Watercolor Semi Abstract Landscape

River, watercolor landscape in limited palette, naples yellow, perylene green, beginner art lessons, debiriley.com

“Today’s weather forecast:  dry barren parched,  with a slim thread of a chance of rain.”

I  peer out the window, from the small airplane flying over the Australian Outback scrublands  – and look below to see this golden starkness.

Back in the studio,   I mix and paint with my watercolors. Bringing back to mind those recollections.  And Feelings.

Calling…. the scene back to mind.

watercolor landscape limited palette, daniel smith naples yellow, perylene green, debi riley watercolor art, beginner watercolor techniques, debiriley.com
Golden Landscape


Watercolors, Abstracts and The Outback

The Australian Outback seen from above is a glorious abstraction of nature.


Salt pan lakes, emerald and jade green ponds dot the area, winding river courses looking like webs and entangled root systems all make for perfect subjects…..  For Watercolor Semi Abstract Landscapes!


In my painting, the drought stricken golden earth is dominant.

With a small hint of sage green along a meandering, but dried up river bed.


And, the Green perylene watercolor paint is used subtly.





A Duet:  Colors Used

The two watercolors I used were Naples Yellow and Perylene Green.

A limited palette makes life simpler. Calmer.


By just using the 2 colors:

  • Creates unity through out;
  • there is no worry about  ‘mixing a bunch of colors;’
  • its much easier to achieve better  contrasts for beginners;
  • it creates mood and ambience;
  • it created a feeling of barrenness  I was aiming for.


  • Naples Yellow – Daniel Smith watercolor  (Pw4, Py25, Pr101)
  • Perylene Green Daniel Smith …..  (Pbk31)
  • I also quite like Winsor and Newton’s Perylene green, as well.




Watercolor Painting Process


  • The process of creating the abstract landscape was fairly fast and simple.
  • Its just a matter of timing the paint applications.
  • I need to be sure the Naples Yellow is still dampish on the paper when I put the green in.
  • I don’t want the Naples Yellow too sloppy wet. Nor bone dry.
  • That’s the ‘Fine Line’ I need to adhere to.



  1.    I applied Naples Yellow watercolor first
  2.    then tilted the paper, Slightly….
  3.     while applying the Perylene green.

Where they ran and blended together, they shimmered abit and had fluctuations in their tones.

This creates  a  very pretty variation of pattern and texture. Perfect technique for the semi abstract watercolor landscape I thought.





My motto is:

If at first go I do not get it “perfect”  nor  get it quite right,

I’ll just  have several more plays!

MORE  Fun!



I did several before this one happened. Some went crazy.  Some were too dry.

But this one… is just right.

It has a zen quality to it, that pleases me.

To be honest,  I was   very happy while doing the others  too as it is such good fun.





Additional Posts of Interest


These 7 previous posts  relate  to the post theme today.   If you haven’t already read them, please do!


Colors of Green i 

Viridian   green watercolors ii 

Watercolours Red Dragon …   Naples Yellow

Zen  Simply  

Zen of Art:  Taming the Dragon “perfectionism”

Monochromes  6 Reasons to use  them 

Power in the Limited Palette 





A  Beautiful  anonymous quote:


“The earth

has music for those

who listen.”





Watercolor Semi Abstract Landscape in  Naples Yellow and Perylene Green  illustrates how effective and powerful a limited palette of two colors, can be.



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

45 thoughts on “Watercolor Semi Abstract Landscape

  1. This is gorgeous Debi!! How large is it? You wouldn’t want to show us the ones that “didn’t turn out” – would ya??!! It would be interesting to see. This totally looks like a topographical view from above. Just love it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. hi Jodi! Thank YOU!!!!
      this was 12×12 ” in its entirety, uncropped.
      and what an Idea… I could take a survey vote from you guys!
      all, wants to see a selection
      of 5-7 of Debi’s worst epic MESSES!?
      I’m game, to post these, if people are actually interested.
      usually folks just want to see the nice and pretty ones tho!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. You sure captured the feeling, Debi; I definitely get dryness and topographical from this! Thanks for the discussion of your pigments and I love the idea of using two colors alone. I haven’t even painted yet today, so we’ll see what I come up with. I would love to see what you considered a bomb (because I bet everyone else thinks it’s brilliant!) ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m chuckling… my messes, look like……
      well, mud. no light. hard edges. no focal point. chaos of too many conflicting colors and shape, 10 ring circus act.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ok i will check later,…. i’ve had a 3 day mirgraine it won’t go away, so if I don’t check email til Sunday – that is why.


  3. That’s too funny. Before I read your note, I looked at the picture and thought it looked like a satellite view of the desert with a road going through it and a greenbelt on either side.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just read everyone’s comments. Much of what I was thinking as I read your post has been said.
    I do like that you offer freely your expertise, personal thoughts, and philosophy about your paintings Debi. Thanks for sharing your beautiful artwork.


  5. Love this. Defies so many compositional conventions. And draws in both eye and mind. If we don’t move beyond received ideas, we won’t survive as a species on this miraculous planet.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was a voracious reader as a kid… remember a book about the Outback… and fire. A kids book. I was maybe 12. But was a step in making me bi-hemispheral in my mind… that, and — much later, the amazing Shirley Hazard. And my niece–2 Kiwis!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting story. I enjoyed it as much as the painting. What really caught my attention was how perfectly the painting describes “the thin thread” of a chance for rain. As always, your art is inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love a limited palette also Debi. This is so beautiful to me, I wouldn’t have guessed that it’s 12 x 12…I love all the delicate intricacies of the edges. Funny when I first saw this it reminded me of some of the photography in the videos called “Human”. These videos are very poignant. Here is a link to one of them if you’re interested. https://youtu.be/vdb4XGVTHkE (hugs)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much Heather!! I’m pleased you like this in its minimalist simplicity 🙂 I did use a 9×12 matt format vs than the full version for the post; as it just worked that little bit better! thanks for the link, and I can check it out Sunday.. Mothers Day, happy Mothers day 🙂 cheers, Debi


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