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 Amazon.com 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!

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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!

 




Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Shining a Light ; Pussy Willow in Watercolour



Pussy Willow in Watercolour

I am having a blast in my studio. Our new puppies are peacefully sleeping at my feet and the short walks I take them on each day are leading me to see nature at its' best. Right now the country lanes are adorned with catkins and pussy willow. Both favourite subjects of mine to paint.

The pussy willow always has been a subject that appeals to me. As a child I loved touching its' soft fluffy buds. I loved how my step mum would always arrange them with bright yellow daffodils in a vase in our home to cheer the room especially on grey days when it was raining, which it often did in Wales where I grew up. Maybe that is why I often avoid using grey shades, I saw too many as a child as in grey skies.

But back to my painting today and as you can see I am happily back sharing on my blog again.

The above piece was created after I played with a small study first as an experiment. I have used Daniel Smith Walnut ink for the dark central area to set off my soft pussy willow buds. I can't wait to complete this but it has to dry before I work further on it. Rather than waste time I began a second wash so the two paintings sit side by side on my easel waiting for the finishing brush work to be added.

It is so exciting painting something you love but challenging yourself at the same time to paint it differently from the year before. And better.


Side by side. Two pussy willow paintings waiting for the next finishing touches to be added.

Once I start painting I almost feel as though a light has been turned on in my soul. Something magical happens in that I feel energised, invigorated and eager to create beauty  with my brushes.
Oh how I love Spring. How I love working in watercolour and how I love life.

If only we could have 48 hour days and ten day week  so that I could fit more in !

Happy painting!


Second painting of pussy willow waiting to be developed. 


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No artists tip today other than suggesting you go for a walk anywhere to discover something that tugs at your heart strings to paint it.

Don't paint the same thing every day as that can sometimes crush your artists'  soul.  Keep it alive , refreshed and excited at the prospect of painting and as often as possible

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Friday, 29 March 2019

Spring to it!



 Daffodils in watercolour
 Work in progress

Daffodils are hard to paint so many people have told me but I love painting them.  Maybe its' because I am from Wales and they are the Welsh National Flower. I grew up surrounded by them every spring and their gorgeous bright yellow hues would always make me feel instantly cheerful. But going back to those dreaded words.

"Hard to paint"

Isn't everything hard to paint when we first take up painting? Especially as adults. Ask a child to paint anything and it never occurs to them that they can't, they just do it and love creating.  We need to completely lose the fear of approaching new subjects. In fact I strongly believe that painting subjects that we do find difficult , often and regularly, improves our skill as artists. And so what if your painting goes in the bin ( trash can to my American friends!) .  It is only by attempting a difficult task that the task in hand can be overcome and seen as being easier. The more you practise the less daunting the task becomes. In fact, over time, it can become something that no longer holds fear.

I love a challenge. I love painting things that are new to me and I love painting things that I am familiar with. Like daffodils. I paint them every year but each time I do I attempt to improve on the ones I painted the year before. I am on a journey in art, learning and loving the road every step of the way.

So here I am in 2019 painting my first daffodils of the year and I am so happy. I am aiming to keep the petals papery thin and delicate.

Here are two paintings as works in progress side by side on my easel.


Two daffodil paintings, each guiding me on what to add next on the other..

I usually work in threes, as in three paintings being on the go at any one time. I find I learn from each. Above the painting on the right was my first daffodil piece, the second seen on the left to me is far better. I can see it needs detail but the start is softer because  I was more relaxed on the second piece having got into the " mood" or quiet painting zone from warming up on the first painting. This happens. I often need to get my mind calm to really create something beautiful and with such a busy life sometimes I need to get everything out of my system on the first piece to really get stuck into my work.


I'm finding Daniel Smith Azo Yellow perfect as a shade for painting these spring flowers. It is'vibrant, can be used translucently and looks gorgeous in sunlight too, just like the real flowers.

Seen below is a close up of one of the daffodils with detail beginning to be added.


Single daffodil with detail added


Artists tips

1) Never be put off painting a subject, new challenges stretch us and improve our observation and painting skills.

