Wabi Sabi Watercolor – Winter’s Tree

watercolor winter tree, wabi sabi painting, holiday art, debiriley.com

My Wabi Sabi Winter Tree!

Watercolor…. wonderfully zen.



watercolor winter tree, wabi sabi painting, holiday art, debiriley.com
Watercolor Winter Wabi Sabi Tree



Wabi Sabi Art

What, is this ‘wabi sabi’  I keep writing about?!   Its simply a way of looking at art, of creating art that helps me get rid of the negative critic and helps broadens my views.

For me its like ‘clean art.’  Simplicity. Pure.

Back to nature, back to the core essence.  Back to basics, really.  (I can liken it to food… eating a clean diet of pure and simple foods.)


Wabi Sabi is a Japanese Asian approach to finding beauty in things that are imperfect, impermanent, and unfinished.

Thats a  really, super brief summary.

To help give you more insight and understanding about Wabi Sabi, you can check out these posts:  7 Days of Zen   # 1 – 7



Thin Red Line

In the spirit of the holidays, I chose to add the thin red line in a vertical rectangle around my tree.   One of my earlier posts,  titled “The Thin Red Line” was,  a bit of an inspiration.

Red, even a sliver…… has a great deal of Power.




Daniel Smith watercolors -Prussian blue pb27 and a whisper… of Hansa Yellow Light py3 created my blue green for the tree.

  • I wanted a (Wintery) cool blue green, not a Yellow green!
  • So I was super ‘Judicious’  with the yellow.
  • Limiting my palette, to 2-4 colors,  always is one of my main goals.
  • Its the secret to great transparency, clarity, wonderful watercolor mixes.
  • And is a great way in  avoiding mud!


Once again, the watercolor brush I chose was the Rekab #2 320s.

The ultra Fine tip, the super sensitivity, the performance and versatility of this brush.   I haven’t used a better brush, I’ve tried hundreds of brushes.   Some  Kolinsky, Isabey, Raphael, etc.  Still,  Rekab wins.   For me.




I thought about the design for a bit.  My thoughts on what I wanted:

  • lots of stunning white space, …like Toko Shinoda
  • asymmetrical branches, staggered;  not even!
  • the trunk to gently, continue on. out of the picture
  • green-blue  with red,  For the Holiday Theme
  • keep the image clean, sharp, illustrative
  • using vertical line directionals
  • creating my signature on the side, on a vertical



Just a quick look at another painting that also has a Vertical signature:

Watercolours Wild Floral fast and loose painting debiriley.com
Wild Floral fast and loose 10 minute watercolor



Wabi Sabi Watercolor Winter’s Tree  was a lovely, fun painting.  I enjoyed the way the brush took over and expressed the wonderful holiday mood!





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

23 thoughts on “Wabi Sabi Watercolor – Winter’s Tree

  1. It must take real guts and abandon to put down that thin red line once and then leave it alone! Beautiful simplicity once again. I also like your bottom painting – soft but energetic at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks and its true, I usually do paint with abandon. taking the risk. But, I will confess in this case – that red line, is really from my photo editor. I’ve been exploring more what it can help me do. It gives me more options.
      When I am painting, I try to remind myself: its merely, a piece of paper. no worries if it gets wrecked. 🙂


    1. hi Petra, thank you for such a lovely comment. I appreciate you pausing – and taking the time. It is a very busy time of the year. I’m glad you enjoyed this winter tree! wishing you a happy holiday, cheers, Debi

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The tree is simply beautiful. I have read and loved wabi sabi for years…am so glad to find you, someone else who loves it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank You Carol!!
      I have a big SMILE!
      same here 🙂 I don’t suppose its the easiest concept for our Western minds to ‘get’ – it takes time, for it to sink in. I’d love to go to Japan and really study it – just it – for a year. lol Thanks again Carol, Wishing you a joyous and peace filled holiday 🙂 Debi


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