Friday, 22 September 2017

Going Nuts!

 "Going Nuts"

I am now working for two Christmas Exhibitions. I do find it really fascinating that I tend to think I am on top of things and then another project leaps at me. When this happens the sensible side of my brain screams at me to say "no". But my heart yells say "yes" and before I know it another project has been taken on!

Actually this time I am over the moon because my recent solo exhibition was so successful with sales that I have received requests from other galleries who now want specific subjects from me for their galleries too.

I leave soon for my USA tour so I am preparing for that, as well as proof reading my new book before it goes to my publisher for its' final stages. It is a long way off being published but it is getting there. And it looks so wonderful that I'm very excited about it.

So with so much to do in my studio you would think my focus would be on the things I desperately need to do. But no. Outside my studio I can see the bird feeder in our garden and birds are flocking to it.  The cheeky little blue tits love the peanuts hanging there and their antics make me smile non stop. We also have a visiting blue tit that sits on the outside door handle to our living room attacking its reflection in the glass every day. Tap,tap,tap  is the sound its tiny beak makes every morning and afternoon. It flies up and down the full length of the glass so I get plenty of opportunities to photograph it and paint from my own images.

This little bird looks as though it is going nuts with the bird it thinks it can see. An image of itself.

And so my painting this afternoon is titled

"Going Nuts"

And I think I enjoyed painting the peanuts as much as the birds themselves!


"Going Nuts"
Blue tits feeding on a string of peanuts in our cottage garden.


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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Christmas Exhibition at The Frame Gallery 2017

"If I had Wings to Fly"

Following the success of my recent solo exhibition at the Frame Gallery I am delighted to have been invited to show in their fabulous Christmas small painting exhibition. Other artists include Pip McGarry, well known for his stunning wildlife paintings.

You heard it here first as the dates have only just been announced. 
My new work will be on show.

Details:-

Christmas Exhibition  2017
The Frame Gallery
81 High Street
Odiham
Hampshire
UK 
RG29 1LB
2nd - 9th December 2017
 Private View Strictly by invitation only.
Friday 1st December from 5.30pm to 8.30pm. 
 Please contact the gallery to request  to be placed on the invitation list.



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Charlfred Fine Art Exhibition 2017 , St Johns Wood, London

 "Famous Winner"

I am delighted to have been invited to exhibit in the following exhibition taking place in London next month.

Charlfred Fine Art Exhibition, 
St Johns Wood High Street, 
London 
UK
NW8 7SH

Saturday 7th October - Sunday 15th October 2017
Opening times Mon-Sat 9.00a.m - 6.30 p.m
Sunday 10.00 a.m -6.00 p.m. 


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Monday, 18 September 2017

Figures in Watercolour

 "Friends"

I find it amazing that I was recognised as one of the figures in my earlier street scene blog post from Florence, shared today. I used to paint figures all the time but then they lost their magic for me as other new favourite subjects took over. But when I painted them as a break from my scheduled painting week I found I had fallen in love with them. All over again.

I started painting figures when I lived in Dubai. I loved the markets and souks there so much and often wandered around with my camera collecting images to paint. Market scenes became my best selling work in exhibitions at that time along with portraits. But I later moved to France and continued with my market theme in watercolour there. Of course the clothing was different. Gone was the dish dash and in came Western clothing.

I still don't sketch before I paint when working on figures. I find my starting point. In this case one head shape, and I added the other heads in a row. Like paint blobs but with character!


 Paint blob heads in a row

Next I begin to add clothing. I look at the leg positions for the men in my painting as this will guide my brushwork on where to add colour. This group of friends are walking close together and I want to show that they like each other by connecting them with colour. As they are in bright sunlight I will leave a lot of paper white.

Adding clothing to the head blobs of colour is the next step.

Once I am very happy with the composition and proportions I strengthen colour in places and add details . From here I can add sunglasses, hats, a background or foreground. The choice is mine and I will have so much fun deciding. I just thought this could be a fun blog post as it is such an interesting way to work.


 Detail begins to be added to my figure painting.

My best tip for painting figures in watercolour is to sit in a busy shopping centre, market or airport even. Observe  and  sketch shapes. then try painting what you have seen with simple blobs of colour.

Be warned, this is addictive as a hobby! 

