The Art of Sandra Busby...
Painter of Playful Light in Glass and Still Life


Friday, 25 June 2010

Jean Haines Workshop

I have had so many other things going on since Jean's workshop, that it seems like a life time ago already! But, what an enjoyable day it was - well, that is aside from the journey there and back!

Anyone who knows me, will tell you that my directional skills are just awful! In fact, though I had my Sat Nav in the car, it takes a few minutes for it to figure out where I am, so even before I left the house, I had to ask my Husband whether to turn left or right out of the driveway!
Anyway - I had been travelling for about an hour and fifteen minutes when all of a sudden, my Sat Nav switched itself off! I was on a motorway at the time and quite literally had no idea which exit to take!

Though the charger was plugged in, it simply wasn't charging. When I tried to switch it on it gave me just a few seconds of life - which was just enough time for it to show me when I should turn next before conking out again. 
 So, for the rest of the journey I had to keep doing the same - switching it on, setting my milometer according to the Sat Nav's instruction, and just hoping it would have enough life to keep doing that until I reached my destination! Thankfully it did because Winchfield is in the middle of nowhere and luckily, despite the problem, I was still early - the second of eight to arrive.

Jean arrived soon after, as did everybody else. What a lovely, friendly bunch they were too! I met some really delightful people and there was an uplifting buzz of enthusiasm and excitement in the room. 
We had just enough time for a welcome cup of tea and a rather delicious blueberry and white chocolate cookie, before the first demonstration began.

The first exercise was simply to slosh paint about the paper using three colours, teasing the paint, using lots of water and encouraging it to run and merge. It was really good fun and immensely therapeutic too. Jean was basically showing us how to break the rules and instead of being horrified by back-runs and cauliflowers, to enjoy and embrace them instead. I am all for that!

Having filled several sheets using the same methods it was time to try out these techniques again but at the same time suggesting something else. Jean did another demonstration using a Delphinium as a reference.
She then offered us a selection of flowers and photographs to choose from so that we could have a go ourselves.
Hmm... it had looked all too effortless to me and I was not convinced I would find it quite so easy - and I was right! The thing is, it is hard to try not to try, and I think you really have to try hard to try not to try... Am I making any sense here at all? No! - Well, anyway, most of my efforts went in the bin, but I was relieved to see that I was not the only one turning their paper over and starting again!

Jean then gave us another demonstration, this time of an owls eye. I must say her enthusiasm and excitement literally filled the room and this was nice because the feeling is quite catching! One magnificent eye later, it was time to go next door for a delicious pub lunch. It was definitely easier to loosen up in the afternoon following a nice glass of red!

I had a go at the owl but it didn't really go very well. I soon realised that I was trying to mimic Jeans style rather than simply trying to learn from her techniques. It's never a good idea to adopt someone else's style and this is something that I think is very important. So, I felt better realising that I am simply not good at copying someone else's work because it doesn't come naturally to me. 

Following this realisation things started to go a little better. It was such a shame that all this came to me so late in the day because I had just found a new level of enthusiasm and I was so keen to keep painting. I had just finished painting the first petal of a beautiful pink flower when we had run out of time, so I couldn't finish it.

Anyway, here is my first attempt at a Delphinium. To be honest, I don't like it - and clearly this would need a lot more work to bring it to a finished piece...

© Sandra Busby

Here is the petal of the pink flower I began, just as the workshop was ending. Obviously I have cropped the image because it would have otherwise been lost in an expanse of white paper. Its a shame I didn't have time to finish the flower because I think it could have been a really nice painting...

© Sandra Busby


Here are some very quick roses I have since attempted from my imagination, using what I have learned...

© Sandra Busby

Another wash and some foliage later...

© Sandra Busby

I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and certainly got plenty out of the day. I learned to stop being so worried about mistakes, but instead to see them as 'happy accidents' and to try to incorporate them in to a painting instead. I learned that I am more 'artistic' following a glass of wine - though maybe that's not something I should try too often! I got to meet lots of lovely people including the lovely and oh so talented Jean Haines - And I got to paint all day, using my beautiful new sable brush, which by the way is lovely to use! I can't think of any better way to spend a day!

On the way back the Sat Nav didn't work at all! My husband always says that if ever I am lost, to just go in the opposite direction to what I think I should because I am almost ALWAYS wrong! And that is exactly how I found by way home - by just taking which ever turning felt wrong and passing but the turnings which seemed right! That is absolutely true!

Jean has just launched her first book and I have pre-ordered my copy!


  1. I wish I could join you.. You really had a great time..

  2. Sandra, I agree with you when you say that we need to discover our own style, with incorporating techniques learned from others. That is more satisfying than copying. I am liking the first step you have taken towards what is going to be a good work.. look forward to seeing you give a finishing touch soon,, re the roses, they are absolutely loosely done and free spirited, beautiful ones!

  3. Thank you so much Prabal and Padmaja. It's lovely of you to pop by and to comment :o)

  4. Pam visited you and said she loves the roses.x

  5. happen to see your blog, while i was seeing Dana's latest painting. I love the roses that you have painted, they are so fluid,and yet leave a lasting impression.

  6. Thank you Sparrowhawk, for dropping by and for your encouraging comment :0)

  7. I think your Delphinium is quite beautiful Sandra ... your day with Jean sounds wonderful! Your roses are gorgeous too! :)

  8. Thank you Ingrid. I really appreciate your comment :0)


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! Where possible I will respond via email. I really do love to read them! They always make me smile ;0)


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