Creative and Imaginative “What If” Watercolours

daniel smith serpentine watercolours,

A couple of months ago I purchased a new Daniel Smith paint, a lovely green Serpentine.

I already have a few (ok ok, quite a few)  but this one is sourced from Australia and I thought it would come in handy with my on location paintings.

So I bought it!

Daniel Smith Watercolours, Lapis Lazuli, Zoisite, Indigo, Amethyst,
Daniel Smith watercolours


Several weeks ago, I went to make a quick run to the shops.

When I pulled into the local grocery store parking lot my eyes immediately went to a gorgeous tree with bark peeling & stripping away.

Underneath the old bark was a lovely serpentine yellow green and the upper half had muted browns and blues.

So rather than going in and doing my shopping straight away,  I retrieved my camera to shoot several photos of the tree while the light was just right.

It took half an hour walking back and forth, around the tree. I pottered about doing some close ups and touching the tree, thinking of what colours I might use to paint it.



I’ve wanted to ‘do something’  with this image but nothing had really grabbed me. Until today.

serpentine new bark
serpentine new bark

Today I  got out my Daniel Smith paints  with the idea of exploring a few new colour combinations.


One of my favourite things to do is to simply ask  “What If…?”   and then  take a risk and try it out.


After a few warm ups, I got down to some serious play. I usually seem to produce better quality images when I’m free, loose, experimenting – rather than  on a time line, with a tight rigid idea of what I have to produce.


I chose Daniel Smith  Serpentine first, as it a natural pigment actually sourced from Australia.

Next came Hematite Violet, Sleeping Beauty Turquoise and Sodalite.

I’ve not used these 4 in combination previously, so it would be a surprise.   I painted on Arches rough watercolour paper, painting each colour in strips.

Some connecting, merging and some strips left strong & harder edged.  I let this dry, while I took photos of a variety of watercolour papers (upcoming post!)


Returning to the image of serpentine, hematite, sodalite, sleeping beauty turquoise layerings – I wasn’t enjoying the image quite yet.

Tearing the edges near strips’ centres in a vertical tear, created lovely torn, bright white deckled edges for contrast.


Using a Shizen handmade 100% cotton paper as a backing, I next attached the vertical strips in an arrangement that works for me.

The vertical strips being loosely attached create the feeling of bark that is just starting to strip and peel off.


daniel smith watercolours,
Serpentine Bark


I quite like the bush feel and sensitivity of the piece.

Open to individual interpretation.

Creating  a hint of mystery and intrigue that would be missing – if it was all spelled out and ‘just like the photograph.’  Thats why I don’t generally “dot all my I s    nor  cross all my T s”  when I’m working a painting.


Its different than what my mind originally thought it was setting out to do  –    but I think with experience I’ve learned to go with what the image wants to be  rather than obstinately trying to force my will upon it with disastrous and disheartening  results.


Get your paints out,  take a risk and experiment.  Its only …paper.

I hope you enjoyed your visit and  Thank you for stopping by!




Published by debiriley

The act of creation, in any media is a fascinating and magical process. I simply love to create. Expressing in color, line, tone, texture - as if, they were words upon a page. Creating a uniquely me, interpretation. Enjoy More of my "one-of-a-kind" expressive art at and,

2 thoughts on “Creative and Imaginative “What If” Watercolours

  1. Seasons Greetings Debi,
    Just read your recent post on your photo session
    and your tree bark painting. I have used DS
    Serpentine Genuine and DS Sodalite Genuine,
    too ( in the WC stick forms). And, I do like
    both. Also, I have used torn edges for stencils
    when silk screening.
    Best wishes throughout the holidays and New Year,


    1. Thanks Leslie! Its lovely to play with the different media and make new discoveries.Art is great!
      Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, Debi


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