2) Try painting a rough study for fun before attempting a more serious piece as this helps us get into a great quiet painting zone.

3) Do enjoy each season looking for subjects that may only be temporarily available to paint from life

4) Paint from life as much as possible! I see blues, violets and golds in each petal when I study a real daffodil flower and yet when I look quickly at them I only see bright yellow!

Have fun, relax and enjoy painting. Otherwise your painting time can become stressful which to me defeats the whole point of painting!


Happy painting!

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Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Seeing the Light , Paint Yourself Positive. I am back!


"Seeing the Light"
From my new book "Paint Yourself Positive" which will be out in May 2019
Available to pre order from Amazon.com
Watch out for the limited edition hardback copy. 


Well that wasn't the way I expected to start 2019 but here I am at last back writing on my blog and now I feel as though I will never catch up as I have so much to share but I have not been able to get on my blog until today. 

Firstly. My Health. I am now only seeing one specialist, the cardiologist and I have been wearing a monitor that is directly linked to the hospital in case of any more " hiccups". I'm glad to say there has only been a small blip and so far I feel much better. I am completely rested because we went to St Lucia for a two week break , my specialist thought it would be a good move for me to rest in the sun and I feel brilliant again.  But not quite up to teaching just yet. Small steps! 

Now I must say the biggest thank you to everyone who has been so kind writing to me and replying here, concerned about me and how I am doing. You really made such a huge difference to me. Hearing everyone telling me to take it easy helped so much. I genuinely was so heartbroken to have had to cancel my tour and that added stress on top of my feeling unwell. I seriously hate letting anyone down.

I have been sensible and cleared my tour diary for this year. I think its' wiser to get better to a point of being 100% well enough to give my all when I teach, as I always do. I can't give workshops that are not 100% full of energising tips ans ideas. Its impossible for me to do anything by half measures and I have a very high teaching standard ethos that I love working to. So I will work on a schedule for 2020 that is really special full of new colours, techniques and ways to be inspired by working in watercolour. News o fthese wil be shared later this year.

The other thing that has helped me so much is reading my new book. "Paint Yourself Positive" launching this year. I had no idea when I wrote it that I would be the one needing it. I have had to think positively to get through the ups and downs of the last few months. I have had to believe that nothing serious was wrong with me and that I will be back teaching in the future. This is simply a temporary blip and it is giving me the much needed time to work on a completely new workshop programme. Don't worry, it won't be chnaged in format but it will be even better. I have thrived on hearing artists on my courses telling me they have never felt so stimulated in all their lives. Its' been so much fun that I intend to continue.

For now though?

Well I must share photos but we have two new members of our family. Bentley and Teddy, two tiny puppies who are growing every day. They are Australian labradoodles and are so good for my soul. I laugh each day watching their antics and I have no end of people asking to puppy sit if I travel That won't be for a little while but they will be in safe hands when I do.

So, now back to painting and wow how can I share with so much to choose from.

I will be back on my blog regularly from here in so please watch this space and thank you so much for waiting for me to return!

Happy painting

Jean

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Health and workshop update

Colour Blast 2019

USA 2019 Spring Tour Cancelled

Ironically my last blog post was titled " We can't always have what we want" and now I can't. Because right now I should be judging the New England Art Society exhibition in Boston followed by workshops there and further courses in two California locations including the California Watercolor Association.  But sadly I have had to cancel everything on this trip due to health hiccups. 

I am so sorry to disappoint everyone who had booked my courses but my health took a serious and completely unexpected turn.  I am seeing specialists. To say I am heart broken is an understatement as I have to date never had to cancel any of my courses apart from when I famously broke my ankle whilst teaching in Australia. There I tried to persuade the surgeon that if he patched me up I only had two days teaching to go after which I would happily return to the hospital and  have the obviously needed operation. Even then, with my determination strongly working I did teach the next courses which were in UK albeit in a wheel chair with my foot elevated, rather than let anyone down. To date I have never let anyone down if I can help it.

Now the situation is out of my hands and I must follow advise.

As my family and friends keep telling me  "Health has to come first" which is hard for me as my artists on my workshops have always come first in my career. Their pleasure, enjoyment and happiness is always all that has mattered to me and it is why I love teaching so much.

