My name is Jean Haines, and I am a watercolour addict. That always feels like the safest way to describe myself because that is exactly what I am. I wake each day, race to paint and I find leaving my studio or painting location each evening very difficult. I have been this way for a very long time. I just adore painting with what I call the most magical of mediums.
Like many artists, I fell in love with creating as a child but my passion grew constantly over the years. I am originally from Wales in UK but have been fortunate enough to live in many countries and travel extensively. This gave me the opportunity to develop my artistic skills whilst under the influence of masters from Asia, the Middle East and Europe. I would approach any artist whose work I admired and ask to study under them. To my surprise even non-teaching masters took me on.
But living in China, studying brush control, had the greatest impact on my style. This is where I learned to let go of the pencil. I started painting with no preliminary sketch and my work instantly became more free and far more interesting. But it wasn’t until I moved to Dubai that my colours changed dramatically.
Working with artists from India and Pakistan, introduced me to vibrant colours so my results then became far removed from the previously quiet watercolours I once created whilst initially living in Europe. The combination of East meets West in my style now, I feel is a heady mix that I thoroughly enjoy. I use free flow of colour, working directly, minus the use of a preliminary sketch. This leads to exhilarating and unique results.
Light and the use of vibrant shades, along with taking an ordinary subject and turning it into an extraordinary painting is what makes my day. I love it. Each new piece of white paper is a challenge just waiting for something to happen. A new adventure that feeds the soul. I am told I have the ability to install enthusiasm and inspirational motivation in all around me but my own passion for colour and watercolour as a medium is what really is my driving force in life. I experiment regularly and do not believe, as yet, we have discovered all the techniques possible from working solely with pigment and water.
I should mention that I fell in love with Daniel Smith Watercolours some years ago and I am now hooked. They carry shades in their range that hold a magic like no other. For example their Cascade Green shade leaves hints of unexpected turquoise whilst the mainly green colour it contains dries. It is stunning to witness as are many other colours from their range like Moonglow and Amethyst Genuine. Maybe I am a colour addict too. In fact I know I am.
I just believe that life is too short to waste time being boring when there is so much that is exciting out there to explore, in many fields, not just art. When I teach, I come across many people who feel I have changed their lives by introducing them to my way of working because it is fun, energising and a form of escape perhaps.
I teach International workshops which I am honoured to say sell out almost as soon as the dates are released. In fact, I am often asked to add an extra workshop in each tour location because the wait lists to come on my courses are apparently so long, but it isn’t always possible for me to do so. As much as I adore teaching and sharing my love for watercolour, I want to paint more than anything else. On my own, in my studio, or on location. Fame or recognition as an artist is not my priority in life. Painting itself really does make me feel at peace as I find myself in a haven of calm once I pick up my brushes. It is a heavenly feeling which I wish I could bottle and give away to anyone who needs it.
My latest book, Paint Yourself Calm, has been given as a gift all over the world to even non-artists, who write and tell me that it has helped them through life’s difficulties such as grief, bereavement and illness. That to me is such a humbling achievement. One I am very thankful for, in having had the opportunity to write the book in the first place. I am lucky and I never take this for granted.
As a professional artist, I exhibit regularly, putting my latest collections on show. My most popular paintings sales-wise seem to be wild life or horse racing paintings that are full of action and energy. I am happy to say genuinely, my paintings can be found in homes all over the world. And I am aware that my favourite subjects are becoming increasingly collectible worldwide. But again, the joy in being an artist for me is the creative journey we embark upon whilst we endeavour to evolve in our work, as we strive to improve our techniques as much as possible.
Life isn’t about standing still. As an artist or non-artist. It’s about growing and having an open mind to take in what is new and exciting. It is about having that wonderful sense of adventure to leap into the unknown when the chance arises. Far too many people, artists as well, repeat each day doing what they already know or have done many times before. These artists often tell me they are bored with their way of painting and I can understand why. I am never bored with my creative process because each tomorrow is like a beautiful white piece of paper just waiting to be painted on. And there can never be enough colour in the world as far as I am concerned. Or enough new adventures gained by experimenting in art.
I am often asked if I have won any prizes and the answer is yes. As a member of the SWA, Society for Women Artists, I won the Anthony J Lester Art Critic Award in 2009, where my work was likened to Joseph Crawhalls from the famous Glasgow Boys. My most recent work has been likened to the style of Turner, an accolade I truly cherish.
I write. I love writing. I love the idea that by a simple act of sharing a chapter on what you love you can inspire someone from the other side of the world. I am delighted to be the author of several best selling books including Atmospheric Watercolours, Jean Haines World of Watercolour and Paint Yourself Calm. It is really exciting to be published in so many languages including Chinese, Russian, Italian and French.
And when I look back at the thrill of seeing my first book in print, I know I will feel this way, excited about writing for a very long time to come. I just want everyone to enjoy painting as much as I do. It has changed my life. I find it hard to believe that at the moment I am working on my next new book which will be my sixth publication. And I have already been invited to write another book after this one.
As well as writing my books, I regularly write for leading art magazines and exhibit in a number of established galleries. I also have a range of popular DVDs filmed by Artist Network TV in USA and will be returning to film with them next year in 2018. So my life is pretty full!
I am described as a “Breath of Fresh Air” on the art scene in that my enthusiasm is both catching and addictive. I am told I’m “A joy to be around”. Which are really lovely compliments. But to be frank, all I have done since I discovered that I loved painting as a child was to paint in my own way. And now I share my techniques on my workshops which have led me to so many invitations from all over the world to hold even more workshops. And I’m continually asked to write more books and create more films. I often pinch myself to see if my life as an artist is really just a dream, because at times, it seems it must be.
My advise to anyone who wants to be an artist is to follow your heart. Have the confidence to be yourself and don’t allow anyone to pull you away from the road you have chosen in style, as being unique is to me what makes anyone successful. But what is success? I have this answer to that question. “Success is being happy” and if you are happy painting, then do it, because nothing else really matters.
You can find out more about my workshops and exhibitions on my website or via my blog via the links below. And I am very active on social media on Facebook and Twitter.
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!