Monday 30 November 2015

Its' Cold Outside!

"Its' Cold Outside"
Christmas Card Scene

I have been locked inside my studio as I am working very hard on my new book which will be launched in 2016. This publication has been a challenge as it isn't like my previous books at all and I am having to think about every single word. Far more than usual. It is at the stage when the photographs have arrived from the filming session at the photographers studio recently and I have to choose which ones to use.
For each step by step in this new book there seem to be a zillion images. I often need to select just six to lay in the design and pages of certain chapters. I look for images that clearly show how I am holding and using my brush and they have to depict what I am painting. It is hard work as I find myself concentrating so hard at times. Luckily Bailey, my dog, knows he needs to interrupt me to take me into the garden for breaks now and then. What would I do without him!

It is grey here today. The sky looks gloomy and the rain has tried to dampen my spirits. But I am so happy because so much is happening. Most importantly I am opening and reading gorgeous emails from artists who were on my workshops while I was on my USA book signing tour. Many are almost making me cry with happiness. One artist has got into a gallery for the first time already after my course, having been guided by me to try as their work was so fabulous. Another has won two prizes. Another has had several sales which were totally unexpected. It is wonderful helping others reach their goals but one message told me my workshop had changed the artists life. I won't go into detail but the words really were so very moving.

Isn't it incredible by simply moving brushes we can reach out and effect others all over the world?

Painting is powerful. And I am so happy I do indeed paint.

So happy painting and I hope whatever your dreams are they come true. And I hope if you can, you find a way to make others dreams come true as well because that is the greatest gift in life. Making others happy!


Tuesday 24 November 2015

The Difference a Minute Makes : Christmas Roses 2015

Christmas Roses with the addition of Holly Berries

I intended to leave my studio and the Christmas Rose painting to return to in the morning with fresh eyes. But it is looking so fascinating and after writing my last blog post I couldn't resist adding red holly berries to see what the result would be and here it is.

I have splattered yellow and orange around my Christmas Rose centres which instantly brings life and energy to the painting. The red berries really have added a sense of warmth and a feeling of Christmas. I need to add shadow under a few flower centres next to define some of the stamen which will make these flowers look more like the real thing. And the upper corner isn't quite working for me but this is nearly finished. I like the flowers hidden in shadow in the centre of the composition adding a sense of distance and mystery.

I have absolutely loved working on this piece and sharing the stages on my blog.

I hope you have enjoyed reading these posts as much as I have enjoyed typing them!

Here is the painting minus the red holly berries and further colour additions. Just a minute can make such a difference to a painting. And knowing when to put your brush down !

 Painting as it was, minus the red holly berries, splattering and ivy detail.


Christmas Roses and Ivy in Watercolour 2015

 Christmas Rose Bouquet developing as a work in progress

I thought I would add to my blog on Christmas roses and end the day in my studio with a happy memory. When I paint I don't have a set destination or goal. I know for example with this painting I am working from a single Christmas rose that I picked in my garden. I am using this solitary flower and looking at it from different angles to add to a composition that is growing by the minute.

At first my painting was intended to be two full blooms and a half flower,painted from a sideways view. A connecting wash created the backdrop. And I liked it this way.

 Stage 1. My two main flowers and a soft background wash.

Next I began to create a more accurate outline on the lower flower. I did this by painting the outer edge of  two petals then I gradually bled this colour away with my brush into the surrounding area. This made the flower "pop" off the paper.

 Making white space "pop" by adding dark behind it for drama.

But here is the funny story that made me laugh as I was painting. When I held my workshops in USA on my recent tour I described how I paint as if I am jumping in a car with my husband and heading to a destination. My husband is the kind of man who has the map, knows where he wants to go and will get there by the quickest route. Not me! I get distracted. So if something beautiful leads me in another direction off I go. We were driving along the coast of California and knew what time we were aiming to reach our hotel that night. I saw a sign directing the way to see seals and wanted to go there instead, which incidentally we did. And it was fun and it lightened the long drive. But that's me. I love having fun in my life and in my art.

So I may have started this painting thinking it would be two and a half flowers. But something far better happened along the way as the painting developed and as I had no preliminary sketch to follow or be  restricted by I was able to take a more fun route!

I have allowed more Christmas roses to appear in the background. Now there is a whole bunch of them. I actually worked around whites in my barckground that were there by accident. Little triangles of white paper acted as petals turning over at the tips.

