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!