Watercolour’s Soft Impressionism

watercolours The Wharf impressionistic painting debiriley.com

Watercolours are my ‘go to’ medium when going out and about to paint.  Light, easy, transportable!  Fantastic for loose impressionistic smaller images that capture  mood and soft atmosphere.

watercolours The Wharf impressionistic  painting debiriley.com
Watercolours The Wharf impressionistic on site painting debiriley.com

I have found when I’m traipsing outdoors to paint, I prefer to use watercolours. They are so small and if need be,  I can get away with 1 brush, 3 tubes of paint and small postcard sized papers that fit in my pocket. Easy.

I don’t have a pack horse to carry all my art supplies around and I’ve gone past 18 a few times!

The Wharf is a great little sample of outdoor painting with watercolours on small paper with a very limited palette. The cobalt blue is dominant with little accents.

I used cobalt blue (genuine pb28,)  winsor lemon, cadmium red  and a touch of burnt sienna…. then mixed my colours.       It is quite a small image, just about 3 x 4 inches;  so,  technically a miniature as its under 4 x4 inches.



As with nearly all my paintings, I start with the Background first. Wet into wet will help me get a nice soft blurred look, perfect for the background.   Then the middle ground.  Next is Foreground.  Last is the focal point.

I sure there was sufficient light, mid, dark tones in this  especially the foreground water.  Notice how the forefront is much darker then lightens up towards the back.  That does help give more depth.    I’ve highlighted and linked some posts that are relevant to the core basics I’ve mentioned.

I  preplanned the whites  and  ‘saved’ them by leaving them white, dry and alone!   I came back later to fine tune a few bits with  some colour here and there, but otherwise leaving quite a bit of the whites, to add Sparkle.


Less is More.

I fought the urge to ‘do more’  …..  I wanted to add a lot more Bright yellow and red splashes.  But,  I restrained myself.  I have a 5 point list of things to watch out for that I keep with me, to remind me all the time.

Otherwise,  I can get “sidetracked.”     Bamboozled by all the bright and pretty colours  and all the fascinating details that the eye can see!





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

15 thoughts on “Watercolour’s Soft Impressionism

  1. Thank you so much, Debi! I can really use these pointers, and I like to work in miniature. I’m going to check back here when I have more time and review the posts you’ve referenced. I’ve read tons of books and I’m not sure any are as crisp and clear as your instructions here: start with the background, and so on. Well, I’ve skimmed lots of books. Maybe I’ve missed key points! Thanks again. Love your little painting! Are there any books you can recommend for landscape work? Have you ever thought of writing one yourself?

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    1. boy, I have a LOT to say on all that! lol I can plan A Post soon (this week) to answer and address some of your very relevant queries … 🙂 Thank you very much for your comments, questions, visits. I know how difficult/challenging it is when you are first starting out trying to do something New!! Beginners could use some good solid pointers in the right general direction 🙂 cheers, Debi

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      1. Wow, thank you so much, Debi! I and others like me would sure appreciate that! We sooo admire the more experienced artists, and I’ve found artists to be such sympathetic helpful people. That would be really great. Thanks again.

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  2. Beautiful Debi. I love the contrasts between the hard and soft edges. I also like how you knew when to stop. I find that hard to do sometimes, and to my dismay wind up with an overworked painting. Less is definitely more, and you wound up with a beauty here! ~Rita

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