More flowers appearing in the painting. In a free flowing composition.

I looked at  this painting at this stage then wandered around my garden again as my dog Bailey needed a little break. I noticed the gorgeous ivy on one cottage wall and how it was shining in the light and realised my white flowers would look lovely nestling in a bouquet with dark dramatic greens as a backdrop. And so I added a mix of greens and blues behind my flowers. I now have easy places to add leaf outlines in my next colour additions.

Dark background added which will be ivy in the next stage of my painting.

Part of me feels I could add clusters of dark ivy berries or even holly berries or leaves to make this feel like a Christmas card design. I have so many options to choose from in where I am heading next with this piece. I could even turn this into white clematis if I chose too. That is another idea!

But the whole point of my journey in my painting is that I don't know where I am heading. I have no map. I am just simply enjoying what happens as it happens and being guided by colour and shape which is pleasing to my eye.

I write about this constantly in my books  and I share my way of working on my workshops.

My main passion is that painting in watercolour is magical. I always reccomend letting it lead you rather than you lead it, and you will have a ball painting if you do.

But on another note, you can imagine I am a nightmare to be with in a car if you need to get somewhere in a rush!

Happy painting!


Christmas Roses in Watercolour 2015

 First Wash of Christmas Roses bursting into life in watercolour

It is so good to be home and not travelling. I have adored meeting everyone on my workshop tour in USA but there comes a point when you are teaching that you begin to feel really envious of everyone in the class, as they can focus on painting whilst you are guiding and there for that sole purpose. I give my all in each workshop. My time belongs totally to everyone in the room and what happens during each session is important to me. I want each artist attending to leave feeling 100%inspired. But what happens is that I too get inspiration and I find myself  absolutely desperate to paint non stop when I return home and to my studio.Which is how I am at the moment!

Today I wandered around my garden and came across Christmas roses flowering beautifully. Their snow white heads with stunning yellow centres called to my brushes so even though I am supposed to be working on my new book this week I took time out to paint just for me. I wanted the feeling of freedom and flowing colour capturing a sense of light.

I am looking at this soft first wash and it reminds me of two white doves due to the softness of my brushstrokes here. There is a feeling of peace and calm about this painting. And how badly that feeling is needed in the world today. As artists we can switch off and escape into a world of beauty whenever we choose to. How wonderful it would be if we could do that for real so that every single person in this world sees beauty, treats it with respect and aims to teach others to make this world brighter, filled with love and kindness.

But I am straying away from my painting here!

Christmas Rose Painting Tips.

Paint a good negative outline first. I started this first wash by painting the outer edge of two flowers and a side view of another. 

Soften Edges I have softened edges in places and used a selection of blue and turquoise shades for the background. I have started adding yellow centres. 

Find a few leaf outlines  I teased a few green leaves to appear at the edge of one side of the wash. Next I will add detail of the individual petals and more greenery for depth in the central section.

Make the most of watermarks. I love the watermarks that shine here showing this is pure watercolour minus any other medium being added.

Observe the Real Subject . I often place the real flowers on my work during the creative process to get a feel of how they look compared to my painting as you can see in the image below.

 A real flower and leaf have been placed on my painting to help me decide what brushwork or detail is needed next.


While I was walking around my garden I had a wonderful surprise. Two of the cygnets that had visited us earlier this year appeared and wanted to be fed. Of course I fed them and they stayed here for ages.  I think these must be the offspring of Sydney the swan who visits us each year. 
If you were on my workshops this year you may have seen my photos and video of them.

Here they are!

 Two cygnets almost fully grown visiting my garden today. My next subjects maybe?

 Close up of one of the cygnets

Side by side, what a wonderful sight. Photo taken in my garden this morning.


Monday 23 November 2015

NEW : Vancouver Watercolour Workshop : March 2016

Vancouver Watercolour Workshops
March 2016

Due to the popularity of my watercolour tours and workshops and their selling out so quickly, I have been invited to hold an additional workshop in Vancouver to allow more artists to attend. Having checked my schedule I can add one more course.

However, I must confess that since this news went out there are now only five places left on the new additional Vancouver workshop.

If anyone would like a place on this inspirational course could you please contact me urgently and hopefully you will be able to attend. 

Please email me on 


Robin in Watercolour : Seasonal Inspiration

 Robin appearing in watercolour
 The original model was posing in my garden this morning.

Painting a Robin in Watercolour

Its' that time of year when my Christmas card design should have been painted and sent to the printers long ago. I meant to paint my card design before I left for my USA workshop and book signing tour but there wasn't time as I was then working on my next book which had to go to my publishers before I left for my first flight.

So here I am , painting a Christmas scene and as I am enjoying the process so much I thought I would share it with my blog readers. That's you! Hi there. There is always something in life that urgently needs doing that gets in the way of what we really want to do at times. So I have abandoned everything to complete this card design and get it to the printers today.  

I hadn't really decided what to paint for my Christmas card this year until Rocky Robin followed me on my morning walk with Bailey. Rocky sings beautifully each morning as if to greet me. Bailey is more interested in sniffing around but I always take a few minutes to relax, unwind and appreciate the joy that this little bird seems to share. Oblivious to all that is going on in the world he sings his heart out.  And why not!

 If you want to join me take a clean piece of white paper and follow my step by step.

Stage 1.  Working From a Starting Point.

Step 1. Working from the eye as a starting point I begin to paint my robin in watercolour

 Start with the eye, leaving a little highlight,leave to dry then work away around the eye with an orange shade for the surrounding face area. Add the tiny sharp beak. The shape of my model was very round this morning as Rocky had fluffed up his feathers. But you can paint your robin to  look like one you have seen or have a photo of.

I painted the round shape by adding the back of my bird in turquoise and then I allowed violet to drip to form the little legs. These I attached to a branch with a hint of a line in water, letting the colour merge here.

 ( If you have my books please read the sections on working from a starting point !  ) 

 Stage  2.

This, as in any painting, is decided by personal choice. I wanted to add a background as Rocky was sat in hedgerow this morning with frosted fields in the distance. It was cold but the greenery in the foliage was stunning.  I added a hint of the wings and back of my robin keeping this section minus real detail or form at this point. Next, I added a few twigs leaving the top of them white to give the illusion of snow. This may be the only way I get a White Christmas by painting one,  so I enjoy creating my watercolour snow scene! I have worked green shades in the middle sections between the twigs allowing red to merge for hints of holly berries. I'm keeping the background  soft and less detailed. But will pick up a few holly leaves and darker berries later in the creative process. The  main point is that I am not  rushing this painting. I'm not in a race. I am not in a competition. I am painting just for me. Well that's not quite true. My friends and family always tell me they love my Christmas cards so I don't want to let them down.  I try to paint something that I know will make them smile each year.

 Rocky Robin sat on a twig with atmospheric hints of background foliage and berries.

Before adding any other detail I place my painting on my easel and take time to consider what to add next. As I mentioned so often on tour teaching workshops all over USA, when a painting goes right we love it so much that we don't want to put our brushes down. That's usually the point when we should to avoid over working!

So here is my painting so far on my easel.

 Robin painting on my easel so I can decide what to add next.

Stage 3.

Now I can easily see what is missing. The robin needs the addition of detail at the back of the head as the composition is very weak here. At least for me it is although the feeling of light looked fabulous minus the addition of further colour.

But I have continued with this painting. I have added a background colour that  works in harmony with the rest of the painting. I also placed foliage over one hard line of the twig going off the upper corner of the painting to soften it.

 Background added to define the back of the robins head using negative brushwork.
( Please read how to work  with negative shapes in the sections of my books that show you how to do this technique )

Stage 4.

Now I am adding detail to the berries in places and a few darks in between the foliage to add interest.
All that is left for me to do now is add the back of my robin. Just in a few places. And I can splatter white gouache if I wish to make it look like fresh snow is falling.

Adding darks to complete my painting, a gradual process, taking my time enjoying each touch of colour.


One thing that everyone without fail has told me on all of my workshops whilst on tour. Is how much I give away, of myself, my time and my techniques. I want to. I love this. I love sharing. I love making others happy. Giving is the best gift of all and the messages I am reading from everyone who has loved my courses has made my heart sing, almost as beautifully as Rocky Robins' song.

Have fun painting, practise all the techniques you can to make your paintings shine and make others happy with what you do.

Happiness does make this world a beautiful place, one we should all cherish living in.


