Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Autumn Riches 2018 Hips and Haws

"Hips and Haws"
Original watercolour by Jean Haines 2018

Where the time is going I have no idea. How often I have heard that said and yet I am saying the same words too now. I remember a professional artist of some standing telling me years ago that if I had time to write an art blog I wasn't working hard enough. They meant I should be painting not writing on line. At the time I dismissed their comment and happily continued to share regularly here but recently I now fully understand what they meant. 

I now have tours to organise. Galleries to paint for. My own workshops in UK to think about. And my next new book to complete. We actually start filming the demonstrations next week and I have been adamant that everything in it is absolutely new, as I am with all of my books.  So yes, I am busy. But I love my blog and when I paint something or discover something that makes me feel happy I want to share it with the world. And I am so very happy.

The countryside is laden with gorgeous Autumn subjects to paint so I have been naughty this past few days totally ignoring all emails and correspondence. Totally ignoring my workshop plans and tours and I have put my book on hold to paint and enjoy painting, and oh boy have I painted.

I have a fabulous new collection of autumnal scenes that are full of berries of every kind, glowing beautifully and each time I complete one I immediately want to start the next. Like eating the last delicious nutty chocolate in a box I want more! 

So please forgive my silence on line. I needed time to create just for me. However if you wish to purchase the above painting or paintings like it please contact me as they are going in a gallery very soon.

For now, happy painting.

Oh and Artist tip for the day?

Get OUT!
Go and see what is outside that could tempt your brushes to keep moving and find a treasure to paint when you do. Something beautiful!


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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Among the Fields of Gold 2018


 "Fields of Gold "

I am singing as I paint and perhaps how lucky there isn't sound. Although I adore singing especially my favourite songs. On my workshops I often play Celtic music  and " Fields of Gold" is on my play list. And it is perfect as background music for this new piece I am working on.

This morning I have sent two new chapters for my next book to my publisherwho is collating my work to be published in a new very exciting publication next year. My latest book " Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour" seems to have turned on an inspirational button in my artists soul that cannot be turned off! As I wrote my last book it was literally like writing a music score with the performance building up to a huge wonderful finale of abstracts and techniques using products new to me. And now I am using them non stop which is leading me into yet another book. 

At the moment this painting seen above is all pure watercolour although I have used Daniel Smith Watercolour Ground to create texture. I am loving how this piece is coming to life although detail is yet to be added.

I feel as though I have come alive finding a completely new direction in my art that is so exciting. I am veering away from what I know into the unknown more and more each day and it is so fantastic to be able to share my journey on line. You may think you don't know what I am going to do or create next but neither do I. All I do know is that the book I have just written and the book I am currently writing are changing my life and I love it!

Have a fabulous day and my  "Artist Tip for the Day"  is:-

Try something new, if you have painted what you know for years leap into a new creative zone. The break may be the start of something wonderful for you.

Good luck and happy adventures!



Field of Gold, full composition, as a work in progress.


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Monday, July 30, 2018

USA Watercolour Workshops 2018/2019



 "Impressions of Monet"
Waterlilies in Watercolour
Original Art by Jean Haines

 Watercolour Workshops USA 2018/2019

I am sharing an update on my USA workshops for 2018 and 2019. Please note,I can't guarantee I will be giving any more tours next year so these dates are really important if anyone in USA would like to attend one of my watercolour workshops.

I am now fully sold out in most locations but there are still a few last places in Bonita Springs, Florida and bookings have now opened for the Caliornia Watercolor Association.

Please see my original post, link below,  which includes dates, locations and contact details.

And I look forward to seeing everyone on a session either this year or next!




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A Whole new Week Ahead

"Passing Time"

I love Mondays. I always have. I wake each Monday morning with the excited feeling of not knowing what will happen in the days that follow. 

I literally raced to my studio this morning to work in my studio. I couldn't wait to get here. As a dandelion clock was already created on a piece of paper I started adding to the composition. Strangely a butterfly appeared of its' own accord in the lower part of this painting and I love it. It is the surprises with watercolour that make an art life wonderful. Not what we know is definitely planned. I will add to this composition gradually but I am in no rush. I am enjoying each second that I am alive and lucky enough to be able to do so fully.

Whatever your weeks plans are, I hope you too have some wonderful happy accidents occur. They are what makes life magical.

For me, its back to working on my next new book and its' looking fabulous so far.

Have a great week ahead!

Jean

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Saturday, July 28, 2018

How can I keep from singing : Portrait

"Ol' Grandpa"
Portrait created minus a prelimnary sketch, with colour alone bringing the subject to life.


If my ride on earth ended at this moment , not that it will, I couldn't be more happier.  I am so incredibly blessed and I am loving my art journey in particular. So much is happening that I have to shake myself  regularly to understand this isn't all a dream. I gave an interview recently where I explained how I started out as a professional artist and I was told I should write a book about my life. It isn't going to happen. I haven't time. But from a child brought up by grandparents to who I am now my story has been one of ups and downs, like many other peoples. From feeling unwanted to knowing I am loved. And perhaps out of all the many good things in my life being loved is at the top of the list for me. Because without love there is no point in life.

