Tuesday 27 March 2018

Singing for Spring 2018

"How can I keep From Singing"
Spring flowers in watercolour
Muscari,narcissus and pussy willow 

Oh my goodness. I need 48 hour days to be able to paint all I wish to paint at the moment. There is so much inspiration around with flowers  bursting into life everywhere. This week my fascination has turned to pussy willow and their stunningly soft fluffy buds. The above painting started out as just narcissus flowers but then I felt a touch of blue would add to the colour combinations beautifully. So I added muscari. This I did by picking some from my garden to work from as inspiration. But then I saw some pussy willows on a tree whilst I was walking and I thought they would look great in the top upper corner reaching towards the upper white space, that was.

As I'm sat here I can see where a few primroses might look fabulous in the lower lemon mid section. But then perhaps a few bluebells could then balance the composition by my adding them in the upper diagonal line of the composition, away from and opposite my primroses , if I add them.

I think from this dialogue you can see how my paintings develop. They come to life and tell me what they need rather than my sitting looking at them trying to work out what to do next.

But for now I may just enjoy this piece as it is.

What joy!

Where ever you are I hope you will have some great painting time this week. Because painting is such a fantastic way to pass time!



Sunday 25 March 2018

A Breath of Spring 2018

 "Spring Whispers"
Narcissus in watercolour

  I love Spring. I do. It's the most wonderful season for recharging batteries and it was a favourite part of writing my new book "Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour". Not so much the subjects that are around and included but the way it makes me feel. Which is what I have explained in my new publication. 

I am currently spring cleaning my studio which is quite a task. I'm throwing away everything that is old including a few unframed paintings because if I look at where I was yesterday in style I will stay there. I want to grow every single year in technique. So I have looked at a few older daffodil paintings, learnt what I like from them and moved on in my new work.

I always suggest keeping a folder of old work to enable you to look back at to see how far you have come in your personal art journey. And oh boy I have grown. Not just in how I paint but in confidence too and I think that is the key to being a good artist. Having the confidence to try new things and admit when things are not going as you wished them to. Being honest with yourself and learning to understand that everyone , no matter how experienced they are as an artist, has off days when paintings simply don't work.

But today I had a great day. In fact I have had a great week. I have worked quietly in my studio and had a ball. So what did I create today? These two paintings of narcissus that were on my easel, as seen below, a short time ago.

 Side by side
Two paintings in a similar composition of narcissus in watercolour

My first composition was of an upright spray of narcissus flowers as seen above but it didn't seem to have any energy in it. And so I started a new composition straight away, this time choosing a flowing curved arrangement which I found far more pleasing. There is a section in my new book that talks about composition and it is playing on my mind. It is about being unique and I desperately want to be each time I paint. And better in skill always.

 The second composition seen below was so exciting as I used the same colours as I had done in my first painting but this time I kept them far softer. This piece is very pleasing to me.

 My second  and more pleasing composition in a first wash.

I am almost embarrassed to admit this but I liked the second version, above, so much more that I ripped the piece below up and put it in the bin but looking at it on my computer screen I think I may have been too hasty!

"Spring Flowers"

I think I have probably become far too critical of my own work. Only accepting the best as a finished painting. When I first started working in watercolour I would have been over the moon with the above result. But in time we seek something far more than a finished painting. We want it all. Each new completed piece has to have a magic about it and thats' where I am headed.

It is quite funny though in that when I first started painting I would frame almost everything. Now I don't. Only the very best work ends up for sale or in an exhibition. And I mean the very best.

 I'm being very hard on myself to grow because I know what I am capable of  painting. I know the skill level I can paint at. Teaching for so long on tour has taken me away from what I love best of all. Experimenting and pushing my own personal standard. Right now my goal I have set myself for this year is really high. I feel as though I am treading in old masters' footsteps because they too threw work away. Always moving onward in their quests to be superb artists.

Thats' where I want to be too.

I'm moving forward which is appropriate as the clocks moved forward in UK this weekend.

