Early Paintings

I have been drawing since infancy but it was not until my sophomore year in high school that my Dad (an excellent watercolorist) enrolled us both in a Saturday morning oil painting class in Newport, Rhode Island.  I was the only kid.  It didn’t take me long to realize that this was something I could do.  Mixing colors was easy for me, and the effects I found you could get with a brush and pallet knife were like magic.  Not that I turned out any masterpieces or really any saleable stuff.  But I loved painting from the very beginning, and I have been at it ever since.  In this section, are some of the better products I generated during the summers I was in college and law school.  I sold a fair number of paintings at shows in Virginia Beach and Norfolk in this era, but I do not have photographs of any of those works.  What you see here are some of the ones  we kept in the family.
– John Haines

During this recent visit to the States, my brother showed me one of the bedrooms in his house in Newport News, VA that he had redecorated with antique furnishings.  On the wall was this small painting –about 9×12 inches –which I had done back in the 1960’s and about which I had forgotten completely. The subject, I think, was taken from an advertisement in American Artist Magazine (although that fact should probably not go into any caption on the website.)  What I find interesting is the very different style I was using then: lots and lots of paint.  Not too bad, is it?

That is the Swahili word for “Freedom”, and I did this painting shortly after finishing Robert Ruark’s novel by that name which dealt with the author’s prognostications concerning the impending independence of Kenya and the return (from a British prison) of Jomo Kenyata to serve as its first president.

I don’t remember where I saw the photograph upon which this early work was based, but the penetrating blue eyes of the girl really got to me and I tried to capture them in the painting. I don’t know if I succeeded entirely but, if not, I got pretty close.

Early painting made for a friend.

This is a painting I did while still in law school, back in the Middle Ages when I was still basing paintings on photos I came across in magazines and newspapers. Here we have a weary Pakistani soldier, a jeep driver as I recall, grabbing a smoke break in the mountains on the border with India.

“I loved painting from the very beginning, and I have been at it ever since.”

In this painting, which won Best in Show in a juried exhibit in 1962, a migrant worker identifies the body of his friend who has drowned during a rare day-off outing to the beach.

This playful Peruvian girl has snatched her father’s shotgun.

Tired but still game, an American football player takes a breather.