Rebecca Haines is a Fine Artist who has had a strong passion for art throughout her life. She began her artistic career by focusing on a portraiture subject – predominantly faces, in which she built up a skill in creating photorealistic pieces. In her thirties, she began to engage in artwork with an animal-based subject which was a lot more abstract through her uses of mark makings and colour. This interest in animals came from her friend lending her a book about the spiritual side of animals and how they connect to humans. This was an eye-opener for Haines and she continued to do lots of research into animals and people’s opinions about their purpose.
During her degree, she worked at a gallery and after graduating became the director of that gallery which gave her the chance to exhibit and sell her own work. She works on board rather than paper or canvas as she prefers the feel and firmness. I feel that I can relate to that as I am using small scale boards for my paintings. She uses oil paints and grease pencils to create her works which I find interesting and I may consider the combinations of media as my own project develops.
The use of mark-making and solid colour in Rebecca Haines’s work is what captures my attention the most as it creates a lot of contrast. She also includes a lot of abstract colours with dark colours which is interesting as often the bright colours used don’t reflect upon the animal itself but more so with the animal’s spiritual feeling, which requires a lot more thought. I like that her works include drawings as well as paintings, with the drawing showing through transparent layers of paint as combinations of mediums are something I am fond of in both my own work and other people’s work. In this piece, in particular, I feel the red circles on the cheeks are very playful and doodle-like which contrasts with the serious face and stance of the bear.
In this painting, I particularly feel that the colours used are successful and the uses of similar shades in the bear and the background allow the viewers’ eyes to look around the painting rather than focusing on one area. The different areas of mark-making, both simple and complex work well and contrast at the same time. The use of the complementary colours blue and orange is a focus of this painting and as I use a lot of complementary colours in my own work, I feel that I can relate to the colours used.
In this painting, I find the colours used are really simple yet effective, with the orange bringing out the richness of the brown. The way that the owl fits perfectly into the shape is something I feel works well and shows how deer and owls may be connected spiritually. Using more than one species of animal in her work is something Rebecca Haines does a lot and they aren’t always animals you would associate with each other. The mark-making in each of Rebecca Haines’s works varies from painting to painting yet is effective in different ways. Although I know the works are created with oil paints and oil sticks, certain areas through the way they look or the texture created reminds me of soft pastels which are interesting.
Things learned from video:
- During the initial stages of a painting, she has a computer with lots of images of animals in different poses and then starts scribbling down her preferred one. This is different from her early paintings as she used to plan them out a lot more which resulted in her losing a lot of the successful mark makings and so she is much happier with her current process
- The decision of what animal to do is very practical, sometimes from dreams or areas she visits such as Buffalo dams, however, she also looks at individual galleries to see what animals they are in need of or which will fit each venue the best
- She markets her work primarily through galleries as she respects the time and effort they make to display and represent her work
- Oil sticks are used a lot in her work, Sheba branded, it’s not a pastel but is oil paint in a stick form. She likes to use oil sticks as she enjoys drawing in her work and this is the easiest way to add this drawing aspect. The sticks allow her to scribble and add marks and then smear or smudge them after. The oil sticks are permanent oil paints and have skins form over them like the paint in the tubes
- The only painterly aspect is the gesso to prime the backgrounds
- She uses china markers to add the fine-lined areas like a grease pencil would achieve
- She does commissions and is willing to replenish paintings that have been damaged over the years. When it comes to commissions, she doesn’t mind doing work that is a lot different to her usual work as long as she is still able to incorporate mark-making
- She has experience being a gallery director and she finds knowing both sides of the operation helpful in being understanding of what gallery owners go through
- She is a successful full-time artist
- The artist influences in her work are Leonardo Da Vinci as she likes drawing and Rick Bartow as she feels that their work comes from a similar place in terms of drawing and mark-making
How Rebecca Haines’s work is influencing mine:
I am particularly fond of the way Rebecca Haines combines colour and mark-making to build up interesting depictions of the spirituality of animals. She focuses a lot more on wild animals and animals with big spiritual beings/auras including but not limited to bears, owls and deer. Although my project focuses on farm animals in captivity, I am more interested in the applications of media and the build-up of intricate details which all say something about the complex spirituality of animals. My work at the moment involves a lot of block colours and so I feel that adding mark-making to some degree could make my work a lot more effective and allow the viewer to understand how the animal feels more or to understand the deeper meaning of the animals. In terms of colour, researching the colours associated with the farm animals I have been focusing on in my project could help as this is the method that Rebecca Haines applies to her own work effectively. Since I am working on a much smaller scale than Rebecca Haines, I feel that I should try to be selective with the amounts of mark-making and so this is something I would need to experiment with – trial and error to see what works best.