Many of our readers will be familiar with artist and author Haidee-Jo Summers, who we have featured on our blog before and are delighted to have on the expert judging panel for the Jackson’s Open Painting Prize 2019. Haidee-Jo is a plein-air and studio painter, a full member the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and an associate member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists. She has published an instructional oil painting book named ‘Vibrant Oils’ and features regularly in The Artist magazine. We caught up with Haidee-Jo in between paintings to find out more about plein-air painting, what advice she has for the entrants and what she will be looking for in the entries submitted this year.
Clare: Do you use a refined colour palette to save space when you are painting en plein air? If so, which colours do you include and which are the most important to you?
Haidee-Jo: I do limit the number of colours I use when I paint en plein air – in my studio I have a crazy collection at my disposal! When painting out I always have a titanium white, alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue and a cadmium lemon yellow. They are my essentials. I regularly add to these with transparent oxide red, blue-black, raw sienna, raw umber and a cadmium orange/cadmium red light.
Clare: What is your favourite climate to paint in?
Haidee-Jo: I don’t really have a favourite climate, but I’m not too good in extreme heat and humidity. I’m better able to cope with the cold.
Clare: Is there anywhere in the world that you dream of painting, but have not had the opportunity to do so yet?
Haidee-Jo: I’d love to paint in Vermont, in the kind of proper deep snow that we never see over here!
Clare: How often do you sketch?
Haidee-Jo: Honest answer, not as much as I should! I sketch only a couple of times a week, but during summer and Christmas holidays I tend to do more.
Clare: Who are your top 3 painters ever, today?
Haidee-Jo: It is really hard to just pick three! My top 3 painters today are John Singer Sargeant, Jaoquin Sorolla and Peter Brown. Ken Howard has had the most influence on me throughout the last 30 years than any other artist.
Clare: What is a typical day for you when you are painting en plein air?
Haidee-Jo: Typically I will head for a destination without anything but the loosest plan of what I will paint when I get there, so it’s a bit of a treasure hunt. I’ll usually have 2-4 small panels with me and a flask of black coffee. If the car is on hand I’ll have more of a choice of formats and sizes. I won’t waste much time looking around, more so if the location is a new one to me. I’ll work on a single piece for up to two and a half hours. When I’m cleaning up I usually turn around and prefer the view behind me, but I need a break and a stroll around before starting another.
Clare: What will you be looking for in the entries submitted?
Haidee-Jo: I don’t wish to have expectations in advance of what I’m looking for, but a strong design will give initial impact and make a painting stand out from the rest. I’m really seeking work which surprises me, and expresses an honest personal interpretation.
Clare: Do you have any advice for artists considering entering our competition?
Haidee-Jo: First of all, definitely go for it. The only thing for sure about competitions is that you won’t get anywhere if you don’t enter. One way to help choose which pieces to enter if you have a longlist is to view them all together on a screen as a group of thumbnail images. If nothing else this will help you to spot the ones which make a greater impact. Finally, give yourself the best chance by making sure your entry photo accurately represents the work.
Clare: Where online or in the flesh can we view more of your work?
Haidee-Jo: I have a mailing list and send out occasional news and invitations to exhibitions. If you’d like to hear more you can sign up to my mailing list and find information about workshops, galleries, available paintings and more at my website www.haideejo.com. I also regularly post images of new work to Instagram @haideejosummers
Feeling inspired? Check out the competitions website here: www.jacksonspaintingprize.com for more information or to enter the Jackson’s Open Painting Prize 2019.