But back to my art. This week saw me judging an art competition with the Artist Magazine in UK, and then sending prizes out to the five lucky winners who each receive a signed copy of my latest book along with gorgeous watercolour sets of my favourite colours by Daniel Smith.

I've also prepared and wrapped paintings for two exhibitions. One collection has already been couriered to its destination. Another needs wrapping.  And I have of course worked in my studio. I painted the above portrait of a character I met in New Orleans. I saw him while I was teaching workshops there. This fantastic gentleman was sat by the side of the street singing with such an amazing voice. We stopped and listened for a while and I took several photos. We also bought his CD which we play constantly. You can see the step by steps of this particular portrait on my "Jean Haines Watercolours" facebook page.

This singer is blind but it does not stop him loving life. His smile is contagious. While painting him I couldn't help but think how lucky I am to have the gift of sight. I really couldn't help but sing as I painted him. When I finished my last brush work I remembered one of my favourite songs. "How can I keep from singing" . Part of the lyrics are below and seem to go with my post.

"I lift my eyes the cloud grows dim
I see the blue above it
And day by day this pathway smoothes
Since I first grew to love it"

We all go through hiccups in life and I will admit my health has been really scary this year but now I I am on the winning side of things and I definitely feel much better thank heavens. 

Painting is a great healer, and it has helped me over the last few months to sit still, rest and simply enjoy the beauty in life.

We all need time to rest and recharge our batteries.

This was my time. But guess what? And I am now raring to go again!

In fact I am so happy

How can I keep from singing!


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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

And its' back to work!

Monday Blues
Experimental wash

 Well the excitement of being at Patchings Art Festival is now gradually wearing off and I am back in my studio working on my next new book. But there is so much else to do!

I am reading so many emails from visitors to the festival last week , many asking for places on my fully sold out workshops so at the moment the wait list for cancellation places is really long. I will be replying to everyone as soon as I can.

Right now I need to prepare paintings for completely new step by steps for my next publication. Many include fascinating washes and colour combinations similar to the one shown above. Light has always been a huge influence on my work. Light and movement so this is what I am aiming to capture in even my abstract compositions to gain a sense of dramatic excitement.

But for now, I think I have had far too much excitement. Its' time to settle down and paint quietly!

I did mention in my demonstrations last week that no matter how busy we are we should always find time to warm up with watercolour work outs regularly. Just playing with colour to see where it leads.

I'm very happy with my colour experiments from today!


Artists Tip?

We don't always have time or the inclination to paint a full composition or serious piece of art. But playing with colour for a short time on a regular basis keeps us in the right frame of mind to want to paint when we do have that luxurious time to do so.

So paint, paint and paint!

And have fun experimenting with colour.


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Monday, July 16, 2018

Sold out! The Excitement of Patchings Art Festival 2018

The last copy of my new book sold at its launch, Patchings 2018

Wow, what a week has just past. I went to Patchings Art Festival where I had been invited as a celebrity guest artist for St Cuthberts Mill marquee. I also had my own marquee where I was launching and celebrating the release of my new book " Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour". The first night there I set up my marquee with the help of my terrific friend Lindsay and then rested before the opening day.It had been a long day getting there.

Over 45 coaches arrived the next morning to see the Festival and the car parks were quickly filling up.  I was demonstrating at 1.15 p.m.  and wandered outside my marquee for some air before making my way towards the demonstration marquee. Outside I could see a huge long line of people queueing up to see an artist and then I realised they were all queueing to see me! Everyone laughed when I told them. I will admit it is still a little overwhelming when things like this happen as they quite often do. You would think I get used to this  because I travel, film and teach so much but no. I am still completely surprised when I see a huge audience. Surprised and thrilled.Humbled, taken aback and prepared to show as many techniques as possible to ensure everyone watching has a great time.

There was standing room only to watch my demonstrations on the first day and with the intense heat at the time I admire everyone who sat through the hour long demo which everyone did until the very end. The applause then was a lovely way to close the session and I quickly  raced next door to my own marquee to sign copies of my books. The crowd had now moved there. But I was taken aback because I sold out of everything on day one at the festival. In the morning I had a lovely display of many books piled ready to sell. And sell they did! This is actually quite a feat as I had discussed the order of my books with my publisher well in advance. Because it was so big I had expected to bring some boxes of books home with me. But no, they all sold and quickly which left me with a terrible dilemma. I now had nothing to even show anyone who came to Patchings on Friday and Saturday.  Luckily my publishers wonderfully came to the rescue and drove all the way from Kent in UK to Nottingham with many more boxes which we all agreed would see me through the next two days easily. How surprised they were when I had to tell them the good news that my new book had sold out yet again! By late Saturday afternoon I had no copies left.

