Tuesday 16 December 2014

Playing With Shadows : Robin in Watercolour

 Christmas Watercolour
Placed on my easel using natural, daylight shadow for ideas on where to add darks.
Option 1. Light in opposite corners.

I have many tips which I share when teaching watercolour workshops interntionally. I love this one because it is so simple. I sometimes place half finished paintings on my easel and allow the natural daylight shadow to fall in different places. By placing each painting in different light positions.The shadows that fall across my work gives me an indication of where to add darks or further layers of colour. Often in ways that I had not considered at first. It is a great tip.

I can show what I mean by using the watercolour of a robin that I shared on my blog yesterday. I have enjoyed working on it gradually. By adding tiny sections and additions of colour to it daily I give myself something fun to look forward to each day, when I come into my studio. This morning I placed the painting on my easel to see where to work next. I have two " shadow" options for the surrounding area.

Option 1. I can work a layer of colour across the central section of this painting . Not quite as dark as the shadow is, but this would give the illusion of bright snow around my focal point. As in the image above.


Option 2. I could add a soft layer of colour in the two opposite corners and leave the central section brighter. As seen in the image below.

Christmas watercolour
Placed in daylight shadow on my easel to gain ideas on where to add colour
Option 2. Dark opposite corners.

There are so many wonderfully easy ways to improve our art without even picking up a brush. And at this time of year many of us miss painting due to so much happening whilst preparing for the Christmas season. So if you are one of the unlucky people who can't get near your watercolours at least have fun enjoying and learning from shadows. By the time you do get back to painting you will have learned so much and discovered many ideas on how to improve your compositions. Just from observing light!

Happy painting!


Monday 15 December 2014

Adelaide Art Society : Watercolour Tour 2014

 Adelaide Botanical Gardens 2014
The trees in Australia are unbelievable!

I promised to  share news of my workshops  while on tour in Australia this year. So this first blog post is about my visit to Adelaide Art Society.

I started my Australia 2014 tour in Adelaide. I had been invited by the wonderful Adelaide Art Society which is lucky enough to have its' own building for art courses, talks and demonstrations. Beforehand emails had been exchanged regarding my workshops. So everything was organised well in advance. On arrival my husband and I met the organiser at the society venue. The person behind my being there. The wonderful Pam Saint.

Pam really is wonderful. A kind, enthusiastic and warm personality. As soon as we met I knew the week ahead was going to be terrific. And it was. In every way.  I have a certain way I like to set up a room for my workshops and as my husband travels with me this is his area. But at this location we had wonderful help and the room was ready in no time. Whatever I needed seemed to magically appear from easels to the ipod base for my music which is now a huge part of my teaching sessions and very popular , as I am constantly being asked for my music selection.

I  stayed at the nearby Tynte Street Apartments which were brilliant. This meant I could walk the five minutes  to class each morning and back again. Very easy!

The first two day workshop course began on the Tuesday and I was thrilled to meet such a fantastic group of artists.  After a brief introduction, I  began the course. I love the enthusiasm in sessions like this. A buzz fills the air that is hard to describe. The second workshop was as exciting with the next group of artists and I loved my time here.

I also loved the names of professional artists  I was given. Artists that I hadn't heard of before who came up in conversations. I must check one female artists' name as I felt very inspitred by her work. I will share her name when I have time in another blog post.

I gave a talk on the Friday evening for members of the Adelaide Art Society, at the same venue. The room quickly filled up and as I made my presentation I noticed a lady in the front row of the audience. She looked quite emotional at one point. She came forward to buy a copy of my book but unfortunately the last one left had been put aside as it had a damaged cover. I chose to give it away to her free of charge. We talked and she told me about her brother.  Amazingly, she is the sister of the  late David Keys, the founder of Art Spectrum.  Watercolour products that I adore. I had talked about how much I particularly loved Australian Red Gold in my presentation. I am so sad that I missed meeting this incredible man who had passed away but to be told by his sister that he would have loved to have met me, because of my own passion for colour . This really is a memory I will cherish forever. The next day Yvonne brought in papers for me to see. Wonderful documents that I have brought back to UK with me and am still reading, being inspired by each word. These papers include Davids notes and the celebration of his life from Davids' farewell. I was so touched by the words 

