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!