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Standing Out from the Crowd

 "Just Shopping"

I face another week working in my studio, painting outside when I can, and catching up on my new book which is looking so wonderful. I'm also looking forward to my USA and Canada workshops which commence next month. Already behind the scenes preparation is in hand, My paper and brushes will be sent over in advance and any samples I wish to use in my classes which isn't always possible but I love it when it does.

I remember my Stepmother telling me that time feels as though it slows down when you get older. I'm obviously not old enough yet as time seems to be flying by and speeding up as it does so for me. I pack so much into my days and love each one because I never know exactly what is going to happen. But I did feel like a break yesterday. And to everyone else that might be taken as having a break from painting. But for me painting is my escape, my relaxation. my therapy and yoga all rolled into one. And so I chose a completely different subject to paint so that my brain had a good work out on what to put where and why in this city scene of shoppers.

My resource photo is my own. I always prefer to paint from  my own images, things I have seen and fallen in love with. This particular shot almost gave everyone in the crowd halos as they were bathed in strong sunlight. The scene was in Florence and I loved my time there.





I started by painting the three main shoppers in the foreground, I then added the crowd disappearing into the distance behind them. And finally I added the buildings. Everyone on my recent workshops will know exactly how I painted the buildings, not with my brush, but with my watercolour paper.

This was great fun. The piece feels a little tight as I haven't painted a street scene of figures for quite some time which is why I chose this as a subject. We have to realise that if we paint the same subject repeatedly in the same style we are, in a way, standing still with our art. Even we feel more comfortable painting what we know, we are not allowing our inner artist to stretch their talent to  reach our full potential.

So my artist tips for  today are:-

1) Every now and then choose a subject you don't normally paint 
2) Every now and then, make yourself paint something you feel you will be a disaster at!
3) Then explore how your new painting works or does not work

Afterwards, go back to painting what you like painting. It should now seem easier to create, be more enjoyable and perahps more fun.

Do keep pushing yourself because that way your artistic skills will consistently improve and you will become a more talented artist.

Have a great week ahead and happy painting

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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Dream Catcher Dreams

" Essence of a Dreamcatcher"

This certainly isn't a painting I would dream of selling but it is a very strange how this piece came about this morning. 

I started my day by painting a few new washes. These pieces are for me to experiment with colour, relax through and hopefully discover new ideas for future work. This morning on one wash a spider web seemed to appear. So I aided it with a few brush strokes. As seen below. But where the colour had bled and merged beneath the web I could see a feather effect. Immediately I thought about Native American Dream Catchers.


Spider web or Dream catcher.

The next thing I knew I had left my painting completely and I was reading up about these wonderful items. Said to allow good dreams to pass through but trap bad dreams in the webbing. I love the idea that negativity could be entrapped if a dream catcher was placed near your bed whilst you were sleeping. In fact I love the history behind them completely.

I added to the wash making bolder marks on the feathers below. But I have left the web quite quiet, so it will be easier to trap anything negative in it. Bad dreams or negative thoughts.




What a very odd painting day but so rewarding learning about something, a tradition so ancient and so magical.

I know I want to learn more now.


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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Blackberries and Rosehips 2017




 
 Autumn Hedgerow

 Today has been the best painting day for such a long time. I have painted from my heart ,whatever subject I felt like and when I felt like it. No pressure from preparing for exhibitions. No pressure form having to write magazine features or my new book.

Just fun.

So you could say today was my day off and I could paint whatever I liked and oh boy, I did!

I started the day with washes, then painted the soft rose I shared on my blog earlier. But it was the simplicity of the last blog post that really turned on my artistic "buttons".I loved creating it so immediately grabbed my uncompleted blackberry paintings and added to them. Putting in more branches and an overall wash to give the feeling of another dimension to each piece. I should add that I now paint with my fingers so much and I am literally covered in paint at the moment but I feel great.

My easel looks like the image below and I will walk into my studio tomorrow and love seeing these two works in progress.
 

 
 Autumnal hedgerow complete with blackberries and rose hips.

My favourite painting is the one below as it has a gorgeous 3D effect. The upper berries seem to be leaping off the paper which is terrific. I love it so far. In fact it might be finished but I am in that painting zone where I am so happy that I don't want to leave either of the paintings.

"Hips and Berries"

The painting below has drama. It is exciting and so vibrant in colour. I am using many Daniel Smith shades with a few new techniques in building up colour that I have loved discovering over the summer months whilst I have worked diligently on my new book.


 "Autumn Drama"

I now cannot wait to see what tomorrow will bring in my next painting session.

