Category: health

Zen In The Garden

Zen In The Garden

Gardens, such  lovely retreats.  With snippets of shy fronds peering out amidst the green fresh oasis.  Relaxing and serene.  In the zen like stillness there is action and movement, if I look. In the garden’s serenity,  I find my artistic energies refuelled.

zen garden tropical retreat, foliage greens, calm, debi riley art,
Zen Garden


Creating Art From the Garden


Zen In The Garden …  my creative art endeavour for today is this post.

It counts as art.

It is creative.


Many times,  students do not have time during the week to paint. To practice in the ‘normal’ way. i.e.   getting the paints out.     


  • But,  we can still practice art!
  • We can still create art, in many ways.
  • Just looking and observing, is studying.  Yes,  you are studying art!
  • Looking for a focal point, or for tonal contrasts, etc.  It counts as practice.
  • These acts,  accumulate knowledge within, and will be released when you do get to paint.



Liberal, Relaxed Ideas

By now,  many of you probably know how broad and liberal I am with my art terms, ideas and phrases.

Some of my students in class have a laugh now, when I mention ‘landscapes.’

I raise my brows, as I say,  “If you can see it outside,  go right ahead and paint it.  I consider it Part of The Landscape!”   So whether it is a person’s face, a waterfall, a window, a wild wave crashing, a patio garden… go for it.



Technically….. that’s not quite spot on.

But, who likes rules all the time?




As the well known artist,  Tony Smibert says,

“There are no rules,  just consequences.”


I love that,   don’t you?!!



Zen Garden  Photograph

When I look at this photo, I become immersed in these lovely tranquil greens. Its another world.


I look into the scene and study it for lights and shadows.  I can count about 10 various tonal ranges of greens in the photograph;  this is a helpful thing to do if I was to use this as a reference to paint from.

We need plenty of tones to make a painting successful.


I also can see many, many  versions of greens.  We need 5-7 versions of green at a minimum,  for the optimum success of a painting in greens.


If using watercolors  then perhaps I might use Perylene green for the deep near black greens I see.


Zoisite green, would be perfect for the greyed greens that are in the back and middle ground.   A nice winsor lemon py175 mixed with a tiny bit of prussian blue pb27  would be brilliant for the fresh, light, bright foliage in the front.




Color Burst Watercolor


easy watercolor flowers, mixing green foliage leaves, simple watercolor paintings, debi riley art
Watercolor Garden Sunburst colorburst 




Color Burst Watercolor


  • Cool and Refreshing, like a lemon twist on a hot day!
  • Tons of sparkle created by liberally leaving lots of Whites on the Paper.
  • A limited palette helps: cobalt teal blue, serpentine, winsor lemon.
  • Clarity of tonal values: Light, Mid and Dark provide visual interest
  • Leaf like and Petal like brush strokes draw the viewer in




Zen Serenity  in the Gardens



zen garden, calm peaceful greens, debi riley art, Perth flower,
Serenity in the Gardens


So soft. So tranquil.

The background in the garden is everything in this photograph.

The soft edges and tonal ranges all unite to gently, bring your eye to the tiny star flower in the foreground.



Summary Points  


  • Many studies have shown, that Creativity and a Relaxed mind are linked together.
  • Gardens are a perfect place to retreat to for some zen relaxation.
  • Time Poor, no Time to Paint?  I can still Create!   Just in a different format.
  • Ideas and Imagination, are a valid creative art form
  • Tony Smibert has brilliant ideas and artwork



Zen in the Gardens photograph has a delicacy and sensitivity, a story telling quality to it that I find quite enchanting.

If, the photo had been a riot of all colors…. this quality would not have emerged.  The near monochromatic nature of the photo enhanced the image’s content.



Further Posts you may be interested in

Tony Smibert 





7 Days of Zen

7 Days of Zen

Day One of Zen…. How shall I describe the stillness? The sense of utter serenity inviting me into the depths amidst the day’s chaos.  Yes…Those phones ringing with demanding angry callers. Horns blaring, impatience mounting. But here, within is Seijaku.

