Wednesday 18 December 2019

Happy Christmas! 2019

Poinsettia in Watercolour

Where oh where does the time go?

Well here is December 2019 and next week is Christmas. In fact Christmas Day is now only one week away. With all my good intentions of being on my blog more often I had studio and computer problems which meant that wish for me didn't come true.

But I camefon my blog today for one thing only.

To wish you the very best of Christmases. 

 I am aware that this isnfot the easiest of times for so many. We miss loved ones and friends so very much who are no longer with us. For us, this year has seen quite a few unexpected extremely sad goodbyes, one in particular hurts very much. I look at my husband John and feel so blessed to be together still and enjoying life.We are very lucky indeed.

I pick up a blank piece of white paper and see it as a golden opportunity to create something new, colourful and exciting. I wake each day thinking positive regardless of what may have happened the day before. Life has its' way of throwing us hurdles, juat like those wretched mistakes in our art that we have to handle or get over somehow. Knowing not everything is in our control is really a wonderful way to look at working in watercolour. I don't try to control it. I try to work with it, making the most of its beautiful qualities.The surprises and happy accidents.  Loving what I like and adapting to the things that I don't. 

Like life.

I painted a poinsettia as one is in my home and I loved its vibrant red bracts.  Initially my painting looked too pink but I added a layer of a red shade on top of  the composition to add more punch to the piece. Now I like the energy in the brushwork that is unhindered by lines pre drawn.

I know, and have always known since childhood that I am a free spirit. There is no point in trying to tie me down to just one subject or just one technique. Which is why my favourite medium suits me so well. I wake painting what I feel like painting and love the freedom and sense of adventure this brings me. And pleasure.

So today, I'm wishing you happiness and freedom to have your own adventures. I wish for you many successful painting days in the New Year, and joy and laughter in your life.

Have the best Christmas ever and an even better 2020.

I will be starting my blog in 2020 making an announcement for anyone interested in learning watercolour from me so please do watch this space!




Saturday 12 October 2019

Mushroom Ink : Inktober 2019

Mushroom Cat
Created with Mushroom Ink


I first discovered the value of painting with mushroom ink some time ago when we first moved into our cottage. I found  mushrooms in our woodland garden that resembled judges wigs. When I read up about them I was thrilled to learn that this fungi was used by monks years ago for calligraphy and after reading up on the subject I decided I would try painting with the same ink. The above painting of a cat is created using mushroom ink from inkcap mushrooms.

I have now learnt how to prepare the ink from the mushrooms and how to avoid any fading of my finished work. I have also discovered mushroom ink really does create the most gorgeous effects just like purchased inks. They are fascinating. You can lift the ink colour, make fabulous watermarks with it and have fun experimenting to gain all manner of effects with this soft and interesting fluid mushroom ink.

Rather than appear as black on paper even though the liquid certainly looks black, a brownish shade is usually gained at places in my results/

To avoid fading I now apply two coats of mushroom ink building up my painting very gradually.  I often  allow the first layer of mushroom ink to dry and then add detail on top, so the softness of my muted background shade acts as a base for my stronger more prominent detailed brushwork which is added finally to complete my composition.

This natural ink is so much fun to experiment with and what better month to try this idea than Inktober?

There are many natural dyes to try, this is just one.My blackberry paintings always involve the juice of staining, real blackberries for example. So here is a challenge, How about finding something from nature that you can paint with?

I double dare you and perhaps you could share your favourite dyes with me.

Happy Inktober!


Inktober 2019

Mushroom Ink Portrait

Hello and thank you for so many lovely messages especially by email telling me how happy friends are to see me back on my blog. And I am back! So here is a really fun post, in fact it is a fun guy (fungi ) portrait ! 

Its the time of year when foraging really does pay dividends for an artist as there is so much inspiration to see daily that tempts our brushes. But at this time of year there is also far more to benefit our studios in the form of natural dyes and inks. In the woodland section of our garden there are many ink cap mushrooms. Known as judges wigs because of how the white tops curl up as they evolve over a short period of time. If gathered and left to disintegrate in a container they form gorgeous ink that is a delight to work with.  I paint with these mushrooms every year but now know they need to be applied in various ways to ensure the colour stays fast rather than fading which it can unlike manufactured products. As it is Inktober I thought it would be fun to share my afternoons play session results from working with the mushroom ink.