I gave three sold out demonstrations to over a thousand people, I signed so many books that I lost count and I met the best people ever making my return to this fantastic annual art festival a truly memorable occasion.

The only blip this week was right before my Thursday demonstration when I had to be seen by a medic to check I was okay before going on stage. They also checked me out afterwards. In fact they were brilliant.  So if anyone in the front row could see what was going on outside the marquee at the front, I am fine and I am sorry if it worried you! Being totally honest I was offered the opportunity to not demonstrate at all but I couldn't do that. I know my workshops are fully booked and some of the audience had looked forward to seeing me at Patchings for so long that I simply couldn't let anyone down. Luckily ten minutes into the demonstration everything settled and I gave quite a closing telling everyone what had happened and how ecstatic I was to have pulled the tips and technique demonstration off.  I have never in my career not gone on stage or not turned up for a workshop and I don't intend to start now. I even taught several courses in UK in a wheel chair once after breaking my ankle, as artists had flown from all over the world for them.

So, to everyone who came to see me. THANK you so much! To everyone who bought a book or brought one to be signed, thank YOU so much. And to everyone who came to say Hello, thank you so much too!

I have more to share which I will over the following week but its' good to be back in my studio right now. Painting and loving life here again.

Happy painting.


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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Patchings Art Festival 2018 : Jean Haines Demonstration Tickets and Book Signing Event 12-14th July

 "All White"

This morning I started my day by deadheading the flowers in my garden . This daily routine gives me time to think and plan ahead. This week I am preparing for my demonstrations at Patchings Art Festival which takes place next week.

I love Patchings! Its' a place where everyone who loves art and crafts unite in the warmest and friendliest of surroundings.  I have been invited by St Cuthberts Mill who produce my favourite watercolour paper , Saunders Waterford , to demonstrate as a celebrity guest artist in the main festival marquee. I will be demonstrating on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I also have my own marquee where I will be happy to sign copies of my books which will be on display and for sale.

For new comers, please note that buying tickets in advance for  my demonstrations is a wise idea as they can sell out on the day. At the foot of this blog post is a link to help you if you wish to purchase tickets. 


Some advise for Patchings visitors:-

1) Buy your demonstration tickets on line in advance to make sure you get to see your favourite demonstrations!

2) Do come to this event with cash or cheques as not every stand will be taking credit cards.

  
3) Part of me wants to say do come wearing blinkers so that you don't buy everything BUT.... don't wear these in the Daniel Smith marquee where all my favourite colours will be available! 

4) If you can't carry everything make notes of products you wish to try and make sure you know where to purchase them from. later.

But now back to my painting of white roses, why  is the title "All White "? 
Because I have so much to do this week that I am reminding myself that everything will be "all white on the night"! 

I started the above painting by placing three shapes for flowers as white spaces to form the flowers and I created a background around them using Daniel Smith Green Apatite Genuine and French Ultramarine Blue. The centre of my flowers are created with Aussie Red Gold, highly diluted on some of the petals to add a sense of warmth. The first stage is seen below and detail has been added in the above painting which is yet to be completed.



First stage of my white rose painting


If you have my new book " Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour" you will see the white rose paintings included in it along with composition ideas. 

But now I must get back to work preparing for next week. Do please say Hi if you come to Patchings as I would love to see you!

To buy tickets for my demonstrations please see the link below for full information.


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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Waterlilies in Watercolour 2018

"Side by Side"
Dedicated to two sisters who inspire me constantly.
Carol and Gayle.


How funny life is. I woke this morning determined to work on my new book. The paintings in it so far look stunning and are hopefully my best ever. I know I am growing in my personal art journey and gaining many "light bulb "moments as ideas on technique hit me over and over again recently. I am dying to host my next workshops with so much to share but I will be demonstrating at Patchings Art Festival soon. So can at least show everyone my new favourite colours and techniques there.  N.B. Please do  pre order your tickets if you want to watch me as they apparently are selling fast.

And so I came into my studio this morning absolutely raring to go on compiling a new chapter for my new book. I had dreamt abou tit all night. But I took a few photographs of my garden first and shared them on Facebook.  My mistake or was it?  I have many friends on my personal Facebook page who I have met over the years especially on tour. Two wonderful friends I love staying in touch with on line are Gayle and Carol. sisters from Oregon USA.  They have the most wonderfully loving family, are both fantastic creatives on every level and I adore hearing from them and seeing their Facebook posts.  They probably have no idea how much I love seeing their name whether they are posting or replying to me, but I do.

This morning I shared a photograph of the water lilies that are on the pond in our cottage garden. These flowers are absolutely glorious this year. Shortly after I had posted the photo Gayle responded with " I would love to see you paint this". I smiled. I had no time to paint water lilies today but the idea was now firmly planted in my brain. Try as I might I couldn't ignore my artists' heart strings begging me to paint these beautiful floral blooms. As I worked hard on my new book I couldn't help but realise I have never painted a full composition of waterlilies before. The thought would not leave me.

