Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour by Jean Haines (Extract)

“Learn from nature; absorbing as much information as possible until you find yourself breathing life into your art.”

At the beginning of each new book that I write, I try to explain to the reader why I am writing and what they can expect from the following pages. You may believe you have purchased a book that will help you paint flowers in a loose style. While that is true, I am hoping that you gain far more from the chapters to come.

I want to take you on a journey that involves using watercolour materials to create beautiful paintings. I also want to share with you the joy I feel when painting flowers and how doing so has improved my life. More importantly, I want you to discover your true artist’s soul. I hope to pull out of you the very best floral artist you can be; so that you surprise yourself not only with your art but by the peaceful way you feel when you have finished painting floral work. I want you to yearn to paint each day, every time you see a flower, a plant, or even an insect, as we are looking at all these fascinating subjects within this book.

For now I want to share how I first fell in love with flowers, long before I even started painting them. As a child I lived with my grandparents. One of the first things my Grandfather told me was that there were fairies at the foot of their garden. He told me I should never pick a flower, because I might disturb them. Crayons were placed in my child-sized hands and I played with colour as soon as I was able. I am thankful, because this is where my love of art began. All the gorgeous flowers in my Grandfather’s garden were soon my favourite subjects. I learned about their colour, form, and about each special season when they would begin to appear. Over time I have found that my life has been like seasons: my childhood and youth as the springtime of my life, followed by the beautiful summer as I grew, married and had children of my own. I would like to think I am now in the autumn rather than the winter of my lifetime – but oh, how much I have learned along the way.

In all of my international watercolour workshops I am asked how to paint flowers. Before you can paint them as a subject, I believe you have to absorb information about them: this will enable you to breathe life into your paintings. That is what I am hoping to do with this book: help you create more than just art.

I want you to achieve a level where your paintings are stunningly unique and speak to the viewers of your finished pieces, so that they feel they can touch soft, silky petals or take in the heady perfume of each bloom you have completed in watercolour. Petal by petal, step by step, we are about to begin a journey together that, hopefully, will be totally memorable.

I can’t wait to get started.

From the introduction to Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour, by Jean Haines. Search Press, 2018. Reprinted with permission. The extract was featured in the Autumn 2018 Cygnus Review. Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour is available for purchase from Cygnus Books.