It should be a few months before I can make future plans.

For now I am resting, following doctors orders and painting quietly in my studio.

This is not how I saw 2019 starting. But hopefully the rest of the year is going to be brilliant.

I have been in touch with all the workshop hosts and locations. But to everyone who has missed out on this trip I really am so very sorry. Believe me, if I could have come I would have!



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Wednesday, 16 January 2019

We Can't Always have What We Want

 Snowdrops forming created by using a negative edge technique to place the flowers on an initial first wash. A work in progress, first stages of a painting.

We can't always have what we want, when we want it. And so we need to learn to adapt , wait patiently and enjoy whatever it was we yearned for when it finally arrives, if it ever does. In my case at the moment my wish is to see snowdrops in my garden before I leave for USA and my next workshops there at the end of this month. It isn't a huge wish. It isn't incredibly important. But to me it would mean the world if they could just bloom now. I love painting from life and I want to paint them in my garden in their natural settings. But as they are not appearing just yet I am having to use a collection of my own photographs, past paintings and my imagination to work from to create. Which probably isn't a bad thing because this way my colour choices and techniques to act as backgrounds will probably be far more innovative. As seen above in a close up of my latest snowdrop painting.

I started today by painting on fresh white paper. Two beautiful clean washes emerged with white space to add my snowdrops. They looked......... actually they look perfect but something is missing from them. A sense of excitement I feel. They look almost wooden and pre sketched with absolutely no movement. I looked at them on my easel, these first snowdrop paintings and considered all that I didn't like about them. They could easily be replicated. They looked preplanned to the point of being dull. I'd left no room for spontaneous additions of  further flowers. They actually looked "predictable" in that millions of exact same paintings could be around all over the universe.

Which led me to look at a few exciting washes I had already that had not been paintedon,  to act as backgrounds, and I found one that was perfect for this adventure in creating.

Now my heart was beating familiarly. I was excited at what could happen next. I easily saw where my first snowdrop flowers could be placed on the wash and then I sensed the familiar oak leaves at their base from my garden scenes last year. There is movement, life and positive energy in this piece and hints of the cold weather that is here in UK at this time of year.

It thrills me.

I can't wait to work further on this piece. It is far more enjoyable and it really has been inspired by my reading my own book " Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour" . In this flower book I offer ideas on how to create white subjects and how to make your flower paintings more interesting. I listened to my words in the book and painted from my heart which now feels far more alive!

Below you can see the whole painting as a work in progress so far.


"Snowdrop Heaven"
A work in progress.


Artists Tip for the day

Do you feel your work is becoming predictable? As in are you painting the same subjects in exactly the same way with the same techniques and colours each day? If it is, are you happy? If not how are you going to change your art?

It is a new year. Now is the time to really go for gold if you want to have fun and feel stimulated when you paint. Which in turn should lead you to fabulous unique results.

So here is a challenge.

Look back to something you painted last year and paint it now in a completely different way using new colours and techniques. Then compare the two paintings and see which you prefer!

Stretch yourself and find the inner artist that may be lurking screaming to get out!


Create!


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Sunday, 13 January 2019

Stan and Ollie : The Movie

 Stan and Ollie 
Five minute impression

Last night John and I went to see the movie " Stan and Ollie", which tells the story of Laurel and Hardy, legends in the world of comedy.

All day today I have heard the tune they danced to in my mind, and  I have smiled every single time. But it wasn't the movie that touched my heart so much as the memories it brought flooding back of my father. My Dad worked so hard, like many, to feed his family and make sure we had a roof over our heads and food on the table. Ours was not a grand house but it was spotlessly clean and my stepmother was so proud of it. She had come from a family of thirteen who were mainly male and all miners. Times were hard and there was so little to laugh at back then but laugh they did. 

Dad used to love watching this pair of comedians. He would sit laughing until tears rolled down his face. In fact at times I thought he was about to have a heart attack, so strong was his laughter and his holding of his sides as he did so. I remember not understanding the humour as I didn't " get it". I honestly didn't at the time. But this week I was fascinated by the idea of learning about the men who made so many people laugh out loud.  Which led to us as a couple to be sat in the movies watching the film last night.