Well. I guess you know where this blog post is going. The above painting is of course a clue! 

I pulled a scrap of paper out of my trash bin and looked at it. It could work easily as a background for a painting of water lilies and before you could say "dragon fly" I was off.  Far away from my pre-planned schedule andI was  painting the above scene. And how very happy it made me.

I could hug Gayle for pushing me in this alternative direction and strangely enough I now have an idea for my new book that could incorporate this painting! A huge bonus from going astray.

You know, life has a very strange way of making you do the things you should do when you need to . If you would only listen to what your instincts are telling you. We don't though. We often quell what we feel would be a fabulous thing to do because another far more important deed or chore needs our attention.

Well as far as I am concerned life is far too short to ignore doing what we want. As a child I was often told what I could and couldn't do. What I could and couldn't wear. As an adult I am darned if I am going to be " told what to do" and "when to do it".

I am going to have fun non stop and if the above painting is an example of me painting for me I think I'm onto a roll and a winning formula.

So my artists tip for today is?

Do what you really want to do and if a subject pulls at your heart strings to paint it don't leave that particular piece until tomorrow or when you have " time"

Paint it today!

I just did!



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Gayle and Carol, I was going to paint you two white roses today as you are on my mind but Gayle disracted me and I am so grateful for that distraction. Thank you! 
Hugs to you both xxxx 

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Poppies in Watercolour : Vibrant Colour

 Poppy painting as a work in progress

Goodness as always is flying and it seems like ages ago that my last workshop was held in UK but it isn't actually that long. I have been working on my new book, experimenting and finding easy ways to paint popular subjects. I am aware that it is frustrating when you look at an art book and the full instructions are missing in a step by step. And it happens. 

Funnily enough this week I have been approached by a few artists who couldn't get a technique they had read about. And they were asking me if I could help them. As it wasn't my book I kindly suggested that they write to the author as maybe they could help them reach their goal.  I also felt it might be helpful to that particular author to know there was a problem with understanding the particular technique which isn't one I use.

I do help as much as I can, whenever I can, when asked questions about watercolour but this recent situation reminded me of a cook book I once helped put together for a charity when I was living in Hong Kong. The proceeds from the book were to go to an orphanage and everyone contributing was doing so for free.  Every recipe would be tested by a group of willing volunteers, myself included, and if the recipe was successful it would go into the charity cook book along with the contributors name. We had some fantastic recipes donated from all over the world and we cooked each one. Most worked beautifully but one recipe was a disaster. No matter who cooked that dish it never looked or tasted right. I had the horrible task of contacting the contributor to ask if they had made a mistake with the ingredients. There was silence at first at the end of the phone. Then came back shock and disbelief that their recipe hadn't worked. I then explained honestly that several teams of volunteers had each tried to cook the dish following the exact given instructions and not one had ended with a good or edible result. Finally the contributor admitted that they had left one very important piece of information out of not only thelist of  ingredients but also the method of cooking too. It was a "secret" family recipe and they wanted to keep it secret. But they had also wanted their name in the book. I suggested they forward another recipe with all the ingredients included and we would try that one instead. It ended happily . Their name and new recipe was in the book. A huge relief to all involved!

But some art books are like that too. One missing piece of information can really cause problems for anyone trying to follow any included demonstration instructions.

So here I am looking at this poppy painting as a work in progress thinking about how I could describe what I have just done so that in a book even the newest of artists will understand. And be able to follow my step by step. I may have an idea of  how to do just that. But if I left my blog post here that would be like the recipe with missing information story and terribly unfair to you!

How did I create the painting this far?

 This is all about water flow of course as you can see in the image above which way the colour is running. There is Cadmium Orange in this piece for very bold stubborn colour that is harder to move than other translucent pigments.. There is strong bold Perylene Red by Daniel Smith. Lots and lots of water moves the pigment across the paper which is turned as I work. Then  I have added a drop of black ink in the centres of my imaginary flowers, where I  think they will look good.. Just a tiny dot, not too much. 

Why Ink? Read on!

Now I can create patterns but how?

I haven't just used water. I have , with an old brush dropped on my still wet paper tiny dots of granulation fluid. This now forces the ink to push through the red and orange pigments forming gorgeous veins of patterns as they move. The Cadmium Orange is stubborn and slow to move but it does begrudgingly.

I am going to say here , this wouldn't work as well with quiet watercolour products. The red and orange shades I have chosen by.Daniel Smith are so powerful they really will give me fantastic patterns as they interact with both the ink and the granulation fluid.

The full painting as a work in progress can be seen below. It looks beautiful in reality. The power of the colour is lost on screen.



