Tuesday 26 February 2013

Golden Flow.

Golden Flow
Shades of Springtime

I have had a wonderful month in Spain and returned home last night eager to get back into my studio in UK.  On arrival I  became  immediately excited as so many flowers are beginning to appear in our garden. Snowdrops in beautiful white clusters, crocus pushing their heads through the lawns and the daffodils are out shining regardless of the grey skies above. Their glorious dash of yellow brightened my soul so much that I just had to work with them this afternoon.

I have simply sat and looked at what I see outside my studio window and played with every colour and shadow. This abstract beginning pleases me so much, so it is a great base for a painting and I look forward to continuing my experimental washes tomorrow and completing some exciting new work.

As there is no sunshine here today I am definitely making my own!

You can see more of my Spring Flowers on my web site gallery via this link

I am currently  in a solo exhibition at the James Gallery in Budleigh Salterton.
I have a major solo show coming up which will include Sweet Narcissi paintings at the Wey Gallery in Godalming. Full details can be found on my web site


Wednesday 20 February 2013

Heavenly Scent : Narcissi Spring 2013

Narcissi painted in my Spanish Villa garden this morning.

The sunlight in Spain is  wonderful. It was impossible for me to ignore the temptation to paint in the garden this morning. I listened to the distant bells on the sheep grazing in the fields as I painted sweet perfumed narcissi. Their delicate flower heads have always been a favourite of mine as subjects  and the calm I felt whilst working on these was wonderful

Art can be therapeutic and relaxing once you get into that wonderful zone of your own world and no one else exists in it.

Heaven on earth!

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Terrifying Terrier?

Cross Breed coming to life in watercolour

I am working on a few watercolours at the moment while here in Spain. A while ago I fell in love with a gorgeous dog. I couldn't tell if it was a cross between a Bearded Collie or some kind of terrier but it was so beautiful. It had the kind  of eyes that instantly appeal to you. Its' expression was constantly eager to please or be pleased. So while I had time, I am enjoying bringing  it to life in watercolour but not as a photographic image with every single detail added. It is important to me to capture the personality, the look of hope and that terrific connection between pet and human. The type of bond that dog lovers all over the world understand. So this isn't really a painting at all. The creation process alone  is a  superb journey of love!


Monday 18 February 2013

Spanish Siesta

Siesta Time

I am enjoying a wonderful break in Spain and will admit that I needed a quiet period to start 2013. With so much going on that is exciting in my art career, switching off to relax has become  almost impossible. I say that, but to be honest, I am relaxed all of the time because I enjoy what I do so much. But I am always busy. I am either working on exhibitions, preparing for my workshops or writing for my new book or magazine interviews. Not a day passes where I am not  working on a new project.

With a year ahead of travelling for my International Watercolour Workshops and a major solo show coming up it seemed like a brilliant idea to wind down and totally relax in Spain for a break. However after a few wonderful weeks of taking it easy, my brain kicked in this morning. I couldn't wait to get up and start writing and painting. Last night I had worked on two beautiful portraits and my imagination was working over time allnight on how to continue when I started my painting sessions today.

There was no choice, I had to wake this morning and paint while the mood hit me, regardless of how early it was. But there is another factor that led to my being wide awake. I have gotten used to the Spanish Siesta which is wonderful at the time allowing me to paint later in the evening. But the draw back is I am just not tired enough to sleep late the next day. I am up with the larks!

My batteries are being beautifully recharged and I almost pity anyone booked on my UK workshops because I am raring to go!


Friday 15 February 2013

Texas Workshops November 2013

That Bear!

Last year I had such a great time in Texas so I am thrilled to be coming back and seeing all the fantastic artists there. The facility is brilliant with lots of natural light and the room is large so every artist has a table of their own to work on. I have agreed to two workshops because last year places filled so quickly. It was incredible to meet so many wonderful people who had travelled from as far as Alabama and North Carolina to attend.

The situation is similar to New York in that one of the workshops is almost full already. The second workshop has places available at this time of typing.  Please contact me as soon as possible if you would like  to book. 


Each workshop will cover techniques on a variety of subjects including animals,portraits , figures in watercolour, florals and landscapes. The atmosphere was fantastic last year and I can't wait to get back!

If you would like to read an interview from the press about one of the workshops I took in Texas last year here is a link.


