Friday, 18 December 2015

Christmas Roses in Bloom 2015

Christmas Roses coming to life in watercolour 2015

Have you noticed how the blooms of Christmas Roses grow and face so many different directions? Their flower heads hang downwards, face upwards, sideways and hide behind other flowers. I wandered around my garden this morning and noticed a clump of these flowers were blooming beautifully in my cottage garden. Some of the flowers are brilliant white, some are a pale green, Others as they wilt and pass their best look almost ochre in colour.
I couldn't resist painting them so I have literally flooded a scrap of large old paper with colour just as a warm up and then searched to find a few blooms in the first wash, making negative edges bring each individual bloom to life.

I am having a ball and I am even forgetting I am getting over the flu!

Painting is so therapeutic. It can distract you from so much that is unpleasant in life and bring you renewed energy when you are tired if you work with great brushstrokes that are full of energy and life.

I loved letting go and painting for fun this afternoon.

And I am loving reading and sharing personal messages that have been sent to me by artists who have either read my books or attended my art demonstrations or workshops.

It is a magical Christmas season so far and I hope the magic continues!


Christmas Inspiration 2015 : Phil Anderson

 Original Watercolour By Phil Anderson
Christmas Inspiration 2015. 
Phil has kindly given me his permission to share both his painting 
and his really wonderful message to me.
I have always believed there is far more to art than simply creating.
We touch peoples lives and can also help others. This is a wonderful email.

And again I am very grateful to be contacted, and mentioned in this way.

Thank you Phil.

Hi Jean, 
We previously exchanged a short email about painting demonstrations. 
I am located in Dublin, Ireland and I suffer from mental health illness. 
I have found a deep love of watercolor painting and I try various styles 
from different artists/writers.  I find painting is a great source of therapy for
me as it helps me to live in the moment and forget about other challenging 
matters.  I especially love your books and I paint some of your 
demonstrations over and over again, at times with a different twist. 
Recently I spoke as a service user at an exhibition in the mental 
health services hospital that I attend along with other speakers 
including Brent Pope, New Zealand, a renowned rugby commentator who 
is one of the ambassadors for the mental health services hospital.  I 
submitted two paintings to the exhibition, one of which is painted based
on a theme from one of your demonstrations - it is a semi abstract 
painting of a georgian door ... I use all kinds of different colours 
albeit I do not use cling film or sea salt (I think I am using the wrong
 paper type to truly get the desired effects).

To date and to my surprise I received 4 expressions of interest 
from people in the semi abstract painting. To date I 
have never accepted money for paintings and rather I asked people to 
simply donate to a charity of their choice. On this occasion though I 
will accept the monies and I would like to donate some of this money 
back to 'Walk in My Shoes' which is a charity for teenagers who suffer 
from mental health.  I will also spend some of the money on your DVDs so
 that I can learn more artistic techniques. 
I wanted you to know how much pleasure, therapeutic value and inspiration
that I get from watercolor painting especially from your books.  I also
wanted you to know that you are indirectly supporting a truly 
worthwhile charity.
 Yours in Art,

Phil Anderson

Christmas Inspiration 2015 : Magdalena French

Continuing with my 2015 Christmas Inspiration Theme I would like to share a really lovely email that I received from Australia. Magdalenas' words are so kind that I just had to share them and I am grateful for being given permission to do so. Thank you so much Magdalena. This week my email inbox has been full of amazing messages like this one, and because of them I feel I couldn't ask for more at this time of year. In fact these kind messages make me want to give all the more which I will do on my workshops and art events next year. And my blog of course!


Hello Jean,

My name is Magdalena French and I live in Brisbane, Australia. I have only just begun to learn watercolour painting since February 2015 after having dreamt of taking up watercolour painting for over 25 years. My introduction to Watercolours was unexpectedly very traumatic, where I took a 12 lesson beginners watercolour course only to find out that I was the only person in the class who had never, ever picked up a brush to paint before except to paint my house...

