Obsidian Depths, Cerulean Shallows… river in oils

oil painting on wood board, abstract river in greens, indigo blue, cerulean and cobalt green paints, debiriley.com

Lured by the Colors. But looking for gold.

In the obsidian indigo depths and the cerulean shallows.

I find the colors pleasing. Soothing. Melodic.

A beautiful summer’s melody you can only hear if you stop and really listen for it.


oil painting on wood board, abstract river in greens, indigo blue, cerulean and cobalt green paints, debiriley.com
Cerulean Shallows & Obsidian Depths


Abstract Oil Painting on Wood


Where is the gold?

Hidden underneath.






We have to dig.

Search it out.


Or we will pass it by.





Findings from the storm


The storm rages.

Torrents of water flood downstream.

Carting along the dirt, the sand, minerals, and gold in its wake.


The dark currents of indigo, churn the minerals and sediments as they slough off the hillsides and course down the river bed.

The dense nuggets and flakes of gold bounce along, buffeted, finally settling.

Into little protected pockets, small little envelopes.

Perfect for resting in, perfect for hiding in.



So its right after a really  big storm….

that is the best time to go on your gold quest.


Give the water time to settle and clear.

Then head for the hills.

There’s new gold, in the river.

In the obsidian depths and past the cerulean shallows.





Oil on Wood

I had a lot of fun playing with oil paints, this time using an old wood board.

It was quite beaten and rough.

The textures of the grain show through.


Diversifying my painting supports is a great way to both challenge myself and to obtain something unique.  Something worth repeating.

Its a risk!  I win some, I lose some.

But, I never know unless I give it a go.

This worked out nicely with river like textures showing through.



How the paint was applied.

The old wood board was primed and gessoed, then allowed to dry.

Time to paint….

White, Winsor Lemon, Indigo, Cerulean oil paints were used and blended together.

I used an old stiff paint brush and cotton rag to apply the paint.

With a dominantly horizontal directional movement, slightly angled.


Tonal Values:

By limiting the colors and ensuring clear tonal values within, the image even as an abstract – holds the eye.

While the my previous art painting Watercolors Inspired by Peace – was a great example of what High Key is,   this painting is a good representation of Low Key.


High Key: a higher ratio of White, Light and Mid tones rather than Darks.

Low Key: a higher ratio of Mid and Dark tones rather than Light/white tones.




Partner Posts

Gold n Umber River


cerulean landscape

indigo  vase contrasts 

indigo imagination 

river runs

face of a river 




Points I like about Obsidian Depths….

I love this color palette

The specific color selection creates  “A  Mood”


It is Simple,

yet my eye can be at ease within it for quite some time,  Resting


Our eye is zoomed right in to a small space within the river,

Zooming in, makes it  feel – Personal.


The wood’s texture worked for me;

it helped to provide the front dark eddies on top of the cerulean




Without the obsidian band (indigo) this image would fail.

Without the few tiny, fragile snips of golden flakes it would fail.

Without the color’s edges being properly blurred, it would fail.

Without the Square format, it also would fail.


There are lots of things to ponder before we paint, as we paint, after we paint.


These things, should never take away from the fun and freedom,  the spontaneous creativity we have while we paint.   

Its always,  much more important … to just paint.






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

17 thoughts on “Obsidian Depths, Cerulean Shallows… river in oils

  1. Very poetic! Ever since I saw my first piece of obsidian in a grade five rock collection project, I’ve loved this rock and its dark, shiny colour (or, I should say, lack of colour).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. growing up in the Pac NW & playing in the creeks… I always wished to find gold. lol but would find black stones and quartz instead. I love onxy and obsidian even now. Never found Gold, til we moved to Australia and panned for gold after big storms went through & uprooted flakes and little nuggets. it was fun!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s so funny. I always wanted to pan for gold too. Used to get out there when we had spring runoff and the first pebbles showed in the ditches. (Good luck! Haha!) It was a kid’s dream. Unlike you though, I never did get to find any for real.


  2. Debi..I am intrigued !?..curious..(love your art-piece ❤️) ..but What is obsidian??..I have never heard that term..a colour / and or rock name? ..or both..not sure about ‘onxy – either . Lol. A rock, gem..?
    Glad I asked!!.Thanks..Joanne W.
    Night 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ps. I love the idea of working on wood, for painting..🌿..On the piano..deep tones are the bass end of keyboard, middle range (is mid-tone) and after middle C.. Upward is High tone..Much like a piece of canvass the way you describe it..!!..First basics of piano learning too. Both disaplines really share the same kind of beginnings..
    Easy to kind of translate between the two 🎶…🎹🎨..Just some interesting trivia from my end..🎨🎨..😊..I am not very knowledgable about Colour though. Learning..Much appreciation Joanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d have loved to have learned to play the piano! and I do think painting and music have alot in common Joanne 🙂 you probably have a piano, or used too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah!..yes, I still have my beautiful upright Piano!!..dwelling with me, like a beloved friend!!..I am So blessed for that!!..Debi..Thank you for asking..💓..

        Liked by 1 person

  4. It isn’t only delightful to look at this painting with these wonderful hues with the gold in its deepest, darker parts but to read your thoughts about it! Your joy of words is contagious, too! Cheers, Petra

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you! that is such a lovely comment 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the post, both aspects. Sometimes, I really do love writing nearly as much as I do painting, lol wishing you a lovely rest of the week

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Gorgeous colours and textures and the tiny nuggets of gold are genius! Your descriptive words are great too – straight away I was transported to a 19th century gold rush, with prospectors desperately digging for their fortune…

    Liked by 1 person

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