Thursday 14 February 2013

New York Watercolour Workshops 2013

New York Watercolour Workshops 
October 2013

I heard from the organiser of my New York workshop yesterday and its seems that without even advertising on the society web site one of my workshops is already full. There are still currently places available for the second session so if anyone is interested in booking a place please do so early.

The venue is in Long Island which is so beautiful, I can't wait to return. I  had such a terrific time last year although the dramatic end to my stay with Hurricane Sandy did add to the excitement! Hopefully this time there won't be a hurricane but we will be creating our own whirlwind via brushstrokes at the art centre. I will be sharing techniques and looking at ways to bring life to a large number of subjects.

If you would like a place please email me as soon as possible at


Wey Gallery Exhibition and Demonstration March 2013

Narcissi from my Spring Exhibition at the Wey Gallery

Wey Gallery
Private Preview March 22nd
Watercolour Demonstration March 23rd

It  isn't long until my  solo exhibition at the Wey Gallery. This week has been busy as the catalogue is now almost complete. The selection of work  is varied with many favourite subjects and new exciting pieces. Many of these paintings have not been shown online.

The Private Preview takes place on Friday 22nd March
I will be demonstrating at the gallery on Saturday 23rd March.

If you are interested in attending please contact the gallery directly via this link

It is going to be a very special show and I can't wait to see all the work collected from the framers and hung on display.

Happy Valentines Day: Roses 2013

Happy Valentines day to  all my blog readers. Whether you are a romantic or not painting roses is such a fabulous way to spend time. I do love that my " Painting Roses"  posts on my blog have become so popular. So to celebrate this  day of all days,  when roses are important,  here are a few of my happiest memories and favourite watercolour paintings of roses.

 On my easel, a rose collection 

 Bursting with light, a rose coming to life

 A very old favourite from years ago
Scents of Summer

 Again, an old favourite of mine.

 Rose Demonstration at my Four Seasons Hotel Painting Retreat Workshop.

Hints of a Rose

Side by Side

Artist Tips for the Day 
Paint from life as much as possible
Try to capture a sense of emotion in your work
When painting flowers think about whether they are soft and delicate and choose colour accordingly.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Wey Gallery Solo Exhibition and Demonstration

Leading by Light
WIP for my solo exhibition at the Wey Gallery

I am completing my collection for my solo exhibition at the Wey Gallery in Godalming, Surrey which opens in March. This afternoon in strong sunlight I painted a horse racing scene that sprang to life, mainly because of the vibrant colours and the passion for my subject. I am loving working on this new collection. Not a day passes where I am not thinking of what I can add to it next, to make the show an exhibition that fascinates as you walk around the gallery. Each new piece seems to become my new " favourite" and the above really is eye catching offline.

Dates for my exhibitions can be seen on my web site

I will be demonstrating at the gallery on Saturday March 23rd, it is advisable to contact the gallery to let them know if you are attending.

Details of the Private Preview, exhibition dates and opening and closing times can be found on the gallery web site.

Spring Time Bouquet

Beautiful narcissi dancing in the breeze

In the garden of my villa  the last of the narcissi are flowering. Time is running out for me to paint them from life. I find painting any flowers from photographs quite soul destroying. The sense of adventure in gaining the feeling of each new blossom disappears due to the camera having already formed the basis for a composition. In fact I avoid  working from photographs as often as possible because  that way of working isn't for me, due to my yearning to find a sense life in each new painting.

I carried a tiny sprig of narcissi into my villa studio area and started quietly trying to capture each tiny head on the single stems. In the breeze outside all the flowers mingle as one. The sun was bright so my colour choices were too. As I worked I thought about all the bouquets I have bought over the years.  Every Saturday I would have saved enough money to buy my Stepmother a bouquet and when I gave them to her she always told me the same thing. " You shouldn't have". But I always did . Watching her smile as she arranged the flowers in a vase and then proudly put them on display is such a happy memory.  Please don't imagine they were grand displays of flowers. They were always bought at the end of the day from the market when the bunches were reduced in price. The flower seller must have recognised my then ginger hair walking towards them each week as they always seemed to have just one bouquet that hadn't sold.  I am smiling as I type this blog post because I have only just realised he kept one for me. One week  the bouquet would be  daffodils or cheaper flowers that were in season. But on special occasions like Mothers Day he had one  bunch just for me that contained lots of colourful blooms that I knew I couldn't have afforded at full price. His act of kindness probably rewarded my act of kindness as the money I spent on the flowers my Stepmother knew I could have put toward clothes or something just for me. But her happiness was so much more important to me.