Who knows?

Not me!

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Artists tip for the weekend?

1) Get out. 
2) Go for a walk. Not only will the exercise do you good but you will discover so much new inspiration that you can bring back to paint at your leisure. 
3)Look for treasure in subjects to paint that will be really fantastic to work on. 
4)Remember not all paintings have to be complicated. Some of the simplest paintings are the best.

Have fun and happy painting

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End of Summer

"End of Summer"

The sun is  shining outside my studio and I had started working on a new sea horse painting. But I kept looking at the light behind the trees in our garden. In the afternoon the soft sunlight gives a diffused effect which is so beautiful. Right by my studio I have an Acer which carries gorgeous dark leaves and the sunlit background is really showing them off. But the light alone kept catching my eye. So much so that the tree became irrelevant.

I painted the light in the distance and then added branches and twigs on top. I worked quickly and freely but I kept looking at the scene in front of me while I painted. For inspiration and guidance on where to place my brushwork next.

There is one branch that I have meant t remove. I walk past it daily, see it hanging down and always think next time I walk past I will carry my pruning shears and cut off the offending branch.

But isn't it funny. 

When I painted that branch hanging down it added to what could have been a boring composition. Adding interest and a lovely foreground "dark" to the soft branches in the distance.

I now of course love that branch. Its' artistic.

I won't remove it.

I may even paint it again.

How great to unwind on a simple but large painting that made me feel so relaxed when it came to life on my easel.

The simplest things in life can be the most beautiful of all.

Who knew a broken branch could be so fascinating. It even has its' own blog post now!

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A Gentle Soul

 Rose coming to life in watercolour
Minus a preliminary sketch

On every workshop I am asked to demonstrate how I paint roses. They are indeed a favourite subject of mine. This morning I picked one from my garden and began to paint it.While I did so words from my Chinese mentor came flooding back to me. They told me a good artist can only paint what is in their soul. They believed that you should never try to be someone you aren't with your art. They advised that you should not only be true to your own soul as an artist but you should also allow who you are to shine in your art. They urged me to delve deep within myself each time I picked up a brush to encourage my spirit to flow into my work.

I remember them telling me that I had a gentle soul and that no matter how hard I tried in my art journey I would always  return to who I truly am.

A soft, gentle soul.

So maybe that is why no matter how often I experiment, every now and then I want to paint quietly, softly and gently encouraging subjects to emerge via my soft brushstrokes and gentle use of colour .

As in this rose painting.

I started by selecting gorgeous colours from my Daniel Smith collection of shades.


 Opera Rose, Quinachridone Lilac and Rose Madder Permanent created this soft bloom

I used Cadmium Yellow for the centre but I varied the pinks in the petals.  I think we often look at a pink flower and only see pink. When in truth many shades of pink are right before our eyes. Maybe the best gift an artist possess's is the ability to see. Only by constant observation can we create great replicas of what nature has to offer in beauty.


 Further detail added

Summer is coming to an end here in UK and if I want to paint flowers I need to do so quickly before they all disappear.

There is no time better for painting than right now.

And so I am off to paint!


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Friday, 15 September 2017

A Dragons Charm: Seahorse in Watercolour

 "A Dragons Charm"

I am staying with my seahorse theme and series this week. This is the latest to my collection. Having fallen in love with the subject  my imagination is now stirred by the possibility of background changes.

In this new almost Celtic composition there are  wonderful patterns and effects behind the subject that make the painting more interesting. I say Celtic because this seems quite Irish, although I don't really connect sea horses with Ireland. It is simply the green that makes me think of St Patricks' Day!

I loved playing with coral in the foreground, as seen in the close up section image below.


Coral , adding interest in my sea scene.

Behind the seahorse, circular shapes had formed in my initial wash. These have now turned delightfully into bubbles or sea spray. With a little encouragement from me as the creating artist of course. These can be seen below



Sea "Bubbles" formed from an interesting first wash.

These patterns and effects are so much fun to create but most of the ideas in these washes are from my book "Paint Yourself Calm", that placed the focus on colour and washes to relax whilst painting. This way of working is truly exciting as you never quite know exactly what is going to happen. For example, I am painting a similar idea of a seahorse in each new painting and yet my results so far have been completely different. Because I am being led by colour, not direct thinking ahead of a new piece or from planning it . I am working freely. And this helps my creative time pass so magically. Full of fascinating outcomes.