"Rest in peace David, and I'm sure there will be a ready supply of Art Spectrum colours up there beyond the Pearly Gates, and I'm also reliably informed that everyone up there uses oils and acrylics are banned " 

I so wish I could have met David. As strange as this may seem I felt as though an angel touched my shoulder and I was meant to be there. In Adelaide, meeting this lady and hearing about David Keys. Because an idea for a new book was born this year that I will be working on for some time, starting next year. A new project. This magical meeting gave me the push I needed to go ahead. How incredible life is. I will be reading these treasured notes and learning so much. So David, you are still inspiring artists  from all over the world. And long may you continue to do so.

But back to my visit to Adelaide. What a charming place to live!  Its' beautiful. While there I managed a day tour of the Barossa Valley which is absolutely gorgeous. And yes we did try a few Australian wines. We did manage to go to a wildlife park here too where I saw and fed wallaby, fell in love with koala and saw my first fairy wren. I little blue bird with stunning colour. I also visited the  wonderful Botanical Gardens which are well worth a visit.

Adelaide 2014 

The location of Adelaide Art Society is near a high street full of fascinating restaurants. In fact, when eating at night we were spoilt for choice and all were within easy walking distance of our apartment. A short drive away we were easily in range of even more tempting places to eat and I have to say, the food here is far too good and very hard to resist!

Near the Art Society itself is a fantastic bakery that sells incredible goodies for lunch. I learned what sliders are. Little delicious buns with tasty fillings. I also, unfortunately, discovered what "bee stings" were. Yummy cakes with honey on top and a cream filling.

Would I return to Adelaide Art Society? Yes, in  a heart beat. Everyone, seriously, was fabulous. Warm, welcoming, as fascinated in watercolour as I am. Plus the variety of talent in each workshop was stunning.  I'll remember the artist moving from Arcylics to watercolour for the first time and within just one day on my course leaping from heavy application of colour to light, allowing pigment to flow in exciting ways. I will think fondly of Di who was nervous at first but shone in her own terrific style. Even though she didn't realise it at first, she can paint in a loose style.  There is so much I want to share about Adelaide.

Since I have left I have heard the society would love me to return for future workshops and there are mentions in emails now of rather exciting venue choices if I do go back. So I will be seeing what I can physically fit in, because I know I need to visit new destinations who are patiently waiting for me to hold workshops too. But, oh my, this is a place I have to go back to and see people I desperately want to paint with again.

To Adelaide Art Society, thank you so very much for being so professional, so organised and so welcoming. You are on my hit list of places I want to come back to!

By the way, here I painted my first emu which now lives with one of the artists  who attended my workshops!

Adelaide 2014


My next blog post will be about my time teaching in Sydney

Watercolour Christmas Card Challenge 2014

Robin Appearing in a first wash
Work in progress

Everywhere I gave workshops over the past few weeks I left "homework" challenges. These, of course, are for fun but also they give artists attending a reason to use techniques covered on a course in a way that is interesting.

( I'm expecting a spider or snake from Craig, roses possibly from Diane, a parakeet with a santa hat from Leona and I have already had a fabulous cockerel from Carol. There are many more artists  I could mention but my blog post would be very long!)

Having set the homework I thought I had best make an effort to join in the challenge myself.

The "homework" is to paint a Christmas card that is unique using a variety of watercolour techniques. As a little robin sits outside our cottage daily I thought it would be fun to paint him for my piece. Unfortunately most days the sky here has been a little grey so I have opted to use artistic license and create a more gorgeous backdrop of blues and turquoise.

I'm wondering how many artists from my workshops recognise the favourite green in this work in progress?

Anyone can join in. Once you have painted your Christmas Card please reply to my blog post and share a link to your own blog page.

Whatever you are doing, have a fantastic Christmas and to those who I have sent special emails to, you know who you are, I'm thinking of you and sending very warm hugs with this message. I hope 2015 is really very special for you, and far better than you eve expect it to be. 
I'm only an email away, always!


