in Progress". I feel as though my life is just that. A work in progress with so many changes happening along the way and many being really wonderful. 

Over the last few months I have demonstrated so many snowdrop paintings in watercolour and to be fair I thought I was "snowdropped out ". But just when I think I never want to see another snowdrop again I   find I have a yearning to do the unexpected and paint yet another one.  Or even more.

With this magical medium you can never be bored of any given subject and in turn this effects how I live in that I am never bored of any one thing. I see every  moment as a wonderful opportunity to improve not only my painting but also enrich my life.

These snowdrops brought me peace in a busy week. How incredible that we can simply relax by painting something we love.

 Simple Snowdrop painted minus the use of a preliminary sketch,masking fluid or goauche.


Saturday 24 April 2010

Anything Goes!

Softly Does It!
Original by Jean Haines

Having delivered a new collection of cockerels to one gallery that had sold out I have started on the next but felt I needed a small break from my usual style. I have also been invited to take a Pastel Workshop in June so in the piece above I  have combined my two favourite mediums. I enjoyed it so much that my future workshops could include one called " Anything Goes" where everyone simply has a ball creating with a variety of mixed media techniques. I  have been asked to hold this for quite some time so when I have a free date I will announce when it will take place and where but be warned,you really need to bring absolutely EVERYTHING to this one!


Wednesday 21 April 2010

Good News Follows Good News!

"Good Morning"

It has been another incredible week but I am beginning to believe my whole life  leaps from one fantastic day to the next. Maybe the Spring air is affecting my brushstrokes or the wonderfully positive friends I know along with artists who share my enthusiasm for watercolour. But I really am having the most exceptional of years and to think it is only April!

I had wonderful news at the beginning of this week which I will share at a later date. Whenever something wonderful happens it always takes me some time to allow it to sink in before I wish to tell anyone else!

A little while ago I took a collection of my paintings to a new gallery. We discussed pricing and framing options and I left feeling positive about leaving my paintings in such responsible hands. However the very same day I was surprised to recieve a phone call letting me know my work had already sold. I luckily had paintings in my studio to deliver to the gallery in their place. This has happened to me before when I have taken work into new galleries and it is a wonderful feeling.

Since then the gallery has now moved to the new larger premises. On my visit yesterday I discovered most of the paintings from my new collection taken in only last week had been sold yet again.  I am thrilled for the gallery owner more than anything else because they are such an amazing person. I  am over the moon for their success. Having said that at this time of typing I realise there are very few of my originals available at the moment as they seem to have all sold  and maybe too well recently. I am receiving requests for my best selling subjects and I know if I painted continually I could meet demand but this is not how I work. I paint from my heart and not purely for sales. I paint subjects as I wish to paint them, when I wish to paint them and these are then taken to each of the galleries or exhibitions I show in.

Each painting I create is of a subject that has called to my artists soul with emotion pouring into each and  every brushstroke. The relationship between myself as the creator and the finished piece is vital to my results. My excitement and sheer joy when everything comes together is the evidence of the magic of watercolour . Glowing glorious colours working in vibrant combinations.

This Saturday I am returning to the new gallery with a collection of new cockerels and there are several clients waiting to see them. Tomorrow I am delivering  racing scenes to London and in my studio I am working on a painting for a very wonderful celebrity along with a special charity auction piece for an event that will take place in London in May.

My new subjects are under wraps until I share them when the collection is ready.

My life is full and I am a very  ecstatic artist at the moment and I think this is what is shining in my paintings lately. My  zest and joy of life. I wish everyone could be as happy. That would really make me feel on top of the world because there is no point in having happiness unless others can feel it too.



Magic Faces

Magic Faces.

When I lived in Dubai I used to teach at the Dubai International Arts Centre which at that time was in a beautiful location by the beach. I came into teaching purely because artists on workshops I attended there were fascinated by my approach and  requested I taught workshops and art courses. As I already had teaching qualifications I fell into the role quite easily and enjoyed sharing my passion for watercolours with so many wonderful people. As my techniques grew along with my knowledge for the medium so did my classes.In each class I could always be heard saying " I see a face" when I looked at first washes which to others could simply have been seen as mere " blobs" of colour.

When I demonstrated at Yew Trees in Hampshire earlier this week the same thing happened. I was sharing ideas for starting a painting and also looking at how pigment works with water. A small amount of two colours merged and as they dried I saw the impression of a very interesting face. Behind me the class thought the  face looked like the Shroud of Turin. They too could see it.

When I returned to my studio I added colour gently to where I saw the face appearing  and a few details  that I knew would bring the study to life so that I could share it on my blog and here it is.

Face Appearing from a simple drop of colour demonstration.

I couldn't resist  the urge to age the gentleman so added a small white beard and moustache last night. I was returing to my time in Dubai by doing so and many happy memories flooded back to me.

"Wisdom in Years" 
Seeing what is in front of your eyes and acting on it led me to  painting this face.

I love painting faces. I always have. My " Magic Faces" as they came to be known by in Dubai soon became collectible selling well in galleries and ending up in homes all over the world.  I may continue with this face but  he has inspired me to paint others. Maybe I needed a nudge in this direction as it is where my heart lies. I am listening to what my beloved medium is telling me.

Out of interest maybe you would like to see exactly where the face first appeared from a smudge of colour. I was demonstrating how to start painting daffodils and  muscari on a large piece of  white paper. He " fell" into the middle.

Mystery man appearing amongst a flower demonstration.

I have a lovely reputation that when I take a workshop you never know exactly what will happen or what will appear. Even if you think you are only going to see animals or flowers!

Taking advantage of what the medium throws our way rather than  aiming to  continually control it really is a wonderful way to work.

This way magic can and DOES happen.


Monday 19 April 2010

Working From Life

Owl Eye Demonstration

 I have so many wonderful friends and artists who are  letting me know they  love my latest collection of watercolours. I am also being told my work is evolving so quickly but how  is it that the difference is so great from a few years ago.

In truth writing my book was the biggest surprise to my personal artist development. Closely studying exactly why I choose colour and individual techniques to create paintings full of life really has been an inspirational experience. I have read each section repeatedly.  I understand my way of working and every single decision I make far more now than I ever have before. It was like being on my own workshops but having time to paint for myself rather than to continually demonstrate.

One area that really helps is that I always paint subjects I have seen and I paint from life as much as possible. For example I have spent so much time on farms studying cockerels. Even though I am painting them in a more abstract style I still need to fully understand how they move,their poses and characters.

Owls are fascinating me especially their eyes. So again I have been spending time just sat quietly studying  them closely.Their feather formation is so beautiful and appeals to me as an artist as to how I can capture that incredible effect in watercolour.

I truly believe you achieve more life in your results if you paint from life and know your subject well. Forget painting from photographs and study the real subject in  wonderful light .This leads to far more exciting and unique results.


Not Just Black and White

Black and White Cat Demonstration

Yesterday I was invited to demonstrate for the Yew Trees Studio in Hampshire. I arrived to meet a wonderful group of artists in an envious setting of a private studio with wonderful natural light. I started the day with an introduction into my technique and a few simple demonstrations leading to a simple exercise for everyone to follow. After lunch the group was then invited to paint a subject of their choice following a further demonstration.

A black and white cat  was chosen by several within the group and it was amazing to see how many different ways we all approach the same subject. The question of how to paint black arose and this leads me to explain I never use pure black in any of my paintings. I also never opt for Paynes Grey.

When I work I aim to create interesting colour combinations and capture light with every brushstroke. So my initial wash for the black and white cat included a variety of shades.

Whilst I always ask everyone in my sessions to simplify. things are not always simply " black and white" . It may seem straight forward to mix a very dark colour to give the illusion of a black animal but if we were to achieve this perfectly our results could end up looking very boring. The question arises as to how we can make black  sections in our work appear more fascinating and alive.