Isn't it strange how painting something small can lead to a distant time that you thought you had forgotten? When we really are in tune working in watercolour our minds do wander and the magical quiet time is so peaceful and relaxing. I hope you find your quiet time next time you paint and I wonder what your happy memories will be!


Primroses by Chris Odell

"Promise Of Spring"
by Chris Odell 

This morning I have had time to look through the wonderful watercolours of primroses sent to me following my primrose step by step on my blog. What is absolutely wonderful is that each painting is completely unique and shining in the artists own personality. I would love to share them all but sadly as I am working on exhibitions at the moment I haven't the time.

Many paintings stood out. I loved Michaels from Australia, these were  painted with a beautiful blue background that somehow made the yellow of the flowers sing even more. Then there was a gentle flow of colour from Judith Farnworth from UK, she has such a soft touch with watercolour and my heads up is that she is an artist to watch for the future.

But for today I am going to share a painting from artist, Chris Odell. I actually met Chris on my workshops so I am familair with her style and approach. Why has this painting caught my eye? That is a question I often ask myself when attending exhibitions because sometimes a painting will pull you back time and time again which is the sign of a successful result. If I  had to describe this primrose composition, my favourite part is the obvious but at the same time subtle flow throughout the piece creating a connection through the colour, flowers and sections of the composition. I love the textural effects for the leaves. I adore the softness of the colour used and there is excellent hard and soft edge contrasts throughout. There is also a slightly abstract effect but with strong realism preventing this being classed as such. It has so many elements that I love and makes me want to see more from the artist. And that is the key. Leaving the viewer to want to see more of your work.

Thank you so much Chris for agreeing to allow me to share your painting on my blog.

There is something important in the art world that I believe many artists often miss. Especially professional artists at the top of their career. And that is the need to look around you and admire what other artists are creating. You cannot have an ego when you realise you are a tiny cog in a huge wheel, and everyone else is not only as good as, but often are far better at painting than you. This puts me nicely in my place as to where I am in my own career. Loving every day knowing I still have so much to learn but what I have learnt I will give away to others so that they too can enjoy it.

Thank you for  all the primrose paintings sent to me.  I hope to share more so if you havent emailed yours yet please do. let sget primrose paintings from all over the world  here!


Tuesday 12 February 2013

Patchings 2013

"Over my Shoulder"
Owned and on display at Dedham Hall

Patchings 2013
Jean Haines Watercolour Demonstrations

I have some very exciting news regarding my demonstrations at Patchings this year.  I will be  at the festival on three days starting on the Thursday with a demonstration for Search Press my publisher. This will take place in the Search Press marquee at  12.00 p.m. You will also be able to see me in the Search Press marquee on Sunday at 12.00 pm  for my second demonstration with my publisher.  If you haven't been to Patchings before it is well worth the visit. I couldn't tear mself away from the inspirational stands last year and seeing all your favourite products in one location is the icing on the cake!

I am thrilled to share the news that I have been invited by Patchings as a special guest artist for their own marquee to celebrate their  anniversary.  I will be in the Patchings marquee on the Friday morning. Full details of this day will be available soon.

A little tip for newcomers to the event. You need to purchase tickets for demonstrations and they are very low in price but please buy yours as soon as you arrive. Last year I met wonderful visitors who were so disappointed as they had missed out. Tickets had all sold  out to see me so quickly.

 Dates for your diary

Thursday 6th June 12.00 pm Search Press Marque
Friday 7th June.   10.00 a.m    Patchings  Marquee
Sunday June 9th   12.00 p.m.  Search PressMarquee

Please  come and say Hi if you are there, I will be happy to sign books and meet you in person. Last year was so fantastic I can't wait to go back! 

Patchings willbe updating their web site shortly.

Australia Workshops 2013

Feeling Sheepish!

Australia Watercolour Workshops 2013

 I will be holding workshops in Australia this year and have heard from the organiser that each workshop is  fully booked. The response for places was fantastic so maybe I can look ahead to returning in the future. On this trip my workshops will take place in Brisbane and I am so looking forward to my visit.

So to the artists reading my blog in Australia, I can't wait to meet you there!

Life in Spain

My neighbours in Spain.