In the image below you can see my container with the disintegrated mushrooms. A black ink liquid has formed but when used it surprisingly often has a brownish rather than black appearance on paper.  To begin here I simply created a blob of colour with the ink on a scrap of paper to see how strong the colour of the mushroom ink would be. I added water and ( being me ) instantly saw the hint of a face. A few brushstrokes later with water and touches of more ink led to my portrait of Shakespeare appearing. I am saying it is Shakespeare now but initially this was just a blob of ink. I have to be totally honest! Shakespeare apperaed by happy accident. 

"To be or not to be" a portrait, that WAS the question!

 Mushroom ink. Here I did add a little water as the  ink had dried over night. Tip: if you are experimenting with home made inks formed with plants or herbs try avoiding adding too much water as you can then heavily dilute the ink to a very soft and possibly fading shade.

Years ago this particular mushroom ink was used by monks for calligraphy. So I am following in ancient footsteps not really trying something new. If you are out for a walk and see these beautiful mushrooms try picking some to paint with. But remember, DO wash your hands carefully after gathering them and be warned. Some have a rather strong odour about them which absorbs into watercolour paper and the smell can sadly last!


Artists tip for the day

How about experimenting creating your own inks and dyeing colours? After a while of experimenting it certainly makes us appreciate the fantastic manufacturers of all our favourite watercolour shades which we can simply buy without all the mess!

Thank you especially Daniel Smith! 


Monday 7 October 2019

Hello? Is there anybody there?

"Taking the Lead"
Latest horse racing painting in watercolour
Copyright Jean Haines

I feel as though I am walking into a room without a clue as to whether anyone will be in it or not.
Its' been so long since I wrote on my blog and I'm wondering if anyone is still here to read my posts! I am so sorry. 
I had an email from a blog reader recently asking where I was. I am here, just not finding time to write here lately. Not for any other reason than that I am really hectic with my offline life.

I could blame our two new puppies for taking up a lot of my time because they do. My daily routine now consists of daily long walks to tire them plus a training schedule. You will be pleased to hear that I am now almost fully trained to their way of thinking. Although seriously they are beautiful boys, great fun to be with and they are at this young age, quite naturally, time consuming.

But back to my art. I am working on a project that hopefully will be released next year and if possible announced before Christmas. It involves filming and that is the main reason I am quiet. I hope you will love the news when I can finally share the secret in a big reveal!

I have been in an exhibition in London too plus I demonstrated at an authors day at the Mall Galleries again in London ,via my publisher. Thank you to everyone who came to see me because it was such a great day. And a bargain. Visitors could see a number of artists working for a very low entrance fee although it seemed everyone who came to see me stayed with me for the whole day and I managed to practically pull off a workshop experience almost, with three different presentations throughout the event. I may return next year so do watch this space!

But I am back now, settled in my studio and painting, loving that feeling of seeing colour flow across paper.

Its' autumn and the autumn colours are as always thrilling me.

I hope to share more regularly now.

Dorothy, a special hello to you and thank you for your email about my being missing from my blog which shook me back into typing here!

Huge hugs to everyone and happy painting!


Tuesday 9 July 2019

Phlox in Watercolour : Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour

 Two paintings of Phlox in Watercolour on my easel
One complete, another as a work in progress 

This time last year my book " Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour" was launched and I loved being at Patchings Art Festival to sign books and demonstrate my techniques. It was fantastic.

This year I am sitting in my garden again painting florals and loving each plant as it comes into flower. In my flower book there is a chapter on how to paint white subjects and complex shapes. The phlox flowers were perfect for this demonstration as they met both challenges as a subject.

I worked the background around negative edges first using colours that to me helped make the white spaces sing.

I then began to paint around the edges of several of the focal point blooms and left some half finished for viewers imagination, of my finished piece, to complete.

Finally I always add fine detail.

The paintings on my easel as seen above show the finished phlox painting from my book. The other painting is a new work in progress and I am experimenting with it. I have used various products on this piece which I hope to share in a future demonstration. In fact I will be sharing far more very soon I am happy to say but for now as they say " Watch this space"  Exciting news is coming!