Despite that terrible experience I persevered because I just LOVE the look of watercolour soooooo much and l was seriously desperate to learn. I trawled YouTube at every opportunity I could to try to pick up as many tips and hints as possible so that I could begin to understand the nature of many paintings seemed more or less the same - even the majority of really, really experienced watercolour artists - all their work seemed the same, of course their work looked really pretty, really nice, really accurate and you could tell there was a lot of work, time and energy put into them...but somehow I failed to see anything really special in their work that appealed to me or inspired me.

Then about 6 weeks ago I found YOU...I borrowed your Atmospheric Watercolours DVD through my local watercolour society and I fell in LOVE with your work - the way you paint is exactly what I had been looking for even though I had no idea how to express this until I saw your work - watercolours that were fluid, free, vibrant, subtle and yet so, so gut-wrenchingly expressive. I have since bought all 3 of your books and 3 of your DVDs and every opportunity I get I practice the exercises you recommend. I find that by using your techniques I feel so free to just 'have a go' and think 'so what' if what I do doesn't turn out quite right - I am free to NOT try to create something perfect as through your teachings that burden has lifted greatly from me (I really and truly was traumatised by that first watercolour course as everyone in the class knew, understood and had experience working with watercolours and so they knew exactly what the teacher was talking about and I just fumbled along in the back not having any idea whatsoever how much paint to squeeze out of my tube let alone mix watercolour or know what a 'wash' was...of course everyone in the class reproduced the teachers paintings easily and effortlessly whereas my work looked like that of a 5 year old because I had no idea what I was doing and of course I stupidly compared myself to everyone else and began to doubt that I could possibly ever learn this medium that I love so much...).

I'm sure that never a day goes by where you do not receive emails of gratitude from people all over the world thanking your for your generosity of spirit in sharing and passing on your knowledge of watercolours so freely and willingly, and I very humbly add my name to that growing list. It is not that easy to find people who are willing to share their knowledge to help others, perhaps it's because people with the knowledge aren't very good communicators (as I experienced from my first watercolour teacher), or maybe they are frightened to give away their secrets lest others becomes even better than them - or possibly a combination of the two. In reading your books I was soooooo touched by your generosity of spirit and passion for life and your love of watercolours. Your example impressed upon me so much the importance of sharing and passing on knowledge and experience and I'm sure it is because of your generosity of spirit that you have achieved such great success through your art and such happiness in your life as well. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you from the bottom of my heart as I cannot begin to describe to you the feeling of sheer JOY I get when I look at your work which in turn encourages me to believe that I too, one day, will be able to express myself through watercolours with such freedom, vibrancy and emotion as well.

 I hope your Christmas is filled with Joy and Peace.  
Warmest regards  


Thursday, 17 December 2015

Christmas Inspiration 2015 : Florine Porter

 "Striker O'Brien"
Original watercolour by Florine Porter 

 I must admit this has to be the best Christmas ever as I am continually oepning wonderful emails from artists and organisers of my workshops this year who are thrilled with the results of their paintings after attending my watercolour classes. I strongly believe there is absolutely no point in sharing your passion for art unless you can also enjoy the art of those you meet, whilst you are on or sharing your own journey.  So it is an absolute pleasure to share the gorgeous watercolours of Florine Porter. I  met this fabulous artist in St Louis where I held workshops orgainsed by the fantastically warm hearted and very professional Cindy Klatt.  This beautiful painting was forwarded to me by Cindy as Florine had shared her work via an email. I then contacted Florien asking permission to share her gorgeous work here on my blog. And so here it is and here are the two messages.

 Original message from Florine to Cindy about my workshop

"As I began a new painting Tuesday I reflected on what Jean Haines told us, begin with the eyes and nose.  That's where I began.  I got so much from the time I spent in her class.

Here is how it turned out!"

And the very kind message from Florine to me

Jean, I can't thank you enough for coming to St. Louis and sharing 
your knowledge with us. I was always nervous about painting people and 
animals. Before I began this painting I remembered your words, begin 
with the eyes and nose, and I did!
Florine Porter

Isn't this painting absolutely beautiful? 
Watercolour shining as a medium, 
captured expression, talent and a gorgeously beautiful result.

