Watercolor – Secrets And Risks

watercolor secrets, risks, debiriley.com

Swing the bat! Take the risk, roll the dice, suck it up!  Its just a plain piece of paper!  I tell myself. I’m not a pilot, a surgeon or …. hey, a bank teller.  No life is hinging on my choice of what colour to mix here.

watercolor secrets, risks, debiriley.com
watercolour secrets

With any new venture,  we’re all a bit cautious.  Gauging others’ reactions. Perhaps a bit guarded and less open.   Not quite willing to take those risks.

I always wanted to make sure that my efforts were good enough. To make sure that when I showed my work that they were ‘cleaned’ of me, that no hint of myself seeped through. But they were also Sterile.


That is the beginner artist’s first obstacle to overcome.    

We love the great masters,   Because they revealed Themselves!   They laid their souls bare for us to admire, to ridicule, to scorn, to love!   They risked it all.

That is the Masters’  greatest Secret.



Two Secrets To  Improving Watercolor Paintings

To maximise my improvement in painting watercolours I’ve learned there were 2 major   key secrets:  Be a risk taker.  Be willing to show authenticity.



Be willing to take Risks

Be ok with the risk.

Be at peace with the percentages. Not every time you roll the dice you win.

Not every time you get up to bat will you even make contact with the ball.   Let that be ok. Because if you are persistent,  you will get a lovely Hit!


Know the numbers, play the numbers game…. i.e. these days mentally tell myself 1 out of 10 efforts might be nice,  1 out of 20 quite pleasing and 1 out of 40 I Really Like!

I’ve made peace with that ratio.  Even making it a challenge.   It simply means I do more,  and I Count Them now.   When you look at my Gallery,  for every image up, I had painted usually another 5-15 that didn’t work out so well in the series painted.



Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  So true.  Throw caution to winds and splash that paint in abandon for once!   What is the worst that can happen?  Really!    Try out odd,  out of the box ideas. How do I know they won’t work?   Better give it a go and see.   May as well,  I’m counting to 10…..


Just let the need for every effort to be perfect or ‘nearly perfect’ ….  let it go.

watercolour secrets, debiriley.com
watercolour risk


Be willing to expose one’s inner self for public scrutiny.

Oh my goodness.  How hard is this one?!  That’s very revealing, too revealing.


That is why many of us choose to frequently paint someone else’s design, someone else’s photograph,  someone else’s painting.    I can tell myself  its because I  ‘like’ that image,  its pretty, or some such.


But, looking only a little deeper  I can find that perhaps, not only is it easier (i.e. lazy)  to copy,  it is also much less revealing.

I’m not exposing MY Self,  for scrutiny…..  No, I’m just copying Someone else. Therefore,  if their work is criticised – I will not feel too badly.


To expose my inner artist, me… is revealing my authenticity. People do not want replicas, nor do we want fake. We want the authentic version! Uncut. Uncensored. And Real.


I like artists that tell me how they really think, how they really feel.

They do that with their own unique arrangement of the design elements.  What they choose to add  and delete.  What colours, mark making, tones, edges, papers and even the brushes they use.  These all give me authentic revealing insights into the artist.    That is what enchants me and intrigues me.

And  will beckon me to return.



Summary –  Improve Your Watercolour Paintings

But I want to improve my watercolour paintings.  How can I overcome the 2  obstacles of Risk and Exposure?

Overcoming Risk avoidance  comes down to, for me,  numbers of images created  (percentages)  and  zen, a calm focused,  in the moment state of being.  Or I can say… “being in the creative zone.”


Overcoming my natural shying away from revealing (me)  the inner artist…. has come about by continually asking myself why am I painting, what do I want to express,  what inflections do I want to evoke.   If I was a writer what words, phrases, tones would I use and why, for what purpose.  Then I do it.


I also see art as a personal preference.

Some of us prefer chocolate, some hate it. Some prefer strawberry ice cream.  I view it as simply as that.  Individual tastes.  Some will love my style. Some will dislike it. I’m ok with that.   Now.


The biggest secret is,  if I am not willing to take Risks,  I will not improve. I really want to Improve – I will take those risks.


Next Wednesday’s Watercolor Secrets part 2  will delve into some nuts and bolts of the more basic aspects of watercolour painting. Until then, you may find Watercolour Tips a great resource to peruse through.




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

17 thoughts on “Watercolor – Secrets And Risks

    1. HI David, many thanks! I chose these 2 paintings as Both images were risks, in their execution as well as how they would be perceived. Perfect for this post 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed them. cheers, Debi

      Liked by 1 person

  1. My experience today….Brush, pen, pencil to paper always brings a risk, but the anticipation of the outcome quickly brings joy. Thank you Debi for expressing your thoughts on creativity. I appreciate your candor. Happy Day!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have no idea how much I needed to hear this. This is a struggle for me every time I sit down to paint. What if I mess it up and waste all that paint and all that time? What if I waste all my paper and what if I never get better or find my style? What if my style sucks or isn’t even something I like?? Oh, goodness…the train goes round and round! Ack! Thanks for posting this. I’m saving it to my tablet to re..re..re..reread a lot. 😁

    Liked by 2 people

    1. you know, I’m glad I posted that. it may not be everyone’s cup of tea… but if it helps ONE person be less frustrated, that is why it was created! I’ve been there. it does get better. all it takes is persistence. that is It. keep me posted, cheers, Debi 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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