Magical Time : Orchids

Orchids appearing from an experimental first wash
Australia Tour 2014

I had intended to catch up on my blog before now but life, as always, had other ideas for me this past week.  I fell quiet because the very last proof of my new book arrived and this would be my last opportunity to spot any mistakes or add to my next publication. This proof was the most magical yet as the design team have now worked with my current lay out and I have to say as I turned each page I felt very emotional. This is far more than I had hoped for . So all the time spent hidden away writing has been totally worth it.  My publishers are thrilled and so am I. So my new book is now officially ready to go to print and orders are already flooding in as it is  available to pre order on Amazon.com


On top of working on the final proofs of my book I have been literally wading through many terrific emails from artists who attended my workshops in Australia. I'm thrilled they were enjoyed so much and now I find myself looking ahead to 2015/2016 with new ideas to inspire and motivate. To be honest I am so "on a high" with all the colour and ideas from my time in Australia that all I want to do is lock myself away and quietly paint. So you may see less of me but that will mean I have more to share when I do come out of hibernation!


For now I am going through a few experimental paintings that I brought back with me from Australia. Pieces that have given me new ideas for next years courses. I don't like to stand still with my art. Nor do I like  to teach each year running workshops exactly the same as the previous years. 2015 is going to be  amazing on my courses as I have discovered new colour combinations, watercolour techniques and approaches to all manner of subjects and I have never felt so alive or rejuventated.

So if you are booked on one of my courses  in 2015, be warned, my watercolour addiction is even worse now. And this addiction is positively catching!


Artists on my Australian workshops watched the above orchids appear from a first wash. It was a magical moment as there was no image or flowers in front of me, I just painted these from my imagination and loved how they came to life.

Saturday 6 December 2014

Australia Workshop Tour 2014

I'm in  love with these wonderful animals!

I am home from a fabulous tour of Australia where I taught workshops and signed books in four main locations. It was a superb tour and I met many fantastic people along the path of each trips' eventful destinations. Many touched my heart in the most unexpected of ways and I am right now working through many fabulous emails from my new Australian friends.

Where do I start to write about it? The only way I can think of is to write about each individual location in seperate blog posts which I intend to start next week.

For now I wish to thank everyone who hosted, organised so beautifully and attended my workshops and talks. I am so lucky to meet such incredible artists and art societies.

The Lady Franklin Gallery in Hobart where I taught my first workshop in Tasmania.
This is to be followed by a wonderful blog post about the kindness I recieved there along with the many glorious artists I met.

 I have so much to share in the way of inspiration and even new colour combinations which will keep me painting happily for some time to come.

For now though, I am very tired after the flight home so I will chill this weekend and start adding to my blog from Monday. Im so sorry its been silent here for so long but the people I was with appreciated my spending all my time with them offline whilst travelling. 

Now I will return to my UK art life!

Roos' chilling as roos' do!


I have been inundated with  amazing emails  from everyone I met on my travels on tour and I will reply personally, as soon as time allows. So please don't think I have forgotten you!

Saturday 8 November 2014

Adelaide Art Society 2014

Australia Workshop Tour 2014

The last few weeks have been so busy that I haven't had time to add to my blog. I had workshops in UK before I left for Australia and before that I was working with my publishers on the first proof of my new book.  On my UK workshops I had artists from Russia , Spain and Australia attending so again they were quite International .

Now I am in Adelaide and I cannot believe that tomorrow is the last day of my workshops here. Everyone has been so wonderful. I love how one artist on today's session said they felt "over stimulated" as the excitement in the room following demonstrations with vibrant colour was amazing. Last night I gave a talk to the society and absolutely loved meeting everyone here.

I've been lucky enough to have free time to see wildlife and drive through the beautiful Barossa Valley. But nothing compares to the high of being in a room full of people who are as fascinated in watercolour as a medium as I am.

I have loved the positive feedback from everyone on my courses and love that I have already been invited back to Adelaide, and the same artists on the first workshop would love to be on the course next time I am here too.

I am so lucky to meet such great people and even luckier to have a life enriched by colour and art. 

I leave Adelaide for Sydney on Monday so my next blog post may be from there.

For now, I'm enjoying jacaranda trees, beestings, blue skies and gorgeous Australian landscapes and making brilliant new friends! 

Wednesday 22 October 2014

USA 2015 Update : Seattle!

"Absolutely Fabulous"

I am over the moon to be able to share the news that Seattle has been added to my USA Tour in 2015.

