Inspired by Jean Haines

Art lessons, Painting, Winsor and Newton watercolors

The other day at my local art store, I discovered that they now offered art books in English, & when I was excitedly perusing through their books, I was drawn to Jean Haine’s book called “Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour”. When I opened it, I yelled (in my head)”Eureka”! This is how I want to paint!

Since I started painting a year ago, I have been looking for a style of painting, and a teacher, that would allow me to express myself, in a loose abstract way. (Sorry I never took formal art courses so I don’t really know the terms…) Until now, every time I tried to let go, I was filled with panic & frustration during the painting process and hated what I did right after! But something in her book, the way she writes about flowers, the painting process & the environment we need to achieve this, unlocked something in me and allowed me to finally letting go. Now every painting I do is done in peace and pleasure… and I actually like the finished product too!

Sunflowers a la jean haines

Sunflowers à la Jean Haines – my first exercise from her book

One thing I do now, that is suggested in her book, is to practise all the little steps that lead up to the final painting & to actually do a rough painting of my final subject too. Some of you might say “Duh.. that’s obvious” but obviously not to me as I’m also the type of person that hates creating the same thing more than once. But now, before each painting, I practise for about 30 minutes, to understand how my paint will react to the movement & composition I’m trying out, and that really helps me. Another thing I’m doing is painting on good watercolour paper! I have a few blocks I bought or was given but I never felt good enough to use them. But I guess I’ll never be good enough until I believe I am, so using good watercolour paper is a start to that affirmation!

Flowers in a Vase a la jean haines

Flowers in a Vase à la Jean Haines

For the moment I’m just doing the exercises in her book and largely “copying” her works. However, by the end of the book, I hope to find my own unique style that will differentiate mine from hers. In the meantime, I am so enjoying the whole learning process, and I look forward to receiving her other books & her online courses, which I requested for my birthday…tomorrow!

Rose a la jean haines

Roses à la Jean Haines. Indanthrone Blue Lukas watercolours, DaVinci Mastro, Arches 100% cotton cold pressed

Thanks so much for dropping by and I do appreciate you taking the time to leave me such nice comments. Have a great creative weekend!

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Learning to paint…everything!

Art lessons, Winsor and Newton watercolors

I have had the wonderful chance of attending art classes in Madrid during our family visit here and I am learning so much. After 6 months of learning from books and YouTube videos, I felt so privileged to be able to paint under the guidance of professionals. I had 2 teachers who taught me in 2 very different ways so I was very lucky.  One was a young painter/teacher Clara Varela who taught me the techniques I really needed to understand in shading and blending with watercolours. In my first class with her, I told her I would eventually like to be a food painter since I’m such a foodie, and she said, “so paint food.” and I replied “eh…ok”. I was actually putting this off until I could paint well enough but I guess  had to start somewhere, and no better time then with a teacher.

turnip signed.jpgI chose a turnip as I love the colours of the leaves, but I didn’t realise it was going to be so difficult to paint all the folds and my highlights look like tiny worms…but overall its not bad for my first attempt and I love the turnip root!

1st outdoor painting

We had an outdoor class with her and I learnt so much in this lesson but essentially learning to compose my image on paper and adding shading instead of contours. This also taught me to paint the big picture and not concentrate too much on details, although I still added too much. It was so enjoyable to paint outdoors in a park in Madrid and to find a little respite from the 35C heat here!

leaf study a3.jpg

At the same time I was taking classes with Justin Williams at DeCinti Villalón Academy of Painting & he taught me how to mix my colours smoothly & tried to get me to go with the flow, something which terrifies me! Because this is what happens when I do…

Ines abstract.jpg

I tried to paint my daughter in an abstract way but as usual I put too much colour and went overboard… but I had fun and I will try to redo it again. I did learn so much from him about drawing according to proportion as this is my first portrait drawing/painting too.

I’ve had many “firsts” this week, also filling an A3 size paper as until now my largest paintings have been on A4, and painted different subjects and styles so do I know what I prefer? I’m not sure yet but I do know I still love the idea of painting botanicals and colourful abstract art and I’m happiest when painting details with a small brush but I still want to learn to let go & create large washes in different colours.

At the same time I’m learning to paint with oils, water soluble oils that don’t smell and wash off with water and its so much more forgivable than watercolours…but that’s for another post!

 Thanks for stopping by & I’d love to know your thoughts on my painting experiments.

Have a great day!

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*All the painting were done with Winsor & Newton watercolours and Raphael or DaVinci Maestro brushes.