I found the film very slow in places. I felt sorry for how these wonderful men were treated at times. But I watched and found myself holding back tears at the very end of the film. It was so moving. The friendship, strong sense of companionship, compassion, understanding and road these men travelled throughout their career was touching. And it makes you wonder, how many people did they make laugh in their life times?  During times when people desperately needed to laugh.

I " 'get it" now. Completely.

And if my Dad is looking down I would love him to know I do.

I found myself grabbing a small scrap of paper this afternoon as I closed my studio painting session. I mixed a few skin tones very hastily using Alizarin Crimson and Yellow Ochre to begin and started to place two face shapes in blocks of colour on paper. When I create faces in watercolour in this way with no preliminary pencil sketch it really is a situation where a face appears or it doesn't. Its' almost a spiritual experience and I wasn't surprised when Ollie started to make an early appearance. Laurel seemed to like him taking over until his own smile appeared.

Side by side this incredible pair led an interesting life. I hope they knew how much they were loved and how much joy they brought into the world. My early stages of their faces I didn't capture on camera as I only had my Ipad to hand. These last few stages show how the painting of  Laurel and Hardy is forming. I like the stage below best of all.They are almost there but not quite.

 I couldn't resist sharing.

This ones for you Dad, you'd have loved the film!


Stan and Ollie first wash,
Essence of a duo.

Blissful Sunday



Double Trouble


Sunday is my day of pure relaxation but I am often found in my studio still on the weekends as I simply love painting. With my next new book complete I can begin to think about other projects that are waiting to be completed. Right now I am working daily with USA on a fabulous new venture, details of which will be released soon. But I race to my computer each morning to begin photography sessions and then I send the images that are needed to complete this next entrance to 2019 as part of my art adventure. Its' exciting.  This means by the end of January I will have completed two exciting projects and I have many more to look forward to.

I'm staying with painting fish at the moment because I see mine each day, coming up to be fed regardless of the cold weather.

I am using a variety of colours in this collection but anyone who has been on last my years' workshops should instantly recognise my favourite shade Daniel Smith, Aussie Red Gold, coming into play on each goldfish. Its' such a great colour. I can use it almost in its' neat form for strong bold colour placement or use it heavily diluted with water to gain a more translucent appearance. Perfect for painting fish submerged under water




Close up of a section of Pure Gold

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Life is golden. Living life with a positive attitude is a blessing. Instead of seeing grey days of winter I see time to recharge my batteries and we all need that luxury from time to time.  So instead of racing around I'm actually tackling one project at a time instead of zillions and loving every second.

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Artists challenge?

Relax and simply think about what you would like to paint when you next pick up your brushes.
Think about a subject that really turns you on, one that you are desperately eager to paint and imagine what colours you would use to create it.
But now for the hard part.

You can't paint it physically today!

Paint it in your head several times swapping colours and the composition around as much as possible.

When you pick up your brushes next, paint the one that pleased you most.

I have already done that.
And I can't wait for tomorrow to come!

Plan to keep your energy levels and enthusiasm as high as possible this year to make your creative time feel brilliant yet alone achieved in your results.

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Saturday, 12 January 2019

Green With Envy!

Green Envy
Colour fun  using my favourite Daniel Smith green shades

In winter with so little colour around it's easier to see and enjoy the variety of green shades in the evergreen plants and trees that show off so well at this time of year.

Just going for a walk is magical as I take time to study each green shade I see. Has it a blue hue? Are there brownish tints on the leaves, if so where? If I was to paint a certain plant, like ivy or holly for example, which green shade would I use? There are so many to choose from and it is fun deciding which would be best in colour matching exercises.

I loved writing the winter section in my latest book " Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour" as it made me really see clearly how gorgeous winter can be.


Having said that I have always been fascinated with colour but I have often wondered where the saying " Green with envy" comes from. Or the description" Green Eyed Monster"  . I have green eyes but I hope I'm not or ever have been a monster!  I first started reading up about colour years ago. Its' rather neat to understand where sayings and ideas relating to my favourite shades originated from.