Sunday 22 November 2015

Colour and Light in Watercolour : New Edition

Jean Haines Colour and Light in Watercolour

I was at my publishers last week for a meeting regarding my next new book. While I was there I personally signed the last available copies of the special collectors edition of " Colour and Light In Watercolour", the hard back version which celebrated the launch of the new edition of my first book.

Copies have sold incredibly well of both the Collectors hard back edition and the paperback version. My  publishers are thrilled as am I.

You can order a copy of this  special edition while stocks last via this link


Home For Christmas

From the new edition of " Colour and Light in Watercolour"

It has taken me some time to find my way back to my blog! After all the fantastic excitement of my Fall 2016 USA tour I then left almost immediately on my return home to film my new book which will be launched next year. This week I have been catching up in my cottage and also the cooking bug has hit me big time as I started my preparations for our family get together at Christmas. Some recipes like Christmas Pudding and Christmas Cake, chutneys and pickles need to be created well in advance so flavours can mature in time for the celebrations.

Ever since I was little I can remember the aroma of nutmeg and cinnamon in the kitchen months before Christmas arrived. My stepmother was a brilliant cook and her recipes were favourites she used year after year with success.  Now I enjoy the same joy in cooking for my family, thinking of how each delicious dish will be enjoyed. Its' a way of showing my love for those I care about.

In many ways my creating in the kitchen is similar to how I learned to paint in watercolour. By trial and error. I knew what I loved and tried to succeed in achieving my goals. Whether it be a delicious Christmas Cake or a composition that works well.

I think in life if we put our heart into what we do the end result is far more pleasing.

I love painting and meeting people from all over the world who enjoy it too.

And I love cooking, so I will be sharing my recipes on an old blog of mine and sharing a link here on this blog later in case anyone wishes to follow another side of my life there!

For now though I am proof reading my next book and there is a lot to work through as it is very different and I am working with a different team at my publishers who will be working on the layout with my ideas over the next few weeks. So I need to ensure those ideas work and are right!

Most importnatly I am home and on my blog again so a huge thank you to everyone who has let me know they missed me whiel I was travelling.

But now I am back!

Heres' to a great week ahead painting and enjoying life. 
Those of us who can are so fortunate.


Saturday 14 November 2015

Red,White and Blue : Tears for Paris

"Teardrops in Red, White and Blue "

I had intended to return to my blog this weekend after my USA tour , to share happy memories regarding the wonderful people that I met whilst holding my watercolour workshops and art events there.

But I hope you will forgive me as I share an emotional image to pay tribute to the wonderful country that I adore. 


I refuse to allow negative actions of a few to disturb my beautiful haven of a place where I aim to share happy thoughts, news and inspirational blog posts.

I refuse to allow my heart to be stilled from the passion I hold for life, love and sharing freely.

Red the colour of love
White the colour of peace
Blue reminds me of heaven,blue skies with tears falling for those who needlessly lost their lives in Paris yesterday.

My thoughts are with Paris today.



Tuesday 10 November 2015

Where are you?

I am opening so many wonderful emails asking me where I am. And more importantly when am I going to be back on my blog!

I am so sorry there has been such a long silence here but I have been hectic with my Watercolour Workshop and Book Signing Tour in USA. I finally arrived home last weekend which I spent catching up with my family.

Now I am leaving yet again for a full and exciting week ahead as tomorrow the filming for my new book, which will be launched next year, begins. This is a very different publication to anything I have ever written before and it has been quite incredible to write. I hadn't had time to write the last few chapters of my new book before I left for USA and if ever I have felt I am being guided in my career this was the time. I have met people and heard stories on my tour that have to be included. You will understand when I find time to write a few magical blog posts later this year.

Today however I have a meeting with my publishers and while I am at head office I have been asked to sign a 100 copies of "Jean Haines World of Watercolour". That will take a little time too!

I view my life right now as emotionally incredible because of the amazing people I am continually meeting. I said in one of my tour workshops that this gentle style and medium seems to attract very wonderful , warm hearted and kind people  in a way that unites us all quite specially. Having read so many gorgeous emails thanking me for my workshops I know that's true. I strongly believe kindness is a way of life and I have met like minded souls everywhere I have travelled. I'm so lucky!

Thank you to everyone who came on my workshops or who attended my art events. I promise to reply to all my lovely emails and messages when I am home but I am away yet again and working hard this week, as always.

But soon I hope to find time to chill a little! Then you will hear from me!

Have a great time painting and God Bless!