7 days of Zen, seijaku,
7 Days of Zen I


7 Part Series of Zen


Zen to me,  is a calmness.

But, a calmness with focus and purpose. It is a creative spirit filled energy.

It is also an awareness of self and surroundings – simultaneously oblivious to those very same things.

How can that be?

I don’t know.  I do think it is a very good ‘zen’ question though.



Wabi Sabi   

Wabi Sabi a way of seeing the beauty of things Impermanent, Imperfect and Unfinished.

Things come and they go.  And in their comings and goings we can seek to find the loveliness of their Arrivals and their Departures.


Wabi Sabi has its links to  Zen and through this pathway.  I find myself today thinking about stillness of self.

Perhaps its due to the one too many demanding phone calls I’ve just had. Maybe not…




Seijaku is one of the 7 elements of Wabi Sabi.

It is defined and described as  “tranquility, serenity.”


But upon deeper reflection,   Seijaku is interpreted  as a

“Stillness in the midst of activity.”


What that means for me, you too perhaps,  is that we do not have to go on a retreat. We don’t have to go into the mountains for clarity or serenity.


I can find the gentle stillness here, in the midst of this chaotic day’s activity.

inspiration, photos,
Gently Inspired





I really hope you enjoyed Day 1 of  the 7 Days of Zen series.


For the next 6 posts I’m going to complete this series on the Beauty of Zen and Wabi Sabi.

I would like to share the creative aspects of looking at art and nature in this unique way, its  had such an big influence on my art!


A  couple of prior  posts that follow this theme are    The Blue Heron Stills  and Zen Taming the Dragon and Winter’s Glow 



Imagination, Creation, Inspiration: Friday’s Photos

Imagination, Creation, Inspiration: Friday’s Photos

What did I get up to for Friday’s Photographs? I read. I wandered. I imagined. I thought about things of a ‘delicate texture.’  Both tangible and intangible. I went for a micro mini walk. Truly I’m too embarrassed to call it a walk. To the nearest park is just at the end of our street, so… “a wander”  will suffice.

delicate imagination, photograph,
Delicate Imagination


What set my mind and legs to wandering was this wonderful quote I found by William  Hazlitt.

The Imagination

is of so delicate a texture

that even words

can wound it.



vulnerable is the imagination, mushroom photograph,


The  Imagination


I was inspired to get up right then. Go for that stroll. See what things out there might fill this inner definition, this quote that resonated like a drum within.

On went my shoes, my jumper (that’s OZ lingo for sweater)  and grabbed my camera, macro lens on.

My mission:  search for things that inspired my imagination in some way.  The other requirement,  they also needed to be some manner – fleeting, fragile, delicate or vulnerable.

In essence,  having an element of Wabi Sabi, impermanence and imperfection to them.


inspiration, photos,
Gently Inspired


William Hazlitt:  Writer, Painter

I had to know more, about Hazlitt,  he intrigued me so.

William Hazlitt was born in Maidstone, UK in 1778. He was a writer, renowned art critic, painter, philosopher.

A friend of Charles Lamb, William painted Lamb’s portrait quite beautifully.  William’s older brother John, studied under the well known artist Sir Joshua Reynolds for some time before striking out on his own and later teaching William the painting arts.


William had a tumultuous personal life, as artists frequently did in those days. But then, he also, often sought solace in nature, going off to a quiet country retreat to find new inspiration and restoration.

Peace and serenity!


A lovely post today featured a great photograph and quote by Charles Lamb. If you check out “Captivate Me,” a WordPress site by it is in today’s posts.


imagine, inspired to create. photo,
Shimmering, Reflection


The other quote of Hazlitt’s that resonates so deeply with my inner artist is,

We do not see Nature with our eyes,

but with our understandings and our Hearts.



Reflection of sky, photo,
It Is But a Reflection


I was inspired.  I imagined.  I created.

Words have power. And it was  ‘some words’ written nearly 200 years ago, that so stirred me that I arose and went seeking fresh perspectives on an area I’ve seen a million times before.  50 Meters from my house.

