Monday 31 March 2014

Delicate Brushstrokes

Daffodils, softly coming to life in watercolour

It is obvious that I am loving Spring this year. My happiness flows into my work as one floral after another comes to life on my easel. I have seen daffodils in bloom since I was a child. There has never been a year where their vibrant yellow has not cheered my soul. Their trumpet formations seem to herald a new beginning each year, welcoming in a season full of hope and joy.

Maybe I am being far too romantic! In my recent paintings I am trying to gain that feeling of  cheerfulness and a fabulous freedom of spirit. The new collection on my easel are painted from the daffodils in my cottage garden.  I have one gorgeous row in paticular, with all the heads facing in the same direction. They look similar to a line of dancers especially when the breeze moves their  pretty heads in time.

I hope to share more paintings very soon. For now, please consider painting what you seeseasonally  as often as possible. But take time to " really see" natures' beauty. 

Don't race past things that deserve a few minutes by stopping to enjoy them !


A special thank you for all the personal emails letting me know how much you are enjoying my blog.
 I hope to reply personally soon!

Saturday 29 March 2014

A Yellow Explosion : Daffodils in Watercolour

A collection of yellow washes, first stages of daffodil paintings in watercolour

I really feel sorry for anyone who doesn't work in watercolour! Its' the most fantastic feeling on earth watching colour flow over paper turning into subjects magically, often in my case by pigment interaction alone rather than by deliberately being painted. Yes, you do need to know how to apply pigment, when ,where,  and at what stage of the paper. being still damp. But once you get into this way of working it is so wonderfully addictive!

This morning I looked at the bright sunshine and just had to paint it. I eagerly reached for my yellow pigments and  started a collection of washes of the daffodils in my garden. There is a gentle breeze today, so the flower heads are moving in my garden and this is a feeling I tried to portray in the first two washes. Inside our cottage I have a vase of very bright yellow daffodils, all clustered together, so this inspired my third wash of deep yellow pigment in a central composition. Under our kitchen window in the garden, there is a bank of daffodils with muscari lining up in front of them . So the lower two washes on my easel are inspired by this gorgeous combination of blue and yellow. Can you work out which wash is which in the image above when all the washes were placed on my easel?

The image below is of the vase of daffodils in my cottage. I have left out the vase and just painted the flowers. There is no detail added yet. This is literally just colour making the flowers appear with hints of shapes in the early stage of my painting. I didn't aim to paint individual flowers and yet they are there already.

 Daffodils bursting to life in the very early stages of a first wash.

The image below shows the daffodils inpisred by my garden, leaning with the force of the wind behind them. I cannot wait to complete these paintings.

Daffodils being blown in the wind by the breeze.
First Wash.

These are all painted on Bockingford 140lbs paper and they are singing with fresh clean colour.

Cadmium Yellow, working at its best!

Please don't forget I have a competition running in the Artist Magazine at the moment. On using yellow pigment. If you have a unique way of painting with it you can find more details on how to join in via this link

Spring Violets at The Frame Gallery in Odiham, Hampshire

Spring Violets

This time next week my new solo exhibition "Watermark" will be open at the Frame Gallery in Odiham, Hampshire.

Among my new collection are two very sweet paintings of violets. I am thrilled with how they look in their frames and will be very sad to part with either . So much so that a part of me is hoping that no one likes them! I probably am not the best artist to show in a gallery as I often wish to keep my favourite paintings however I have limited wall space in my cottage!

Please contact the gallery if you are interested in any of my work

The link to contact Jan the gallery owner is 

Friday 28 March 2014

The Simple Things in Life : Muscari in Watercolour

 Muscari studies on my easel
( Muscari flowers, also known as grape hyacinth) 

Near my studio there are wonderful clusters of grape hyacinth growing. Beautiful blue flowers sit around and under the yellows of taller daffodils in bloom. The colour combination is  magical. So of course each time I look out of my window I see them and naturally I want to paint them.

I have a painting that was included in my first book which I look at each Spring. I loved the mystical effect of the grape hyacinth flowers appearing from an old vintage jug that I own. I had created a still life and loved working peacefully on it. This old, original painting is on smooth Bockingford paper 140lbs. which is perfect for floral work and studies. Bockingford is a beautiful ,almost white paper that seems to make my work stand out more. Adding a dimension of light and a feeling of freshness.

The paper we use is so important to our results.

Here is a close up of the muscari in the painting from my book "How to Paint Colour and Light in Watercolour "

Spring Flowers painted on Bockingford 140lbs paper

I painted a small study of grape hyacinths on a scrap of  rough texture paper today, to highlight the difference in results. I have had to use different techniques as the surface of the textured paper doesn't allow me to lift the lighter sections of the muscari bell formations well. And pigment getting trapped in the pockets of the rough surface  held back my goal of silky petal effects.

Muscari on rough surface paper.

Paper we use in watercolour is a very personal choice but for florals I often opt for Bockingford or Saunders Waterford paper. A good weight but smooth surface.

For now I am going to get back painting and enjoying the Spring flowers whilst they last which isn't long. Spring, a season that we all eagerly wait for seems to disappear in the wink of  an eye so we must enjoy it while we can!

You can purchase my first book via this link

Artist Tip: Do vary the watercolour paper you use. You can achieve great things just by experimenting on paper surfaces and weights. Often the wrong paper holds an artist back more than their skill at painting!

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Watermark Exhibition 2014 : Animals

 Due to interest in my new watercolour collection I am sharing images, sizes and prices of favourite collectible, original paintings from my solo exhibition at the Frame Gallery in Odiham, Hampshire. The show opens on Friday 4th April but paintings can be reserved prior to the opening.

Please contact the gallery if you are interested in purchasing one  of these paintings via this link

 Little Donkey
62 x 52 cms

56 x 39 cms

53 x 63 cms

Badger Whispers
54 x 46 cms 

Watermark Exhibition : Cockerels

" Best in Show"
62 x 53 cms

 Due to interest in my new watercolour collection I am sharing images, sizes and prices of favourite collectible paintings from my solo exhibition at the Frame Gallery in Odiham, Hampshire. The show opens on Friday 4th April but paintings can be reserved prior to the opening.

Please contact the gallery if you are interested in purchasing one  of these paintings via this link

"Looking Good"
As seen on the Invitation and in the Exhibition Promotion
65 x 78 cms

There is also a beautiful Red, White and Blue Cockerel which can be seen at the gallery.

Simple Things : Forget-Me_Not

Colour Interpretation

Sometimes it is nice to paint just because I feel like it. Not for galleries or exhibitions,  for my book or for any other reason. Painting purely for the sheer joy of seeing colour flow across paper. This morning while I wandered around our cottage garden I noticed the first Forget-Me-Nots starting to flower. I enjoy these little blue flowers so much.  I like the romance in their name. I love that they used to be pressed and given to soldiers, as they left for war, with the loving message they represented. 


Such a simple, insigificant flower carries such a powerful name.  I couldn't resist picking a tiny spray and bringing it into my studio to use as a subject for my daily colour exercises. Initially I played with colour combinations and light brush strokes to not only match the flowers, but also gain a feeling of their delicacy. Lightness of touch was a must!

 Matching Forget-Me-Not to watercolour shades. I have opted for turquoise and violet for the petals, using cerulean Blue and Cadmium Yellow to create a spring green for the leaves.

 I have worked on two studies to being my  experimental work on these sweet flowers. The pleasure in simply watching colour flow over paper and pigment interect cannot be described. I do wish everyone painted in watercolour. The feeling of freedom whilst working this way is so special. It lightens your soul and makes you feel instantly happy!

 Watercolour studies of Forget-Me-Not flowers. Light, interesting with a sense of mystery.

 By standing these little studies up and taking time to study the colour combinations, I can decide where to work further by adding detail. Or choose how to begin new pieces for a series.

The two studies side by side.

My favourite piece at the moment is this one, below.

Favourite Forget-me-Not study. 
(Without Detail)

But by the time I have finished writing this blog post I may just have changed my mind!

Saturday 22 March 2014

My Week and a Harvest Mouse

Harvest Mouse coming to life
on  an ear of corn.

Watermark Exhibition Behind the Scenes: This week has been busy. I suppose all my weeks are! But I completed the collection for my show at The Frame Gallery in Odiham. I will see these paintings in frames on Monday, when each will need to be measured for the catalogue, titled and priced.  This side of exhibiting takes time that often isn't recognised. Then there is the wrapping  of paintings for delivery to the gallery. When this collection is on display in the gallery I will finally be able to see the result of all the work  behind the scenes. And its' a lot!