If you study my demonstration above you can gain an insight into how I approach painting a dark subject and which colours I would choose to make it more effective.

It really is rewarding to spend a few minutes working on scraps of paper mixing and achieving those darks in ways that really do add drama, intrique and excitement.

Painting Tip of the Day: Paint with unexpected colour combinations and stay away from the "expected" boring shades everyone else chooses!


Thank you very much to everyone at Yew Trees for the warm welcome and wonderful day yesterday. I look forward to meeting you all again in Summer.  Please don't forget your homework!


Sunday 18 April 2010

A World Of Colour

"Hazy Heat"
This time last week an artist  was arriving here from South Africa for my Watercolours with Life Spring workshop and now the whole week has passed  so quickly as if in a blur.  We were so lucky that everyone who came managed to home before  the airports were affected and flights cancelled due to the volcanic ash



Before I started painting any subject I often used to paint a few marks on scraps of paper with a variety of colours to see what effects I could gain.This also helped to acheive a good  closeness in colour accuracy. While my work is free and spontaneous I put a lot of thought into each  new painting. 

 Colour Swatch.
An exercise I used to carry out before each new painting.

As years have flown by time taken on these swatches has become less and less because I am coming to a point where my instincts are taking over . From experience I know  intuitively which colours work well against others, how they interact and which should be used to gain more impact. Time taken to "play" over the years has rewarded me well as knowledge of colour really does make a huge difference to our results. Knowing exactly what each pigment is capable of is so vital to being a better artist.This leads me to question why so many new artists jump straight into painting a "masterpiece" and then wonder later why their finished works weren't as pleasing as they had expected them to be. 

My advise is to slow down and enjoy the beauty of colour. Play with it, understand it and enjoy it for all its diversity.

I will be returning to Africa this year and I hope my experience  in watercolour has grown to the point I will be able to capture more than the quick " blur" as in this  very old painting of zebra. 

 "Hazy Heat"

My favourite memory is being face to face with a giraffe that had wandered near a lodge. I can remember painting giraffes non stop at that point in my art life in the way I paint cockerels non stop today. I painted camels all the time when we lived in Dubai. Maybe our surroundings do play a huge part in the way we see colour and how we fall in love with our subjects. When I look at these zebra I see how far I have come in my art journey and I also know how far I have to go!


How To Paint Colour and Light in Watercolour

 I am  receiving several requests on how to purchase my book. I need to explain it will be released officially this summer but if you are interested  you can pre order a copy from the publishers directly or from


It does cover a wide variety of subjects and gives information into how I see colour and light and aim to capture it in my loose style. Step by steps are included with full details on the colours I have used in each.

Thank you so much to everyone who has asked me about my book and like you, I too am really excited in seeing my first leap into being an author in print.


In Love With Life

Old English Sheepdog Puppy
Second Painting of the Same  Subject.
Original Watercolour by Jean Haines

I have received some wonderful emails regarding my blog and I want to reply to everyone individually but as  time is short this weekend and I have a demonstration tomorrow for an Art group I just want to leave a huge thank you here today .

I read every message and some have completely touched my heart. 

I will continue to share, hopefully inspire and yes let you know about my book and my workshops. For anyone interested I have had a few cancellations which were unavoidable so I will add them here on Tuesday morning. On that note I am aware my workshops are difficult to get into but that is because I do keep the numbers small in each session so that everyone has a fantastic time. There are still places in Norway if anyone wishes to join me there in August as a wonderful group of people are going to be in these sessions.

For now I  simply want to wish everyone the most beautiful of days . Bear in mind whatever  you feel or see that makes you smile inside often makes a fantastic painting. It is often the simple things that seem to be  more effective like a smile, touch of breeze on a single flower or a peaceful sky. See colour around you and capture it in  as many ways as possible.

And I will be replying to you  very soon if you have contacted me.


Saturday 17 April 2010

Menier Gallery, London

  In All His Glory
Original Watercolour by Jean Haines.