At the beginning of each year I try to take at least one month out to work on  project planning for the months ahead. The idea is also that I have quiet time to paint and work on my new watercolour collections, recharge my batteries and find new inspiration. Which, at the moment, are the wonderful sheep next door to my villa in Spain. Their lambs play in the sunshine making me smile while the brass bells on collars worn around the mothers necks play music as they move around the pastures looking for  the best grazing areas.

Each year my life seems to become even more exciting than the last. Every time I feel I am settled and know exactly where I am headed and what I wish to achieve a new goals faces me. So I am really pleased to have some time to sit back and think about what I want from my art career and my own art. I have been inundated with requests for places on my UK workshops which have been fully booked from almost the minute they were advertised. The problem is unless I have quality time to paint myself, I would have nothing new to give on my workshop sessions and I do love each year for  them to be even better than the year before. I love that artists attending are reaching their gaols  too and growing in their art journeys.

But for now my gallery work is my priority. I have been contacted by wonderful galleries recently, asking to showcase my watercolours and as soon as I am home from Spain I will be replying to the many emails that have come my way with some wonderful invitations.

For now I have sunshine,blissful sounds of the sheep in the field next door and mountain views that I could only dream of , right here on my door step. From each window I see a slice of heaven and  I am going to make the most of every minute!

Thursday 7 February 2013

Patchings Demonstrations: June 2013

 Patchings Demonstrations 
June 2013
Everyone Welcome!

I am really excited about being invited as a guest artist to demonstrate at the fantastic Patchings Festival again this year which is a very special occasion due to its' being a fabulous anniversary. For years I had always wanted to go to Patchings but living abroad meant I always missed the opportunity. I often heard friends talking about it while I was living in Asia and Dubai. I never dreamed I would one day be demonstrating there myself and last year saw my entrance as a guest artist for my publisher. My debut was as an author and professional artist.

In the morning, last year my marquee was crowded and took me by surprise. By the afternoon however I was in full shock as I looked at the sea of faces watching my demonsrations. I probably stunned everyone because instead of taking this for granted in a cool ,calm way I let everyone in the room know how stunned I was which seemed to create a lot of laughter. This led to the most amazing atmosphere in the room as I leapt from one subject to the next, eager to share as much as I could about how I work in watercolour. If you were there last year you will know what I mean, as it was such a special time.

I am thrilled to share the news that I have been invited back and I will be  adding full details of the dates later but my first appearanace will be on the Thursday 6th June and as a heads up I thought I would let my blog  readers know first so that you have a chance of getting tickets at Patchings to see me.  As my 2013 workshops are fully sold out and waiting lists are already growing for 2014 I am going to make sure each demonstration at Patchings is jam packed with tips, new technique ideas and my favourite colour options this year.  I will be happy to sign books and meet you in person too! Please keep an eye on my web site as I will be sharing the exciting details and dates shortly.


Wednesday 6 February 2013

Snowdrops 2013

Work in Progress

Snowdrops from my garden are strongly on my mind as I start to paint each day.The small exercise I recently shared on my blog has instilled my passion for bringing these delicate little flowers to life. I am still drawn to the mixtures of violet and blues as my background with hints of green appearing now and then. My favourite small bud shapes which I usually depict in my snowdrop paintings have opened into the pretty shapes of the flowers in full bloom.

 Small snowdrop study from an earlier blog post this week

My studies each day grow in size from small pieces of paper to large as my imagination takes over. I now have so many wonderful options to choose from for new compositions and I am ready to start a new series of working with this beautiful sign of Spring.


Artist Tips for the week.

1) Get to really know and understand your subject before attempting to paint it.
2) Take your time experimenting on scraps of paper before setting out to paint a finished masterpiece.
3) Decide what you love and what you hate from your results when practising painting a subject
4) Plan ahead to quality quiet time after the exercises to work on your real painting
5) Most importantly enjoy every part of the creative process.
6) Never put pressure on yourself to get brilliant results each time you paint, you learn far more from disasters than successes!

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Snowdrop in Watercolour: Reflections

Detail added to my earlier blog post of a snowdrop

I thought it might be helpful to share how I feel when painting exercises which often lead to further large paintings.

Earlier today I shared a small study on a scrap of paper with a little colour  on it, painted around the negative shape of a snowdrop. If you study the image below, no detail has been added to the flower and you may notice that the  pigment around the shape is still wet.

Snowdrop in its first stgae, a negative painting with no detail on the flower.

When I returned to this piece a beautiful watermark had formed in the lower corner of the painted section. All I had to do next was add the  touches of green to the top "cap" above the petals and the lines to the lower "inner skirt" of the centrre.