My new Book: I have been working on my new book. The  latest chapters have me now so enthralled that I wake early each day to continue on them. I love writing.But what I love more is the fact that if I get this book right everyone who is fascinated by watercolour will love it even more. Each page is full of tips and ideas for painting fabulous compositions. I'm trying to give a feeling of each new chapter being opened as that thrill of opening special Christmas gifts. One of excitement and sheer pleasure. If you like the gift of course! My publisher is really excited and thinks this will be my best book to date. I am very happy.  Actually I am over the moon that they like it so much!

USA 2015: There is a lot of excitement about my 2015 USA new book signing tour. And I am happy to announce that I will also be in West Virginia for the very first time, adding to my book signing events and workshops in California and St Louis.

Australia 2014 : As well as workshops I will be giving  demonstrations and talks  for Art Societies in Adelaide, Tasmania and Brisbane in November this year. My Australian workshops are all fully booked although I need to check with Sydney as I think there are places left but I need to update this news.

New Paintings: Between all the organisation I am painting as if I have never painted before in my life. I have no idea what happened this month but a new  sense of adventure has hit my brushes in such a huge way. I cannot describe the feeling but I am working in my studio on paintings for my book and future exhibitions. The harvest mouse on corn above is an example of  one of my newly found subjects this year. And I love breathing life into them. Little harvest mice. Working in watercolour is so magical. 

I wish everyone could find this feeling of peace in their lives, even if it is just for the time they are painting!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday 20 March 2014

Watermark Solo Exhibition: Watercolour Collection Preview

Jean Haines Solo Exhibition
The Frame Gallery
April 4th - 25th,. 2014

My solo exhibition at the Frame Gallery in Odiham is looking really exciting. As my collection comes together for what I feel is going to be a gorgeous show. I have indulged myself by painting my favourite subjects and new ones for this event.  I honestly cannot wat to see this collection in the gallery. I have had so many lovely emails over the years from visitors to my shows who have missed seeing certain watercolours , due to early sales in each exhibition. So I thought it would be an idea to share with you some of my latest work that will be in "Watermark". My one woman exhibition in Hampshire.

Lets' start this guided blog tour of my show with "Little Donkey".  A friend of mine living in France has several donkeys, one she calls "Cappucino" and I love the name.  This is the first time I have ever shown donkeys in an exhibition and I think they are my new favourite subject. This piece is beautiful  off screen. It carries a gorgeous feeling of wanting to touch the  donkeys' muzzle when you look at it.

"Little Donkey"

This second donkey has a very special watercolour quality to it. There is a sense of depth and mystical movement. As if the donkey is actually turning to look at you. Whichever direction you look at it from , the gaze seems to follow you!

"Donkey Love"

My next new subject  is a beautiful badger. This painting needs to be seen off screen to gain the full effect. There is a softness of early morning sunlight as the badger appears. The nose is especially  beautiful. My first badger painting in an exhibition. And definitely a new favourite.

"Badger Whisper"

No exhibition of mine would be complete with out a cockerel painting or two in it!  As I had none available in galleries, I am aware these are going to be a welcome sight.  This first one is wonderfully alive. It jumps off the paper at you in glorious glowing colour, with an almost 3D effect which is what I was aiming for. I love this piece so much that I nearly kept it for my new book. It is indeed, a "feel good" painting. I felt wonderful when I painted it and I feel good looking at it!

"Best in Show"

Talking of feeling good. The next cockerel painting was selecetd for the invitation image because it goes very well with the title of my show. Sometimes when you work in watercolour, something incredibly magical happens in the way of watermarks or water effects. This painting screams watercolour in every sense. To me it is beautiful in that the colours sing and it holds a sense of postive energy.

"Looking Good"

 There is a gorgeous kitten,hedgehog, flowers and many more subjecst in this new collection.

Should anyone wish to purchase a piece please could you contact the gallery directly. Jan, the owner is more than happy to help. Whilst the show opens officially on April 4th, quite often pieces are reserved in advance.  That is why you sometimes see red dots on paintings on the opening night.  Collectors contact galleries well in advance to show interest and it ensures you don't miss the  piece you have fallen in love with.

On another note. I have had some lovely messages from people who would like to attend a Preview but feel they shouldn't without an invitation. There is no Private Preview for this exhibition. But there is an opening night on 4th April which everyone is welcome to attend. I will be there from 5.30 to 7.30.p.m , after that I am being whisked off to another event! But I would love to sign books and meet you in person if you can make it.

