I have lived and worked in Pembrokeshire for over 50 years, where my studio is in a marvellous, atmospheric old cow byre on my farm in the Preseli Hills. One space leads to another, full of work in progress, old farming artefacts, and a ‘dacha’ for relaxing and viewing pictures,
My work can also be seen in the studio or at a number of galleries including Studio Cennen in Llandeilo, The Attic Gallery Swansea, and the Golden Sheaf and Oriel Q, Narberth. It is also in the collections of the Contemporary Art Society for Wales, The National Library and the University of Wales. I have been Artist in Residence at the National Eisteddfod, and my work is in many private collections in Britain and abroad.
I trained as an illustrator, but my work has evolved gradually to become much more flexible and imaginative, a style that balances between the topographical and the abstract. The influences of European and British painting of the early 20th century are apparent. Paintings evoke the landscape of France as well as of Wales and, although grounded in observation, they are frequently described as surreal and dreamlike.
My inspiration comes from poetry and music as well as the natural world, reinforced by years of sketchbook drawing. My sketchbooks from the last 50 years are full of drawings from life and landscape, animals and buildings, and these find their way into studio paintings but sometimes in a different guise.
I work in different ways: my studio painting may start with a particular place or idea, which has developed from things seen, drawn, and thought about. More often, however, I work in a kind of reverse order: making initial abstract marks on canvas begins to suggest places and ideas. During the process of painting, these shapes, lines and colours exist in tension with memory, each provoking the other. Painting becomes a way of reflecting on remembered sensations and creating new ones, and I often find myself on a tightrope between the recognisable world and the equally powerful world of the imagination.
Visitors are welcome to my studio, but please phone first to make sure I’m at home. I’ll be having an Open Studio starting on the last weekend of August and running until the end of the first week in September, from 11 to 4 pm.
I have been leading workshops with children and adults for 50 years. Since doing a Ph D in Philosophy, and attending sessions at a local school who are pioneers in Philosophy with Children, I’ve combined my interest in these two areas by developing workshops with youngsters which combine art and thinking – Thinking through Art. Philosophy with Children (PWC) is a developing area of interest in many schools and has been shown to have very positive results in honing thinking skills. My work extends the traditional PWC activities of thoughtful and challenging discussion, to looking, drawing and painting. Because of the variety of activities, sessions can be sustained over a half or even a whole day.
Philosophy has been defined as “thinking about thinking”. So, as well as practising art, I’m interested not only in how we think about it, but how we can think through it. Is art a ‘language’? Can we think with shapes, colours, forms, as well as we can with words? How does an artist differ from a scientist?
These workshops, either in the school or at my studio, can be adapted for any age group and have been very successful with scholarship pupils. As in PWC discussions, the ‘facilitator’ guides rather than instructs, with the exception here of practical help with the use of materials.
Elizabeth’s work has gradually become more abstract, more suggestive, more mysterious … but she is still working in the great British tradition of the landscape, reading and interpreting nature and returning it to the viewer enriched.
Elizabeth Haines continues that tradition, steeped in the work of artists she reveres, David Jones, Klee, Palmer and Hitchens. She was forced by injury to paint and draw with her left hand which, she reflects, has had the real positive effect of opening up her work to imagination and memory.
You can enter Elizabeth’s paintings on a simple level, relishing colours and textures, enjoying apparently inconsequential marks, but from these emerge a larger space and deeper forms, sometimes there are hints of mountains and forests, intimations of buildings and trees and the further you go into the picture the more there is to see.
– William Gibbs
In a painting by Elizabeth Haines, you are entering a particular and personal world, where dreams are paramount. It radiates with a quiet inner light, and the viewer is almost an intruder, as it is a very private world, sometimes absolutely magical and captivating. This same ‘other worldliness’ is as true of her so-called representational paintings as it is of her abstract ones.