Ancient Greeks believed that if you were pale you could be seen as being ill, complexions would be a clue as to what ailed a patient. Lack of a healthy colour indicated illness possibly connected to bile  problems, giving skin have a slight greenish hue.  This is certainly how I have felt in the past when I used to suffer from sea sickness. I always felt my skin had turned green.

From this belief green became linked to illness, it was also thought that jealousy could cause problems with over production of bile. Hence jealousy caused the green appearance of the skin and the saying " Green with envy" now makes sense. Sort of!

Fascinating isn't it?

However, while there is beautiful weather I'm off for yet another walk to see how many green shades and ideas I can come up with before the day is out.

Have fun seeing green!

Artists challenge

How about discovering one new green shade before January is over. It has to be a green shade you have never used before.  I would love to hear what you find if you would like to share your discovery in a reply!


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Friday, 11 January 2019

USA Spring Tour 2019 : Boston and California

"Pure Gold Too"

It seems unbelievable as time is flying by so quickly but I will be on tour again in February this year. This time visiting completely new teaching locations to me in Boston and California. Details can be found below. Whilst all the workshop classes are already fully booked I will be giving demonstrations in each location. Information is given below regarding dates and details of when these will take place. My demonstrations are pretty high energy full of many tips on how I work and create. They give a good insight into what my workshops are like too! I will be book signing at these events also.

 2019 USA Spring Workshops
 
 BOSTON
New England Watercolor Society 
 
I am honoured to be the juror of the New England Watercolor Society 2019 Signature Show. Full details of my demonstration here can be seen in the following link
 
(Feb. 2 Juror demonstration, 5-7pm )
 
Workshops
 1/2nd February Fully Booked
 4/5th February  Fully Booked
.

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CALIFORNIA
 
 Coachella Valley Watercolor Society
Demonstration details February 11th 2019 
Workshops
12/13th February 2019 Fully Booked
 14/15th February 2019 Fully Booked


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California Watercolor Association
Demonstration details 20th February 2019
 
Workshops
 19/20th February 2019 Fully booked


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Paint Yourself Positive : Pure Gold

"Pure Gold"
Piece inspired by a favourite demonstration in my new book "Paint Yourself Positive" 

Amazing.  Life is simply amazing. We have so much power individually and yet we rarely appreciate it. The power to be happy. To be fitter. To be wiser. To be kinder. To simply be.

Its' not a secret. I have been working on a new book which will be launched later this year and I am not exaggerating by saying it has changed my life. For the better. As I wrote each chapter I thought long and hard how I could improve my own life, routine and attitude by painting myself positive. And oh boy have I changed. In so many ways. Its' refreshing to feel so rejuvenated. I feel so alive and it is fantastic!

This time last year I was preparing to leave my home for my early 2018 tour. I was a little overweight as we so often are after the Christmas season. I was definitely less fit as I no longer walk a dog daily. And my routine as gorgeous as it was saw me painting for hours in my studio especially in winter, writing and fitting my social life around my work. Family always have and always will come first. As they should.  But me? I was at the bottom of my own list in priorities.

We have been trained , or at least I have, to put others first. Always. In every single way. And I love doing so. I adore making others happy. I always have since I was little. I think that's why I enjoy sharing my art techniques so much because I know I am in such a great mood when I am creating and I want others to feel this way too. But seriously I have never really given a lot of time or thought to "me". And I know many of my friends who will instantly say " I know just what you mean".

My family, art, home and garden come first. There was always something far more important or urgent to do than " me" time. That is, other than painting.

There is a chapter in my new book about trying new things. In my book I mean new colours or techniques. But new " anything" can be such a boost to the soul. Last year saw me taking up new activities. Yoga, Pilate's and Zumba. Okay, perhaps taking them ALL up in one go was a little over enthusiastic but this year I am looking ahead to a new year feeling much fitter, more alive, more excited than ever before and I am raring to go in my studio.

I am making time for everything so that when  I look back at this year I can say honestly, wow what a ride! My art will be the best ever. And my goal is to inspire everyone around me who paints to say the same thing. No dull compositions, no boring repetitive work. New colours, new texture. I'm going for gold!