For everyone who sent me  smashing messages about my violet paintings. They are in the show in beautiful frames. In fact, the frames are stunning on all the work.  Do  visit The Frame Gallery in Odiham , Hampshire if you get a chance.

And if you need any help on how to get here please contact Jan on

Sunday 16 March 2014

Forsythia in Watercolour : Spring 2014

 Forsythia  Study  Collection

 Its' Spring.   We have wonderful sunshine and  gorgeous flowers are appearing in our cottage garden. Near my studio are two wonderful Forsythia. My eyes have kept wandering to their glorious display of colour this week.  They are irresistable!  I always give myself a treat at the end of each working session, to paint something new  whilst exploring the creative possibilities of differing approaches.

So now, I am now enjoying painting wonderful yellow flowers. Falling on my Asian training with my rigger for the brushwork forming branches and using my number ten brush for the yellow petals.

These pieces have a delightful sense of warmth, sunshine, and peace about them and they have certainly lifted my spirits as each has evolved during my experimental creative process.

I think my favourite is this piece.

 Favourite Forsythia Study

 I enjoyed discovering the right yellow to depict these flowers and  matching my shade accurately for the branches as seen in the study below.

Matching colour to my subject.

Each flower has such a short season of life, as artists we need to paint what we see and when we see it. Never missing the golden opporunity to create from life. And how golden this opportunity is!

Friday 14 March 2014

Watermark : The Exhibition. Opening 4th April at The Frame Gallery, Odiham, Hampshire

Solo exhibition by Jean Haines
The Frame Gallery
April 4th - 25th April 2014 

Just a heads up to my next solo exhibition which opens on 4th April at the Frame Gallery, in Odiham Hampshire. I have some beautiful new paintings in this collection including  donkeys, cats, cockerels, florals and many more  wonderful subjects.  In previous shows favourite pieces have sold  quickly so please visit the gallery as soon as possible if you would like to view the complete collection or purchase a painting.

I will be at the gallery for the preview event which will take place on 4th April, from 5.0 p.m to 7.30 p.m  and look forward to signing books and meeting visitors to celebrate my new show. Everyone is welcome, you do not need an invitation!

Full information cam be found on the gallery web site. 

Tuesday 11 March 2014

The Artist Magazine : Watercolour Competition "Yellow Challenge" 2014

 Yellow pigments used as a background for primroses, Negative painting on top of the initial wash makes the primroses come alive.

Win Brushes and Watercolours!

 Wouldn't you like to win a  fantastic watercolour set by Schmincke Horadam as well as a set of mygorgeous watercolour brushes? All you have to do is paint in yellow.  Anything at all. Any subject, any technique as long as your work is in watercolour. Show me a beautiful way to use yellow shades and make me smile at the same time! Schmincke Horadam have generously donated five fantastic sets of watercolours and I am giving away my own personalised brush sets as prizes. The value of each prize is  approximately £100! So its' time to get painting but what? Read on!

My competition is in the  April issue of the Artist Magazine. You can read my feature by following this link

This doesn't mean you have to only paint yellow subjects. My challenge is all about creating a painting by using yellow somewhere in the composition. As a judge I will be looking for the most exciting result where yellow plays a huge part in the painting. I am sharing a few ideas in this blog post to inspire you to enter. The painting of primroses above uses yellow as a first wash all over the paper, then  I have worked around negative shapes of primroses to bring them alive. In the painting below yellow brushwork also directs  the eye to the flowers, adding hints of sunlight in the background.

 Hints of sunlight in the background add warmth to this painting of primroses

But please don't feel you have to paint the obvious , as in yellow subjects like flowers. How about painting animals with drops of yellow in spectacular eyes. The surrounding colour then makes the eye come dramatically to life.

  Cats eye with tiny hints of yellow add  extra life to an animal painting.

However I do need to see the yellow in the competition entries. It has to be obvious as a colour, in the results. The landscape below for example could have been enhanced with a transparent layer of yellow ,added over the finished painting as a layer when it was dry.

 Soft watercolour of a bridge that could be worked further, by the addition of a transparent layer of heavily diluted yellow. Not suitable for my competition as it is !

BUT.......... this following painting works!

 A hint of  sunshine reflecting in the water adds interest to this cool blue boat scene.