I set my mind to be open to imagining.

To try to think differently.  To try to see differently.



Hazlitt’s words reach deep and I feel their power.

I created images with a unique,  new perspective.

  • Skies and houses that are merely reflections and not the actual objects.
  • Background surroundings of flowers that captivated my heart.
  • A feather floating gently like a boat out for an afternoon sail.
  • Mushrooms pale, thin, fragile…here only today.



Textures of Imagination, floral photograph,
Textures of Imagination



What’s In It For You?

I write these posts, I continue the website for the main purpose of encouraging the unique creativity and imagination of each person.

To try to inspire a boldness to go take a risk of expressing your voice.


How might you find value here?  What is within this post that you could extract and use for yourself?


What is out there, in Nature,  that might serve to inspire your imaginings?

How might you imagine and create?

I can just Imagine……….




Saturday! Silly Art Creations

Saturday! Silly Art Creations

Saturday is here!  Its Time.  Time for some silliness….. to create some wild and fun, even hilarious art!   No serious poker faces here today. Nope.

silly fun painting and photos,
Silly Triad of colors

Make a mess. Put a sheet down. Take it outside. Take it into the garage. Don’t let ‘Tidiness and Mess’  waggle their fingers at your precious artist within. Not today.

Don’t let anyone else see it. Better still, create art with the grandchildren.

They will LOVE It!


triad from watercolors, digital art,
Triad from Watercolors


Silly Art: what I did today


A watercolor dabble with plastic wrap, in purples and teals, and a yellow.  I made a mess splashing around trying out lots of different colors, brushes and papers!


Then I took it inside.  Picked one image randomly and photographed it.

With the one photograph, I  turned my imagination loose.  And imagined…… All sorts of fun things to do.


Next step,   I Then went into the new digital art program and proceeded to ‘bend, mangle and decimate’ to my heart’s content!  Of course none are masterpieces! They weren’t meant to be. Today.


Today was for ‘Silly Saturday’  – Free to do whatever a kid would do. Excellent!


digital art, watercolor painting,
Connections of Dots

It was fun.  It was silly.  I had a Good Time!



The Original looked like this:

Watercolor plastic wrap fun painting, teal, blue, lilac,
Original Watercolor Glad Wrap Fun




For those who may still be wondering, “What’s the Point?   ‘silly-shmilly’, let’s get to work!”


  • Well,  I believe that by playing we learn. We learn many things; not only the subject we are engaged in, but about problem solving in general. Very Useful, yes.
  • Also,  by playing I am practicing this skill.  Practice makes perfect.  I will practice, A LOT.
  • And then,  I just discovered… I really like the purple, teal blue, green, gold  color combination.
  • In the past, I’d have turned from it.  But,  I see that this combination appeals to me now. I will use it for more paintings in the near future.



Enjoy Saturday. Be ‘silly’.

Go. make a mess!


Peace Joy LOVE 2015

Peace Joy LOVE 2015

Wishing you a holiday season filled with wonder, and …..

peace, joy, love oil painting in blue
Peace Joy LOVE


Thank you fabulous readers!


Your many generous comments, likes, shares and views helped provide me with the incentive to push on and keep learning more skills for this website/blog adventure that I started last December.

That December held 600 views.   This last month  6,300+ views.


May your many kindnesses,  be rewarded in turn.





At Daybreak

At Daybreak

Rose's Heart, macro, close up, photo,
Heart of The Rose

At Daybreak

the quiet

stillness,  thunders


At Daybreak

roses cry

in silent joy


At Daybreak

my heart

in serenity dances



morning rose at daybreak, photo,
Rose’s Tears of Joy


Daybreak – a beautiful Pause in between the dark slumber of eve and the hustle of phones, horns,  meetings and deadlines…… of the new day.


Daybreak – you feel more alive at daybreak,  senses are engaged; there’s less competition fighting for your attention.

Sunsets are gorgeous;  but, tired from the day’s work and with all the evening’s  bustle of noises that compete to muffle out the full experience, it seems Less filling than daybreak.

