A member of the Society for Women Artists (SWA), international watercolourist Jean Haines is well-known for her love of her chosen medium. Having lived and travelled in many countries, this popular artist has had the opportunity to develop her skills whilst under the influence of masters from many countries, including Asia, the Middle East and Europe. She studied brush control while living in China and this had the greatest impact on her style. Later, when working with artists from India and Pakistan, she became inspired by the vibrant colours they used. The combination of East meets West in Jean's style is to be enjoyed. The magical free flow of water and colour straight on to a blank working surface (with no initial drawing) creates amazing results, often leaving her audience breathless with delight. Her paintings can be found in homes all over the world and in 2009 she won the Anthony J Lester Award during the SWA Annual Exhibition, where her work was likened to Joseph Crawhalls of the famous Glasgow Boys group of artists. She regularly writes for art magazines and exhibits in a number of galleries. Her hugely successful workshops are held regularly in the UK. International Workshop and Book Signing tours in 2014 in Australia and the USA in 2015 and 2016 all sold out. Her spring workshop tour in 2017 in New Orleans in the US is close to selling out. Jean lives in Crookham Village, Hampshire.
This book is absolutely beautiful, full of gorgeous images, colour and inspiring quotes, 'Anyone can paint. Not only anyone, but everyone.' In Paint Yourself Calm, Jean has created an inspiring and uplifting book that will encourage anyone to pick up a paintbrush, dip it in your favourite colour and experiment. Magical!* Hot Brands Cool Places *
Longtime watercolor art instructor and painting how-to author Haines (Jean Haines' World of Watercolour) tries something a bit different in her latest title. Starting from the premise that everyone can paint, Haines frees readers of the goals and expectations of end results, and encourages simply enjoyment of painting. Open-ended, detailed exercises guide readers through experimenting with paint to gain a sense of control; to relieve stress; to escape; or to be in a better mood. The emotional and psychological properties of color are discussed as are obstacles to creativity and happiness.
VERDICT Open-minded readers of all ages and skill levels can benefit from the unique blend of self-care and expression offered here.* Library Journal *
This is a really beautiful book about learning to paint, but with a real difference. Jean takes you on her own personal journey, revealing how her career has brought her to a magical realisation: that painting is therapeutic and calming for the soul. This book shows you how you can calm and enhance your outlook thorugh the movement of a brush. Jean leads you page-by-page on a journey through paint, showing you how to wip away your worries with the soothing gentle strokes of watercolour paint. She says 'Painting is something that you can do at any stage in your life... and no painting experience is necessary* Love to Make *
Summer 2016, Issue 2
There are many of us who just don't do art, for whatever reason. The beauty of this book is that it coaxes us into painting for therapeutic purposes and takes away the pressure and takes away the pressue of any self judgement for what we create. I can't recommend this book highly enough. It is large format and rich in stunning illustration (of course). The author was a painter first, then she became a painting teacher and now she is teaching calm through painting. When you become fully absorbed in an activity - and painting is a supreme example of this - your mind becomes much quieter.* Cygnus Review *
This book should appeal to both the beginner who would like to
paint but doesn't know where to begin and the 'improver' like
myself. I found painting relaxing and exciting when I started some
years ago but now tend to get bogged down in the complexities of
techniques and different media. This book takes you back to colour
and 'playing'. Not trying to create anything for exhibition or sale
but just enjoying painting. Jean has suggested just the basic
materials required and that is ample to get started. The book is
and would make an excellent gift.
beautifully illustrated. The text contains descriptions and simple exercises with the emphasis on easy methods and keeping
yourself relaxed and calm. I particularly liked the sections on herbs at the end as I felt it introduced a sense of reality with looking at and painting an object. The fragrance of herbs around is well known for providing a calming atmosphere. This would make an excellent gift for any painter.
This is a visually stunning book. My first thought when I opened
my parcel was of the impact of it's gorgeous colour. Inside the
beautiful watercolour painting continues. Jean Haines strives to
make her reader comfortable with the concept of simply 'playing
with colour' and the wonderful examples of abstract painting which
fill the beginning of the book help with that - they look so
playful and not at all intimidating.
While I understand Haines' need to make her reader comfortable, I do find the intro pages a little repetitive - really trying to drive the point home that anyone can pick up a brush, it could be a fantastic experience, etc. I do love her concept of 'playing with colour', though, it takes a step back from 'Art' with a capital 'A' and introduces an idea that one can simply play and experiment - what better way to learn? Even better, it sounds far more relaxing that launching in with the idea that you'll be creating beautiful masterpieces.
I do love the materials section as well - it's very concise and to the point: you don't need masses of expensive materials and equipment, just two brushes, an old white plate, a clear jar, and three tubes of paint will do. That makes things less intimidating for a beginner. I've read several 'beginners' art books that contain pages and pages of different materials and tools that leave even someone with experience wondering where to begin.
The practical section starts with 'Colour Experiments', getting you used to different techniques, the way the colours flow - the 'playful' part. It's about building up confidence. It flows almost seamlessly into the more complex and less abstract exercises. Again, the art is beautiful yet not intimidating - encouraging the reader to 'give it a go'. The step-by-step instructions are clear and easy to follow.
At the end of the book, there's a quick summary about 'painting yourself calm' and positive thinking, and a useful index, and yet more wonderful watercolour paintings. Even just flicking through the pages is a lovely experience. Looking forward to working my way through the book!
