Watercolor: Start Easy (and don’t poke the bear)

watercolor landscape, monochrome, greens, calm and relaxed, debiriley.com

I wonder why a lot of us want to jump in off the deep end right NOW!  When  we don’t know how to swim yet?

Sometimes its better to begin in the shallows, especially with watercolors.

In the shallows we can learn how to be cool, calm and relaxed.

Learn how to float… first.   Start easy.


watercolor landscape, monochrome, greens, calm and relaxed, debiriley.com
Watercolors on a Quiet Day…debiriley.com


Watercolor:  first, learn the ropes


Learn the ropes first.

Then start swinging from the highwire,  being that daredevil you know you are!



Create very simplified watercolor scenes

The first few weeks – just compose variations of this simple and easy design:

  1.    A sky.

2.    A mountain.

3.    A foreground hill, or two.



watercolor landscapes easy for beginners, simple watercolor technique to start, debiriley.com
Start Easy, watercolors debiriley.com (c)


With the Sky  –  The distance takes up much of the space and is very quiet.


The far mountain is subtle, isn’t it?


The incoming hills changing from Blue, to green, to the dark burnt sienna  in the Front create all the depth one needs.

To merely suggest,  and to just ‘allude’ to the landscape.

Not dotting the i nor crossing the t.



Keep it simple. To start with.





Simpler Start with Watercolors


Make life simpler with your  beginning  watercolor journey.

Monochromatic (1 paint) palettes are a wise choice, also very beautiful and evocative.


Too many colors for a beginner, to start with, can cause some real troubles.


Don’t poke the bear!



Burnt Sienna PBr7, monochrome watercolor landscape mountains, trees, debiriley.com
Burnt Sienna monochrome watercolor debiriley.com

The above Burnt Sienna monochrome,  is subtle and filled with unity. The tonal scale is good, the clarity is fine…. I didn’t need more than the one color after all.




Watercolor with only Two paint colors…. still relaxed and easy on the eyes.

This is Burnt Sienna PBr7   and   Indanthrone blue PB60 in  combination,  that’s it.  Lovely duo.

watercolor landscape trees, with texture, debiriley.com
Watercolor with a  textured Twist debiriley.com  (c)   2016   copyright



related posts of interest

July watercolors I  

Monochromes  what’s great about them!

Browns  in watercolors

A Very Simple, Watercolor Leaf   





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

39 thoughts on “Watercolor: Start Easy (and don’t poke the bear)

    1. it combines so well with some stainers; but, I like lunar black BEST!! LOL thank you Margaret, and yes…. so many colors…. its almost, a “Problem” hehehe


  1. Aww I love this post Debi! Guilty as charged…jumped into watercolors with complicated in mind and the winging it attitude. BUT your post made me realize that yes, why not start easy and slowly. Start with one color…mastery….then build from there….still mastery. Minimal is always beautiful! These artworks says a lot about you as an artist and as a person. Thanks again, Debi! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. sometimes we need to jump and splash; but other times I think we need to figure out why things ‘go awry’…. then next time we jump in, we know how to remedy and rescue the tiny things that ‘bug us!’ thank you Carrie, always enjoy seeing your thoughts on the posts!!! cheers, Debi

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Debi – such good advice I must heed. Please tell me how you did the burnt sienna monochrome. I so struggle with landscape. What do you do first, and did you use masking for the trees? Did you draw first or just go paint to paper? Can’t wait to hear 🙂 I love that one! LOVE LOVE SWOONY Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks Jodi! gosh, I’ll probably do a post on trees and nature soon. How I now get ‘into the landscape’ mode! as its all too long for here!
      and NO. no masking fluid. sketch a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post Debi! I especially like the monochrome painting. Whenever I have gone off the rails with my painting, I regrouped and started again in black and white, monochome or at least with a limited pallette.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you. I do notice how lovely, relaxing I find your charcoal and monochromatic artworks…. they have a very unique and gentle feel I love.


  4. I have experienced jumping the deep end before swimming, and yeah, it didn’t work well that way (‘._.)
    But I enjoyed your blog though! You’ve got some wonderful paintings here I must say *_*

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the Burnt Sienna monochrome! Breathtaking! I think I’m going to follow along to gather tips 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that is awesome! thank you so much, I appreciate your lovely comment and your follow! I hope you have a good time looking around and find some inspiring things 🙂 cheers, Debi

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, I see Jodi’s inspiration now. Really lovely, Debi. Love them both, actually. Dying to know how you got the texture in the second one. They’re both WC so I’m guessing some kind of textured WC ground? Or maybe pumice gel, as that’s absorbent to WC as well. Really love them both, can’t even pick a favorite. Simple and beautiful. This is key, and what draws me back to your work again and again.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. hi Laura, thank you 🙂 will keep this kinda brief as am a bit ‘under at the moment. the second was done with molding paste as a base applied with knife, dried. then watercolors…. ‘softly’ judiciiously applied onto the textural support. the support i used was masonite mdf board. thanks, ((Laura)). hope you are well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sending prayers for you to feel better again soon. Wow, I’ve never tried getting this kind of look with molding paste. Didn’t think it was possible. Very beautiful and love seeing your work again. I wish WP wasn’t such a time-consuming thing, just don’t have the time right now to be here other than sporadically but it’s so nice to chat and I hope you’re right as rain soon, my friend. Lifting you up 🙏


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