I am reading up about sea horses now and there is so much folklore attached to them. They hang on with their tails against the currents. Tiny, delicate but so strong. They are said to be a sign to help you through emotional stress or turmoil.

But to me they are dragons. 
Charms that carry good luck. 
Lets' hope my new Celtic one carries a lot for all who see it!

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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Paint Yourself Calm: Things can only get better.

 Sea Wash, foundation for a new sea horse painting

I do believe that things can always only get better. But you sometimes have to take that first step into making them.  For me, yesterdays painting session was so magical that I was eager to race to my studio this morning. However I had an appointment which would keep me away from painting anything too seriously. I come across this obstacle on my workshops so often when attending artists tell me that they are often so busy they have no time to paint at all from one week to the next. Well I get so busy too but I always find time  to paint three experimental washes each day and they do get better each time I pick up my brushes.

For example, look at the lively wash above. It is full of intriguing textural patterns. The brownish dots you see have been created by my application of Himalayan salt. I like the patterns this salt gives me but not always the marks it leaves. Here however I want to create a feeling of coral under the sea so they work well.

Below you can see a wash that has been created using normal rock salt. No brown marks here, just pretty patterns which are very efffective.



 Salt wash

But I love my simple "positive flow" technique washes as those seen below. Here colour alone does all the talking as it merges with water and forms gorgeous shapes for an exciting new composition.

 Healing Flow Wash


 Are all these washes going to be sea horse paintings? I don't know yet! But practise makes perfect and I am aiming for the most unusual wash result before I begin adding any subject. 

If you are interested in creating lovely washes and how they can relax you please read my book "Paint Yourself Calm". It goes through very simple colour exercises that can lead to the most wonderful paintings and at the same time have you relaxing while you paint. Below is an image from the book.


 Wash from my book "Paint Yourself Calm"


"Paint Yourself Calm"
Available from Amazon.com and leading art stores. 

How wonderful to be able to switch off from the world via colour and a brush!

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Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Kissed by a Dragon : Seahorse in Watercolour

"Kissed By A Dragon"
(Work in progress )

When I fall in love, I really fall in love.  And I have totally fallen in love with sea horses hence my second painting of one today. As soon as I completed my first painting,, shown in my last blog post,  in my mind I saw the second. It was golden in colour , not blue. It was vibrant surrounded by gorgeous sea effects.  And the above is what I have just painted from my heart. I will add a little more to this as the sea horse tail needs just a little more definition.

Each painting I create is  a new adventure that always without fail leads me to my next adventure. I also love painting magical subjects and  these miniature dragons, as I call them, are  definitely magical.

If you read my last blog post you will have known I loved imagining dragons existed as a child. I lived near a castle that I could wander around. It was surrounded by beautiful woodland where I would pick primroses each year. I walked my first dog there too. I loved it. It was the kind of castle where a knight in shining armour could rescue a damsel in distress. A story book place where imaginations could run riot if they were allowed to.

I think when I first fell in love with painting humming birds, some time ago, I felt something incredible happen to not just my art but to me as well.  The same thing is happening again. Something, I cannot put my finger on it, but something is happening that involves change. 

Perhaps' its time to move on or let go of something as in old techniques and leap into the new completely.

Whatever it is, it is exciting!

Apparently a sea horse has a spiritual meaning.Perhaps the sea horse subject has come into my life for a purpose. To guide me in some way. 
Or perhaps my imagination is working over time again! 

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Kissing the Dragon : Seahorse in Watercolour

 "Kissing the Dragon"
Seahorse in watercolour

I am from Wales and I grew up believing in dragons. Fierce, magical creatures that could protect or harm you. Depending on whether they were good dragons or not. Of course you wouldn't know if a dragon was friendly or not until it was too late but for some unknown reason I always imagined kissing one as a child. Perhaps years later, having seen so many animated films of dragons my imagination sees dragons nowadays as cute monsters rather than scary beasts. But I had always thought dragons would be rather magnificent if ever I really saw one.

And so over the years whenever I have been fortunate enough to see a sea horse I have thought of them as dragons in miniature form. I am putting together a fabulous programme for my future workshops where colour does so much for a subject and composition. This new painting was fantastic to work on and my recent experimental techniques have really come to play in the piece.