I will be giving two , two day workshops along with an in-store talk and demonstration in Seattle.
Full details will be shared shortly.

The dates for the Seattle workshops next year are as follows

 Workshop 1 April 22,/23  2015
Workshop 2 April 25/ 26  2015

As soon as I have contact information regarding booking I will update my blog.

Its' going to be a very exciting year next year as my new book will be launched next June and the invitations for art events and book signings are getting more and more wonderful by the minute! 


Online Sale : Special Offers

Life seems to be getting busier and busier. And this is a time in their careers when most artists would add to their stock, rather than stop selling online. But, I suppose I have never actually been following a trend when it comes to selling! 

I have become far too busy to run an online shop and as the last twelve months have seen an increase in sales, time spent on this part of my art life is detracting from my own painting time.

For this reason, as a one off only situation, there are special offers on all of my watercolour items for sale on my web site. 

I'm afraid once this especially priced stock has sold I will be closing my online web page. Instead, will be replacing the sales page  with details on where products can be purchased.

If you would like a bargain, or would like to buy my books, brushes or DVDs as gifts for artist friends for Christmas, please do jump in early whilst  items are available. 

You can see the bargain prices via this link.

Monday 13 October 2014

Brisbane Watercolour Workshops 2014

"It Takes Two"

Brisbane Watercolour Workshops 2014

Life sometimes creates unexpected hiccups which can  bring disappointment or happy surprises.

Due to unforeseen circumstances there have been  two cancelations on my Brisbane workshops. Which means disappointment for the artists who cannot attend  but hopefully a happy surprise for artists who previously couldn't join in.

If you would like to book one of these places please could you contact me as soon as possible on jeanhaines@hotmail.com 

Workshop 1 26/27th November
Workshop 2 29/30th November 


Saturday 11 October 2014

Windrush Gallery : Inspirational Preview

 View from my studio this evening
"Autumn Mist"

I cannot begin to describe how wonderful last night was at the Windrush Gallery. Having worked all day in my studio, I drove to Windrush for the opening evening of the Annual Exhibition there. Luckily the Friday traffic wasn't too busy so I arrived early and had time to enjoy the show before invited guests arrived.

There were a few artists  at the gallery before me, one being David Curtis whose work I have admired for years. It was wonderful talking to this incredible man. Why? Because his passion for the medium, and painting from life, hits you as soon as the conversation starts.  This is genuinely a man who paints because he loves painting.I loved talking about his work and how he feels about working in watercolour. I think my heart would have been broken if I had discovered he wasn't as passionate as he  came across, because this is excatly how I had envisaged him to be. His collection at the gallery is stunning capturing light, atmosphere and the view so perfectly in a way that leads you as the viewer directly into the scene before you. David suggested and took time to look at a painting of mine in the show. I was over the moon to hear him thoughtfully describe the colours, lost and found edges and technique used in my piece. He is a master when it comes to handling watercolour so I must confess, the time he took with me has made me incredibly happy. Artists often yearn for our peers to enjoy our work. This was a memory that will never leave me.

I also met the amazing David Howell who is fantastic to talk to. An artist who genuinely has time to listen and share experiences.We were both in an issue of The Artist magazine recently and I have exhibited in a gallery in Dubai years ago with this well known and respected  watercolourist. I listened , fascinated and realised how lucky I was to have this time to spend with artists I admire so very much.

Honestly I could type for hours about the preview evening because it was wonderful from start to finish. After the show there was a supper for all the artists in the exhibition which gave everyone the opportunity to chat minus gallery visitors and this was an extra bonus. A fantastic close to an incredible day.

I drove home this morning through narrow country lanes at first and dreadful torrential rain. During the journey, I thought about why this exhibition meant so much to me. Not only had I met two of my all time watercolour heroes and shown alongside them but I had walked into a room of mainly all pure watercolour paintings. There wasn't an acrylic in sight in that room. No collages, no mediums disguised as pure watercolour and it was heaven. Here were a group of artists all working from the same starting point with the same medium, true watercolour, and showing what they could achieve with it. And every one  is passionate about doing so.