United Society of Artists Annual Exhibition 2010
Menier Gallery, 
London, UK
13th-17th April 2010

I have six paintings in the 89th exhibition of the United Society of Artists which takes place in the Menier Gallery in London, UK from 13th-17th April 2010. 


Bundle Of Joy

Old English Sheepdog Puppy
Original Watercolour by Jean Haines

I met Paddington on a visit to a local farm recently. He is such a happy pup who looks as though he is always chuckling. He will grow to be a huge dog but right now is simply an adorable bundle of fluff who I have aimed to capture in my brushstrokes.

Cute isn't he!



This morning I have founded Artists With Hearts.

I have many friends who as artists help so many charities by their brushstrokes but I also know many people who never seem to have a reason to pick up a brush. When they do because they are painting minus a true purpose their work often ends up as an unsuccessful result. I also know many professional artists who are tired of painting landscapes or portraits and  never have that " something" to paint just for fun or for someone special.

There are so many ways as artists we could unite and help others who need  the knowledge that someone out there cares.

All of my life I have been blessed in that I always had a roof over my head and food to eat and most of  all good health. And I have always felt that my passion for art is far more than gaining success, fame, awards, paintings in galleries or well read books. I want to DO something good with my art. Something that really matters.That makes a difference to someones day. .

I know many artists like me have huge hearts but have nowhere for their love to shine.

Now we have a special "place".

Artists With Hearts will be a membership free foundation and I will share more news on this idea soon. It will regularly show where your love  and  gift of art is needed to  lift someones spirits and help to make a difference.

Iif you are reading this you are in at its birth.

You don't have to be an artist  who paints to join, you can also help in other ways too so please be a member. And when I say EVERYONE is welcome, I mean everyone.

More news soon!


Friday 16 April 2010

My Journey With PostPals Begins, Please join me.

Membership is free. Join today
Last night I couldn't sleep for thinking about Postpals and how amazing that a young girl set it the organisation up to help other children. I also had  read the postpal web site and as many faces of children tugged at my heart strings and I have made my mind up to become involved in the only way I know how. Via my paintbrush and I am begging not asking you to become involved too.
I am starting my  journey with postpals by sending a painting to Robyn, a little girl who is going through the most painful of treatment for Cancer in America. She loves animals,spongebob and the colour yellow. Not only  is she being very brave but she is away from home.She looks far older than the pretty little seven year old that she is. Please look at Robyns story and see her photo.

When I was little all I  had to suffer was a mass of  horrible ginger curly hair that shone bright orange in sunlight. I hated it but that was ALL I had to worry about.

 Side by Side 
Help me send smiles to Robyn 

I had painted a new row of Bearded Collies for someone but it is going to Robyn instead. She needs the love support and kindness of artists hearts from all over the world as soon as possible.

Robyns Story.............

"Story written 2010
Robyn is a wonderful, cheeky, toothless 7 year old girl, who in May 2009 was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. As with many children with this cancer, it had spread by the time she was diagnosed, so her diagnosis is known as stage 4 - high risk. Robyn has responded really well to her treatment and her primary tumour in her pelvis was removed successfully in September 2009.
Unfortunately she suffered some nerve damage in her right leg and foot (as the tumour was attached to the nerves that serve her right leg) and as a result she is still having difficulty walking the shortest distances even with the help of crutches. To explain the full horror of the treatment that Robyn has had to endure for the last 8 months would take a long time. Her mother was once told by a consultant that no other cancer has this type of treatment - it is extremely aggressive - fight fire with fire…
Robyn is very beautiful, inside and out, and extremely active. She used to enjoy gymnastic classes with her cousins, dancing, and would ride her bike for miles. She loves Harry Potter, High School Musical and Lady Gaga. She has a strange liking for mini coopers - in particular, yellow ones. She loves Spongebob, animals, and the colour yellow. She also loves dressing up and much to her mother’s disgust - applying make up!
Robyn would dearly love and appreciate receiving a letter from anyone who could spare the time to brighten up her day. I speak for every parent of a child with cancer when I say they are the bravest, most beautiful beings to walk this earth."