"Poppy Dance"
Work in progress


Artists Tip
If you can't follow a demonstration in an art magazine or book  try contacting the author/artist as your not being able to follow their written directions may help their next book or written article become better. Quite often each time authors write they too are on a learning curve and need to learn how to improve their descriptive skills. 
As long as they are of course sharing the "whole" description!


Perhaps my poppies now won't be in my next book as I have talked about them here so I will go and try another experiment but I must admit these are rather lovely!


Have a great day and  happy painting!


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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour; New Book Available now!

Paintings from my new book
"Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour"

 Thank you so much to everyone who has contacted me to let me know you have a copy of my new book "Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour " which has just been released.

This was such a special book to write and one I have dreamt about putting together for so long. In fact this would have been my first book had things worked out differently but finally I was able to write it and I am glad I had to wait to do  so because I have learnt so much over the years that would have been missing from the demonstrations had this been written years ago. I can now pull on all I have gleamed from painting to share with others to create floral paintings that are unique, beautiful and of course a joy to paint.

It is available now on Amazon.com UK and leading art stores and art stockists.

Now I can wander around my garden and fall in love all over again with the flowers that were filmed here last year, remembering the very happy times of creating this very special publication.

Thank you so much again, for liking my books and helping me be an author. Every single time I get a kind comment about my work I think about how very lucky I am .

I am indeed.

Very lucky!

 My latest book "Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour"
Available now!


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Colour Explosion

Colour explosion
Experimental work in progress

Oh my, am I having a great time in my studio.  I held workshops in UK recently and couldn't wait to get back to my own personal painting time to create. I am working on yet another new book and this one is filled with colour work to lift the soul and feed the artist within.

I am also doing so much research for this new project that I am out often, day and night looking into why art effects me in the way it does. It is definitely healing but far more than this it is energising. So do look out for yet another Jean Haines publication next year. For now I have so much gorgeous work to do involved with it that I cant wait to awaken each day. It is wonderful.

The above was just a fun playing experiment with colour and different products. Yes of course, artists who know me or follow me will instantly recognise some strong use of Daniel Smith watercolours but a lot more is in this piece as well as just colour!

I feel I should have a big sign over my head saying " Watch this space" as I never know what I am going to create next , but all I do know isthat I feel great and I love creating. Shouldn't we all?

Have a great day and happy painting to you!


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Top 10 UK Watercolour Blog : Best Blog Award





 



 What a wonderful surprise! This week I opened an email to read that my blog has been selected as one of the top ten UK watercolour blogs. What thrilling news considering there are so many wonderful blogs on art to read if we only had time to enjoy them all.

I am so very grateful for being given this award and wanted to share my news as soon as possible but this week has been incredibly busy. Busier than usual but I will share why in another blog post.

For now I wish to thank everyone involved with selecting my blog for this award and I hope I don't let you down by not sharing as many fascinating posts as possible from here in!

Here is a link to the other winners, all wonderful and worth checking out!



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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Working with tissue and watercolour : Sunflowers

 Sunflower created with watercolour and tissue for texture effects.
Work in Progress.

Goodness, I was surprised at how popular my use of tissue paper would be. I had shared my recent work using this technique on my Facebook and Twitter pages as well as on my blog and the questions kept rolling in on how I work this way. Well the funny thing is I started working with tissue paper and watercolour when I lived in Dubai. Years ago. There I worked in watercolour, oil, pastel and mixed media. Often in the mixed media sessions I would use sweet paper or anything at hand to create textural effects and I had all but stopped working with these really old techniques. Until now that is. As I mentioned in my last blog post, this technique isn't new. It has been around for donkeys years. But perhaps when we have painted for such a long time(  as I have ) we tend to assume that everyone has heard of the techniques you pushed to one side many moons ago.


The reason I revived this technique to share was because an artist was desperately struggling to gain an effect they had seen and they just couldn't get the same results. I suggested they tried using tissue paper as the art effect they were looking at just didn't seem possible to achieve without it. Even though its' use had been omitted in the "how to" step by step instructions. We all have to bear in mind that not all artists share every single tip or detail about the results they gain. In fact, I'm always amazed at how secretive some artists can be. I do understand to be honest, if you have developed a fabulous style that you wish to show solely in galleries rather than teach.  I do completely understand in that situation. I find artists on my courses want to know everything I use and I freely share all my "unsecret" secrets.


But, back to the tissue. To answer a few questions. I do not use glue at all when working this way. I simply tear pieces of tissue and apply them on a painting where I feel the texture could be improved in the finished piece. Maybe sometimes one tiny piece of tissue could be enough. Over use of tissue paper can make your work look more like a collage than an actual watercolour painting. Once in place I soak the paper literally with colour of my choice. In the sunflower below you will see Cadmium Yellow strongly applied but in the creases of the tissue I have added Quinachridone Gold to enhance the yellow shades. 

Remember : Yellow on top of yellow gives you yellow! So be bold with additional colour choices and applications.



