Speaking, with softness

canon 600d photographs, canon 100mm nature photos, water reflections in macro, debiriley.com

In life, so it is in art.  The loud, the shouting, the bright, the brazen are often who are heard.  The only ones heard, listened to.

They trumpet their wares with sharp edged precision.

Those that speak in softer tones without the sharp, hard edges often become the wallflowers.

In life, so it is in art.

conveying emotion in media, expressing mood in art and photography, soft edges for depth, debiriley.com
Threads of jade silence


Soft Spoken Art

But can I turn that around? I’ll do my best.

Come, see these subjects that speak deeply, thoughtfully, with Feeling…. in their soft spoken, abstracted like beauty.


canon 600d, macro 100mm, nature photography, pictures of zen, soft edges in art, debiriley.com
Early Dawn, dollars in the sun
Where the images came from

I’ve been on a quite a few short zen strolls, those were lovely.   And a some hard, strenuous hikes recently.

With camera and lenses in hand, I’ve been hard at work! 

From – surfers gliding the transparent cobalt teal sea, to the glorious Indian Ocean sunsets, to the zen hike at the zoo.

And of course, my yesterday’s zen stroll around the block, finding  a myriad of surprises.



My activities have accumulated 5000 photos in just a couple weeks.

From the many,  there may be a few that speak in the tones I wish.


Now,  for the culling. Not. As fun.

But now I DO have ample material with soft edges for today.



canon 600d photographs, canon 100mm nature photos, water reflections in macro, debiriley.com
Emerald and Jade, ripples



Fear of Soft Edges

Soft edges are hints, suggestions and nuances.

Blurred lines and shapes, that open and envelop.  Soft edges are not defined.


They allow the melding of ideas, of tones, of colors, of movements to blend together – whether in song, or in dance, in poetry or in painting.


Soft edges allow our imaginations to soar and our intellect to query.




Many modern artists, those just starting out, may have a fear and an apprehension with softness of edges. I did too! 


Perhaps, there is a misunderstanding.

Perhaps there is an uncertainty in the use, in the placement, in the application and techniques.

Perhaps softness does not resonate within some….. and their unique personal art style is a harder style.

Maybe more like Ellsworth Kelly, Escher or Mondrian. It could well be.


But for the rest of us,  this apprehension of those  Soft and ill defined edges,  is there.  In masse.



We don’t have to be afraid of soft edges.

Whether we dance, cook, paint, draw, sing, or write.

We don’t  need to have it all spelled out, leaving nothing for the imagination, for the intellect.

We may tell ourselves we need it.



But isn’t it really, truly, because it is Faster.


To have the thing already defined for us?

Already spelled and mapped out.

A  premade item all we need to do is pop it in the microwave to consume?

…. for the most part,  I’m thinking, yes.



This,  is a major part of our Fear of soft edges and ill defined things.

Just the realisation that our compulsion for Faster, for Easier –  is all the fear is,  goes far to ease much of that fear from us.

In truth, many times, we simply create our own fear because we want something …. Immediately.



Hold on, Not so fast!

It takes, on average about 10,000 hours.

To become skilled and master a subject.

We do  need to want this skill passionately enough to do the time.



depth and perspective with soft edges, macro flower photography, canon 600d, speaking softly with soft edges in art, debiriley.com
Beauty in Edges, depth



Inspired by Subtleties

Let me show you, why many times I am so much more inspired and awed by the background of an image, when it is so with excellence.

When the background – becomes the piece de resistance.  




composition, design tips, focal point in art is in focus, sharp edged, background is soft edged, depth in landscapes, debiriley.com
Focal Point, Is in focus, is sharp edged



For maximum depth, we need a Sliding scale of blurred and sharp edges.

Variations and progressive gradations in those edges.

Smooth and Seamless is my ideal.


The Focal Point, most always needs the hardest and sharpest edges to draw the eye to it.

The middle ground is less sharp.  The background – can be a wide range of blurred edges.

A sea of melting, merging colors, shapes and tones.





macro flower photography, spring violet bud, canon 600d, canon 100mm macro lens, speaking softly with soft blurred edges, art tips for beginners, debiriley.com
Shy: its all about the soft edges


Soft Edges

Soft edges are a perfect backdrop to create more depth, more distance, recession and perspective.