I am going to dedicate any step by steps I share on my blog to postpals, if you find them inspiring or you wish to join me and help  chidlren who need smiles please send a painting or card when you can.

Why don't we inundate Robyn with wonderful paintings of animals ,spongebob or anything yellow a little girl could love. Yellow teddy bears? Anything to do with Lady Gaga?  How as artists can we unite in this? Can we? And what if these paintings and cards  came from all over the world. Just imagine being so poorly that strangers reaching out to help you made all the difference to the terrible pain you were having to endure

C/O 67 Alphington Avenue,
GU16 8LY
United Kingdom

Robyn is currently having treatment in America. Friends and family are frequently visiting so will take post out with them.

Robyn H
Philadelphia Ronald Mcdonald House,
3925 Chestnut Street,

I have long wondered how being online can unite artists in a way that we not only inspire each other but we also do so much more in the world. Now we can virtually hold hands and share brushstrokes to brighten  a childs day and make a difference on their life.
Please help me make Robyn smile in America.............and we can make many other chidren smile too together over time.

Your homework  and challenge this week is  to paint  something to make Robyn smile........ 

Please link to this page so that others can see and help Robyn too........thank you.

I will add more news on Artists With Hearts soon. We all can join and we ALL can make a difference.


Put a Smile on a Childs Face.

This post isn't about art.  I am sharing a link that has been passed to me that really touches your heart if you take time to read it. Post Pals was set up by a young girl called Vikki, in her own words......... 

"Since setting up Post Pals I have won "Readers Digest Hero of the Year 2006" and "Beacon Award for Young Philanthropist 2008".

I first got into voluntary work at the age of 5 when I helped my grandparents working for Rainbow Trust from the charity's early days. In 2002 I completed my 200 hours on the Millennium Volunteer scheme with AYME, at the time of setting up Post Pals I was also volunteering online for Brainfog and Patchworx (an American charity for seriously ill young people which has now closed).
My main passions are keeping Post Pals going and raising awareness of severe ME  "

How could anyone not pass this link on?

Please look at how you could help a sick child by passing on a smile.........the link  is

I am sure there are many ways we could all help.


Watercolours With Life Spring Workshop 2010

Thank you to Jane for sending me a few images from last weeks Watercolours With Life workshops. The week flew by so quickly and  I think I can safely say we all had a wonderful time.

I should explain I never share photographs of anyone in my  sessions without their direct permission so you will only see paintings.This makes everyone in the class feel far more comfortable with the focus purely on painting rather than who is doing what with a camera. I also ask for  everyone to kindly not use cameras while the sessions are in progress as it can be really distracting to anyone who has come to watch and take in what is happening without the constant flash or interuptions needed to gain good shots. Even so it is lovely to have memories to share so here are a few images that Jane kindly took and I must admit I am fascinated to see myself in action as I rarely get that chance!

This is from the Flowers,Flowers and More Flowers Workshop. We  were looking at negative painting, varied brushstrokes, use of cool and warm colours and use of light. My hand obviously moves quickly  from the action in this shot.

The next image wasn't a demonstration to the class. I sat with individuals in an afternoon period  of the second Watercolours With Life  workshop last week showing how to paint a number of subjects so that everyone had something they could work from as an idea. This was a market scene in France with a figures walking in sunlight. The hint of how to start and work away from this point keeping clean fresh colour was the main objective of this very quick little study.

Figures in a Market Scene in France, a quick study.

At the end of a full week you can imagine how tired everyone was so the final relaxed painting day at my cottage for those who had travelled such a long way to see me was casual. I sat on the grass to avoid standing and painted freely. This cockerel was such a lovely way to unwind!

You can see paper laid across a section to protect it from splattering which was taking place to create texture in the top corner of this piece.I was also sprinkling salt to show what it can  do.

