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!

Hugs,paint signature base

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!

paint signature base

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

New Design Team Member – a2Z Scrapbooking

a2z Scrapbooking, Cards, Hero Arts digital

Hi all, I’m back again today to share some very happy news with you. I’m now a design team member for the a2Z scrapbooking store! I was thrilled & so honoured when Cindy asked me to join the team of talented designers. Today is my first post on their blog and I  created a framable watercolour piece using a Hero Arts digital stamp with the no line water-colouring method. Hop on over to their blog to see how I did it and I shared a video of the “making of” there too.

July 11

If you don’t know a2z Scrapbooking yet, they are distributors of mainly Hero Arts  products but have recently added Sugartree digital stamps to their online shop on Etsy. They are also the EXCLUSIVE distributors of Hero Arts digital stamp! Yes, Hero Arts make digital stamps, isn’t that great? Especially for people like me who don’t live in the States, shipping can be so expensive. But now you can purchase and instantly download Hero Arts digi stamps from a2z Scrapbooking!

Another amazing thing about working for this team of volunteers is that the company, which was created in 2007 by Hero Arts fans, was started in an effort to raise funds for Celiac and Behcets awareness, so you can shop there knowing you’re doing your good deed of the day too! Use my discount code Gwendolyn15 to get 15% off your purchase of $25 or more. If you’re looking for a Hero Arts product you don’t see in store, use the Request Custom Order button from with-in the shop.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll be a fan of mine over at the a2z Srapbooking blog too!

Have a great day!


I’m sharing this card over at:

a blog named hero.jpgA Blog named Hero – Birthday card

CAS Watercolour.jpgCAS Watercolor – Splash watercolouring. I probably didn’t splash enough for it to count but I wanted to share it anyway!

ssswchallengeSimon Says Stamp Wednesday challenge – Fun in the sun. My fun was painting outdoors!

allsortsAllsorts challenge – Flowers all over


Being a perfectionist

Botanical watercolors, Painting, Winsor and Newton watercolors

When I started this painting a month ago, I was obsessed about learning how to get movement in my leaves by using shading and tones. I also thought it was time I stopped copying from my guidebook or other people’s drawings and learn to paint from a “live” subject (well my plant is a a living thing…) After all I started painting almost 6 months ago so I should be able to, right?

So instead of painting one leaf, I decided to paint a whole pot of leaves, yes why do easy when you can do complicated, I always say… its also a great way to get really frustrated and give up halfway, which I did. I left it aside for 3 weeks and finally finished it yesterday. By that time, I was completely lost among my leaves and just gave a few washes over the unfinished leaves and with wild abandon, did the background! It was scary but exhilarating to paint the background with no structure and even blending it with the leaves I had spent so much time trying to get the shading right. It’s still not right but at least now my brain understands it and my hands just need to catch up.

I guess, as a new friend just pointed out to me, I’m a perfectionist at heart. I know I was one growing up, but thought I lost it for good after raising 3 kids. Its very frustrating to be a perfectionist and wanting to be a semi-abstract botanical artist at the same time. Nevertheless I’ve decided to embrace my need for perfection by mastering the basics and knowing all the rules, before I go about breaking them! I signed up to tons of online drawing lessons and I’ll continue copying other people’s art and hopefully one day, in another 6 months 😉 , I’ll have the confidence to paint something of my own and really like it too!

In the meantime, thanks for supporting my mediocre art with your kind comments, it is more appreciated than you can know.

Have a great day!

paint signature base

Learning to Watercolour – Day 1

Everyday Watercolor, Painting, Watercolor

I started learning to watercolour quite a few times now 😉 but none of the online courses I have taken really taught me what I needed to know…like how to load a brush for example, and especially, how to bend a leaf the way I want it to! Then I discovered Jenna Rainey’s book called “Everyday Watercolor” and it is teaching me everything I need to know as a beginner…like how to properly wet my brush to start with! So today will be the start of my 30day journey with her book, as I try to become a better watercolour artist and I hope you’ll join me and support me in my endeavour. I have also created a Facebook & Instagram page just for my watercolour creations, so if you want to follow me there too, that would be sooo great!


So the first day of the course started with just playing with one colour and adding black… and learning how to load my brush! (Have you understood that this point has been frustrating for me LoL!) I was trying to create nice bleeds from one square to another and instinctively I drew my squares into a circle! Does it mean I’m a well rounded person or do I feel the need to protect myself or…


This piece was all about trying to control my water on my brush so as to eliminate the puddle at the end of a brush stroke, or at least control where I put it but still have enough water to create bleeds into another square… It was not easy. Is it possible to eliminate the puddle completely or is it just part of the joys of water colouring?


This piece is actually part of Day 2. I’ve drawn circles before, but not doing it the right way so I thought I’d try again. The movement of holding my brush upright and rotating my wrist is not easy but I’m getting there. Whats puzzling for me is why I get “veins” in my circles? Is it my paints, paper, amount of water…? I’m using DaVinci Maestro Kolinsky brush, Winsor and Newton watercolours and Canson cold pressed 300g paper, although its the other side of an already painted paper so I’m going to try again today on a clean new paper to see if something changes.

Thanks for stopping by and any helpful tips would be much appreciated! Have a great day!

paint signature base