When I am not painting my goal is to enrich my life in so many ways. health, interests and seeing as many friends as possible because life is far too short.

This is where I have a confession to anyone who doesn't know. I had a health blip/scare last year and I am happily fine now. But it was a wake up call. And perhaps I needed it! 

But back to my art.

I have so many new products, samples , techniques and ideas to share and I have no idea where to start in telling everyone about them. My book "Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour" woke up a dormant side of me regarding experimenting.  Like the fish in my painting, I am swimming towards a fabulous direction in life. One that will be really appealing on so many levels. I want adventure in colour, creativity and excitement each time I pick up my brushes.

That is a strong positive.

I am going to paint myself positive all year, and for years after that.

My new book is already available to pre order on Amazon.com

But for now, those last chapters in my last book, on painting flowers led me to incredible abstract ideas with new products and I'm eager to get back to using them.So for now I will admit I have many blog posts to follow so please bear with me.

2019 is going to be the best year yet.


Artists Challenge.

As my new book isn't out yet how about getting started with your own positive challenges to yourself for this year

A few questions

1) When was the last time you did something completely new? Not just art related. Think about it and then decide, when will you next be doing something that may be slightly out of your comfort zone
( I'm telling you, walking into an advanced yoga class with almost everyone practically balancing on one finger is possibly my most embarrassing moment to date. But you should see me now ! )

2) When was the last time you bought new watercolour shades? If not recently, why not?

3) Art wise, when was the last time you painted a completely new subject or tried a new technique?

Now set yourself three challenges to complete by the end of this year. Make one easy and one not so easy and make one something you would love to do but have never managed to.

( By the way, I haven't got bungee jumping from my list. I have decided I don't think its quite " me" )

Have a great 2019!

It is up to you if its going to be a great year or not.

You have the power.


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Wednesday, 2 January 2019

We can't see love but we all know it exists.

"Unicorn"
You can see this only if you believe 


Maybe you will need tissues to read my blog today. It isn't my usual sort of post but it is one my heart wants me to share.

Yesterday was New Years Day and every year we visit friends who invite us for a wonderful meal to celebrate. But this year was special. And happy. Because this time last year our host discovered shortly after our 2018 celebration that he had Cancer. The last twelve months have been a battle for him yet he has inspired us all by his positive and extremely brave attitude.  He has the most wonderful loving family and many friends , like us,who adore him. Because he is "one of those guys" who touches your heart, makes you laugh and listens if you need a friend to lean on. We were all so very worried for him and his family last year. But while I was on tour in USA last December John and I received the best message of all, Our friend has won the battle.  And so this New Years Day saw our host raise a glass to give very touching thanks all his friends and family for their love and support through such a difficult time.

Sadly though, yesterday was a day for tears as well because we learnt that another dear friend we know had lost his battle. He passed away on New Years Eve. My heart aches. It was really emotional when our friend yesterday added to his toast in honour of our friend who will be really sorely missed. My eyes leaked as they do. It was too hard to hold back the tears.

I came home thinking how I awoke yesterday morning celebrating how wonderful it was to be with my soul mate, best friend and husband John. We have yet another full year ahead of us to share even more wonderful times together. But as happy as I was then we heard the sad news of our friends passing.

New Years Day 2019.

I came into my studio today and looked at my unicorn painting from yesterday and before I could stop myself I added to it. They say you can only see unicorns if you believe in them. But you know, it has to be said. Just because you can't see anything it doesn't mean its ,not there. You can't see love for example but we all know it exists.
 
I would like to think that our friend is there still but out of sight. His love for his wonderful wife will still exist even if he is out of view. As if he is in another room. 

And then my mind raced thinking of all my dear friends who will understand and relate to this blog post.

If you are missing a loved one. I hope you can think of them as being in another room still loving you and aware of you.

Because they could be watching over you.

Show them how happy you are if you can. Make them as proud of you when you can't see them as if you could.

Oh yes, we can say unicorns don't exist but magic does.

And love is pretty magical.

Huge hugs to all who need them today and I will be sharing more on my blog soon. Colourful happy posts. I promise.

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