Below you can see a photograph of the white phlox flowers that are blooming in my garden this year.

The seasons teach us so much. We need to enjoy each one before it is over. And all that each gives to us.

Phlox flowering in my garden


Artists Tip

Maybe you have painted a subject a year ago and you were really pleased with the result. I painted phlox a year ago and felt this way.

Try taking a familiar subject that you know you can paint and attempt to create a new composition with either similar shades or new ones but try to improve on the art you created the year before. 

Take the good parts of your previous painting and carry them into your new work and try to dismiss any elements that you didn't like in your previous work.

Become your own teacher.

It really works! 
Having said that aim to see the good points of your paintings.

Try not to be overly critical! 

( Lets' face it. We are all far too good at that already!) 


Patchings Demonstrations Cancelled 2019

Sweet pea in watercolour 

Sadly I have had to cancel my demonstrations at Patchings Art Festival 2019 and I will not be attending this week. It is such a shame as I had so much that was new to share but I have been advised not to travel too far from home at the moment. I had a small health blip a few weeks ago and although everything seems to have settled again I just couldn't take the risk of letting everyone down at the last minute.

Ironically, since I cancelled the event my health seems to be rocketing into the far better zone which is really infuriating! 

Patchings always has been a huge favourite part of my year in UK as I meet so many wonderful people there. I will however be demonstrating in London next month at the Mall Galleries which is near to my home and I will definitely be talking about my new Daniel Smith sets and how to use them along with sharing a new techniques that I am falling in love with.

Everyone has been so fantastically understanding about my cancelling this year and Chas from Patchings has extended a huge warm invitation for me to be there next year .

To everyone going to Patchings, have a wonderful time, think of me and see you next year , hopefully!


Tuesday 2 July 2019

Paint Yourself Positive : Waterlilies in Watercolour

"Quiet Reflection"
Waterlilies in Watercolour

I feel I should start this blog post by thanking everyone who follows me and who reads my posts. There was a time I could over load my blog with up to three posts a day, this slowed down over time to several posts a week. Then I started travelling and when I was on tour time often went by with very long periods between posts. At the beginning of this year I was really poorly and my spirits took a nose dive. I hardly shared on my blog at all during that time. But luckily I had written my latest book. " Paint Yourself Positive". 

I have taken time to read and absorb the chapters. Smiling at the positivity on each page and actually I have been kicking myself into action. What I needed to do to heal correctly was paint as well as heed the specialists advise. Not surprisingly it has worked but my painting has changed. I seem to have grown again. Leapt over another hurdle and my technique has improved.

I have even MORE excitement about colour . You may ask " Is this possible from Jean Haines?". The answer is a resounding YES!.

I sat quietly by my lily pond yesterday and painted the above watercolour of water lilies. I listened to birdsong as I worked. My puppies slept mostly by my feet although at times they naughtily crept into sections of the pond that they can easily access. I did tell them " No" but its' so hard to keep a straight face when a puppy with duckweed all over its muzzle stares intently at you trying to work out what the command is. I laughed non stop.

I think my laughter flowed into my painting as it has a happy feel to it.

This is a large piece. The smaller waterlily painting seen in my book " Paint Yourself Positive is a favourite of mine. There is something about waterlilies. Something magical. They always makes me think of Monet garden. It was a long time dream of mine to visit his garden in Giverny France and when I did I was so happy, and emotional.

Having dreams come true is very special. But they cannot unless you make some. Have you added to your wish list lately? If not, why not?

If you have never had a wish list now is the time to start. Have small wishes that are achievable and a few that may be out of reach. As one dream comes true add a new one. Just keep wishing.


I want more free time to share my news on my blog as I have so much!

Happy painting


Artists Tip

Try looking at a painting you did a year ago and paint a new version of it. See if you have grown as an artist or do you like how you painted before?

Compare the "you" from today and last year and see if you can positively chnage the "you" of tormorrow!

Tuesday 25 June 2019

New ** Jean Haines Daniel Smith Shimmer Set

Jean Haines Daniel Smith Sets

As promised here is a link with more information on my new Daniel Smith Shimmer Set!



