5 Art Techniques: shouting or soothing

creating attitude and mood in art, conveying sass in a painting, watercolors with attitude, debi riley watercolour lessons, palette knife watercolor paintings, debiriley.com

What a contrast!   The calm, contemplative quietness of previous paintings in comparison to today’s image.

With an almost aggressive stance the bouquet  leaps in front, jumps ahead of the line.


Its seems strange to think that paintings can soothe us, or can provoke us.  That  they can create mood, feeling,  ambience, atmosphere.

That they can alter us.


But they do.

Well, they can. And I think they should.


Should make the viewer react, in some way.


creating attitude and mood in art, conveying sass in a painting, watercolors with attitude, debi riley watercolour lessons, palette knife watercolor paintings, debiriley.com
Shouting out, floral watercolors


Floral Watercolors

“A Flower bouquet.… so pretty;  and in watercolors!

Oh they will be so delicate and soft,” we think to ourselves.


Do we expect them to be so strident?


High Maintenance?

No.  Not the first thing that comes to mind is it!?


We can make (construct) our paintings to emit any vibe, any response, that we want them to.   How?



5 Art Techniques That Elicit an Emotional Response

Each of these 5 techniques, cause the Viewers to have a quick, gut reaction to a painting.


Color plays a role. 


Warm colors or Cool colors.

Warm reds, oranges, yellows will be more upbeat.  Cool blues, lavenders, greens create a sense of space, coolness.

Wintery? or Sunny and cheerful?  Soft or harsh… Intensely saturated and bright or greyed off, neutral and gentled?

You… are in charge with the colors you choose.

Your choice of Colors can have a sharp “bang” to them or provide a smooth,  relaxing serenity.

Imagine Monday, flower painting watercolor, debiriley.com
Softer Sunny Flowers


Staining watercolor paints, prussian blue pb27, Impressionist watercolor landscape mountain, granulating paint manganese blue, cerulean blue, debi riley watercolor, debiriley.com
Mountain in cool Cerulean,Prussian Blue




Key is another factor.

“Key”  is another term,  for tonal values;  assessing the Overall image for tone dominance.

Is the majority of the painting on the darker side ie low key…  or is the majority on the lighter side ie high key?


High key  under normal conditions will convey a lighter, more cheerful, happier, brighter mood and emotion.

Low key often denotes a more somber, darker, ambience.


burnt umber indigo watercolour landscape debiriley.com
Low Key  – Landscape



If I had to assess my Featured, floral watercolor palette knife image, I’d call it  High Key. 

The break down of tone percentages would be roughly… 55% Light tones   35% Mid tones    10% Dark tones.




Edges are an underestimated player. 

Edges.  I love to use Edges in my art work.

They just tell the story better, create better depth, more interest to the paintings.


Soft edges that blur off provide the viewer with a sense of calm, serenity, welcome, gentleness.

These edges “invite” us in.

Hard, crisp, sharp edges act as barriers and walls.  Keeping us rigidly ‘out.’

Keeping us restrained and in place.    Defined…. and in the box.


sea shore impressionist oil painting, moods of the ocean, conveying the essence and spirit, beach painting in oils, debiriley.com
welcome to the beach, oil painting    Soft Edges


Use your Edges well.  Place them as if they were in your home; and you want your visitors in the allowed rooms, to feel welcome.



Direction, line movement another.

Horizontal line directionals convey calm ‘restfulness.’

watercolour textures, landscape, debiriley.com
Salt Pan Lake


Vertical movement in the painting will express a more energetic, assertive vibe.

Forest Painting palette knife  –   Vertical Directionals


The diagonal line is the most active.  This expresses the most ‘wildness’ of the three.

A jagged diagonal conveys dynamic energy, unrestrained.


Typically  a balance of the 3 is a great design technique.


There is also a circular directional movement you can employ, it is trickier.  But it can certainly impact the viewers’ responses.   Taking them around and inward, probing in, and leading into the image.   Its another tool for the artist to think about!

contemporary art for offices, abstract art painting, acrylics, debiriley.com
Abstract Green Sphere



Materials and Tools used also play a role.

The Palette Knife, as I used it in the Feature floral bouquet image,  has created quite an abrupt sharpness to the painting.


Brisk.  Now! A Demand is being placed upon the viewers’ eyes with each stroke of the knife.





What do we want our Audience, our Viewers to….  feel ?

That’s the question we need to ask before we begin our paintings.


fresh, no fiddle watercolors, debiriley.com
Fresh Flowers, NO fiddling!


A similar floral bouquet to the featured painting; this is also high key.

But  the shouting and stridency of the featured painting is not in this last one.

Here we have a gentler feel to the floral image.

Its softer, “homier” and more relaxing.   

I prefer, this last image, personally.




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

11 thoughts on “5 Art Techniques: shouting or soothing

  1. Wonderful. I love this bouquet that just jumps off the screen: the colors, the abstraction, the impressionism, the blank spaces, the balance – it has it all – bravo 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you, I appreciate that Andrew!
      even thought this isn’t my personal fav painting I’ve done, I still like the white spaces and the abstract quality of it. For me, that ‘saves’ it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Sharon, it is really interesting to hear people’s favorites. Shouting Out is a bold dynamic still life, that I did enjoy the process. Fun….
      and Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A superb selection of art Debi – my favourite is the vertical Forest Painting, I love tne colours, textures and lines. It’s interesting that there are so many things we have to give careful thought to before we begin any art work so that we can create art that has mood, atmosphere and emotion….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks! ahh…. the Forest, serenity!!
      all but the featured image, were from prior posts. but they served as great visual aids, so I merrily use them anyway LOL I think alot of readers at this point, haven’t seen them anyway….

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Brilliant artwork, as always, dear Debi… I like ho you write as well.
    I agree with you… Paintings an soothe us, or can provoke us. And…. Yes!… This bouquet could be defined as “demanding” (great word, you have chosen, by the way!).
    The fact that art attempts to make us react is valuable. Undoubtedly: Art is (among other things) a sort of stimulii and it has to do with feelings. And the most genuine and spontaneous ones are precisely our reactions. 🙂 Sending love & best wishes!. Happy week ahead! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. many many thanks! I always,
      value your comments Aquileana 🙂
      Music, paintings, poems/writing, etc…. all are meant to make us feel some Thing.
      We, just might fail – but Pandora has left us with Hope; that we might succeed the next time. (loved your article…. )

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: