Elizabeth Haines is an artist, who has worked as a painter, illustrator, teacher and writer.
She trained at Brighton College of Art, and illustrated the memoirs of the Scottish writer, Lavinia Derwent, as well as a great many educational books and stories. She now concentrates solely on painting and teaching.
Haines moved to Pembrokeshire in 1968, and works in a studio on her farm in the Preseli mountains. Her pictures are rooted in the landscapes of Wales and of France, although most are no longer topographical. Her working methods have gradually evolved into a more flexible and imaginative approach, her style has becoming more abstract, more suggestive and more mysterious. She walks a tightrope between the real and the imaginary world, the figurative and the abstract, using poetry as a powerful source of ideas. Although her work is always reinforced by drawing from life, it is often described as surreal and dreamlike. She will start a painting by making what appear to be random marks and then allowing the subject to evolve. She comments, ‘There usually comes a point where the music of shape and colour take on the appearance of something I once saw or experienced, perhaps forgotten since that moment, and I work on it until it feels right.’ The collector William Gibbs has said of her pictures, ‘You can enter them on a simple level … 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.’
An injury to her right wrist in 1999 forced her to paint left-handed and this marked a shift in her art. She says, ‘Painting with the left hand and, so we are told, with the right side of the brain, freed me from the constraints of traditional perspective and composition and allowed my work to become more uninhibited, drawing deeply on memory and imagination.’ If necessary, she still paints with her left hand. Her favourite artists include the early 20th century European painters, including Klee and Kandinsky, and the British school, including Palmer, Hitchens, the St Ives painters and the Scottish colourists.
Haines has always been interested in the relationship between different strands of the arts. She comments, ‘I came to philosophy not from an academic standpoint but as a practitioner in one of the arts, fascinated by the possibility of family relationships between them all.’ She studied for a PhD in philosophy at University of Wales Lampeter and this was awarded in 2001. Her thesis was entitled, ‘The Web of Exchange: a study of relationships between the separate arts.’ She is immensely grateful to her tutor Bob Sharpe, writing ‘He was a wonderful supervisor, and I was not the only person to remark … that he was the best teacher I ever had.’
Teaching has been a long standing interest, and she has been running workshops for children and adults for over 40 years. She is particularly interested in using art to introduce philosophy to children and gives sessions in schools which combine art and thinking, ‘Thinking through Art’. She extends the traditional philosophy for children activities of thoughtful and challenging discussions to looking, drawing and painting. Children are asked, ‘Can we think with shapes, forms and colours as well as we can with words?’ Some have commented, ‘I learnt if you focus you can draw better,’ ‘To do art you’ve got to use your brain and your heart’ and ‘I have learnt that when you really look at a picture properly it is easier to draw it and you notice things you didn’t before.’
Haines has been Artist in Residence at the National Eisteddfod, the Royal Academy of Music and at a number of schools. She has paintings in the collections of the Contemporary Art Society for Wales, the National Library of Wales and the University of Wales, as well as countless private collections at home and abroad. As well as her studio gallery, her pictures are also found in a number of smaller galleries, including The Attic Gallery, Swansea, Canfas in Cardigan, Goat Street Gallery in St David’s and The Golden Sheaf Gallery, Narberth.
Haines, E. (2020). Welcome to the website of artist Elizabeth Haines. Retrieved September 18 2020 from http://www.elizabethhaines.co.uk/
Arts Wales: artist philosophical after abstract changes. (2002, August 17). Western Mail. Retrieved from https://infoweb-newsbank-com.ezproxy.uwtsd.ac.uk/resources/doc/nb/news/0F58E1F768E5FD84?p=UKNB
Gallery Q. (n.d.). Elizabeth Haines. Retrieved September 18 2020 from https://www.galleryq.co.uk/artist/elizabeth-haines/
Canfas(2019). Elizabeth Haines. Retrieved September 18 2020 fromhttps://www.canfas.co.uk/artist-profiles/elizabeth-haines/
Haines, E. (2010). Some memories of doing philosophy at Lampeter, 1994-2001. The Link. 64, 8-9. Retrieved September 18 2020 from http://www.sdtcom.co.uk/Link/Lampeter%20Link%204-2010.pdf