Poppies : Jean Haines Daniel Smith Shimmer Sets 2019

Jean Haines Daniel Smith Shimmer Sets

Can life get any more exciting? Or painting? 

Yes it can!

I am thrilled to have two new sets of Daniel Smith Watercolours about to be launched and one is a shimmer set. This collection really does include some of my favourite iridescent and shimmering shades. Some I have shared previously on my blog. Some I use in subtle ways adding exciting sheen to my work that sometimes aren't easy to spot but I love it when I am asked " How did you achieve that effect?".

The following painting as seen below is a perfect example.

At the moment I have very delicate pale purple poppies growing in our cottage garden. They self seed each year and spring up absolutely everywhere. I have learnt to enjoy then rather than pull them out. After all they are nature working in the garden breaking up any idea of our flower borders being looking manicured!

I started this piece by painting the purple section of the poppies. I then added a mix of green below the flower heads, placing cling film on top to form crinkle paterns for the leaves. Next I worked the negative edge of the top of the flowers. 

Next I added poppy buds and a seed head. Stems too started to appear. And this was where I could have stopped colour wise. But I selected a few of my shimmer set shades. Iridescent Ruby and Iridescent Topaz to pump up the drama in a subtle way. The sheen on my silky petals looks glorious now. You may notice subtle use of Iridescent Electric Blue too, a colour I adore!

Dancing Poppies

These shades from my shimmer set work so well adding magic when combined with other colours. They give a form of light and life to a painting that is unusual, which suits me perfectly. To be honest, I love having little tricks to bring my paintings to life and its' ideal to have sets available so that others can experiment too.

Iridescent Ruby and Iridescent Topaz
Shimmer shades from my new Daniel Smith Shimmer sets

Below you can see my easel  To the left is a small study just created for me to try colour ideas. To the right the painting I created whilst sat in my garden looking at the real thing. I prefer painting from life as you learn so much from how light plays and interacts on a subject rather than by working from photographs constantly.

My easel with my poppy studies , small and large. These give me ideas for techniques to be used in a later more serious painting, colour combinations and composition flow.


Artists Tip for the Day

Try hard not to only paint from photographs. Painting from life in natural light gives you far more information on colours to use, you can observe colours interacting,see genuine light and shadow. So much detail that you can miss when painting a flat image as seen in a photo. Look for something as a subject that draws you in to paint it and have a go no matter what it is. 

And of course. Have fun!


Paint Yourself Positive : Mall Galleries Demonstrations 2019

Paint Yourself Positive
My new book........
Out now!!!

I am hot off the phone to my publishers and I am thrilled to share the news that I will be demonstrating at the Mall Galleries in London on August 28th. I will be demonstrating three times during the day with projects from each of my books including my latest book " Paint Yourself Positive".

Actually it has been a rather tough year as my health took an unexpected nose dive, we sadly lost friends who were close to us that also hurt so much and various other things happened that were out of my control knocking me for six.

But. as always, painting lifted me back to where I usually am. High spirited, smiling and living life to the full again. I am so glad I wrote this latest book as for a change I desperately needed to heed my own advise! 

" Paint Yourself Positive" has changed my life. I thought I was already a positive person but there were many ways I could enrich each day and even give myself the power to simply " be" and get the best out of each moment.

I am back to having a ball and I am so excited at being able to demonstrate and give my all to everyone who comes to see me. 

I will share more news about this fabulous event soon.

But if you wish to come please mark the date in your diary, and I will be signing books that you can bring with you or buy at the venue.

See you in August!


Monday 24 June 2019

Racing Ahead

 Racing Ahead

No matter the time of year, my horse racing scenes are always the most requested by galleries. Still. They take time to create and build up into a really good action scene that is full of movement. These compositions are when I ironically use my "Don't race to finish a painting" technique.

We can lose so much action in a scene like this by rushing to complete a painting. We can also miss the touches in places that really do add drama and impact in a piece if we continue to work non stop rather than take our time.

I do love how this piece is developing.

My favourite to win at the moment is the jockey in red seen below. But the jockey in blue could take the lead at any time.

The point is in life, as in painting, there are times when waiting to see how things develop is far wiser than trying to force a result.