I do so wish there were more exhibitions like this. Or watercolour societies that only showed pure watercolour. Oddly enough I have just had a phone call from my artist friend who is visiting London from Dubai. She has just been to a watercolour show in London and wondered where all the actual watercolours were. Apparently there were a few but not many.

But back to last night. I have been so inspired by my visit to the Windrush Gallery and  I havent even mentioned yet that I was invited to see James Fletcher-Watsons studio, exactly how it was when he worked in it. This will be my next blog post because it is another blog story.

Naturally I am now inspired to return to painting atmospheric landscapes . Hopefully without the rain or storm clouds next time as today all I could see was rain, rain and more rain. Although the crows at the top of the hill in the nearby field don't seem to be perturbed by the weather. So thay have been included in my small landscape tonight.

I cannot wait to paint tomorrow. And isn't that a great feeling!


Friday 10 October 2014

Windrush Gallery Annual Exhibition 2014: October 11th -20th

 James Fletcher-Watson
Painted by a Japanese Artist

The Windrush Gallery
Mixed Art Exhibition 2014

What an amazing few weeks have past.  My solo opened at the Wey Gallery, paintings were collected from my cottage for a group exhibition in Cheltenham and  I completed my new book. I am now eagerly awaiting my watercolour tour in Australia so I wouldn't expect any more excitement in my art life. But I am mistaken. Something truly wonderful happened and behind the computer screen, typing this blog post, is a very emotional artist.

It is so strange how fate takes a hand in ones' life, as it certainly does with mine. I recently wrote a feature for The Artist Magazine which includes a watercolour competition. In the same October issue I was thrilled to see a demonstration by one of my  all time favourite watercolourists, David Howell. I first fell in love with Davids' work when I lived in Dubai. I was exhibiting at the Majilis Gallery there and was immediately drawn to the clarity, colour and beauty in his style which captured atmosphere so fantastically. At the foot of Davids'  magazine feature was a mention of  "The Pure Watercolour Society". I had never heard of this society until reading the feature and intended to contact them but as aways, my life was so hectic. Time to do so wasn't there and so thought of doing so was temporarily postponed.

However I did keep thinking about the society. Here I possibly should explain that my heart often sinks at Art Society exhibitions which claim the title " Watercolour" and yet seem to exhibit more acrylics, collages and mixed media than the true medium I am in love with.  When I teach workshops I am constantly asked if a Watercolour Society exists that actually only shows watercolour. In all honesty, I think today anything at all is sadly classed as a "watercolour" if water is used in the creative process which is such a shame.  But this could be a subject for another blog post!

Having contacted The Pure Watercolour Society, I received a wonderful email in return and to cut a long story short I found myself driving up to Gloucester on Thursday to deliver paintings to be included in the Annual Exhibition at the Windrush Gallery. And here is the explanation as to why I feel so emotional. Like many watercolour artists I have been greatly inspired by the work of David Curtis. The way he captures light is sheer genius. There is a calm to his work, when you look at his paintings you soak in the scene often feeling sunshine on your shoulders as you do so. His masterful skill leads many landscape artists yearning to reach that incredible level.  My art life started with landscapes inspired by his work in England before I moved to Dubai. Here I came across watercolours by David Howell and because I adored his art so much I was recommended to search for work by Trevor Chamberlain. And the master of watercolour, James Fletcher-Watson. I did. And my passion for pure watercolour was strengthened. Yes other artists have influenced me along the way such as John Singer Sargent to name but one master who has filled my heart to the point of bursting. They show what can be achieved in this magical medium. Watercolour alone, that I love so much. There is no need to add other mediums to enhance it. On its own it sings beautifully. It deserves a society that shows it off minus any other products or mediums being used or passed off as "watercolour".

Windrush Gallery Annual Exhibition
James Fletcher-Watsons Painting is on the top right. the tree in the landscape. Painted cleanly, masterfully showing the beauty of nature via his brushwork and use of colour.

