Friday, June 30, 2017

Follow Your Heart : Duck Family in Watercolour

"Love A Duck"

This year I have watched so many duck families visit our cottage garden. The tiny ducklings have to overcome so much to survive as they often dwindle from an original large brood of up to thirteen babes to one. The chicks are taken by magpies, crows, heron, jays and even pike so the water they swim in has certain dangers for them too. But I take delight in watching the proud Mums with their young parading them across our lawn, watching as they feed and as often as not, one duckling will be the trouble maker never staying with the group out of harms' reach.

I was determined at some point to paint a duck family but as the year has passed, to date, I haven't had time. But now majority of the ducklings are almost fully grown so my subjects look very different these days. Apart from one last surprise visit. Maybe this particular Mum had a late start with hatching her young. But I was delighted to see yet another family visit and waddle past my studio regularly recently.

And here they are in watercolour.

But why the title of my blog post " Follow Your Heart"?

Yesterday I started painting this family scene. I was in my wonderful peaceful world , completely wrapped up in what was happening on my paper in front of my eyes. Only the eye of the mother duck was evident in the early stage of my painting but even without the detail you could tell my first wash was going to be a duck family. I was thrilled with the life and energy this piece already magically held.

And then my husband walked into my studio.

" I love that" he said and I was pleased.

"Its' going to look fantastic once the detail is added"  he commented before leaving.

His words rang in my mind and all I could think of now was "adding detail". I was there, back in a place I didn't want to be. Seeing every feather on the Mother duck and every outline of each tiny duckling. I had to go for a wander around my garden and put my mind back where it had been before I continued to paint. So that I would be capturing the story with as little information as possible, but enough to tell the tale.

There is nothing wrong with adding every detail to a painting. In fact this piece would have been gorgeous had I done so. But I wanted to follow my heart, my own instincts and create a painting that was "me". A Jean Haines interpretation of the happy family moment I had witnessed. I meet so many people on my courses who are trying so hard to be someone else when they paint when their own talent and style is so fabulous and only needing a tiny bit of nurturing. Its' very hard to have the confidence to actually "like" what you paint but you need it to survive as an artist, like the little ducklings faced with so many obstacles.  So if you hear criticism of your work or feel nervous about how you paint, take heart. You may be doing something that is new or different. But you should be painting to make yourself feel happy, not others around you. 
But of course if you make others happy around you thats' good too! 
Just be careful what knocks you allow to put you down or off course in style!

I feel in my heart I have added more detail than I initially intended to but this is just what I am seeing on my lawn. The little ducklings are actually nestled in grass so their feet are hidden. Mum is proudly circling them until she too settles in the sun. A lovely memory.

This could have had so many titles.

A Ducks Tail
Going Quackers

But I remembered a saying that I used to hear as a child so " Love a Duck" it is! 

And it will now be in my solo exhibition as already there is interest in this painting but I am going to enjoy it for now. Here in my studio!

And my husband has just seen it finished and he loves it too.


The Frame Gallery hosting my solo exhibition "A Brush With a Woman" which opens on 1st September is local to where I live in Hampshire, UK so I will be at the Preview Event and there the following Saturday morning.

Please contact me if you would like an invitation to the preview.

Its' going to be such a wonderful occasion!


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