With no painting experience necessary, Jean proves that anyone can put paint to paper with the object of relieving stress and exploring emotion to achieve a sense of calm. I can most heartily verify that painting is calming, because I feel that myself when I paint. It is all about the experience of painting and not the end result. The exercises are rather simple and basic shown as step-by-step. All in all, if you want some very basic ideas to get you into the routine of painting without taxing the mind, and to use painting as a way to find solace, you will find this book useful. It covers techniques such as salt, clingfilm, pouring and some ideas on colour. Jean's excellent use of colour and her finished paintings hold this book together* Karen Platt -yarnsandfabrics.co.uk *
As I have been reading about the preparation and build up for
this book the overall impression I have had is that it would be
different and that is just what it is.... different!
Not the usual format of materials, techniques, step by steps.... there is a small section on materials where Jean talks about what you will need to get started and how good paper is the most important thing, but this book doesn't dwell too much on things mundane!! It does however dwell on the joy and happiness we can find by pursuing this lovely pastime, how painting somehow helps us find a special place unknown to us before we painted.
Since reading it I have been trying to think where it might fit into the painting population at large and I have come to the conclusion that although it isn't an instructional painting book per se it actually transcends all abilities and levels and I found myself once again inspired by Jean Haines, this time in a totally different way.
As I am a painter who teaches, sells my work and occasionally exhibits I have worked hard on the techniques I have been taught by Jean and a number of other artists to the point where I have more recently been finding my own way but decided that as I have all Jean's other books I "needed" this one to add to my collection. While it isn't a teaching book in the way her others are, it has some wonderful inspiration, some beautiful illustrations ( I do like pictures in a book!!) and it gives a "can do " message to its' readers which a lot of painters need. I had read some of Jeans' blogs where she has talked about the book and how it was a departure from her previous publications and I honestly think this book is one which would be a fit for artists at any level including complete beginners.
I have always felt that painting is available to anyone and everyone and it is very encouraging to read Jean's conviction that anyone can paint, how painting can enrich lives beyond comprehension and that no-one needs any special talent or skill to start. Joy to my ears!
Art Therapy is known to have very beneficial effects and while we're not actually talking about that here Jean talks about aspects of colour and it's mood enhancing qualities, about the joy of creating, not for a finished masterpiece, but for the sole purpose of enjoyment and how painting for it's own sake can bring about a wonderful calmness and contentment. She very eloquently puts into words what a lot of us who are passionate about our art feel as we are creating and have the brush in our hand.
As for my own inspiration, I don't tend to spend as much time playing with my paint as I once did and have had some art work I want to do for my own home which has been on the back burner for some time. Having read this book and looked at some of the simple exercises Jean has put together to get people started I have had lots of ideas as to how I might go about creating this illusive work!! The exercises look quite simple but the end results in turn look so effective leading me to feel that the book is worth buying for these little studies alone.
I don't want to say anything frivolous about this book as it carries a more serious message beyond that of regular painting books. It talks about the mental benefits of painting, how we can escape to our little painting havens and become completely consumed and absorbed during the time we spend watching the paint and water do their magic on the paper. It also provides very persuasive arguments for allowing us to spend time painting...
Finally, I loved the quote
"It was only when I made a conscious decision to treat painting like eating, as part of my daily routine that my life and art career changed"
That really struck a chord and separates the artists from the wannabes and something I need to incorporate into my daily routine too, another snippet of inspiration.
Jean Haines' Paint Yourself Calm shows you how to use the medium of watercolour to overcome anxiety and escape the stresses of everyday life. Aimed at the complete beginner, Jean describes how the action applying paint to paper can help you control your life, enhance your mood and improve watercolour painting at the same time. Illustrated with watercolour paintings this is a truly 'feel good' book.* The Leisure Painter *
It's hard to convey just how much I hate all that new-agey stuff. Most of it's just an excuse for a load of self-obsessed navel gazing. And it's never cheap, either. Do please feel free to disagree with me, but please read the rest of this before you write in!
It would be a shame to dismiss this on the basis I've outlined, or even to regard it as having nothing to do with practical art. It has everything to do with the practice of painting and, above all, of getting yourself into the state of mind where you can put down on paper what you feel in your head and see with your mind's eye. If you want a book that explains the creative process in a way that's completely relevant and comprehensible, this is it. It may or may not be Jean's prime purpose, but, for the artist at least, it's the result she's produced.
The thing about painting is that it's so much more than a mechanical process. Sure, there are things you have to do, such as prepare grounds, mix colours and lay washes, but these can take on Zen-like properties if you let them. A lot of people say that routine helps set them in the right frame of mind for what comes next, which is pretty much the same thing.
A lot of the content of this genuinely intriguing book is what might be called pure watercolour. This isn't a step-by-step how-to manual at all, not one that tells you how to paint specific subjects. Rather, it's about the use and application of colour to create a state of mind. Jean's intention, I think, is that this should be within yourself, but the thing is that paintings have an audience: other people will see them and that state can be induced in them as well. Art, as Edgar Degas said, is not what you see but what you make others see. It's not exactly abstraction - most of the illustrations are entirely recognisable - but the form is definitely more important than the function.
If you know how to paint, but want to understand why, and why that why is important, read this book. It's beautiful, rewarding and full of insights.* Artbookreview.net *