Daniel Smith Watercolors: Gemstone Paints

watercolour textures, landscape, debiriley.com

Daniel Smith watercolors… they make it so difficult not to play!  And I’ve been playing and discovering new things with D.S. paints for over 25 years now.

Whilst teaching my experimental Daniel Smith watercolor demos and workshops at their Seattle and Bellevue stores, a friend who was on staff there, chuckled abit at my out of the box “testing” methods.

Giving me the nickname,  the “Professor.” And I guess thats true in a way.

I do love to test, to experiment. To find out what is going to happen if….   Its by combining the random, the odd sox, the unlikely that I have come up with some really fascinating techniques and color mixes that to me are breathtaking. Unique.



watercolour landscape debiriley.com
Salt Pan Lake – Daniel Smith watercolors debiriley.com


Salt Pan Lake

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is a translucent blue green creating the atmospheric feeling of distance surrounding this empty, isolated, dry Salt Pan Lake.

It has a loneliness and emptiness to  it that is relieved only by the 2 hematites I’ve chosen to use – plain Hematite that is a cooler chocolate  and the warmer Hematite Burnt Scarlet.




I tried jade paint on impasto, lapis and hematite on moulding paste getting a lot of textural effect.

Zoisite on masa paper  was lovely,  then I mixed sodalite with rhodonite.  That was a lovely surprise. I was having a lot of fun painting and creating from these jewels of the earth.

They seem to come alive with their textures and colours; and for me, so useful painting watercolour landscapes.





Winter watercolor landscape has several blues and greys blended in, including: sodalite, lapis, cobalt, tourmaline, amethyst.

There was a cool wintery  feeling conveyed through my color choices.




winter watercolour landscape debiriley.com
Winter watercolour landscape debiriley.com



Watercolour Landscapes Trees was done using just one colour – Zoisite green grey.

I chose Masa printing paper, its quite thin, but robust and I know this paper well. I’m used to it and I enjoy its texture and character.

Dampening the paper except for a thin strip, I painted the sky a light pale wash, then the far trees bait darker, near trees much darker. Making sure I didn’t let this dry, I ‘snuck’ up and let the damp brush touch the foliage greenery to allow it to flow down into ‘reflections.’

The first one did not work very well… so, you do not get to see it!



Tree Reflections watercolour landscapes
Watercolor Landscapes Trees debiriley.com


Serpentine Bark collage was a previous art work done using Serpentine, Amazonite, Tiger’s Eye, Green Apatite, Hematite.

The torn Arches and Saunders 100% cotton papers, leaving the white edge to show,  helps to convey bark stripping and peeling away from the trunk.


watercolour collage in green paints debiriley.com
Serpentine Bark collage debiriley.co



If you’re wondering how these paints are made….

Gemstone paints are made by crushing and grinding these stones into a very fine powder pigment.

Then adding gum arabic, mixing, and putting into the tubes.




Lapis lazuli gemstone and paints
Lapis gemstone   debiriley.com


zoisite-watercolour source
zoisite  source for watercolor paint debiriley.com


amethyst stones to watercolour paints
amethyst debiriley.com







amethyst and sodalite watercolour reflections by debiriley.com
Reflections in Amethyst debiriley.com



Reflections in Amethyst  was Sold, on its first outing.

I used Sodalite,  a deep intense blue grey that dilutes out to a soft grey with Amethyst.

By dampening  the Arches 100% paper, except for that tiny strip of white you see,  I was able to get a lot of nice blending and softer edges than if I was working on  dry paper.

This image was done on one of my Daniel Smith watercolor ‘experimentation’ play days. Days where I paint a lot.

A few,  turn out nicely.

Most don’t. But more importantly is I’ve enjoyed the creative time and I learn new things... every time!






Even when I ‘play’  I like to use 100% cotton paper;  the results are always better.     And,  you never know, that little experiment just may get sold!


Its always a great selling point that you have used 100% cotton paper, Archival paper,  materials that won’t yellow, warp, fade, or otherwise  cause your client future distress.



watercolour turquoise seascape debiriley.com
Watercolour Seascape Amazonite Turquoise waters debiriley.com


The Lapis and Hematite Burnt Scarlet were applied over top dried textured, moulding paste. Wow. Loved the textures and colours, great for rocks, escarpments – even tree bark.

lapis hematite watercolours
Lapis and Hematite burnt scarlet, watercolours debiriley.com






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 society6.com/debiriley and, redbubble.com/people/debijriley/shop

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