Stillness of the rose at daybreak, photo,
Stillness at Daybreak

Daybreak  – a time and place I go to  catch a break.  In the stillness  and  the silent joy.


Daybreak  –   Splendour of the dawn…… what a lovely phrase.

Zareth Shahar, means  “Splendour of the Dawn.”  There is an actual place named,  Zareth Shahar. It’s an ancient city located along the eastern shores of the Dead Sea, but little remains of the town except a few stone ruins scattered about.

rose close up, photo, daybreak, morning , debiriley,com
My Heart, In Serenity


All photos were taken very early, this morning peeking over into the neighbour’s rose garden with my Canon Rebel 600D using Canon macro lens 100mm f2.8L

I especially liked the soft focus photo My Heart, In Serenity.  It seemed to resonate the most with me on how and what I wanted to convey in this post.

(A big thank you to my followers, readers, sharers, likers!   I’m getting closer to my 12 month goal for followers,… nearly there!!     Thank You.)



And enjoy the splendour of dawn found At Daybreak.


Irresistible Colours of Rosemary

Irresistible Colours of Rosemary

I was surprised. Amazed.   I’d planned to post my paintings….. But the colours of the rosemary were simply irresistible.  Cobalt Blue, Maroon, Lavender, Lime green, Rose Pink, Silvery sage green.  The more I look,  the more colours I see!

Many colours of rosemary, Canon macro eos 600d,
The Many Colours of Rosemary,
rosemary macro, Canon EOS 600D, photograph,
Lovely Rosemary, Canon EOS 600d,

Rosemary    Rosmarinus Officinalis

Rosemary is a Mediterranean spice with ‘reported’ benefits.  Apparently, no one really wants to be definitive what the benefits are, merely that “studies suggest.” But, for fun I’ll include a couple.

Supposedly rosemary may be helpful for the memory, (good news for me)   may help with muscle spasms,  may inhibit food borne pathogens, may inhibit cancer cells.   Warnings do exist: not for those with high blood pressure, Crohns, IBD, and a few other disorders. I guess regular normal use on our steak and potatoes is still OK.

Although I’ve been told, at my house,  these things are TWIGS. My guy, does not, under any circumstances – eat TWIGS.   I’ve started to run them through the food processor now instead. Problem solved, no twigs.

Hopefully, he takes one look at the title of the post and refuses to read it!

Look Close to see a disney like world of colour

Look Close up.  Whether you enlarge the photos or you look at your own rosemary plant, you’ll see dozens of colours:   dark foliage prussian greens,  sienna tipped leaves, cobalt blue stamens, deep maroon and rich burgundy seed pods,  lovely petticoats of delicate lavenders,   silvery greys,  sun dappled lime green foliage and soft, lichen grey green buds.

Enchanted by the complexity and variations of colours with the humble rosemary plant, I changed my mind about posting the paintings to posting the rosemary – I couldn’t resist.

Cobalt blue rosemary canon macro photo,
Cobalt Blue Rosemary, Canon Macro,

I’ve always just enjoyed the pretty Cobalt blue colour of the flower, but they are so tiny (less than 1/2 an inch)  they’re quite tricky to actually paint or photograph. So I didn’t bother.

That is, until now with my macro lens. I still have my old Canon EOS 600D cropped body, but now with the Canon 100mm 2.8L macro lens I thought I’d give it a go.  Just ‘to see if it would work’.  I think it did a fairly nice job with the rosemary.

rosemary photo, macro canon EOS 600d,
Trespassers Evidence, Rosemary plant,

This final image “Trespassers’ Evidence”  was quite amusing,   as we have a plethora of neighbours’ male cats who ‘come calling’. Ours stay tucked inside safely away from the  hoons,  the loose dogs, the wandering toms.

That doesn’t stop the other kitties from  Window shopping at our house  though.  Maybe they want to be ‘adopted’ as well!

Perhaps I need to put up a sign that says,  “Full House, NO Vacancy”  …  ahhh,  just a thought.

Thank you for embracing the colours of rosemary with me today and I hope you enjoy your “twigs.”

Cheers, Debi