And so,back to this week. I have found myself unbelievably  being included in an exhibition with artists whose work has meant so much to me and still does. Life as an artist isn't always about selling or fame. It isn't about "churning out" paintings one after the other for the sake of it. To me, art has more meaning. It should touch your very soul when you look at work created by a master. Which is  exactly what happened when I walked into the Windrush Gallery this week and saw a painting by James Fletcher -Watson. It was the simplest of scenes, a single tree in a landscape. Absolutely stunning, skillfully painted in a way that takes my breath away. I felt as though after all these years learning and progressing in my own art journey I have come home. To a place where real watercolourists understand the love behind the use of a medium. Along with the wonderful way it works and can be used.

 My watercolour above, shown with a wonderful watercolour by Robert Brindley.

I am so excited as tonight is the preview and I will be attending with the artists there, to open the show. I know there is a reader of my blog who will be laughing here as they recently told me they couldn't believe it when they were in a show with me. I hope they are delighted to know I feel that way too when showing with my favourite artists, still. And I will never chnage.

 I met Jo, James daughter, at the Windrush Gallery when I delivered my work on Thursday and she is so wonderful. As I left the gallery she handed me a book by her father, James Fletcher-Watson and this was where I really became emotional. My eyes "leaked". I would loved to have met this fantastic artist while he was still alive. To bring this gorgeous book home with me meant so much and I am loving reading it. 

But this is the most important part of my blog post. These men probably have absolutely no idea how they have inspired other artists, like me, in their art journey. James still is inspiring me at a time in my life when maybe I needed an angel on my shoulder to remind me why I love watercolour so much.

Everyone who adores pure watercolour really needs to keep this tradition of painting alive, to pass down to future generations so that they too can share what is the most magical of all mediums.

Pure Watercolour.

My work hanging in the Windrush Gallery Annual Exhibition 2014


If you wish to be inspired you can visit the Windrush Gallery here are the gallery details.

The Windrush gallery
Windrush House
 Nr. Burford
OX18 4TU 

The Windrush Valley Mixed Art Exhibition runs from 
11th- 20th October 2014

11.0 - 5.0 pm.


A link to the Windrush Gallery  and  information on James Fletcher -Watson

Wednesday 1 October 2014

UK Workshops 2015

"Dancing Koi"

UK Watercolour Workshops 2015

 I have been almost dreading sharing an update about my 2015 UK watercolour workshops but I have to share the news. Which is that as soon as information was released, next years courses were almost immediately fully booked.

Due to my 2015 book launch and annual art event commitments my time to hold workshops each year has been limited. Which is why I carefully select dates throughout every year to run motivational courses that will be based on highly inspirational themes. I absolutely loved this years sessions and I know,  from the many wonderful emails I have recieved ,that many attending artists felt that the same way. In that they too had enjoyed memorable days. I love not only how the art flows on these occasions but how everyone meets and makes new friends, whilst sharing time, painting and creating.

On my blog I have been requesting that anyone interested in my workshops should contact me on my personal email address. So that their names could be added to my workshop contact list. This year I have been overwhelmed with requests for workshop places and my 2015 courses have sold out very quickly.

We are now  working on the waiting lists in case of cancellations which due to lifes unforeseen hiccups, can sometimes happen.

So please, if you have not already done so , please email me to add your name to my contact list. This way you will ensure you receive information before my events are advertised, which this year I am not even doing due to the popular demand for workshop places.


Thank you to everyone who has booked workshop places so promptly. And I look forward to seeing you next year.

I will be demonstrating at the 2015 Patchings Art Festival and if  any new events arise I  will be sharing news here, as soon as possible.


Don't Give Up : Roses in Watercolour

"Sweet Love"
Possibly the last rose, painted from my garden this summer

I have been thinking about one of the questions asked following my talk at the Wey Gallery during the opening of my one woman show " Colour Fusion" last weekend. It is one I have been asked many times.

"How many of your paintings don't work out ?"

It is a great question isn't it.  And in truth I suppose I could answer that not many end up in the bin these days. But how long did it take for me to get to this stage in my art journey.  And I shouldn't forget all those experimental washes that I start each day with, not meaning for them to turn into paintings but they often do.

I think the easiest way to help answer this question is for me to take the above painting as a visual example of where I am heading with this blog post. This rose, one of the last from my garden this Summer started out as a first wash of soft pinks and greens. There was no definition initially and I was working from looking at the real flower. This had been cut as a single stem and placed in a vase with lovely green foligae behind it. Then placed near my desk easel to study. 

