Jean Haines Colour & Light in Watercolour Hardcover – 30 Oct 2015
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Well, this is a first! I ve seen books dragged out of well-deserved retirement, kept current by revamped covers and re-issued as classics , but I ve never seen one given a complete makeover that doubles the original extent. I had reservations about this when it first appeared. It s not that it wasn t good, or that I didn t like it, just that I didn t feel that Jean s loose and somewhat idiosyncratic style fitted comfortably into a series of what were largely technical manuals. All that clearly didn t harm sales and Jean has, of course, gone on to become a bestselling and highly respected author. Later volumes have given her work the freedom it needs and it s blossomed as a result. Re-workings of what for the moment we ll call juvenilia are rarely successful. Authors move on, their style develops and things that are largely historical are best left as pieces of history. If that means they re a footnote, so be it. It s often better than being something everyone comes to regret and has to make excuses for later. And now, gentle reader, I m going to eat my words: both my previous reservations and my suspicion of the re-vamp. This is everything the book should have been in the first place. It hasn t been shoe-horned into a series format, for a start. Series are great and are often a way of introducing new authors who may not have the gravitas to stand alone, but can be carried on by the momentum a series provides and given a toe-hold in the water (yes, I do know that s a mixed metaphor, but it was kind of you to mention it). It s also been completely re-designed and there are vastly more illustrations. Now, it has room to spread its wings and to breathe, which is exactly what Jean s work needs. She s not about small illustrations that populate a detailed text, she s about illustrations, illustrations and illustrations. You need to see her work full-page and preferably on a crisp white background and that s what you have here. I haven t done a word-by-word comparison, but I m pretty sure this is the original text and it now becomes an adjunct to the pictures, rather than the other way round. The best art books usually lead on the paintings and use the text just as a caption to explain what you re looking at when you need a nudge or it isn t immediately obvious. This is a hard trick to pull off because, if the original book was any good, it ll have been properly put together and be a perfect sphere it s very hard to pull apart. No matter how much you want to, it is, as I ve hinted above, usually better to leave well alone and start something new from scratch. So, congratulations to Search Press, whose editorial and design teams are on a bit of a roll at the moment, and to Jean too. With this many new illustrations, she s had a pretty large part in the exercise as well. You need this book. --Henry Malt - https://artbookreview.wordpress.com/
About the Author
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, and in 2014 she visited Australia for a Book Signing and Workshop Tour. In 2015 she will be visiting California, New York and St Louis in the USA to hold workshops and launch her new book 'Jean Haines' Watercolour World'. Jean lives in Crookham Village, Hampshire.