Happy painting!


Artist tip for the day?

If you don't have room to keep old work take photos of your paintings of favourite subjects and look back regularly to see if you are improving in style or technique.  
You will soon become your best teacher and be pushing yourself to improve. 
As I do regularly.
Be your own mentor!
And go for gold


Friday 23 March 2018

Lambs Tails in Watercolour : A Simple Walk

 "Shaking Tails"

Today the sun shone and as I have been working non stop I decided to go for a short walk. From my studio window I can see catkins nearby blowing in the breeze. The tree opposite my studio is literally covered in these spring blossoms. In fact, have never seen so many tails hanging on individual branches. And they became fascinating to me as a subject to paint.

I stood under the tree looking upwards realising, in sections above me, twigs and branches were completely out of sight due to the heavy dangling catkins which I call "lambs tails" and have done since I was a child. I picked a branch that was within reach and carried it back to my studio as "treasure".

My first painting above started from a simple wash of Daniel Smith Walnut Ink, with water forming patterns which I could then add the catkins to. Similar to the waterfall wash described as a technique in my book "Paint Yourself Calm". Painting waterfall washes is incredibly relaxing and they can be used as a foundation for all kinds of subjects. This kind of wash certainly worked very well for my catkins seen above.

But while I was painting the sight I had just witnessed by looking up, my eyes were drawn to a few branches that just had one or two catkins on, swaying in the breeze. These I began to capture as seen below. This is an unfinished painting but it will have as much depth and interest as the above painting when it is finished with possibly a simpler composition.

"Catkins in the Breeze"

I have had the best week possible painting to my hearts' content. I have a new book to work on but for now my projects are all for me, Exploring colour, improving techniques and having a ball.

I so love my life.

It is amazing how a simple walk can lead you in a new direction. And now I will  be wondering what I will see next when I take a scenic route tomorrow.

 Happy painting!


Artists tip of the day?

Don't just paint. Get out and see things to gain new ideas and inspiration. A break away from your studio or painting space makes you eager to return. So it is never wasted time!


Thursday 22 March 2018

Freedom 2018 ; Foxgloves

"Fairy gloves"
Foxglove flowers in watercolour

Oh my goodness I am having a ball in my studio at the moment . I give so much time to teaching,filming, exhibiting and writing that over the years my own freedom to paint has diminished in that I grasp any moments I can between commitments and deadlines. To paint just for me in a way that frees my soul. Right now I have another full week ahead where I can paint in the quiet space of my studio and then after that  I start teaching in UK. As my workshops here begin on 3rd April 2018.

But there is a yearning inside of me and I can't explain it. Something is happening to my style and my passion for experimentation in a way that won't let me sit still for a second. I sleep seeing how I can add colours to make stronger patterns in my backgrounds. And I wake eager to try new ideas.

The fairy glove flowers ,or foxgloves as you may know them, above was an old painting that I hadn't finished. It was very quiet and subtle in colour originally. But these real flowers were the ones that fascinated me as a child. I saw them as magical as I had been told they were fairy gloves. Or fairy mittens. I used to think that the fairies must have had larger hands than I first imagined as these flower shapes were so big for tiny little beings. How strange that the memory still plays on my mind whenever I see these flowers. But I do think of fairy gloves as very magical flowers and my original painting didn't do that magic justice.

To improve it, first I played with the foreground adding texture and drama. Then I allowed light and movement to dance on the flowers themselves.

Is it finished? 

Not quite but I like showing my work in progress so anyone following my blog can see what I am up to.

We all change over time. And we grow in so many ways if we are open to new ideas. 
I am. 
I dread the thought of ever being stuck in a rut so I am using new colours, new products and exciting techniques to make the start of 2018 a brilliant one.

To be honest. I must confess I am reading through my new book and listening to myself. Yes we should all strive to be unique as artists and aim for something new when we create rather than always painting what we know and how we know it. Who knew that I would be inspiring "me" with this new book. But I am so glad I wrote it. I needed to read it and take all the tips and advise in!