They also hint at open windows, doors and open arms. Open minds.




woodland violets, macro flowers, canon 600d, soft edges in art, purple flowers, zen stroll, nature walks, debiriley.com
Woodland violets

Cool greens, greys, lilac purples look charming.  Woodland violets’  blurred softness throughout evokes a clear mood, a feeling.

We have such an abundance of soft edges here,  it denotes perhaps a forest dreamscape.



nature walks, nature photography, canon 600d, canon macro 100mm lens, creating soft blurred backgrounds for mood and depth, debiriley.com
Another Realm, in greens


Soft, as

This has a very high ratio of soft edges to sharp,  about … 96% soft blurred to maybe 4% sharp/harder edges.


pink rose petal, macro flower photo, canon 600d, debiriley.com
Soft, as



Back in the studio, glancing from the vase to outdoors – we get another perspective.


still life photo, soft blurred edges, canon 600d, soft focus background, debiriley.com
inside looking out



Speaking with softness, doesn’t mean to go unheard.

But to choose, with care where the tones, lines, and edges go.

Sharp and soft.  Those edges,  they are as if they were your words.




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

38 thoughts on “Speaking, with softness

    1. Sawsan, thank you.
      I’m pleased that you enjoyed this post. Its always lovely knowing someone sees the underneath and the layers, not just the pretty photos.
      I appreciate your comments, cheers, Debi


  1. All lovely images Debi – I love soft focus, blur, bokeh and that very narrow depth of field you get with a wide aperture – it’s creative and very much appeals to the artist in me…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank YOU! yes. that is it exactly! even before I knew anything at all, or even did art…. I liked the blurred background. My sister, taught me ‘old school’ manual camera how to select the fstop. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s interesting to talk about the loud competition of life. It is not possible to hear what a person is screaming at you. It’s not possible to hear what’s being said when a crowd of loud people compete to be heard unless you take the natural course. Say three people are arguing, if all are screaming then no one is being heard but if one person drops their voice then the natural tendency is for the others to listen harder… its natural, they can’t go against that nature, they will listen harder to hear the voice that drops softer than their screaming. Of course this isn’t the same in political setting or a concert but in every day life this nature can’t be ignored.

    I agree wholeheartedly that in art some things should be left to the imagination. I like hard lines but it’s also true that I put all the soft lines inside hardened outlines. If I start out with an emotion I’m attempting to convey (like the zen images you collected) and then I try to convey that emotion with color and lines. I struggle though with balancing the two. When I paint I don’t start off with an idea of what to paint. I paint purely from an emotional standpoint with no references other than my brain. The color mud that comes out is sometimes thick with lines or so abstract with soft edges that a person just swirls. Both are desired at times in art therapy but when creating art for sale, this is not desired. Again, I have a hard time turning off my brain to get a well balanced piece. Hmm.. that means I’m hearing the loud voices of habit more than the soft voice of balance. I need to work against that nature, don’t I?

    I really enjoy your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wow. Faith, what a beautiful and thought filled response. I read every line, waiting for the next!
      Your phrase …”the loud voice of Habit more than the soft voice of Balance…” Is brilliant.
      Thank YOU. I so appreciate your reading and your comments. cheers, Debi

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What an especially wonderful post today! With so many marvellous images! There is one absolute favorite for me that is “Shy” Can’t really tell why …the soft colours?… the little one in the centre of interest?…the hopes of the bud…? its attitude?…the leaves around like a protective power? … All of it! Cheers, Petra 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Petra, thank you so much for sharing that! I’m stoked!
      its such a delicate, little thing, people pass by its beauty looking for the BIG and BOLD.
      Glad that YOU noticed. I made a special trip, to get my violet shots, as the ones I’d had all deleted from computer when it died last year. This trip to the zoo, yes, zoo. was all about…. “getting tons of Violets” so I did. Thanks again, I am so very pleased you enjoyed it and let me know! cheers, Debi

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Andrew, its really lovely that you enjoyed this post. The hikes – well, there were no hills ….. nor speed of any kind, for that matter. LOL Cheers, Debi

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautifully written 😍😍😍 Btw please check out my blog I have started blogging recently 🙃

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: