I take many, many art courses online from fabulous artists through Sketchbook Skool and Craftsy for the most part. I have been improving my techniques by learning from these great artists - such as: Marc Taro Holmes, France Belleville van Stone, Felix Scheinberger, Anna Mason, Patricia Watwood, Paul Heaston, Lapin, Miguel Herranz, and many others. But, my latest artistic obsession with an artist is with Jean Haines, a self-professed watercolor addict.
What I love about Jean and her style is that she celebrates the qualities of watercolor that I've always loved and been attracted to. I've read two of Jean's four books so far:
In her books, Jean describes her background in watercolors, art instruction, and travels. Surprisingly, she was a highly detailed botanical artist at one point (like Anna Mason, who I greatly admire) - but, felt like her watercolors were looking like everyone else's. She also felt like she was losing her love for the medium. I have felt the same way - and though I loved using Anna's techniques to create very realistic botanical art, I admit that in paining in that style, I felt like I was working more than playing.
I also watched two of Jean's DVDs via downloads from North Light Shop. It is so helpful to see Jean paint in her style. In the first DVD, Watercolor Workout, she shows us how she warms up to paint each day by playing with her watercolors either pigment alone with water, or by mixing pigments with water, salt, or using plastic wrap. I had never before considered just playing with my watercolor pigments - but Jean is right in that doing so, helps you understand how the pigments interact with water or salt or each other! So, I grabbed one of my in expensive 6" x 9" watercolor watercolor pads and have been using three sheets a day to play with my Daniel Smith watercolors - and I love it!
What I really love about Jean's techniques are her lack of any preliminary drawings with her watercolors - though, I do admit I still love drawing with pen and ink otherwise - and her instructions to have fun with pigment and to stay loose by practicing doing only half of a piece at a time - stopping just when you can see your subject emerge. I love how Jean, like me, loves painting animals, flowers, landscapes, and people. I admit that I've been trying to find my style and what I subjects I should concentrate on - but, I'm happy to hear that a successful artist, like Jean, also refuses to limit herself to only certain subjects!
I could go on and on about what I love about Jean Haines' atmospheric watercolors and style - but, I'll just say that I feel energized by her watercolor outlook and committed to using it to find my own style! Let me know if you have encountered Jean - or another inspirational artist - and what you've learned from them.
Here are some recent pieces I've done inspired by Jean's style.