Fresh Greens, Fresh Start! Watercolors

watercolor strelitzia, bird of paradise watercolour, mixing greens in watercolor, botanical leaves, ultramarine blue pb29, winsor lemon py175, prussian blue pb27,

It pays to just stop and call it a day.   After a disastrous go at my garden’s giant strelitzia, I had to pause.

I was simply doing myself no good at all by trying to keep on,  trying to ‘fix it.’

You know the saying, ‘no sense beating a dead horse?’  That is precisely what I’d begun to do.

Waiting to wake up refreshed is a fabulous idea.

The creative brain, mine anyway, always operates much better.  With a fresh start.



watercolor strelitzia, bird of paradise watercolour, mixing greens in watercolor, botanical leaves, ultramarine blue pb29, winsor lemon py175, prussian blue pb27,
Giant Strelitzia, watercolors


Gorgeous Watercolor Greens



My Motivation for this free and loose garden study was two fold.

1.  Teaching the course Mastering Color with its focus on Blue paints this term.

2. And then,  there was my previous very unsuccessful watercolor attempt at this giant strelitzia….. per the post,

WATERCOLOR-fresh start tomorrow! 



Pausing.  Waiting.

  • This is different, than giving up or quitting.
  • I put things on ‘pause’  vs  quitting.
  • Pausing allows the brain time to think about appropriate options.
  • I’d like that time frame to be less than one hour.
  • The reality is it could be. Or it could be 1 week, 1 month, 1 year.  1 decade.
  • This…….. is where “Persistence”  comes into play for the creative artist.
  • We need to remember to think  “Long Term!”
  • We’re not in this for the quick fast, Short Term.
  • Short Term motivation will get me lost. Confused. Irritated. Frustrated.
  • Short Term motivation will often lead to ….   Quitting.




The paper I chose was Fabriano Soft Press 100% cotton rag.  A gorgeous paper I have to order from overseas. But, its such a treat. Its so worth it.

Personally, I like Fabriano papers best.

I know I always suggest Arches for Beginners; as it is truly a sturdy robust no nonsense paper that will take a lot of abuse and still look great.

But once you’ve moved ‘beyond’  the beginner stage,  trying the other papers is such a wonderful delight. Its an adventure.  No. Really it is!



Drawing Tool

I ditched the pencils.  Too tight. Too confining.

Too persnickety

I headed for my big fat black Permanent Marker!

I can see eyes roll, jaws drop.    “But, what if you make a mistake? What if the line is wrong?”

Yeah,  I know!  Isn’t that excitingly fun!

Roll the dice. Take a risk.

It is after all,  simply,  a bit of paper.


And yes.  My lines went wonky. Askew.   Imperfect.    ….but, I liked it.



Watercolor Paints

I’ve mentioned,  we are exploring Blues in watercolor, as part of the Master Color course.

I’d given the class  the go ahead for Ultramarine blue,  Prussian blue, Phalo blue.

And those are the blues I’ve used to mix with Winsor Lemon.




I’ve used a 1 inch flat synthetic brush by Da Vinci.  Short handled but quite fun and I must say for a synthetic brush, I’ve been happy with it. It has limitations. But is has some lovely little assets that I optimized.  I dipped its corners into 2 differing colors and then, whacked it onto the paper. Now that was fun!

We are trained.  Conditioned.  To never, ever go outside the lines.

Its one of the first things I try to ‘repeal.’

And ask, that people TRY to go outside the lines.  To allow the paintbrush to dance around and ‘accidentally’  step out of line!




Summary  Assessment

There is adequate warm and cool  Foliage Greens  created here to indicate which leaves are in front and which ones are in back.

The overall  Tonal value structure is, ok.  I think I’d like more variation within each leaf. But that wasn’t my target goal in this exercise, so I will give myself a pass on it.

The freshness of the green colors mixes is lovely.






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 and,

27 thoughts on “Fresh Greens, Fresh Start! Watercolors

  1. Fresh greens? I thought it was going to be about a salad.;-) But those are the colours I’d look for. If I had to choose between greens and the other complimentary colours, it would be no contest. Bluish greens are my favourite. That pen and ink adds a touch I’ve always liked in a watercolour.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s lovely, Debi! I like your bold black lines and I like your idea of dipping your paintbrush into 2 different colors – at opposite ends – at the same time! Sounds like fun! 🙂

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  3. Love your fresh greens here. I have been hankering a need to explore fresh color, mingled yes but strategically where you get fresh color graduations within that mingling. Yes, I agree wait, we all want everything to work perfectly and according to our plans. Isn’t that a great joke?!!! I was just thinking about that today as I was out plein air painting (the first in months!)….I was dissing on my painting and I was barely painting for 5 whole minutes! Where in the heck did I get so impatient? I wanted it now…oh no! It isn’t going to work out! oh no!!! I want it NOW! I truly believe that you are correct. I have found when I wait especially when I can, that is, that the eye is fresher if not the attitude. Also waiting sometimes for several months has been an eye opening experience for me. I guess we all need to have a little patience. I love your emphasis on not having to be perfect. I still struggle with that, but what is truly perfect? Just take photo instead if you want ‘perfect’ but then there is always imperfection in photos as well! Anyway, didn’t mean to go on and on but your post fits right into what I have been experiencing and thinking about. Also….yes on paper! I love trying out new papers, as long as they are artist quality and….not to judge a paper the first try or two. I have found out that I fall in love with a paper once I get a feel for it…like listening to a song for a first time. Sometimes it takes a couple tries. Okay…..enough! lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank You! what a wonderful response….like a mini letter. very cool 🙂 I know why we all, want it Now. and want perfect. its a fast world we are in now that demands…. more. what we had last week, needs to be ‘bettered’ apparently. But, I draw the line somewhere. LOL cheers, YRF

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      1. And then what is amazing is bam….willing to wait, willing to have the imperfect and that can not be forced. Very interesting! You are correct, it is a fast, ‘give me now’ world, I wonder if artists back when had to deal with this fickleness? Have a wonderful weekend!

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      2. they did have fickleness in patrons and such. but, not by any stretch the type of fast paced, day by day, turn around that we are seeing Now. hoping you have a weekend of serenity and of course some form, of Art! YRF 🙂

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  4. Love this – just got a new palette and made myself pick 20 colors to put in it out of my 55 tubes……. I want to do fresher mixes. I just bought a 10 pack of Saunders sheets. What are your thoughts on this paper. I do love the Fabriano – moreso than arches – it is soft like cloth. The Saunders seems to be so too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Saunders is very good as well. I like the cold press. but, it such a good idea to explore each HP CP and the Rough. that way you get a better feel for it. plus it depends on what your subject and ‘mood’ is going to be too……… I had to add that, didn’t I ?! buying the 10 pack is a super smart thing to do Jodi 🙂 smiling!!

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