 Close up of a dragon

To be completely honest I didn't know I was going to paint a dragon today. I played with my daily warm up washes and in one saw a seahorse and here it is. I rather like it and this could be the beginning of an exciting new series of paintings. Who knows. Perhaps there was magic to be found in "kissing the dragon" as I feel magic happening right now in this piece. I think it is a lucky painting in that it is one that has touched my soul in a rather unusual way. I feel exhilarated simply from painting it while thinking of the folklore I heard as a child and realising that many folk stories relate to life. A dragon could represent a person. People can be ogres or not but perhaps it is wiser to stay clear of the ferocious ones. As in negative attitudes. I warm to happy people who make you feel great.

But this type of dragon is welcome in my studio anytime!



A dragon at play!


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Please note: experimental work requires good quality watercolour paper for it to be successful. Which is why I use Saunders Waterford paper. It allows me to have so much fun with my art!

Monday, 11 September 2017

I Can't! : Yellow Roses

  Yellow Roses from my cottage garden.

I can't! I'm not ready! Don't make me!

I can't let go of Summer and neither can the roses in my garden that are flowering furiously now that the warmer days are coming to an end. I have pink, red, white and yellow roses all in bloom and I feel I must paint them before its' too late. Winter is fast approaching, cooler nights are here and the scenery will soon be very different in my cottage garden. 

I am absolutely loving painting these blooms because their heady perfume is now filling my art studio. I picked a few to paint and have been admiring their beauty all afternoon. They open to beautifully interesting centres. They start out as bright yellow buds and the central petals seem to stay quite deep in colour. But as the  flower opens gradually the outer petals seem to lose their vibrancy. These become almost transparent.

My favourite in the "bunch" of my painting is seen below.


 Yellow Rose, close up.


To paint anything as a subject we first have to sit and study it learning about its' shape, colour and form which is what I have written about in my new book. So today I listened to my own teachings. I sat and looked, I learnt doing so and I aimed to capture what I felt inside when I created this piece. It isn't complete yet as I will add more detail and information before I can honestly say my work is done. Below you can see the roses minus the centre detail and extra stems supporting the flowers.



Yellow roses as a work in progress.

I have so many people tell me that they think they would never be able to paint well. That isn't true. We can all do anything we wish to do if we try hard enough or have true determination to succeed. Practise and a willing spirit will help you become any level of artist you wish to be.

But for me?

I feel each time I pick up my brush I learn something new and I never want to feel any different!

The roses are beckoning me. I need to work on them further!

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Final note. I always think of the song " Yellow Rose of Texas" when I paint yellow roses and oddly enough I have just had a request to hold workshops there in the future. So I may be returning to Texas in 2019. How neat is that!

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Yikes! Its' Autumn

 "Autumnal Glow"

What better time than Autumn to get out your gold, red and orange pigments. And I am falling back in love with the Cadmium colours that tend to take over a painting if you allow them too. They are strong, push other translucent shades out of the way but, oh wow ,do they add impact to a subject that requires drama. 

Above you see Cadmium Orange come into play but it looks far stronger as it is working with Cadmium Yellow, teamwork is  stunning between the two bold pigments, both sat on top of Opera Pink by Daniel Smith. You will find Perylene Red here too and Amethyst Genuine as seen in the larger berry painting on my easel below.



 An easel full of Autumn delight!

You are not going to get the exact results I am gaining unless you press real berries onto your paper to stain it first. A trick I loved discovering some time back from my countryside rambles with my beloved dogs. If you look at the photograph of  my easel above you will see two dog collars on the top of it. I cannot bear to part with them so I keep them near me always. My dogs were always in my studio by my side, waiting for me to put my brushes down and go for a walk to gather new treasure to paint. So this new collection is in honour of my four legged friends who brought so much love and warmth to my life. They enriched it. They made my heart glow so my new paintings need to glow too.

 By the way, I have tried wearing gloves when applying berry stains to my work but I hate wearing them. So I end up with very stained hands! But as I love the results so much I keep having fun, like a child that knows perhaps they shouldn't do something really but just can't stop themselves!


Berry staining adds to the freshness, interest and colour of my work

How I love Autumn! 
And I cannot wait for my next workshops as I have so much new too share.

Have a great week ahead!

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Watercolour Workshops 2018

UK 
SOLD OUT, wait list open

USA Spring Tour
Florida Fort Lauderdale and Sarasota SOLD OUT 
New Orleans, new workshop open with places available
Hawaii. Places available at the moment. 