But for now, back to painting!


Tuesday 20 March 2018

2018 The Excitement Begins!

 Study and first wash for an elephant painting in watercolour

 The excitement begins! After a day spent on administration, yesterday, filling cancellation spaces on my UK workshops today was the day I could literally throw myself into my studio painting time experimenting and literally having a blast. When I away am on tour  as I have been recently I give my all, in fact I do in every single workshop but I will openly confess there is a point during each workshop day where I feel very envious. I will have worked so hard to get everyone in the class as highly motivated,excited and inspired as possible but while inspiring others my own artists soul is leaping and desperately wanting to paint too. When I am in a room teaching I believe I belong to the room so I put my personal painting time aside and spend every second teaching. This leads me to times like now where I have the luxury of experimenting, building on ideas to ensure my next workshops are really fascinating. I just can't sit still with ideas. And after this last tour I came home with lots of colour ideas and great new products to try.

So today whilst painting a quick warm up wash I could easily see it would turn into an elephant and it did. I was actually cleaning my palette and the mucky collection of colours placed in a line across a large old piece of paper made the best starting point ever for an elephant to appear. Which it did as seen below. But this warm up led me to a colour great wash experiment.

 Getting to know my subject before painting a large composition

 At the moment I am thrilled with my warm up washes, as seen at the opening of each of my workshops but now, oh boy how they have changed. The break up of pigment is greater and the patterns forming are far more thrilling. As seen below. This first wash has been created deliberately as a base for a painting of a group of elephants. I have a solo show  later this year and I'm working on a few ideas that will add to my collection in unexpected ways.

The exciting first wash inspired by my study of an elephant in watercolour

Anyone who attended my workshops on my recent USA tour will instantly recognise the use of Daniel Smiths' Australian Red Gold, a shade I now adore but here it plays with Daniel Smith Amethyst Genuine creating unusual patterns and pigment formations. 

I always advise on my workshops that if you create a magical first wash that you love, paint another as close as possible to the original straight away whilst the colours you used are still clearly in your mind. Which is exactly what I am going to do right now!

This year is off to a great start. Do look out for my new book, even though the theme is flowers the techniques inside are inspiring my new work and pushing me in a fabulous direction art wise. I hope it makes you feel the same way too. Excited about painting!

I am!


I must add that all cancellation places on my UK 2018 workshops have been filled, and once payment is made each place will be confirmed but I am keeping a wait list in case further cancellations arise so now is a good time to get in touch if you wish to be on that list!



Monday 19 March 2018

Daffs and Cancellations! 3rd April 2018

 Daffodil paintings on my easel
To the right, in a pottery vase
To the left in an ornamental jug

We have had snow in UK and the countryside surrounding our home has been covered in a beautiful white blanket that looks stunning in the bright sunlight. Although this has started to melt it  over the last few hours today. 

I have started my week with administration although I must admit I would much rather be painting. But my watercolours have had to be put on hold as I deal with my UK 2018 workshop bookings. These had sold out last year as soon as the dates were announced but life has a terrible way of creating unavoidable hiccups sometimes and I have been dealing with a few cancellations which has seen me contacting my wait list in the order of recieving them. To offer the now available places. When the workshop dates were announced last year there weren't enough spaces for everyone to attend. Unfortunately with only weeks to go to fill these now available slots it isn't always easy for others  to be able to attend, especially at short notice.  

But one space is coming up soon so I'm going to announce it here.

If anyone would like to attend a workshop with me on Tuesday 3rd April, please could you get in touch for full details?

Which reminds me, if you would like to add your name to my contact list in case of cancellations please do contact me now
Life does often create hiccups and spaces do sometimes appear!

But for now I can get back to my paintings of daffodils, cheery yellow against a grey sky is such a terrific colour to work with.

Daffodils in a floral arrangement
First wash


Thursday 15 March 2018

Art isn't easy!