Detail added and the pigment is dry in this image.

Now, in this study, I feel the cold of Winter. I can feel the greyness of an English January and also I am reminded of days full of rain.  To work on a new piece I can ask myself is this the effect that I want? It is quite pleasing in some ways. I can imagine this in a white or silver frame so my mind is already jumping ahead to the real composition to follow.

But I could move to more exciting colour combinations.

Most importantly though, I am painting. Not sat wondering what to do today,wasting valuable creation time. Often I think it is easy to spend far too long worrying about what will happen or what to do rather than actually just moving our brushes and getting on with the most wonderful feeling of all. Which is hodling your brush and allowing colour to flow across paper!


I am having a wonderful time writing  my new book which will be filled with inspirational tips. If you haven't already purchased "Atmospheric Watercolours" , my latest book, please consider working through it now so that you are ready for the next wonderful challenges and fun exercises to come in the future. There are many!

Only ten left in stock on Amazon UK!

Waste Not, Snowdrop!

Snowdrop appearing
Negative Technique

I am reading some wonderful emails from readers of my blog and books letting me know how much my step by steps are enjoyed. Thank you so much to everyone who has contacted me and as I am slowly catching up with replies you should hear from me personally very soon.

For now, just a small tip that helps me get started each day. Keep a few scraps of paper so that you can start each painting session with a fun daily exercise. This morning I loved painting negative shapes around snowdrop flowers. Leaving the white petal shapes on my fresh paper I worked around them using  different colours from my palette.

The above small exercise was achieved with French Ultramarine Blue and touches of Quinachridone Gold  to warm up the very cool  appearance. I left random dots of white paper to give a sense of snow falling or movement in the area around the flower.

With very little detail this can later turn into a finished small piece but how about taking your study further? On a new piece of paper paint a cluster or row of snowdrops. Use salt on the background wash to create texture. How about using cling film in the foreground to add leaves or stem shapes? What about working with orange or pink in the background instead of blue and violet?

When you start thinking about how to paint snowdrops the possibilities are endless!

Have fun, enjoy creating and imagine you are seeing beautiful snowdrop flowers swaying in the breeze,with their tiny heads bobbing now and then.  Aim to capture this life and freshness in your results.

Happy painting!

Monday 4 February 2013

Spain 2013

Apple Blossom in Spanish Orchards 2013

I have travelled to Spain, driving through wonderful scenery passing the snowcapped Pyrenees,wonderful Orange groves full of fruit growing in my favourite colours of vibrant golds and seen field after field of beautiful cherry blossom.  As I approached our villa in its' rural setting I was charmed by sheep with their lambs nestled in the neighbouring field. Around their necks they wear huge golden coloured bells which tinkle making sweet music as they move around with their young. The light is very different to what I have become accustomed to in England where the grey of Winter has settled and taken over until Spring arrives. It feels like cheating living somewhere warmer right now.

I have already set up my new studio arrangement here and as always started each day by taking Bailey, my Bearded Collie, for a long walk. This morning I returned with a small twig of apple blossom as my "daily treasure" to capture in watercolour. Its' delicate petals against a clear blue sky enchanted me each day as I drove past to fetch bread from the local village. I knew I would have to paint it eventually. The strange thing is these flowers remind me of my time studying Asian brushwork in China with my Shangainese tutor and mentor. There I loaded my brush with two colours and practised painting two tone delicate petals over and over again until my teacher was satisfied that they could feel my flowers moving on the antique silk I worked on. I am currently reading books on the last Empress of China so my imagination is running riot imagining how the blossoms within the forbidden city of Peking would look and how the concubines would find pleasure admiring their beauty. Beauty which would often be turned into gorgeous delicate embroideries on the finest of silk robes.

Sometimes a simple painting and the journey while working in it can transport you to far off places which in itself is part of the magic in being an artist. Not just enjoying the result you are setting out to achieve but the memories during the journey, or thoughts provoked whilst creating or looking at the finished pieces.

I am writing my new book at the moment and the solitude and peace here is helping awaken my senses to a level which is highly creative. My blog may fall quiet from time to time or leap into action as I have new paintings or subjects to share from Spain.


Thank you for all the primrose paintings that have been forwarded to me by email. I cannot wait to share them online with my blog followers,please keep sending them as I am back online now. I lost internet access whilst I was travelling last week to get here to my new painting haven.