It really was a fantastic week and I can't wait for next year to come around so we can repeat it but with even more excitement involved!


SWA Society of Women Artists Annual Exhibition 2010

 Cockerels 2009
A collection of watercolours from 2009 including a cockerel that was later framed and accepted into the SWA Society of Woment Artists 2009 Annual Exhibition.

Call For Entries 2010

This time last year I can remember sitting on the floor in my studio and looking at six paintings that  formed a collection which I intended to submit on the hand in day for the SWA 2009 Annual Exhibition. Several artists I already admired were members and I had  read the details on the SWA web site regarding dates and information I needed to be aware of. 

You can find the details for this years exhibition via this link.

Selecting work for any society really is a decision to be taken with great care. I knew I would be making my first impression with these pieces and I studied so many points about them. Did they really represent me and who I was as an artist at that time? I will be honest and admit I seriously was concerned about my subject choice.I paint portraits which have been commended and won prizes in the past so should I really consider this group of cockerels. But my instinct was screaming yes and so it was that I found myself carefully handing over the six required paintings on the handing in day.


From the minute I arrived at the Mall Galleries on hand in day I was 100% impressed with everyone I met.. I was  made to feel welcome, my work was treated with respect and great care and I left feeling how much it would mean to be to belong to such a professional group of artists.



Then as everyone knows there is the agonizing wait to hear if your work has been accepted or not. I knew I had handed in what I  felt was an interesting body of work but  now the decision fell into the hands of a team of judges forming a panel to select what they felt were paintings worthy of being in an exhibition renowned for it's very high standard. In every exhibition there is only so much wall space and with hundreds of submissions to choose from only the best make it into the final selection. I already knew the professional standard of the work of artists I was hoping to be hung alongside.



The following week I recieved a phone call from the President of the SWA. I heard how not four but all six of my paintings had been accepted and that I was  being offered an Associate membership. At this point I probably should have acted calm and collected but I am sure my  joy showed. I was absolutely thrilled and of course this meant I carried a signature after my name. One which I am proud to hold  because of the history and professionalism of the SWA. I have never forgooten how the President took the time to make that personal call. I can't put into words how much it meant but it really played a huge part in how I think of the society which is professional from the smallest to largest of details.



At the Private Preview I discovered I had been awarded with the Anthony J Lester Art Critic Award.  After the presentation Anthony informed me  my work reminded him of Joseph Crawhill which was a huge compliment. I look back and see what influence this award has had on my work. I strive to live up to the achievement and honour.

 "Morning Calls"
Winning Painting from the  2009 Cockerel Collection.



I visited the Mall Galleries many times during the SWA 2009 exhibition, each time meeting  friends or being made to feel welcome. I was inspired by every single artists work and fully  understood the weight of responsibility on the judging panels shoulders to ensure that the exhibition was a huge success and it was. I left each time wanting  to be in this years exhibition and trying to decide what I should submit. Everyone is expecting cockerels !



A year has passed and I need to make  new decisions. What do I submit this year. In a weeks time I will go to London, hand in my chosen paintings and make the agonizing wait yet again to hear if I have had a painting accepted. Only then will I know I have made the right choice in my selection.


Because of who I am and my personlity  I completely understand many artists feeling they are not worthy or good enough to consider submitting work for top societies especially when there is the fear of rejection.  I also know there are many talented artists who rarely  consider taking part in these  prestigious events.

I recommend looking at the SWA web site and viewing the work of the members which will give you a good indication as a measure as to whether your own work is suitable to submit or not. Bear in mind the exhibition  is always  varied in style and subject matter. You can submit up to six paintings so if you only have one you feel will showcase your style and talent that is also an option.

Whether you submit or not I  strongly recommend coming to the SWA Annual Exhibiton as it really is one of the best I have ever seen,  full of  amazing art and  motivational on a very high level to create and  to a high standard of professionalism.

 I now need to really focus on my own choices for this year and I will be making  these decisions very carefully!