Watercolor and The Importance of Play

Great news! The Watermedia Showcase has a newly extended deadline of August 22, so there’s still time to showcase your talent!

Today’s guest blogger is watercolor artist Jean Haines, who has four new videos on how to paint with watercolor, and you can get them as part of this exclusive Loosen Up Your Watercolors kit along with her books, World of Watercolor and Paint Yourself Calm, and her 18-color palette dot card. Enjoy! ~Cherie

Watercolor and The Importance of Play
by Jean Haines

I was delighted to be invited to film my new DVDs with ArtistsNetworkTV. I am absolutely passionate about working in watercolor, my favorite medium. My goal when I teach is to share the joy in the creative process rather than picking up a brush with the sole intention of always painting a masterpiece.

I find artists in my workshops often tell me that they put so much pressure on themselves by having to create something that they are proud of and that is always worth framing. This sometimes carries the unwanted price of a sense of rejection or failure in producing something they’re not happy with for whatever reason, which can often put them off painting altogether. This is such a shame; many people are far more talented than they ever realize.

How to paint with watercolor | Jean Haines, ArtistsNetwork.com

I usually start with a small experimental painting to learn about the form of the subject I am painting, such as these white phlox in my garden. Once happy with my initial experiment, I move on to a larger painting with the confidence and knowledge of which techniques and colors will work best in my new composition.

How to paint with watercolor | Jean Haines, ArtistsNetwork.com

Here is a painting of black hollyhocks painted in my garden this summer. If I work continually with a mixture of either working around negative shapes or by alternating with painting positive shapes to the subject I can create the most unusual paintings as seen in this composition. Learn more here, in my collection of video workshops.

I have always loved painting since I was a child. The wonderful, joyous feeling of creating for the sheer pleasure of it is such an incredible feeling–one that we easily lose as we reach adulthood but one that can be regained simply by playing with color. Color can bring so much beauty into the world and into our lives, and my DVD “Watercolor Workout” includes beginner exercises for doing just that. It shows how to let colors flow and pigments interact in a way that improves an artist’s skill and offers knowledge of the watercolor products. Students can improve their compositions by using these techniques, while simply relaxing with color in the warm-up exercises. We should never underestimate the value of taking time to play to improve our skills.

I have a wonderful daily routine where I start each painting session with watercolor play. I take three scraps of paper and use different colors, pigments and techniques on each. My focus in these watercolor warm-ups is to enjoy painting by experimenting, to remove any negative thoughts from outside daily influences. I enable myself to reach a place in my mind that I call the peaceful zone. It’s at this point, when I have reached a state of calm, that I can paint at my best. This is when I would begin a serious painting.

Watercolor Painting Inspiration

I often find my inspiration from nature. I will eagerly fall in love with a subject such as wildlife or flowers in my garden. I try to capture these in a way that the essence of the subject is clear, without too much detail. I leave sections of my paintings to the viewer’s imagination. I also don’t have an urgent need to cover the whole paper with color. I allow sections of white paper–clear space–to become integral in the story that I am telling with each piece. I learned this technique of creating “air” in my work while living in Asia. Here I studied under a Shanghainese mentor.

I have been lucky enough to study art in the many countries I have lived in and travelled to. I have studied in Europe, Dubai and Asia. In each destination I have been influenced not only by the masters who have taught me, but also by the colors and sights I have seen. These heavily affected my idea and style of painting and added to my teaching qualifications, which aid my skills when sharing my passion for watercolor. I like to break down each lesson into easy-to-follow segments to demonstrate how to paint, each in a simplistic way that makes it easy for people to improve. Artists of all levels who come to me for guidance find themselves reaching their goals and many see their dreams in an art career come true.

I hope you enjoy watching these DVDs that I’ve loved creating with ArtistsNetworkTV. Each is unique, and is aimed at bringing the pleasure back into holding a brush. And each has been planned in a way so that they can improve your technique and take you to a level of watercolor painting that you wish to achieve.

I believe everybody can paint once they find their style. Some of us prefer to work in a more abstract style. Other artists prefer to work with more detail. Many artists prefer to work in a more loose style. And this is where I excel: helping artists reach their goals. The way I teach encourages you to find your own style rather than have you copy exactly what I do. Let’s face it, there’s already one Jean Haines. But there is only one of you. And that’s the artist my video workshops are aimed at: the artist in you, the one that could be incredibly special, unique and fascinating. I hope you shine to your full potential. The best mentor any of us can have is our own inner artist who, sadly, many people do not offer the chance of fully existing.

For now I’m going to wish you happy painting. Please take time to discover what you’re fully capable of. If you’re always used to painting the same way, try painting something new or try working with new colors. If you already have a style which you thoroughly enjoy try adding tiny touches of something new to ensure your painting time is always full of enthusiasm and positive energy.

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