The words " I will just..............." spring to mind as I often think I will just add one more brush stroke before leaving a piece  as a work in progress. That last " one more touch " can sometimes be the killing brush stroke, or yes, it can be the making of a painting.

But as artists we often have to follow our gut instinct.

My instinct is telling me this piece is nearly complete. Detail needs adding in places and "confusion" in others as in breaking up areas where blocks of colour exist at the moment. With each touch I am learning so much about the way I create and why.

We never stop learning, in life and in art.

And for me the journey is still as exciting if not more so than reaching my destination.

In fact.

I am in no race!

Close up of my favourite jockey and horse


Artist Tip for the day

Don't race to finish a painting

Enjoy every addition of colour and take your time to see where it is really needed.

Study your favourite sections of any painting and work out why they work, is there more or less detail there? Are the colour combinations there working better?

Always ask questions and strive to take in the best answers!

But most of all, enjoy painting!


Tuesday 18 June 2019

Absolutely Strutting.....

The rooster theme is continuing in my studio and I have almost completed my new larger composition. This piece was very dependant on the pigment interaction of my earlier painting, shared last week on my blog, in a recent post. This time my wash colours were placed deliberately knowing that the finished piece would be a rooster where as the last wash was painted with random colours and I had no idea of what the outcome would be.

Sometimes it is harder painting this way as my brain sees where to put colour so the accidental and often beautiful watermarks that are created randomly in an unplanned wash are missing. Here with this method I am more in control so for the artist that likes planning ahead this method of creating may suit you best. 

I added the head section first on my pre placed first wash. If the head isn't right in the early staeges of a composition there is no point in working further, Next I added the rooster body, but I have done very little to the tail feathers as the wash and pigment interaction in this section looked so gorgeous as they were I didn't want to over shadow them with my own brushwork.

I could have left the rooster on white paper as it was but I was enjoying myself so much that before I knew it I had added hints of chicken wire in the distance,and then straw on the ground in the foreground.

I can still see things I would like to add but for now I am stopping, taking a break so that I can look at this piece with new eyes in the morning. I have an idea that just might make this rooster "pop" even more and if I do use the idea I will share it on my blog at a later stage.

It's wonderful how one painting will lead to several others on the same theme. I already have an idea for two new paintings from thisone but I may want a break from roosters first!

Happy painting!

Artist Tip

If you are unsure of whether you have finished a painting, or not, always leave it as it is until the next day so you can see the piece then with fresh eyes.

Caution: If you work further when you are unsure you could over work the piece and regret your haste.

Take your time deciding your next moves when you have almost finished a painting!


Friday 14 June 2019

Pigment Interaction

 Gorgeous pigment interaction


Play with colour.

Never stop experimenting with pigments and having fun with colour.

I meet so many artists who have their own favourite colours and they stay with them year after year which is brilliant if this suits you as a personality. My problem is I am a Gemini and I get very bored very quickly. So to use the same colours and paint similar subjects each day would kill my creative spirit. It has in the past when I was first learning how to paint in watercolour and to the point I thought I actually didn't like painting. I now cannot imagine what my life would be like without colour and painting in it. I am also over joyed that I discovered Daniel Smith watercolour shades as they are so incredibly exciting to use. They suit me so well.

Yesterday I painted a rooster on top of a wash that hadn't even started out to be a rooster. It was just a wash. I shared it on my blog. This explains the unusual colour combination and effects in the piece.  I enjoyed painting that rooster so much that I couldn't wait to start a new painting of another one today.

But now my technique is different. Instead of simply throwing colour on paper and waiting to see what the subject could be from the result I deliberately planned my wash to include a rooster.

I knew from yesterdays completed painting that my new rooster today was going to be blue but I didn't know which shades to use. I have fallen in love hook , line and sinker with Daniel Smith Lunar Blue so that was my first choice. I know it granulates as a pigment and forms wonderful watermarks so that was shade choice number one. However using one shade alone can sometimes lead to boring results so I needed a second shade to give the Lunar Blue a kick and for this I opted for gorgeous Daniel Smith Moonglow. These two shades together form terrific patterns.

So my first wash with watermarks, colour swirls, early feather tail shape and movement can be seen below. Isn't it beautiful? Fresh, clean and exciting.

Rooster first wash using Daniel Smith Watercolors.