USA Autumn Tour
Seattle Places Available
 Washington  Kennewick SOLD OUT
Florida  Bradenton Places Available 

Please contact me as soon as possible to be put on wait lists or in touch with the hosts of my USA workshops. 

jeanhaines@hotmail.com 

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Sunday, 10 September 2017

Vintage Flow : Learning from my new book



 "Vintage Flow"

I woke early to bird song and sunshine. The urge to race to my studio was too hard to resist so here I worked in silence while the world slept and it was heaven. In this "bubble" of  my own private world there is no politics, no hurricanes, no disasters, in fact no negatives in life at all. In my world there is only happiness and peace. Calm found in my soul via painting. Which is why I wrote my last book "Paint Yourself Calm" . I have needed to heed the words in my own book this year, as there have been times when tears have fallen through a problem that is completely out of my control. And I feel for anyone going through such agony. But such is life. No one, not even me has the completely perfect life. 

But this morning I raced to my studio and here was heaven waiting for me. I looked at my easel and the work there. Horse racing scenes full of excitement were removed from where they had been placed and moved to a floor space. Once my easel was bare I just stood and thought about what colour I felt like painting. Not subject. Just colour.

I have been working on my new book and as I looked through the paintings to be included in it , I thought about a piece that had daffodils flowing through the composition. In my heart that painting sang so sweetly and I returned to it with a sense of inner excitement. I felt a thrill run through me as I made changes to what was already a lovely piece.

I felt connection, harmony and vibrancy as new colours were added to strengthen the sense of direction.


As I worked I looked at what was happening in front of my eyes and this painting gave me food for thought. There are sections left to the imagination. These imaginary flowers, seemingly fading into the distance represent lifes' problems . They need to be put into an area where they don't take over. Even if it is a temporary decision it is good to stand back from them. 


 Flowers , like problems fading into the distance.


 In a really good composition there is always an area for the main focal point. The place where in my eyes beauty shines. It is here that I place detail. Here that I place my main attention. Nothing else matters.  In life I think we need to think in the same way. Look for the beauty in life and  try to avoid negativity. Not so easy in some situations that are out of our control. But whatever is happening, we always need to focus on what is good around us. I love the saying when a tragedy happens
"Look for the helpers"
And there are always helpers. Good people who go out of their way to help others who are in need.


 Positive Energy, where beauty of what is important is shining. The focal point and area within the composition.

 I worked quietly on this piece then stopped to place it on my easel. I will take my time adding tiny touches now and then all week until I feel this painting is complete. It isn't quite finished. Nothing that is truly beautiful ever is. Beauty awaits us each and every day if we have the eyes to see it and will to look for it.

You can see the whole painting as it is so far below.


Beautiful Flow

 But there is something very different about the way I am painting now. I will confess this art journey improved after my time teaching in New Orleans earlier this year. Above an art store that stocked so many products that were new to me. The place ignited my artists soul and I can't stop experimenting now. I am so thrilled to be returning next year as I want to keep this bubble of energy going. By the way you can join me there as an extra workshop had to be added due to the popularity of the location and courses. Just email me on jeanhaines@hotmail.com for details. 

But it isn't just the workshops. By writing my new book I have had to look at why I paint the way I do and consider what I want to improve in my style. I have pushed myself so hard. This morning everything just clicked and magic seemed to happen So much so that I want to share this new knowledge in my next publication so others who paint can enjoy their own journey too. Stretching themselves and loving creating in watercolour because it is a fabulous medium.

My life would be so very different without my art or ability to escape through it. 
To a place where nothing else but joy exists.


"Vintage Flow"


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My heart today reaches out to all my USA friends who may be hit by Hurricane Irma. My thoughts are constantly with you and I can't imagine having to leave my home. Know you are loved  and cared about , and I hope you all stay safe.

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Friday, 8 September 2017

May I be the first to say.............

Merry Christmas!

I am laughing because I know its very early but for many artists  it is time to start thinking about painting the dreaded " Christmas Card" !

I say dreaded because I always have to fit painting one in amongst so many other things going on in my busy life. But each year my wonderful friends look forward to seeing what I have painted for my annual greeting card. And I don't want to let them down.

In the past I have painted robins, landscapes, snowdrops as well as Father Christmas. In fact I have lost count of the number of Christmas snow scenes I have painted. 

But today my hands are covered in vibrant shades so I couldn't resist closing my studio session with an energetic poinsettia in watercolour, bursting with life and drama.

I love it.