Sunflower on my easel using tissue paper to create textural effects.
Work in progress

Let the painting dry and then continue painting on top of it as normal. Use the patterns created by the tissue to form part of your subject. In this case the sunflower petals. And I have really scrunched up tissue for the centre of the flower to give a fascinating focal point. 

Experimenting is fun. Learning new and revisiting old techniques is fun also. So give yourself permission to play and who knows where your results will lead you . Hopefully to stunningly gorgeous paintings that are unusual an beautiful.

As I mention to everyone in my classes. I never keep secrets about how I paint. I enjoy sharing the way I work far too much. Life is so much better this way and I always think others could use my ideas and come up with something even more fascinating. So there you go!

By the way this is acid free wrapping tissue paper I am using, not the kind you dry your tears with! 

Have fun!

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Monday, June 4, 2018

I'm back! Watercolour and Tissue Paper

 Texture Effects on Watercolour Wash


Hello!

I am finally back on my blog after what seems like ages yet again. Firstly I was so busy and also recovering from a few health blips. I am delighted to share the news that I feel so much better thanks to two very wonderful specialists, each treating different problems. I am so happy and very much more energised which could be a problem as I already had so much energy before! 

Last week I had workshops in UK which saw artists attending from all over the world including France and Australia. We had such a wonderful time and an almost party atmosphere crept into the teaching room at times. The enthusiasm each day was tremendous and I left last week desperate to get to my studio to experiment with new ideas and oh boy have I experimented!

The wash above and below have been developed using various techniques which will be shared in my next new book. Oh yes, there is another Jean Haines book on the go and its' gorgeous! But I know you will want to know how I created the texture effects in these pieces so I will tell you now, it is not by using cling film but tissue instead. Tissue paper creates beautiful patterns and allows colours to bleed more easily.

Yes there is Cascade Green, desperate to be seen at the top of the above wash against Cadmium Yellow. An opaque shade that is lost behind the very strong use of Phtalo Blue.

Below you can see a close up of the same painting.

The reason for my sharing this technique which has been around for donkeys years is that an artist on my courses last week told me they were struggling getting certain effects. They had been told you could achieve them with cling film. You can get great patterns with cling film especially if you apply it carefully to create deliberate pattern effects. But tissue paper can be crumpled far more easily. What the artist was asking was how to gain this efect which is far softer. You can paint over the tissue paper to form lines and gorgeous patterns. As seen in these two fun experimental images.



Close up of  texture effect gained by using tissue paper.

  These paintings were purely created for fun with no subject in mind. I will use this as a background for a landscape painting possibly. But next I will paint pieces using the same technique with subjects in mind and see where that leads me.

I am off to a great start to the week ahead.

I hope you are too!

Stay inspired and keep trying new techniques.


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Thursday, May 31, 2018

How to Restart Your Writing Practice: A Few Ground Rules

Are you looking for a reset after a long year of teaching? Are you struggling to get back into your writing for the summer?

Many academics are mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted at the end of the academic year. So, the first step is to intentionally take some days off. At a minimum, take the weekend off. And, make sure you have some summer vacation planned, as you will need a real break. I plan a two-week vacation with absolutely no work every year. This year, after my writing retreat, I will spend that vacation in Peru! I hope you are also planning a vacation for yourself this summer.


Once you are ready to get back to work, one strategy that might work for you is to set some ground rules for yourself to get back into your writing practice. I set ground rules for myself and adjust them according to the season. I find they are helpful to keep me on track with my writing.

Here are some examples of ground rules for getting your writing done:


  1. No social media before noon on writing days.
  2. Don�t check email until writing is complete.
  3. Complete two hours of writing before doing any other work or household tasks.
  4. Take the weekend completely off.
  5. Get some exercise 3 days a week.
  6. Spend at least one afternoon a week enjoying nature.
  7. Read fiction at least 30 minutes a day.

You may notice that only one of these sample ground rules is actually about writing. The first two are about what not to do before you write and the last four are about self-care. That is because, in order to ensure you write every day, you also need to take steps to avoid distraction as well as take time to refresh. And, summer is a great time to get back into fiction reading. (I am currently reading The Ministry of Utmost Happiness - what's on your list?)

What do you think would be good ground rules for you? What do you need to do to keep up your writing practice this summer?

If you want to be a super-nerd about this, you can do what I do, which is to create an Excel spreadsheet with your ground rules and give yourself a gold star for each week that you meet all of them.

Also, keep in mind that it is perfectly fine - even recommended - to change your pace of work during the summer. I talk a bit more about "summer hours" in this post.

I wish you a productive and relaxing summer � at least for those of you in parts of the world where it is summertime!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Painting FROM the bin : Those scraps of coloured paper!

"Cherry Blossom"
Created on painted paper found in my bin. 

Do you throw away paintings that you don't like, or crop paintings you do like and end up with small pieces of paper that are covered in colour. Pieces that look deliciously tempting to paint on and seem far too good to throw away but are not good enough to frame?