 Snowdrop composition coming to life in watercolour

I meet so many people on my travels when I teach my workshops all over the world and the one thing that seems to be a common denominator in my art courses is my coming across people who tell me that they find painting really difficult. In that their results aren't always as pleasing as they want them to be or simple to achieve.

  I think theres' a point that we all miss at times.We all love painting and we all want to paint. But art isn't easy! It takes years of practise to get to a level of painting where you feel you are creating something worthwhile but even then, you still take time to perfect your skills. I cannot imagine one single famous artist  starting out in their career and simply painting a masterpiece straight away. In the same way that a famous golfer didn't get a hole in one on their first attempt at playing golf.

No painting isn't easy at all. 

I still have days where I face a new subject and what I achieve in my results may be passable as a finished painting but it will be far off from where I intended my results to be. In fact I am going to be totally honest and say I must be such a hard task master as right now I know exactly where I want my latest snowdrop and daffodil paintings to be and I am almost there . But not quite. In my mind I can see the daffodils blowing in the breeze and my results although beautiful don't quite say this. But they will. My snowdrops I want to glisten as if in early morning light under fresh snowfall. They aren't there yet but they will be.

Note these three words.

They will be.


Because I want them to be. Its' as simple as that. Mind over matter. I want to paint a great painting. I want to fall in love with my finished work myself. I am the driving force behind my work getting better and that is the most important point. Lets turn that around to you.


You are the most important key to your own work getting better. How good a "key" you are is up to you but unless you keep turning that key and aiming at "somewhere" you will never reach that destination. It helps of course if you know where you want to be in your art journey. But most o fus want to be better.

So for me this morning, it is back to painting flowers and aiming for the painting that is in my mind, just out of reach. The one that I will always strive to get to as a higher level in my art.

Happy painting!


Wednesday 14 March 2018

All Ears? 2018/2019 USA Workshop Information

"All Ears"
Half a hare!

I have received so many requests regarding my next USA workshops so I am sharing an update here. Please bear in mind that some locations are already fully booked and others are not yet open for registration.

2018 USA Workshops

Daniel Smith , Seattle WA
22/23rd October  Fully Booked
24/25th October  Fully Booked
27/28th October  Fully Booked
29/30th October  Fully Booked
 Demonstration  26th October  
To be added to the wait list in case of cancellations please email me on jeanhaines@hotmail.com

Kennewick WA 
 2/3rd November Fully Booked
5/6th November Fully Booked

Keetons Art Store, Bradendon, Florida
9/10th November   Fully Booked
12/13th November  Fully Booked
15/16th November  Fully Booked
Please contact me for booking contact details jeanhaines@hotmail.com

 Bonita Springs Art Center, Florida
26/27th November  Last Places Available
29/30th November  Last Places Available


 2019 USA Workshops

New England Watercolor Society 
 1/2nd February Fully Booked
 4/5th February  Fully Booked


Please Note: Registration for these courses will be opening later this year.

Coachella Watercolor Society
12/13th February 2019 Fully Booked
 14/15th February 2019 Fully Booked


California Watercolor Association
19/20th February 2019
22/23rd February 2019
Enquiries :  registrar@californiawatercolor.org


Tuesday 13 March 2018

New Book: Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour

 I am thrilled to share the news that my new book "Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour" will be launched this year. It is now available to pre order, for first edition prints, from Amazon.com.

It has been a journey writing this book as for years I have always wanted to write a book about painting flowers. In fact this was the first book I ever imagined writing. But when my publisher invited me to write it as my sixth publication my art, style and subject matter had changed dramatically from when it was first a seed of an original idea in my imagination.

Now , at this stage in my art journey I wanted to share demonstrations that were different covering subjects that might be less well known or popular in many existing floral art books.For example, I chose painting white subjects as a challenge for one whole section and my approach can be used for many other subjects as well as flowers. 

The process was filmed entirely in my garden. So readers are visiting me at home in each chapter throughout the year. This was so lovely as there were always endless subjects at hand to create in watercolour as I am a keen gardener. But it was difficult to stay with flowers only as wildlife in the form of insects and birds visit my garden daily so these too leaped onto the pages.

