Category: painting

Sketching, Life and Nature

Sketching, Life and Nature

What is she  gazing down upon?

What is she,  thinking and what is she feeling?

By inferring, or hinting at things  just outside their view,   my objective is to engage the viewer more.

 

sketches pastel, natural poses, soft portrait drawing, limit palette for impact, debiriley.com
Sketches natural life poses … 5 minute fast and loose

 

 

Sketches Fast and Loose

Photographs often, though not always,  spell out a subject with exact precision.  Recording textures, veins, size, color, width, weight. Documenting location, species and the individual. And some types… of art styles do as well.

Which is great, when that is what is called for.  When that is the feeling you are wanting to convey.

A cataloguing of the details.

 

However,  its different with fast,  five or ten minute sketches.

Sketches done on the fly, capture the mood and essence of the thing.

Conveying the ‘feeling.’

Impressionistic.  Interpretive.

 

Embracing  Simplicity.

Rather than struggling to achieve 5 star wonders with  ‘complexities.’

 

 

 

Natural Poses

I feel,  Subjects are more authentic, truer to their essence,  when at rest.  At ease.

When allowed to be in a natural setting.

In nature.  Out in the forest,  sitting amongst the rocks and logs.  Being at home upon the banks of the river.

These poses,  can give the viewer  more.   Whether its in the form of photography, sketches, drawings, paintings, or other art forms.

 

This sketch, reflects this.

The limited palette of earthy browns and forest green, simple yet sufficient.  Hinting at woodland themes.   My subject sat leaned up against the tree logs and branches, head tucked.

Maybe she was the young mother, or older sister, or aunt. Who knows?   But she kept an eye on the child in pink.    An active one at that.

The hike there,  to the bridge was fun.  OK  a challenge!  But obviously, the child in pink still had plenty of go.  Her watcher…. not so much.  I smiled.

 

pastel portrait sketch, 5 minute portrait pastel, debiriley.com
Matted Pastel    –         “downward  gaze”

 

Using this format, and this pose as well  “downward gaze”   shifts the viewers minds.   To make them, ponder a bit.

 

Make the Viewer … Wonder

Take the viewer out of the little box where it is all explained already and nothing has been left unsaid.  Take them out the world they are currently in,  and help them to imagine the world this subject resides in.

Allude to mysteries and things around the corner.

Hint of magic yet to come.

 

Contemplations  of the River

 

 

If a book has been so well explained and summarized, there is nothing new or exciting left to be revealed by looking further in the book,  we will not.

So too with our art.

With our paintings, sketches, drawings, photographs.  We will look for the exact time that it takes to define the plot.

And then, we move on. Period.

 

I think,  as an artist,  I prefer to try to keep the viewer wondering. Just a bit.

Wandering through the scene, through the book… looking for, more.

 

 

 

 

Riverside… child at play

 

aspirations

I do not, want my art to be ‘all spelled out’ and perfectly revealed in every fine detail.

No.  I’d like there to be a lovely fusion of lots of soft edges tempered with just the right balance of  crisp edges to draw the eye.   With warm colors telling you what is front, and cool paler colors speaking of far distant things.  Lines that are curved to soften  the mood,  with diagonal directionals for subtle hints of movements.

I’d like my sketches to be authentic.  My art to be original, and real. And me.

 

I aspire to keep my viewers, wandering through my artwork.

Imagining.

Realising,  of course,  not all are going to be lovely frame worthy pieces. Thats ok.

 

I’d much rather you, let your imagination free and loose;  than for me to have a frame worthy work every time.

 

 

 

 

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Revealing Brushstrokes, Blue and Orange

Revealing Brushstrokes, Blue and Orange

Bold blue, outspoken orange.  What drama and action is going on here.

Every brushstroke reveals to us …. more.

More depth, more energy, more movement.

 

 

Brushstrokes

 

They are a Language.

Words unspoken.

 

 

They’re a unique tool,  we artists can use to communicative… something.

Anything!

 

 

 

revealing brushstrokes, dynamic abstract paintings in blue and orange, how one stroke can tell us so much, debiriley.com
revealing brushstrokes, acrylics

 

Blue and Orange

 

Each stroke laden with paint,  is telling.

 

Nature inspired,  this  painting is made more effective with its use of the minimalist color palette.

Blue and Orange.