I love those pieces. I learn so much from them because there is never any pressure to achieve anything because they were thrown away anyway. They are worthless in their own right so you have nothing to lose by experimenting or overworking on top of them by adding further layers or details.

I found a gorgeous square piece of paper with colour on in my bin. It was so dark that I had no option but to paint on top with white gouache to achieve some light areas.  I applied colour by following the line that was already there to apply a few blossoms. The pink background  gave my new freshly added white flowers the illusion of being pink not white. With my rigger brush I added a few centres and branches and the result are seen above.

Now here I must confess this piece will go straight back in the bin as I don't feel it is frame able. But I will now start a new composition keeping some sections of paper white using my original colours as the background option. This little "play break" led me to some great ideas for new work.

This was so much fun. All by delving into my studio bin and seeing what was there as coloured paper to play on.

So before you throw your trash out, check if you can play on top of any of the scraps of paper in your own bin.

You may just surprise yourself!

Have fun painting !


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A Simple Breeze : Hospitals and Grey Hairs!

" A Summers Breeze"
Work inspired by my new book "Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour"

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"Where are you?"

"Are you okay? "

I have received so many wonderful emails asking why my blog is quiet and asking if I am okay. I could lie, tell a fib and pretend everything has been fine but truthfully it hasn't been. But thankfully I am much better now and with specialists help we seem to be getting to what has been causing the extreme pain I have been in recently. In fact I am now pain free and I have more energy than ever before which is frightening. In fact so frightening that I ended up in hospital this week and I haven't told anyone other than close family.

What happened?

Well I have been gardening as relaxing therapy in between painting. But I must have been over enthusiastic on Tuesday. Maybe I should describe my idea of gardening. It isn't just pottering around weeding. Its' digging. Moving plants if necessary. Moving large pots if necessary. And we have a huge garden. In it is a pond and the borders around it had become overgrown so I decided to empty them. On my own. Digging up well embedded roots  and moving stones. During my over zealous activity I started to feel "odd"and mentioned it to John who luckily was at home at the time. I checked my pulse and my heart beat was racing, 180 bpm.  John checked and took my blood pressure which was really low and insisted I rang the doctor immediately who given the figures insisted I went straight to hospital. Confession, I wasn't feeling realy great at this point. Two ECGs later and I will be wearing a heart monitor for a while to find out whats' going on. I have been told to call an ambulance should it ever happen again. Serious advise. When asked by the hospital team how long I had been gardening for I had to admit seven hours non stop apart from drinking water.  Thats' quite a lot when it was all continual strenuous work.  And my heart obviously wasn't happy!
I will behave now. 
She says with fingers uncrossed as its' hard to type with your fingers crossed. But I am smiling! You see , when I am painting or teaching I stay out of trouble health wise. But when I have time to myself I tend to go nuts and over do things. 
So the moral of the story is I probably should teach more and avoid strenous digging etc!
( Joking aside, it wasn't funny and I know  the outcome could have been far more serious ) 


I feel fantastic today. And perhaps realise for heavy jobs in the garden I could get someone else in. Maybe that's a thought!

But back to painting. Oh boy I'm having so much fun. I wish I could share all that is going on in my studio. I'm so excited about the colours and techniques I'm working with. They are fabulous!

I'll add to my blog more often now and try to give a few tips on how to have fun and keep that element of experimenting high which often leads to gorgeously refreshing results.

By the way, the painting above was created from the woodland and meadow area of my cottage garden. This was filmed as a work in progress and there is a description on how to use gold pigment in your work in the chapter its' held in. 

Thank you so much for all your well wishes, they really did cheer me and make me realise how very lucky I am to have friends like you.

Did you miss me?

I am back!!!



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Monday, April 30, 2018

Out Of The Woods : Hospitals and Grey Hairs!

"Out Of The Woods"
Textural Work in Progress

Well heres' the thing. I hate admitting that I haven't been well but last week saw me in hospital. Before that I was really poorly and struggling but being me, I wouldn't admit it. I am having a health "blip" for want of a better way to describe it. It started when I was leaving USA on my recent tour. I wasn't well on the flight from Hawaii to Phoenix. In Phoenix we couldn't see or meet up with friends there as again I was so unwell that I had to rest before my flight home. I thought I would be fine once we returned to UK. And for a while I was. But then things went slightly haywire and after visiting our local doctor  I saw a consultant and then had two hospital visits. One being last week, which health wise was not the best of weeks but things are looking up. The big "C", that word that terrifies all of us has been ruled out. Biopsies have been taken just in case but my consultant is confident nothing nasty in that way will show up. Thank heavens. So in many ways I am " Out of the Woods" hence the title of the painting, a work in progress, seen above.

So many of our friends have Cancer. 
And it is a word I dread hearing. 

To be told "we need to eliminate "along with the worry that this is what could have been wrong gave me a few grey hairs. But that is the least of my worries.  In fact if all we ever had to worry about was grey hair our lives would be blessed.