Of course there will be red in the head section, and gold for the feet. Perhaps violet for the under shadows of the feathers. This is going to be a beautiful piece. And I can't wait to finish it but that is not good.  I know from experience that racing to complete a painting can often kill it. So yes, I have created a second similar wash so I can work on the two taking the best ideas and brush work into each separate painting.

I am happy.

I am never happier than when I am painting and I am loving my new feeling of excitement and joy in my work. I hope you can feel it too. 

You know, rather than me tell you my favourite double colour combination I would love to hear yours. Perhaps you could reply to this post letting me and others know what your favourite pigment interaction colours are. And if you haven't tried new colours for ages this post could be just the boost to make you search for new favourites

Happy painting!


May Blossom 2019 : Its All About the Colour

May Blossom 2019
Section from a larger composition

 What a great day to be alive. I now walk our two Australian Labradoodles daily before heading for my studio. Each day I see some new treasure I wish to paint and this routine has been a part of my life for so long. When I didn't have dogs for the period  since losing our beloved Bailey I just couldn't face walking in my favourite spots. It didn't feel right without him. But now my soul is lifted by these two exuberant four legged little beings , new to our family, who are seeing adventure in every daily walk and its' wonderful. Seeing their joy certainly adds to my own.

Their first walks saw the hedgerow smothered in tiny May blossoms. Now gone but not in my mind. Hence today's blog post. You may think did I use masking fluid? No, not at all. I find masking fluid use leaves hard edges that are sometimes far too stiff to soften to add the necessary life needed in a piece.

I started my painting with a vibrant colourful wash for my background leaving some sections pale where the white flowers would latere be placed.

I then worked negative work around clumps of the tiny blossoms before picking out one or two individual small flowers to be my main focal points. As seen in the close up below. There is now a variety of white in the petals as some are pale blue giving a feeling of depth and shadow in my painting

Negative work around each blossom brings each flower to life.

I want depth in this piece so I have used Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground , Mars Black, under some flowers and this works fantastically as a technique.

The full painting can be seen below. I still have a lot of work to do on this painting but it is coming to life so well , so far.

May Blossom, full painting as a work in progress


Thank you!

I have received some wonderful messages from friends and followers who have missed me whilst I have been poorly. I am back! Feeling great and getting better by the day. Working from home for a while which is doing me the world of good and as you can see I am experimenting and sharing again.

Let the good times roll!

Happy painting

Thursday 13 June 2019


"Ruffled Feathers"
Created using my new Jean Haines Daniel Smith Shimmer Set shades 

Where to start? I am back again. Life is so busy at the moment and there is so much exciting art news to share. I have my own Daniel Smith sets coming out this year and I am thrilled to finally share the news. Behind the scenes so much has been going on connected to making these the most irrisistable of watercolour sets available and I have selected shades that I can't live without to be included in both.

But why the shimmer sets?

Well for some time now I have been enhancing my work with the addition of iridescent and shimmer shades that bring exciting life in a very subtle way to my work. I have been asked how I am achieving the efffects so now I am sharing the products I use in Jean Haines sets and there is more news. 

I intend to share some tips of this range of colours and next month will start filming ideas and techniques which you will be able to see on line. I am absolutely thrilled by this opportunity to show how I paint minus typing! So do watch this space for updates on this brilliantly thrilling new venture.

The above rooster has Daniel Smith Iridescent Electric Blue and Pearlescent Shimmer on the feathers and these sections really glisten but not in an over powering way.

I can't wait for tomorrow when I will be back in my studio and sharing again. My health has taken a set back recently but I seem to be bouncing back well and working from home is suiting me much better for now. This does not mean I shan't be travelling in future. But my break from teaching is giving me time I needed to recharge my artistic batteries and think about the direction I wish to take as an artist at this stage in my career.

I'm working on gallery collections quietly and exhibitions too.

In fact.

Life is great!


Wednesday 22 May 2019

Racing Colours : Jean Haines Daniel Smith Watercolour Sets

 "Racing Ahead"
Aussie Red Gold takes the lead 

I am currently working on a gallery collection and I am delighted to share the news that this year my own Daniel Smith Watercolour Sets will be launched and they include my favourite dynamic colours. In fact, shades that I cannot live without. 