 Yellow shades flowing from the bag being carried on the head in this figure painting connects to the figure. Colour flow throughout the study is a useful technique,  the yellow also acts as a backdrop to detail on the dress

 A quiet yellow shade was used as background for this painting of Venice. Creating soft atmosphere and a sense of mystery.

Cadmium Yellow here is used boldly to highlight strong sunshine  on these colourfully dressed women in a market scene.

There are so many ways of using Yellow in a composition. By layering, as the subject, as the foreground or background, in a section or all over the painting. How about you show me your favourite way to paint in yellow and I will be sending five sets of prizes to the five most interesting entries. This challenge is open to all levels of artists. 

If you read my feature you will find out more

Have fun painting and submit before the deadline!

Saturday 8 March 2014

Reaching Your Goals.

Spring is Here

Sometimes you create a painting that is so enjoyable you know in your heart that you never want to finish it. I feel like this with my primrose painting above. This started with a pale foundation wash of yellow , blue and orange. Gradually I worked outlines for the flowers and added a green foreground. I have soft and hard edges, hidden flowers and buds in the composition. The leaves in the foreground are now delicious with crinkle patterns for the leaf veins. Sat here looking at it, I have an idea of how to add to this piece tomorrow. Just a hint of brushwork to add more excitement to the top corner.

I meet artists on my workshops who consisently race to complete a painting in one go. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. But sometimes they remind me of my husband in the car when we are travelling. He will start the journey with one goal. To simply get where we are going. Where as I will get into the car and look to see if there is anything exciting on the way. If there is, I want to stop the car and enjoy my discovery. Each new journey to me ,is one that contains the possibility of a fantastic new adventure. 

With my art I am not just getting from A to B. I am loving the process of leaving A and I am heading to B in an unpredictable way, loving every second of not knowing what I will see next

And this to me describes working in a loose style.  Painting loose can be described as having a goal of reaching a destination but not necessarily describing everything you see along the way. But allowing yourself to enjoy what you see in the creative process.

I never want to reach the end of my artistic journey. And as with the painting above, I don't want to miss beauty because I was in too much of a hurry to get where I thought I was going in the first place

Artits Tip: Take your time, enjoy painting and don't make your life or art a race!

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Violets in Watercolour

Violets in Watercolour

How I love my life! Okay there are blips in it at times but if my life was always perfect then the wonderful days wouldn't be so fantastic. Today I had a meeting with my wonderful PA, Christine, who artists on my workshop will remember. Christine is fantastic in everything that she does for me and together we make a perfect team. But not only do we work well together, we have many similar interests. Gardening and flowers being just two.

Today we had rather tedious issues to discuss. Behind the scenes details that all businesses incur. But Christine arrived with the sweetest little glass jar of  stunning violets. Their colour was amazing and when our meeting was over it was impossible for me to continue working on my book or exhibition paintings. I just had to paint the violets. I painted three little pieces, each very different in composition. One had  fine detail on the main flowers. Another was more of a wash with flowers  "discovered" in it as is my way of working. But the painting I like most of all is the quickest brushwork . Telling the story but without too much fuss. Which is the piece I am sharing in this blog post. ( See above )

I learn so many lessons when I am writing my blog. From this post I can say 

1) Life without friends would be empty
2) Cease the moment, because these little flowers wouldn't have waited for me to have time to paint them and look what I would have missed.
3) Treat yourself now and then to something just for you. This painting was just that. Painted for fun to relax and I loved it.

I hope you do too!


Monday 3 March 2014

Watermark : Solo Exhibition in Hampshire

"Little Donkey"

April 2014

I'm thrilled to share the news that I have been invited to hold a solo exhibition again at the Frame Gallery in Odiham, Hampshire.  I have been working on a completely new collection which includes  stunning watercolours that I was torn between keeping for myself, including in my new book or showing.  But I have decided to exhibit these paintings because I love them so much that couldn't keep them hidden away until next year.

I should explain that many galleries allow work to be taken the minute it is purchased, so early viewing of this exhibition is advised. Paintings will disappear after the Preview Event so if you love watercolours created with effective watermarks please get to the gallery quickly.

Jan the owner is happy to send work internationally if you are interested as a collector.

For full details please watch my web site. As a heads up my show will open in April and invitations to meet me at the  preview are going to be available from the gallery.