I am seeing a specialist later today and I will be going back to the consultant. But soon hopefully we will know what is wrong, causing my health hiccup and how to deal with it.

But the best news is, I feel much better and I am back in my studio painting and looking forward to now being able to focus on my art, garden and family again. For a while I was out of sorts. I'm feeling much better now, the sky is looking sunnier and my paintings should be far brighter!

Like life!

In fact, I now feel so much happier I will be painting up a storm again. In vibrant colours of course.


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To all my wonderful friends who have sent me such kind caring messages thank you so much. They meant the world to me.  No one likes being ill, no one likes having the worry of facing an illness you'd rather not deal with. But I have many friends who are going through so much, so to you I'm sending my love and prayers. There is light at the end of the tunnel they say. But sometimes the end of the tunnel has a habit of moving just when you get so close to it!

Hugs!

Jean

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Bluebell Woods 2018

"Bluebell Heaven"
Bluebell Woods 2018


As always time is flying and there is so much to do. Tomorrow I have a meeting with my publisher. Last week I delivered new work to the Wey Gallery in Godalming, Surrey, UK and they will be showing my latest paintings of bluebell woods. Inspired by the woodland near my home and the bluebells that grow in the woodland area of our garden.

Spring is a wonderful time to be inspired by nature. Colour at this time of year is so tempting as flowers begin to bloom and turn the previous dull hues of Winter into lively energetic beautiful scenes that seem to change daily.

In my new book "Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour" I describe how I paint bluebells.

This month though I discovered that using two shades in particular by Daniel Smith really added drama to the simple use of blues when painting dense carpets of flowers as those seen in my painting above. 


Small bluebell wood study

I used French Ultramarine but added Wisteria by Daniel Smith on top of the blue application. It gave me a slightly pinkish hue which looks violet in some lights and sections. It is a great combination and one I hadn't expected to use. But then painting is an activity that often leads to stunning happy accidents and surprises.

Now I am working on yet another new book which is really challenging and will need quite a bit of research to complete it. And this research will do me good!

For now I'm happily painting Spring flowers as the seasons change so quickly and if we blink we will miss the opportunity to capture as many in watercolour as we can while they are gloriously in bloom


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Monday, April 9, 2018

Spring Inspiration 2018; Tulips in Watercolour

 Tulips in a glass vase
Work in Progress

This has to be the very best time of year to be inspired. Everywhere I  turn I see new subjects to paint and I spend my evenings imagining how I will paint them when I get to my studio the next day. Spring is a time for looking forward. I feel energised and motivated especially as I was teaching watercolour workshops in UK last week. Thank you so much to everyone who not only came but added to the fabulous warn atmosphere in each session. I left on a high each day too and I know from reading emails about my classes that they were really well received and enjoyed. I do love teaching and sharing my passion for painting so much but each time I do hold a workshop I can't wait to paint myself.


So here the start to this weeks painting. I have a collection of Spring flower paintings on my easel at the moment. My wonderful husband bought me some tulips this weekend and they are to die for. Their colours are beautifully glowing and the sheen on the petals is fascinating me. Silky , shining blooms.


I started creating my first painting of tulips this year with a gorgeous first wash. It was so beautiful and fresh that I couldn't resist painting another straight away. There was magic in the first spontaneous wash. This one can be seen on the upper right corner of my easel in the photograph below. The next larger first wash seen on the left of  my easel below was better planned, in that I knew where I would be placing my flowers. I painted each individual bloom in this wash differently as I thought about the arrangement more. But to be completely honest, I actually like the freedom in my less planned wash far more. Which is often the case. I do believe we can over think a painting at times, killing the  sense of fluidity and freedom that can occur when pigments simply interact alone minus our help. At the foot of my easel in the image below  you can see a small study of tulips. This piece I quickly did on a scrap of paper to consider where I would add detail to my lovely two bigger washes. This I did as a warm up to completing them. You will be able to see more about this creative form of journey in my new book about painting flowers which will be out later this year.


 Two first washes of tulip arrangements and a small completed study of the same flowers.

 I can't stop painting flowers at the moment which my easel photograph below hints at!

 Spring flower paintings adorning my studio easel

I love the physical creative process as much as the finished paintings. So much so that I am in no rush to complete these pieces. I may even start a third wash before moving on to adding final details. Its' the joy I feel when moving my brushes that is so important to me. And this morning my heart is full of joy.  Even more so because I am falling in love again with techniques covered in my new book which is due out in June. 

"Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour" , my new book and the journey in writing it, has given me the boost I needed to spring into life with my latest work. I'm so excited and eager to paint so I will close my blog post for now. But whatever you are doing this week I do hope you find time to paint. Nothing stimulates the artist soul better than watching colours flow. 
So get out and find your own inspiration to keep your brushes moving.

Happy Painting!


First wash, early stage of my tulip painting.
And I love it at this point!


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