I will be sharing more news about my sets soon but for now my favourite colours are acting as silks on jockeys in my latest horse racing paintings.

Everyone knows I adore Aussie Red Gold from the Daniel Smith Watercolour Range so it is no surprise to many that it should be my choice for the the winning jockeys silk however Lunar Blue quickly came into play as not only the dramatic background colour choice but it became the silk of the jockey that may just take the new lead position. It is so hard for me to choose a favourite colour as I love them all !

 Lunar Blue coming into the lead

My Daniel Smith master set colours can interact with each other, give glorious effects when used and they are beautiful for adding punch and drama to any painting. The word boring is not in my vocabulary in life or whilst painting, so I only opt for the most exciting choices when it comes to selecting a product range. And I have been invited many times in the past to have watercolour sets in my own name. Until now I have always refused. But the quality of , the incredible colours, and the excitement I feel when working with, Daniel Smith shades is outstanding. To be invited to have my own sets created by a manufacturer that to me is the best in the world is a dream come true. I leapt at the opportunity and I am hoping these sets will help other artists see how exciting working with this range can be,.

 The first wash stage of my horse racing painting.With my set colours lined up against the appropriate jockeys silks.

Below you can see the painting so far. It is building up well and I am taking my time as I really love this piece. The horses look almost 3D in places and the depth of the background pushes each rider forward  creating a sense of movement which is much needed in any action composition.

Racing Colours Work in Progress so far.

Artist Tip.

When I am teaching I come across so many artists who race to finish a painting in one go. Sadly they often miss the beauty of what the painting itself is screaming to the artist to add in the way of brushwork or colour additions as the painting evolves during its creative journey.

I find if I work on an action piece like the above, taking my time adding dots of colour or single brush marks  gradually rather than in one sitting the painting is often far better. Not only that I then don't risk over working. I also avoid making the mistakes that are often easy painting  traps to fall into when rushing a painting.

So try painting something over a course of three days, each day looking at each stage in progress taking your time to consider what is needed to be added next.

You may find you learn so much  in the process and become a far better artist!

Have fun creating.



Saturday 18 May 2019

The Race that is Life

 New half sheet horse racing painting
Horses and jockeys appearing in the first wash.

Life has a way of becoming busier by the second without you even realising it.  I have accepted commissions which I am delighted to say have all been delivered even though I generally as a rule do not take them on. Why? Because I find it almost impossible to keep up with demand for personal commission paintings which sounds like a lovely position to be in as an artist but they tear me away from painting following my hearts instincts. Now I am working for galleries and I am creating with a passion that runs deep within my soul. I am not distracted by teaching at the moment so I can throw myself into my studio time with sheer abandon. 

However life is incredibly busy for me still. With many projects on the horizon. My new book "Paint Yourself Positive" will be launched this summer,already available to  pre order on and I am thrilled to share the news that I have my own Jean Haines Daniel Smith sets coming out too this year. These are incredibly exciting sets of colours which include my personal favourite shades. Actually they aren't just shades to me, they are my best friends as I can't work without them. The colours are vibrant, magical and the master set is an absolutely stunning collection. There is also a shimmer set because I have found I am now using the iridescent and shimmer shades to add drama to all of my work. There is nothing more thrilling to an artist that has been painting for years to be asked by another professional how they have achieved a certain effect. To use colour and still surprise artists of all levels is such a terrific feeling as it makes me understand I too am growing and developing still , discovering new techniques and ideas. Please look out for the sets when they are launched, news will be shared on my blog about them consistently.

But now back to my horse racing painting. I lay an important first wash down which really has to depict the characters and subjects well. They need to be coming to life immediately, if they don't it is  not worth working further. This piece feels more than right. It holds an exciting energy that thrills my soul and even now when looking at it I can almost hear the hooves of the horses resounding as they cover the ground hurtling towards the finish line. Who will win?

Below you can see my easel with this first wash along side a study of two horses which put me in the mood for painting the bigger piece and gallery collection which will follow.

 Colour study alongside my first wash of the bigger composition,.

