watercolor feeling… Serenity

watercolor landscapes tree reflections, painting morning on the water using watercolors, creating mood with paint, debiriley.com

Yes,  this Impressionist Landscape is another watercolor  “re – do.”

As I paint, I find it relaxing to realise, Yes  we can return to our painting efforts later. Sometimes, much later.

We can change that painting and it can be improved.

Our painting efforts are not, “all flops and failures, and no good!”

I’m sure that this  statement will resonate with many readers, many of you who are just beginning your watercolor journeys and are often frustrated.

Take heart.  Tuck the painting into a little storage shelf or box.

For “Later.”




watercolor landscapes tree reflections, painting morning on the water using watercolors, creating mood with paint, debiriley.com
Serenity with Watercolors



There is Serenity

There is a peacefulness in knowing that sometime later, you will have the skills.

That in due time, you will have the knowledge to make the required alterations to a painting in order to showcase it to its full potential.


I don’t worry, or stress anymore about adding an image to my now quite large ‘Later’ box file.

I actually find it comforting.

Its my reserve box, full of bits and pieces, that I can select from at will when I want to paint, but not have to start right from scratch.




Later isn’t always procrastination

A secret…. The featured watercolor painting I’ve shown, was originally begun 10 years ago.



When we File our paintings  in the “Later” Box we might at first feel guilty. Or frustrated.

But,  this is not procrastination.


This is a valuable lesson in persistence, discipline, and self kindness.

So what if you end up with a box with 100 or 500  “later” images.

That only means you have 100 -500 opportunities down the track to try new resolution methods.




Recapturing the Freedom

Many times, those gathered from the “Later” box  are the ones that have the vigor, the passion, the freedom we can’t fake in our more recent works.

We can’t manufacture an authentic enthusiasm that doesn’t exist.

We may have been trying, striving too hard.  Trying to get a great painting.

Trying to get one that’s “Good Enough.”


Best to take the fresh painting with all its  many faults and do just a wee bit of tweaking, altering.

And allow the painting’s fresh youthful vitality & impulsive quirkiness, carry the day.




Perfection or Serenity?

Technical brilliance and perfection should not  always be the number #1  goal for our  art efforts.


We want the image to have spark, and Life.

And as we  know, life isn’t always ‘perfect.’   A painting effort, an artistic expression that reflects Life, gives the viewers something.

Something Real.


By showing an imperfection or two, we allow the viewer to actually feel more at ease. At home.

More calm, more peaceful, more Serene.


When something is pristine, without spot blemish or wrinkle,  ‘completely perfect’…. it tends to make many of us feel somewhat on guard.

We instinctively don’t want to do any thing  to  ‘mar’ that perfection. Nor to somehow ‘mess it up.’


We are not Serene …. in that environment.




watercolor contemporary landscape, cobalt teal blue pg50, abstract watercolor landscape, debiriley.com
Magical Mists  Burnt Umber Cobalt Teal Blue


Magical Mists watercolor with cobalt teal blue, cobalt violet and Burnt Umber.

This isn’t a “perfect” painting.

But even so, one can become lost within the branches, the textures, the subtle color transitions.

With the thin, lone sapling twisting from the marsh shorelines and the cobalt teal to insinuate sky and water… this is a very soft diffused painting.

Without technical brilliance.

But instead, it does have feeling.  It has a sense of magic and serenity that lures us in.    That works for me.



Pause when Uncertain

Back to the Featured Painting “Serenity.”

And so, once again, like the previous painting Magnolias this is an older painting.

Not new.  Not fresh off the press by any means!

But, because I had been  unclear at the time as to exactly what to do to make the improvements – I left it alone.

I put it aside.  Into my “Later” box.


Then recently, bringing it out for some alterations and remodeling.

With alot of rinsing, scrubbing and lifting to get the light back, I now feel pleased.

Now it has the emotion I wanted from it.

I feel…..  Serenity.




colors used

Burnt Umber PBr7  Maimerblue        burnt umber,  prussian blue, green earth    

Cobalt Violet PV49 Daniel Smith

Ultramarine Blue PB29 Daniel Smith

Raw Sienna PBr7  Maimeriblu



Learning Outcomes

  • limiting the palette;  3-4 paints really are plenty
  • watercolors can still be lifted off, even after 10 years
  • many so called failures, are merely efforts that are   “just not yet resolved”
  • with time, with experience, with dogged persistence, so many things can be resolved
  • cobalt violet mixed with ultramarine creates a great shadowy purple
  • for me, serenity holds more value than pure technical perfection





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

22 thoughts on “watercolor feeling… Serenity

  1. \thanks Debi I had not thought of that, going back and correcting, from now on I will have that in mind as it will stop me from overdoing things, I love your colours, I found your site by asking on google ablout the qualities of prussian blue which i love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hi Lilias, thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments! I’m glad you enjoyed the post and may find it of use. ps… I really also appreciate that you let me know “how” you found my website!
      Thank You so much for that, it is so helpful for me 🙂 cheers, Debi


    1. thank you E! and quite frankly, I do prefer magical mists. even if its on that ‘underdone’ side. it ‘melts’ and is so soft and gentle and harmonious….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like that top painting Debi – reminds me of Thomas Aquinas Daly’s watercolours. Not sure if you are familiar with them, but you should be able to find some on the web if you are interested.

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    1. I did find them Fritz; Daly comes from near an area where some of my distant relatives lived and … painted. I love his sensitivity to the land, to getting ‘mood’ conveyed so brilliantly. thank you for sharing with me! 🙂

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  3. You are absolutely right. We Improve with time and Practice. And Later box is a great idea to keep in check how much we have Improved. Beautiful Paintings though ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. you are very kind, thank you! I’d hoped that sharing the Later Box, would encourage beginners and give incentive not to feel discouraged in the short term. I think, it worked! cheers, and have a lovely week. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you! you know…. imo, circles, and straight lines, well… they’re overrated! LOL but thank you again for taking the time to look, read, and comment. I appreciate it! cheers, Debi 🙂

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  4. Beautiful painting, lovely philosophy! You’re right, even if we don’t know now what to do with a piece, setting it aside for a while may be just what it needs. Since I’ve started posting online, I’ve felt pressure to finish each artwork ASAP — so this was just what I needed to hear today. Thank you for sharing your work & your thoughts, Debi!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh my! I’m so happy that this was helpful to you at just the right moment! the pressure. is horrendous for artists well for people in general really. but, then when we go online with all the likes, shares, votes, etc. it is hard to stay resolute, strong, in your own self. for your own self. but, that is what we all have to do. …. me too !! cheers, Debi

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