Wonders never cease. Watercolor magic with 2 paints, a skewer, dirty scuffed 15 year old paper…. I’m in for a challenge!

watercolor landscapes, prussian blue pb27, wonders in greens, debiriley.com
Wonders of Watercolor, debiriley.com


The Wonders of Watercolor

I had some old Hot Press paper that the sizing had gone off; making the paper unreliable. Very Old watercolor sometimes will do that.  This was about 15 years old.

The paint would absorb randomly,  soak in and blotch in some places while other areas were unaffected. Additionally, the paper was quite scuffed and marked.  “Dirty” paper!

I had 3 pieces that had been cut into a 8×8 size and I had no idea of which paper it actually was…most likely Saunders, possibly Arches HP.    I do try to remember to initial the paper name on my paper, but apparently I’d been ‘remiss.’

Lets see how I handle the challenge of using ‘absorbent’  and  Dirty old paper!     yikes




Limited Palette:

A limited palette of the lovely and very versatile prussian blue pb27   and   quinacridone gold po49 will work wonders.

This duo creates a wide range of greens.  From super dark to the palest tints.  Deep forested blue-greens to golden olive tones.

With just these 2 paints, I can mix greens that infer a Background, Middleground, Foreground and Centre of Interest = Depth.   This,  is going to help me create the illusion of some depth.   Hopefully, just enough.





Watercolor’s Wonderful Edges:

For the most part, I would like to have a dominance of soft misty edges.


Why?  I like how soft edges “invite and welcome”  a viewer Into the painting.

I like how softer edges all around the paper’s perimeter, the borders,  will help to bring the viewer back in to where my focal point is.


Soft edges are calming, zen, soothing, relaxing……  Serene.

I like zen things.  It suits me.   Art, watercolors with a ‘zen’ softness is the right path for me.

zen bones of time   




Changing Perspectives:


Upside and Downside. When this image was finished, I played some more. Turning it upside down.

Its fun.

When you have certain types of paintings and subjects, you can turn them around.  Look at them from another angle.


Use a new Format.  Change the  Viewpoint from Up or Down – you may see something even more interesting. It often happens.

How we as the artist look and see a thing influences how the viewer might also see them. Try to make the image, the vision “alluring, suggesting, hinting, enticing.”


Try, somehow to encourage the viewer to want to walk into and have a wander through the painting;  to sit down at the river’s edge and …breathe.



watercolor wonders, impressionist landscapes, prussian blue pb27 watercolor, debiriley.com
Upside, its a … Different Perspective, debiriley.com


Tonal Values

I always mention: Light Mid Dark tones as being critical.


And its true,  you do need at least those 3 to create a 3 dimensional look.

But really….   by aiming for a range of 9 tonal values I can achieve a more effective and eye pleasing image.


I can easily count 3.   then 5.   Now…. paying attention, I look and find my 9!




Watercolor Goal

My painting objective was a soft, impression of the Hawkesbury River, NSW Australia as the late summer fades into autumn….  with that gorgeous glow,  post sunset.

Hoping.  That one of my 3 EFFORTS on this dirty old paper would be a happy one.  The first was a mere ‘warm up.’  I discovered the paper’s liabilities.

The next 2 were ok. This one shown is the better of those.




The wonders of watercolor tips:
  • limited palette works wonders for getting great Tonal values
  • even ‘crusty’ paper can be harnessed
  • prussian blue pb27 is such a Delight, a versatile paint
  • skewers make wonderful tools to create tree trunks
  • hints of blue peeping through adds to the charm
  • allowing lots of white space adds grace, elegance
  • my focal point was, in a wonderful location
  • don’t be afraid, stressed about boo-boos
  • fear, is the real enemy
  • So Just whack the paint on Anyway!!



I count this experiment as a pretty good success using horrible, old paper most would have trashed. The delights and wonders of watercolor, never cease to amaze me.