Will it be my 2017 Christmas card?

I don't know but there is time to think about it. A little time anyway.

But I wonder if I was the first to wish you Merry Christmas!
 ( I am laughing again )

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Building Up Speed


"Thrilling Win"
New horse racing scene coming to life in watercolour

What a week. Footfall to my solo exhibition has been wonderful as have sales.  I have been frantically working on my new book hoping to complete it before I leave for my USA Fall tour.  I have written features which meant deadlines needed to be met.

And I am happily working on new pieces, and thinking about my next show which will be in London. I will share details as soon as possible but for now, knowing so much has to be done, painting and writing needs to be my priority.

Even so I found this new watercolour really  thrilling to work on.  The strength in the colour, sense of action and feeling of " the win" is undeniable.

I will admit again that I get worn out painting these scenes. I'm not just creating a painting. I am actually riding the winning horse! 

Oh yes, always the winning horse, the view seems much better from out front!



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Tumbling Blackberries: Gallery Awareness

"Blackberry Tumble"

I love Autumn. The seasons changing bring whole new ideas for my work and I am very excited at the thought of delving into the more golden shades on my palette.  But for my blog post today I thought I would share an experience from this week that has given me food for thought. Regarding galleries and how they represent their artists.

I am very lucky in that I am represented by fabulous galleries, run by extremely professional and enthusiastic owners who love my work and showcase it well. Which in turn leads to sales. I support them by forwarding clients who wish to buy my art. As my work is physically in their gallery. If it is a painting someone has seen on my web site and it is still available I also put the prospective buyer in touch with a gallery. I don't handle sales personally. Even though it means losing part of the sale price to commission. I think this is worth it for the support, exposure and privilege of being on display throughout the year.

Recently I have been contacted by a number of galleries, new to me, who wish to represent me. But one really was fascinating in what was needed of me. Firstly a contract was forwarded which I would have had no problems signing. I think it is fair in business to know exactly what is expected of you as an artist and to know what support is being given from the gallery to you. 

From the glowing first email I thought I was dealing with a gallery who loved my work and wished to show it. The correspondence looked extremely professional and gained my attention. Initially. But things didn't seem right after a while. And from after a few questions being asked of the gallery, by me.

If I signed the contract I would be given a link to a web site and from there expected to upload my own art. Which would be for sale online. Alarm bells rang.

I notified the gallery immediately explaining I only work with galleries who physically show my work. Of course I am  over the moon for it to be on their web site as well because they physically represent me.

The gallery was very helpful.

Their response was that I could send a piece of my art, wrapped in cellophane,  to go in the gallery browser and then my work  would be physically in the gallery . Meaning my name could then be on their web site. As they would then be representing me. Alternatively I could have one painting in an upcoming exhibition they were holding. 

One.

So from the initial " We love your art" opening message it appears  actually, what was of more interest was my name being added to a long list of artists who are already represented by the gallery.  And I would be expected to upload images of work for sale on the gallery web site. An area of time I don't have as I find it difficult to constantly update my own web site on sales!


So basically,  I would upload my art on the gallery web site, pay for delivery of my art to the gallery if it has an interested buyer, then pay for the return of said painting if the buyer doesn't want the piece. And be on the gallery web site. Where as at the moment my work is physically on display in galleries and I don't handle sales, or delivery and collection to the buyer. I do however direct interested buyers to the galleries and they deal with the transaction from there.

I have declined the offer of being "represented" by said gallery.

But since talking to other artists it appears that many new " galleries"operate this way. They are small with little hanging space. Or non existant selling from a web site. By creating great web sites and having lots of art on them they gain sales with the artists basically doing all the work.

I might as well direct buyers of my art to my own web site or to galleries who have so much confidence in  my paintings that they wish to display them.

Perhaps this is a sign of the future as so many galleries are closing. Which brings me to my main point of not selling work privately. Unless as artists we support the "real" galleries they will eventually become extinct. Being taken over by non existent ones who do business without a buyer even having had the chance to see a real painting.

I wonder how many artists, especially new ones,  feel so excited to be  wanted or just to see their name on line on a "gallery" web site?

Not this one!

There is a risk also of not being wanted by a real gallery in a location because you are on so many web sites they feel you are already over represented.

I will stay with physically showing my art! 

And to any real galleries who may wish to represent me please get in touch. But only if you want my art physically on show. Then and only then would I promote you, support you and do everything within my power to help you sell my art!


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