Sunday, 24 May 2015

Book Review of Jean Haine's World of Watercolour

Having got all 3 of Jean's books and reviewed Atmospheric Watercolours here, and the follow up here I took a different approach with this one, savouring it (I tried to savour the others too but excitement made me gulp them down as quickly as possible, not always the best way though they are books to revisit time and time again!!) taking my time and enjoying every word, paragraph and chapter.

It isn't easy to paint in a loose way and even harder to teach it and once again Jean does a truly fabulous job of  bringing her style of painting to the masses!! The illustrations are simply beautiful, full of life and colour and in fact this book concentrates very much on colour describing Jean's own perspective and view of how we should be excited and inspired by all the colours available in today's market. Music to my ears as I also love colour so am obviously in very good company!!

At no point does Jean assume we know what she is talking about as the text is clear, concise and explanatory, and while there are many excellent step by steps in this book, which I highly recommend you try, as the instructions are articulate and descriptive, this book is so much more than that. It is about Jean's own journey and how she has moved on in her style and ways of working, as she says, "Every artist was once a beginner" gives hope to all the wannabes, hope that with dedication, hard work and most importantly practice, everyone can become an artist, something we all need to hear time and time again when things aren't going well and we are getting despondent.

The book is aimed at every level of artist, and I really wish something like this had been available earlier in my own journey as Jean vocalises her thought processes and that is certainly something I needed.(still do!!).  It is so helpful to understand why someone is painting as they do and more importantly making the decisions they are making and for me that is what is unique about this book and why I would recommend to anyone who desires to move on.

Finally, this is a really, really well thought out book.  It takes the reader through the materials, exercises and techniques Jean uses, is filled with lots of tips and hints and then goes on to the final section "Putting it all together" which for me is the real jewel in this book. We often have snippets of skills, ideas, techniques and don't always know where to go with them so this last section helps pull everything together making sense of it all.

Finally, finally (!!) again, as in Jean's previous books, I am struck by how easy she makes things seem, but (and I can speak from personal experience here)  if you do put in the practice it will also become easier for you. If you read the previous reviews, there is a general theme...... I have spent hours and hours doing little exercises, washes and generally practicing the techniques and I can assure you that is what it takes, it isn't about talent (says she on her hobby horse again) it is about practice but, and this is the important bit, its the right practice you need, which is what all Jean's books teach so if you want to pursue a loose watercolour journey (or even if you want to simply improve your watercolour painting) this is the book for you!!!


  1. Thanks for that Judith - great review I have my copy and have only managed to get to about 1/4 the way through sadly for me at the moment life is throwing me lemons and Im busy hunting for my juicer to make lemonade - when that is done Ill be spending some quality time devouring, dabbling and experiencing the joy of painting under the experienced instruction of Jean Haines

  2. Judith, what a wonderful review! I haven't received my prize book yet (uggh!), but you are right on as to her (book) teaching methods as I also have her previous books........and cherish them dearly. Absolutely cannot wait to receive my book as I know Jean never disappoints! She is such a wonderful inspiration! Excellent review, Judith!

  3. Thanks for this review. I do want the book even more now.


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