 My cottage garden

It has been a magical journey and one that took a lot of my time. A labour of love . In fact, I was still working on it while I was on tour but it has now gone to print. Finally. 

To purchase a pre order copy please see this link and I will be signing copies and selling my book at Patchings this year where my book will be launched. A very exciting time!


 Roses from my cottage garden


Monday 12 March 2018

Spring 2018: Daffodils " Showers of Flowers"

Spring Showers
Showers of "Flowers" that is!

Oh my! Well I am truly back in UK . Back to grey skies showers. Rain has been falling non stop today but thank heavens I can paint my own sunshine in the form of cheery daffodils which are blooming in my garden brightening up the landscape.

When I am home, I start every Monday in my studio catching up with admin and because I have been on tour for so long there is so much to do!

Firstly, I am working on my next tours. My Fall USA tour is now all organised and there are places currently available in two locations in Florida. I will share this information in another blog post. I am also working on my 2019 Spring tour when I will be in Boston and two locations in California.

My UK 2018 workshops are fully booked but I have had a few unexpected cancellations so if your name is on my wait list you may be hearing from me. If you would like to be added to my wait list please email me as soon as possible.


I am in an exhibition which opens on 24th March so I have been arranging collection of my art. 

And I badly want to spring clean my studio. I do every year but right now it needs a really good clear out!

Whatever you are doing I hope you have a great week ahead and if its' raining where you are how about painting your own sunshine too!



Sunday 11 March 2018

Mothering Sunday Bouquet 2018

Mothering Sunday 2018

For years I used to dread Mothering Sunday for personal reasons. But the joy each year now grows and intensifies.

I always try to paint a special bouquet at this time of year and , as I create, I think of others who may miss their Mothers, who may not even have had Mothers or share the very happy memories from their childhood known to friends around them.

It can be a hard day for many. For others it is a very special occasion.

Whatever you are feeling on this special day of the year I wish you joy, happiness and peace.

 Happy Mothering Sunday 


Drops from Heaven : Snowdrops 2018

 Snowdrop paintings on my easel
March 2018

 I couldn't wait to race to my studio this morning to continue working on my paintings of snowdrops.
I left a first wash of a second snowdrop painting on my easel last night and completed the piece this morning. As seen below.

"Snowdrop Curtsies"

Then I continued adding detail to my favourite first snowdrop watercolour that I began and shared on my blog yesterday. Each small snowdrop flower is beginning to come to life in this piece.

Snowdrop Heaven

I have used Cascade Green by Daniel Smith for the foliage of these delicate flowers. The blue is mainly Cobalt Turquoise but I have added Iridescent Electric Blue for extra drama. It is such a gorgeous blue and works beautifully to enhance this scene.

I am so happy to be back in my studio at last. I have missed my quiet painting time whilst I have been teaching and travelling.

It really is so good to be home!


Saturday 10 March 2018

Home At Last 2018!

Snowdrop wash, painted from plants in my garden

I am home at last after a very long tour which involved filming new DVDs, teaching ten watercolour courses in Florida, New Orleans and Hawaii which included four watercolour demonstrations.  I also gave interviews and attended book signing events. Behind the scenes I worked with my publishers on the final stages of my new book and the last proof I saw of it looked gorgeous. I am now in the process of judging a Russian watercolour competition so I am still hard at work but it is so lovely to be home. Back in UK and in my studio too.

The first thing I did on my return was wander around my garden to see what it is like after my long absence. There are clumps of primroses and snowdrops everywhere.

I couldn't resist applying colour for a first wash of snowdrops as seen above.

I can't wait to catch up, share my news and paint in my studio again. I have so many new ideas that I simply don't know where to start but start I will. And on Monday I hope my easel is covered with gorgeous washes and new ideas for paintings. 

And I will be able to add long overdue inspirational posts to my blog!

I am back.

I hope you missed me!