This Complementary Pairing is my favorite of the three pairs:  Red/Green   Yellow/Purple  Blue/Orange

 

 

 

 

Inspired by the Western Australian landscape,  I wanted to impart the subject essence the colors on the brush would provide.

Not the rocks, nor the trees.

Or even the stark cobalt blue sky we see so often.

 

It was intended to be,  abstract.

 

 

 

Distilling a Vision

One could imagine,  the true masters,   the likes of Fred Williams, John Olsen or Robert Juniper, perhaps Pro Hart.

Taking in the land, and then distilling it.

 

 

 

Laying it out before us, on their canvases,  in wide swathes of brushstrokes, dollops and smearings of paint.

 

Utterly and completely their’s alone.

Their interpretation of what they heard and saw and felt.

 

Out there, amongst the silence  – that is not silent-  of the bushland wilds.

 

 

 

 

Pretty Little Inspirations, The Rose

Pretty Little Inspirations, The Rose

garden rose, deep pink rose photo, debiriley.com
garden rose

Inspirations

 

Flowers,  roses can be such a magical source of daily inspiration. To enjoy their beauty, their aroma, and their form.

They also,  serve as fabulous and colorful sources to paint very personal and expressionist paintings from.

When you have a bouquet in the studio, its as if they are singing and you …. are listening.

 

Roses,  can teach beginning artists to ‘listen’ to their subject more intently.

Like having the radio on,  but the volume is turned on  low.

So that you really must, tune in,  to hear it play.

 

 

rose petals in warm yellow spirals, rose photo, debiriley.com
rose petal spirals

Each flower is unique.

Every rose has its own shape, form, scent, and song.

It makes its own music.

 

And we need to interpret, each flower,  as separate entities.  Deserving of being heard.

 

 

 

scarlet rose inside, photo of rose, debiriley.com
inside a rose

 

 

abstract inspirations, floral wall art contemporary palette knife, debiriley.com
inspired…by the rose

 

 

I’ve painted lots of roses, and lots of flower paintings.

Many were very tight. Very botanical. Very ‘realistic.’   But no.

 

This, remains my favorite rose painting.

 

It carries within it, the feeling of the roses in that bouquet…. the day I’d brought them in to the studio.

A huge mass of tangled yellow golds, warm sunflower oranges,  scarlet red petals – all bursting at the seams.

 

It was lovely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From The Sea to Watercolors and, Beyond

From The Sea to Watercolors and, Beyond

The Sea and its aqua tinted beaches, is a place of inspiration for most of us.  And whether we are physically there or not, we can enjoy the sense of  ‘being’ there.

We can go  beyond the limitations of having to actually be somewhere to reap the benefits.

 

watercolors and the sea, abstract sea paintings, blue watercolors, ocean theme art, debiriley.com
from The Sea, watercolors and Beyond

The Sea

From the beaches south, down near Albany,  Western Australia.

 

The sea colors are magical.

The red orange terracotta boulders give it warmth and life.

The buff titanium sands shimmer in the sunlight.

 

I adore this place, this photo.

I ‘feel’ it, every time.  I’m re-Inspired by its memory every time I look at it.

 

What’s not to love?… and how could it not be etched into my memory?

 

 

I was there for awhile.  Taking it all in.  Taking hundreds of snippets and snapshots.

Becoming immersed.

So even if,  I lost the photos,  even if I no longer had tangible references to look at my mind … remembers.

All the feelings.

The colors.  The wind.  The textures. The sand shimmering and the sun sparking on the water.

 

 

 

Watercolors of the Sea

It is all those things,  that is what I most need in order to convey the feeling of the Sea to Watercolors.

 

Thats all I need,  to communicate the message I felt while walking along the shores and climbing the dunes and rocks.

 

Its about….  feeling.

Not documenting or recording detail.

 

Its about the Heart of the place for me.

Not dotting the i  nor crossing the t.

 

 

 

Beyond

We can travel in our minds, or perhaps through past memories of the location.

We can travel using our wonderful imaginations and yes,  we’re still getting the benefits of the journey.

Of being inspired.

 

Its true too, I believe that as we watch the news, television, or read travel magazines, look at Pinterest travel shots, and of course  Google ….  we can become enthused.

Eager and keen to create,  to communicate that feeling of joy or relaxation we may have felt as we looked at a place.