Artist Tip: Study your subject well, observe its' colour and shape before you even think about picking up a brush.

I chose Opera Rose and Perylene Green as my main colours. Working on dry paper I applied a block section of pink colour at first, in the suggestive shape observed  from the real flower. This was almost completely circular.  I allowed watermarks to run at will in places throughout the wash ,whilst deliberately encouraging other water marks to form  hints of the many petals in this particular rose variety.  I then placed one strong leaf at the top of the flower to strengthen my outline edge of the rose.

First wash with watermarks and missing detail.
A loose "mess"! 

Creating a good starting point  from a first wash, as a basis for a successful loose painting is fascinating. I think it is at this stage that many new artists " give up". Because they can't see how the next brush strokes can bring the subject to life. It is having the imagination and courage to work further that makes or breaks a painting. But this is also the stage where as an artist I have nothing to lose. If it goes wrong the painting is an experiment I can learn from. But if it goes right, I have that magical sensation of achieving a  good result.

At this stage I have to consider two points. Adding too much detail next could ruin my loose painting as it could move into the slightly botanical realm and well away from the atmospheric result I was aiming for. But by not adding enough definition, the piece could end up looking a mess that isn't worthy of even being called an abstract. I try to marry a loose background with enough detail to tell the story of what my subject is. But without my finished result being overly fussy or over worked.

Working loose in watercolour this way is exciting as pigment reaction with water is always unique in how it dries. I enjoy my first washes of any given subject, often waiting patiently allowing each stage to dry before working further, adding the detail.  Only when my first wash is completly dry can I consider what the painting truly needs.

And so a few darks, a few fine lines, a few additions of petal detail turns a "blurry" loose mess into a stunningly beautiful rose in watercolour.

"Sweet Rose"
Petals unfurling and wrapping around an inner centre that carries such sweet perfume. 

Artists Tip: Never give up on a painting unless you aren't enjoying the creative process. Take time to study your subject and your initial washes, think about how each new brushstroke can add or detract from what you are trying to achieve and practise until you gain results that are pleasing you. And remember, at the end of the day, painting should be enjoyable, not a chore!


Its' wonderful seeing how popular my blog post on " How to paint roses in a loose style" still is. So I am hoping this blog post with more detail will help followers with their own paintings of roses. They are such wonderful flowers to paint!

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Red Hot Watercolour Competition : Daniel Smith Watercolour Prizes

"Feathers Flying"
New Rooster. 
Work in Progress

Goodness, time really is flying. I honestly don't think I know the meaning of the word " Bored"! I am constantly working on new exciting projects and looking forward to fabulous art events.

Last weekend was the opening of my solo show at the Wey Gallery in Godalming, Surrey. Thank you to everyone who came on the day and also a huge thank you for the very interesting questions raised at the end of my talk.  There is something very special about meeting people at exhibitions and I enjoyed every minute.  The exhibition runs until the 11th October and further information can be found via this link.

This week I have a small selection of paintings  being collected by a gallery for a show opening in Cheltenham next month. I will be sharing more details about this in another post shortly.

For now, I am making the most of the gorgeous sunshine here and painting in vibrant colours. The above rooster is on my easel and appears to have feathers flying! The colour of the head is a very bold red achieved by a layering, build up of Daniel Smith Watercolours. Which reminds me to mention that I have been so impressed by the entries to my watercolour challenge in  "The Artist" magazine this month. I wrote a feature on using red shades and the submissions so far are stunning and so varied.

All I have asked for is the use of vibrant red , in a way that makes the colour looks impressively "hot". Prizes for my latest competition are Daniel Smith Watercolours and a watercolour palette like mine. If you would like to enter please  see this link for details.

The competition is open to artists of all levels and I will be judging , to choose five lucky winners.
So how about having fun painting with  red shades and aiming to win some great new ones at the same time!


Wednesday 24 September 2014

Hard To Reach

Blackberries on a Bramble Branch

Why is it that the sweetest berries are always out of reach? I can guarantee that when I am walking through countryside alone I always, without fail, see the very best berries either high up on top of a hedgerow or far from my arms' length. This evening I saw a branch that had grown way above a bramble bush with juicy, ripe blackberries just begging to be picked. Of course, I couldn't reach them. To make matters worse, leaves had fallen so the length of the bramble was fully exposed making the fruit look even more tempting!