Well done Florina and thank you for not only sharing your painting with me 
but allowing others to see your work and words also. 
Hopefully you will inspire many with your kindness and talent.

Thank you!

Christmas Inspiration 2015 : Mary Agostino

Original Watercolour by Mary Agostino

I have been asked so often what I would like for Christmas. Actually all I want for Christmas this year and next is for everyone I know to be happy and for everyones' dreams, no matter what they are to come true. This Christmas time I am opening and loving reading gorgeous emails following my 2015 workshops here in UK and from my tours in USA

Here is a gorgeous message from Mary Agostino who I met on my USA Autumn tour when I was teaching in Lewisburg, West Virginia this year. Mary is so talented. Her use of colour is brilliant and her way with the medium is fabulous. I have a feeling I will be seeing many more gorgeous paintings by Mare in the future. Here is Mares' message that she has kindly agreed for me to share.  Again, as in my last blog post this email is linked to selling art.  And letting go of favourite paintings. Mare purchased the koala painting from my latest book " Jean Haines World of Watercolour" which I found hard to part with for a variety of reasons, but I knew it was going to a wonderful home.  

I remember meeting Mares husband when I was in the lift at our hotel in West Virginia as we were all staying in the same place. He said " Hello Jean" and laughed when I was taken aback and surprised he had recognised me. He told me his wife loved my work. And then at the workshop I met this incredible lady in person. An artist who genuinely has talent and I know, to many more gorgeous paintings inside of her to share.


Mares message.

" That Feeling "

The other day you mentioned on your blog about people selling some 
work after your workshop. So I thought maybe you'd like to hear that I 
sold two paintings as well this month.  It's always very special to know
 someone appreciates a painting that you have done. It's also kinda sad.
 You know 'THAT FEELING'. It's like regret rolled up in remorse. You had
 expressed that to me as when you sold the Koala to me. You must know 
that I cherish it and love the pleasure I get when I look at it. I guess
 there's nothing to do to resolve that feeling. I think mostly I get it 
because when a lot of paintings go wrong , I think I'll never paint 
something so nice again. Well I hope that doesn't happen. There's also 
That Feeling when you do paint something wonderful and it Rocks!
 Ps. If it 
weren't for you I wouldn't be painting at all. It was the idea of 
working without a pencil and the atmospheric idea that spoke to me. Well
 yelled at me to paint.
Warm regards
Your friend,



I hope the atmospheric idea keeps yelling at Mare!

What a lovely email to read. 
I wonder how many artists new and professional get "that feeling" when they too
part with a painting that has gone really well or holds a special meaning to them.
Have you a story to share?  

Christmas Inspiration 2015 : Alice Donadu

 "The Long Walk"
By Alice Donadu

Following on my theme of sharing guest artists work on my blog leading up to Christmas and hoping to inspire others by doing so, today I am sharing a gorgeous painting and email I received from Alice. I met this wonderful lady at a demonstration I gave earlier this year in Bourton-On-The Water. Alice also later attended an exhibition of mine in Hampshire and will be on one of my workshops in 2016.  It is so wonderful how you can meet someone as a complete stranger and in a very short time know you really enjoy their company and their personality. Alice is one of these people. She is full of enthusiasm and is so generous in spirit. She is also a fabulous cook as she has brought me  extremely delicious little italian cakes each time we meet.  Now a favourite of mine!. So here is the message I recieved from Alice and I hope it inspires new artists. These words show how little faith we can have in our own talent when we first start painting and selling. I think the happiness felt by Alice is so infectious.  It makes me feel happy and I hope it makes you feel happy too. 

Dreams can come true and so can our goals. I hope you like reading this and thank you to Alice for sharing your story.


I am sending this mail cause I think I owe you a big thank you.

Three days ago I've been contacted on instagram by one of my shop customers. She asked me if I could sell her one of my paintings called "the long walk".

I thought she was just giving me some encouragement as she has always been very supportive but then she contacted me again, privately.  I had no words. I couldn't believe someone wanted to pay money for my art.

Please believe me.

I couldn't think she was serious.

She came to the shop where I told her she could see my painting for real and she looked at it and said "it's beautiful".

My first painting sold. All because of you Mrs Haines. Because one year for Easter me and my boyfriend decided to go to Bournemouth and I decided to go and see a bookstore and I found your book and I fell in love with you and your way to see things. I wanted to share this emotion with you cause my happiness is all because of you.

"The long walk"started its journey to another house and it's so symbolic that it is a painting about a journey that has been sold first I cannot express my shock in words.

Thanks Mrs Haines! 

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Sharing the Christmas Spirit 2015 : Mike Johnson

 Christmas Watercolour by Mike Johnson

I am receiving the most wonderful of messages via emails from people who have bought my books or attended my workshops. Some are so wonderful that I just have to share and have asked permission from each artist if they would mind my sharing their words and art on my blog. There are many but I am sharing just a few that have touched my heart for a variety of reasons. I think at Christmas time we should be sharing in as many ways as possible. All year I have shared my own art on my blog. Now I want to share others art too with the story behind each painting.

I was absolutely blown away by the painting above of Bethlehem. The use of salt for texture, the composition and the placement of colour is incredible. I immediately asked if I could share this beautiful Christmas Card design inspired by one of the exercises in my book.


The guest on my blog today is Mike Johnson. 

And here is Mikes' wonderful message that went with the above fabulous painting.

Jean, just wanted to share a little.
Getting ready for the March 2016 class in Vancouver, I bought your book and have been working through the exercises. I was struggling with the exercises where you add bold colors at each half of the paper and merge the colors with water, then add salt for texture.At the same time, my wife was pressuring me to paint a Christmas card. One night, I added some Ultramarine and Indigo to one corner and some Cad Red and Windsor Yellow to the other and moved them around with water. I then added both some coarse salt and some fine salt. As it dried, I thought it looked like the night sky over the desert.... wow! Potential Christmas card... so I added a stone-wall-fortified city and I had Bethlehem. I had not left any white area for the star so I did have to scratch the paint out. But I was satisfied, and so was my wife.

 Have a Merry Christmas,
Mike Johnson


Thank you Mike and a very Merry Christmas to you and your family. Thank you for sharing and inspiring everyone on my blog too!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Silent Night

"Silent Night"
From my book "Colour and Light in Watercolour

How crazily busy life can be.  I have so much news that I would love to share and so many messages to reply to but I am still working very hard on my new book. It will be launched next year and is at the stage where the lay out and design is taking shape with my text and images. There are so many decisions to make right now on this new publication and this it is very time consuming. Why I always find myself doing this book writing stage when Christmas is weeks away baffles me. But here I am yet again working very hard !

Actually this year I have worked unbelievably on not one, but three books. I started the year signing off the final proof of "World of Watercolour" and the new updated version of "Colour and Light in Watercolour" was also almost complete but not quite.  My new book which will be launched next year hasn't really all been written this year though. It was born as an idea a while ago. It lay as a seed waiting to grow and oh my, how it has grown over the last twelve to eighteen months. It is looking beautiful now but it is really beginning to take over my life. I eat, sleep and constantly dream about it. For example I had thought about taking a tea break at three this afternoon to join my husband so we could enjoy looking at the Christmas decorations we had both put up earlier. But it is now six in the evening so my mid afternoon break has managed to disappear. As it often does.

I am writing each new chapter though as if it is a Christmas gift. One that brings joy and more importantly a fantastic peaceful feeling with it. This time of year should be just that. 


A time when we think of others more than ourselves and ways to make them happy. Good old fashioned values of loving thy neighbour and doing unto others as you would do unto yourself seem to have almost vanished when you hear the news. But my heart is a simple one. And my desires are simple too. I just want everyone to love each other and be happy. And my aim in life is to do just that.

Make others happy.

So whatever you are doing I hope you have a fabulous Christmas Season and I hope you and all around you are happy too.

God Bless.