“This fantastic selection will open a door to your own creativity and adventurous spirit”. -Jean Haines
I have painted in watercolour for many years and the day I discovered DANIEL SMITH my art really changed and I am delighted to say it continues to evolve. Why? Because I love being unique as an artist. I search for ways to create that are different but having said that, with social media as it is, we often see similar artwork online that influences our own, so much so and in ways that can make it hard for our own work to stand out. Not so when you use the magical and high quality watercolour range by DANIEL SMITH, because each shade is delicious in how it reacts with water to produce amazingly gorgeous results. Even so, there are times when I still want more.
Before I go any further I will put my hand up and say, when it comes to painting, as much as I love excitement I don’t want “glitzy” obvious glimmer in my finished pieces but there are sometimes subjects I come across that need something extra to make them work in a composition. At times like these I want more drama, extra impact and something new. Which is why I was delighted to discover the iridescent shades in the Luminescent Watercolor collection by DANIEL SMITH some time ago. Here I must admit that when I first started using them I really was unaware of how versatile they can be. For example I remember placing them on watercolour paper alone and liking them but it wasn’t until I experimented further that I knew immediately I was missing out by not using them.
Yes they can be used directly. Yes they can be used in layers on top of other shades as seen in my peacock study below. Here I used DANIEL SMITH Iridescent Electric Blue to add a glow to my peacock study. Without this shimmer shade my work looked pretty but it wasn’t as alive as it is now once the shimmer shade has been added. I used quite strong pigment here with brushwork to incorporate the direction of the feathers.
Once I fell in love with the DANIEL SMITH Iridescent Electric Blue shade I became addicted to it. Yes, and to painting peacocks! I quickly realised there were many iridescent shades to choose from that added excitement in a unique way to my paintings. But as I ventured further into experimentation with these glorious shimmer shades, I became acutely aware that there was far more to them in how they could be used. In the peacock painting below I have again used Iridescent Electric Blue but I have also used DANIEL SMITH Iridescent Topaz which is a very subtle green shade. It can be added to other DANIEL SMITH watercolour shades or used on its own. Here I used it as a mix to other shades while they were damp on my paper in a first wash which acted as the background to my subject. The effect was terrific and very different to any colour combinations I had previously tried before.
The joy in using these shimmer shades is that their effect is not overpowering. I don’t particularly want viewers of my art to be overwhelmed with glittery results that may detract from the beauty of natural watercolour pigments. I want the shimmer effect to be subtle yet extremely effective. And believe me I have tried many products over the years to gain these effects and all have been far too, dare I say, garish? These however are perfect!
An Art Tip: I use these shades sparingly. Like jewellery, a statement made by a subtle addition is far better than far too much!
“Proud” Peacock in watercolour created using DANIEL SMITH shimmer shades from my Jean Haines’ All That Shimmers Set
Like any new experience the more you practise, and in this case experiment, the better your results become. Overjoyed with what was happening with my peacock series I felt the need to paint one more peacock and try using the shimmer colours in the eye to see what happened. I can show you in the painting below.
Head detail of a larger painting. DANIEL SMITH Iridescent Topaz adds a glint in a very subtle way to the eye.
Painting time now is even better than it was before and I am one of those artists that adores creating on a daily basis. I have so much to try with these shimmer shades and so many ways to use them on a vast number of subjects. Now I will be using several shades from the DANIEL SMITH Luminescent (iridescent) range and gaining a vast variety of effects. Pearlescent White added to my Iridescent Electric Blue for example gave me an even more dramatic effect as seen in my peacock painting below.
In all of these paintings in this feature you can only just see the addition of my All That Shimmers Set colors. Their use is placed in a subtle way to add drama to my work. But if you removed them from each piece I can assure you they would definitely look less fascinating.
I have selected the shades I use the most for my Jean Haines’ All That Shimmers Set but I know if you are like me, this selection will open a door to your own creativity and adventurous spirit. Painting and life should never be boring. Add sparkle to your life with a little bit of shimmer! And if like me, you have been painting for a long time, it is never too late to learn something new or discover fabulous ways to improve your art.
Beat the blues with my new DANIEL SMITH All That Shimmers Set and I would really love to see what you achieve with them.
You can see more of my work on my Instagram account where I regularly show how I use my DANIEL SMITH favourite shades.
Highly in demand, International watercolourist Jean Haines SWA is well known for her passion for working in her favourite medium, watercolour. Having lived and travelled in many countries this popular artist has had the opportunity to develop her skills creating incredible paintings whilst under the influence of masters from many countries including Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Living in China was a time when studying brush control had the greatest impact on the evolvement of Jeans style. Later working with artists from India and Pakistan introduced vibrant colours into her paintings compared to her previous more quiet watercolours created whilst living in Europe. Artists travel from all over the world to Jeans’ popular watercolour workshops held in Hampshire UK. Jean regularly teaches fully booked courses in Europe, USA, Australia, and Mexico such is the demand for her inspirational teaching style. The combination of East meets West influences from living in Asia, along with no fear of working directly minus the use of a preliminary sketch leads Jean to amazing results. Jean exhibits in established galleries.
All That Shimmers Set articles by Jean Haines
VIDEO: Jean Haines’ demonstrating the colors in her new Jean Haines’ All That Shimmers Watercolor Set.