I stood and looked at the composition and then came home to my studio to paint what I had seen. Reluctantly, leaving the fruit where it was.  I used a small study I had already started which meant all I had to do was add the detail which was the annoying  out of reach branch.

While I worked, this little painting gave me much food for thought.  Many things in life are not easy and I tend to think this is somtimes a good thing. For example, going to a supermarket and simply buying a punnet of blackberries wouldn't have given me the same sense of satisfaction as finding them myself. It is exactly the same when learning new painting techniques. Anything that is easy to achive doesn't appeal to me so much these days. I look for art challenges daily. If I can't find any I make  some up!

I just don't believe that picking up a brush and doing what I know I can do is enough. I want to continually learn, grow and improve my skill as a watercolourist.

So in a way, I am placing a very high branch of "treasure" just out of my reach and I will continually strive to reach it. And when I do, there will always be another branch to aim for!

Artists Tip of the Day: Don't settle for what you can reach, aim even higher ad set yourself exciting new goals continually!


Tuesday 23 September 2014

Jean Haines World Of Watercolour : New Book 2015

Paintings and Contact Sheets from my new book which will be launched next year.

Thank you so much to everyone who sent me messages following my blog post on completing the last chapter of my new book. I was so  surprised and taken aback by the kindness of everyone who had not only read my blog post but obviously understood how emotional I felt at the time knowing I had written the last words of the last chapter, which were forwarded to my publisher.

Last week became even more emotional as I have now also sent all of my paintings from my new book to my publisher to be professionally photographed to go with the  written text.

I write my books as if I was in a room full of artists and imagine I am either demonstrating or explaining why I make the decisions on my colour choices or techniques. I also imagine sitting in  the room and listening to myself. I ask myself what I would like to learn most from a book on watercolour and how each new chapter could help my own growth as an artist. I am quite tough on myself in that unless each page is fascinating it isn't worthy of being printed! And I have loved writing this new book so very much that I am genuinely sad this part of the books' journey is over. The creative side of putting it together and compiling all the information  that I wished to share.

So having read and re-read each new page of my next publication I then went through each painting, no matter how small and checked if it had instructional or inspirational value. The emotional time came when I knew there would be no room for any more illustrations and my book was 100% complete.

As I was really busy last week I arranged for a courier to collect all the art work from my studio and deliver it to my publishers head office. Here it will be  photographed then placed with the text lay out for printing to be organised.  I will now be waiting eagerly for  the first proof to arrive. This will not be in a book form. It will simply be loose paper in the sequence of the chapters so I can see how it will look before the final printing procedure gets under way.

This will be my very last chance to make any changes.

It is a time of anticipation and dare I say, nerves!

In my mind I think I know what my new book will look like but from my computer screen to the holding real thing is a massive leap!

I will keep updating my blog with news of this process as so many  readers have let me know they are enjoying this side of my book, watching it come from the birth of an idea to the finished article. 

And I will confess, it is wonderful to know I am not alone while waiting!


Autumn Treasure

 Blackberry Painting Inspiration from my book "Atmospheric Watercolours" 

Autumn 2014

Apparently it is now officially Autumn although the hedgerows where I live seem to have thought it already has been for a few weeks now. Blackberries have almost all been picked and the shells of hazelnuts are scattered on the ground from over enthusiastic squirrels feasting on, or hoarding, them.

Hazelnut appearing in a simple wash.

For me, it is a time to reflect on the gorgeously warm Summer days that are drawing to a close and the time to welcome a glorious colour change in my palette. I am going to be leaping towards even more vibrant golds and stunning bright contrasts to make them sing more stunningly.

As I walk my dog Bailey, I will be observing all the  berries on display whilst enjoying the sculptural shapes as leaves fall revealing stems or branches minus their foliage adornment. This is a great time to wander along country lanes searching for  natures hidden treasure as well as the more  noticeable.

Artist Tip: Don't miss out! Get fit by walking, enrich your artists eye by observing and take quiet time to record the beauty that we often miss by always being in a rush!

 "Autumn Glory"
From " How to Paint Colour and Light in Watercolour "