 Below you can see the vibrant colours I am going to be adding on top of the first wash to bring drama, impact and even more energy to this piece. These colours are from my Daniel Smith Master set. Not one colour is boring within my Daniel Smith collection. Boring as a word does not fit into my life in any form especially when painting. My shades in each set will set your heart racing as if you too were heading towards the winning line!

 Daniel Smith enticng watercolour shades 
 To create a full painting I often start small with a study. The below piece is lovely as it is but the energy increases in my work when I get into my painting zone.

Study which helps me get into my "painting zone"

I have been quiet lately on my blog. At the beginning of the year I had a health scare which I have now fully recovered from, then we decided to bring two puppies into our lives and their training has taken up quite a bit of my time. But I have been painting in my studio for once for me only minus thinking of writing or teaching workshops. I believe to teach well we have to sometimes fill our own artistic tanks so that we have new material and ideas to share and oh boy is my artistic tank filling up.

Watch this space and happy painting!


Tuesday 16 April 2019

May Blossom 2019 ; Positive Changes


May Blossom
Work in Progress 

My life is changing constantly and I have to admit writing my book "Paint Yourself Positive" has made me take stock of where I am , what I am doing and where I would like to be. I was convinced I was already there, at a point in my life where I am content with every aspect of my life. But we can all improve our lives no matter our age or circumstances.

I thought about how years ago I would always walk every day and find new treasures, often subjects I had never painted before, and bring them home to my study to create in watercolour. I would set myself challenges from finding the most simplest to the most complex of treasures and set about painting them in a variety of ways in watercolour. Those days stopped because we lost our dog Bailey. Since we lost him I threw myself into touring, teaching, writing and judging. So my personal walks and later even my studio time gradually came bottom of my list on how I spent my time. Now I make time for me. Time to paint for my own personal enjoyment. Discovering new techniques which I intend to share on future workshops, new books and possibly films.

I love giving to others but I am aware that my  workshops can only be successfully enjoyable for me if I constantly grow as an artist. I find it boring to paint the same thing repeatedly, in the same style which has never been my way of working. I want to always believe I am on a journey in learning rather than feel I have reached any destination. I can grow in many ways, as a person and as an artist And I feel so much better now. My life is enriched. I feel my art is too.

We have two new puppies, Teddy and Murphy who are hard work but fun and because of them I am back to walking in different places daily finding new things to paint. Today the treasure I brought back to my studio was May Blossom. If I take the puppies on an interesting enough walk they sleep in my studio while I am painting. Which is bliss. This mornings' walk saw me carry a tiny sprig of May Blossom back to my studio and I created the first small study painting seen below with the sprig sat in the centre of the piece. Beneath this image you can see my painting minus the sprig of blossom.

 May Blossom painting with the real flower on top to study form and gain ideas for future brushwork

Study of May Blossom, without the real flower on top.

I,as always, enjoyed painting the small piece so much that I instantly created a large wash to act as a background for my detailed flowers. The larger piece is far more adventurous but feels as though it carries more freedom as I have room on the larger piece of paper to express myself. I don't use masking fluid but I have used white gouache on the piece to gain back some of the white blossoms. To create the sense of the real thing I took my puppies back to where the real flowers were this afternoon and sat admiring them , looking up at the heavily laden branches carrying small white flowers. Learning from nature that not all the flowers were perfect. Some had only one or two petals as the wind had knocked the delicate pieces off. Some were odd shapes, others connected to bigger clumps of small blooms. The sky behind the blossom varied in colour due to moving clouds. The branches also were a variety of colours from grey to reddish brown. I learnt so much just by sitting still. And that is also something I am learning to do. Sit still and observe. We race around in this life, often being constantly busy as though that is the right means of fulfilling each day. When the opposite can be said to be true.Quality time being quiet, observing, taking in nature and admiring its' beauty can do so much to enrich our souls and feed our artists inner needs.


I am so ready to continue to work on this piece.

Artists tip for the day?

Sit still now and then, but looking at something you can paint in future while you rest.
At these times. look for colour, formations, shadow and light effects always.
Find new treasure to paint as often as possible.
Don't always opt for something easy, push yourself on new adventures attempting to create more complex subjects .
Don't be afraid, we are only working on paper and our mistakes teach us how to grow as artists.

Basically, enjoy life and painting at every opportunity.

I do!