 

I’ve mentioned before, I’m a firm believer in painting plein air.

Nothing can convey the spirit, the essence of that place and your joy,  like this approach.

 

However, not all of us, are able to hike up into the high Rockies. I certainly am not able.

Nor drive to the eastern seaboard to paint along the stunning autumn colored shores of Maine.

Let alone fly to Australia to paint the colors of the The Indian Ocean, or the Great Barrier Reef.

 

We do have finite resources and limitations at times.

I think if,  I fell in love with a location I could never go to but was compelled to paint  –   I’d research it.

I’d study up and learn all I could about the location and its history,  culture,  people.

In this way, there would be some,  sense of connection  that transferred over into the painting as I worked.

 

 

 

Watercolor art

Wild and so unruly.

 

The Sea Foam photograph below the watercolor,   proves to be a great inspirational resource.

Something to refer to.

To look at the warm rocks, and the white foam as it swirls in intriguing patterns.

To note the deep dark patch of blue, then see how it fades into paler softer blues.

 

To figure out ways, we might choose to do some of those things in watercolor…. in a creatively similar fashion.

 

 

Finally

As artists what we do is important.

We travel and journey.

We see.

We feel.

We communicate to others the wonderment  of what we felt as we paused and  ‘saw.’

 

It is a fascinating way to create.

Its personal.

The artist reveals his soul in his art, in this fashion.

 

To interpret the scene in its complexities of feeling, emotive qualities.

This is something we all too often, forget to do in our bid to ensure the details are   just right.   

 

Remember…. if we get the feeling right,   hardly anyone is going to care about some minor details!

 

 

watercolor sea inspired abstracts, using nature to paint from creatively, paint with passion and color, debiriley.com
watercolor students – sea inspired

 

sea foam turquoise photograph, water photo, debiriley.com
from the sea, inspirations  to  get ideas from….    and go Beyond!

 

 

Take your images, your inspirations and memories from the sea … and then,   go  Beyond!  

 

 

 

 

Fred Williams   master 

John Olsen a timeless land

Imagination 

Sea and Ocean 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…a few of my favorite things (palette knife & cobalt teal)

…a few of my favorite things (palette knife & cobalt teal)

I don’t think it comes as a big surprise.

Most of you,  probably felt certain you’d see cobalt teal blue pop up here!

As well as,  my handy PK1008 palette knife.

 

 

painting cobalt teal blue waters, impressionist palette knife technique, creative colorful seascapes, debiriley.com
palette knife and cobalt teal

 

Favorite Things in Art

 

For me,  both the palette knife and Cobalt Teal Blue …. are pure delight.

 

Providing such fun,  such joy in their use, that even if the painting doesn’t make the grade;  it doesn’t matter really, that much to me.

The simple pleasure of creating and using either one of them, often feels worth  more than what finishing off 20 paintings would.

 

We pay,

for enjoyment like that…..

We go to concerts, to the movies, go skiing.

 

Painting.

Its on the least expensive side of Entertainment.

I think its  a relatively cost effective form of amusement that provides hours, of fun.

 

 

Cobalt Teal Blue –  CTB

The first image is a ‘bonus’  having used both the palette knife and CTB.

 

The process was fun, loose, easy.

 

Palette Knife

Dampening my paper prepared it perfectly for the knife loaded with color.

The paper,  was small.

 

Minimalist.

Just  a  4 x 4 inch size.

 

And discretion is used.

Applying merely 3 paints with the knife.

 

With forethought;  and then complete commitment to the execution.

 

 

Minimalism

Admittedly,  often these days, I find my images are on the smaller side.

There are reasons for this.

They are easy for me to manage.

To pack  around. Easy to frame up.  Easy to mail off.

 

 

But I do seriously love to create on the large scale paintings….  6 foot and larger.

I itch to get the mural size canvases out.

And just let fly!

 

 

Maybe in Term 4,  if our Atwell Gallery group wants to have a bash, we will bring in 6 foot loose canvas to paint on.

That. Should be Fun!

 

cobalt teal abstract, debiriley.com
teal dreaming

Digital with Cobalt Teal Blue

This second image is a cropped version of a watercolor pastel abstract.

I have gone on to do some creative digital work on.

I  copied and mirrored this image.

I placed it into a large  window like matt to enhance a feeling of looking out a window, perhaps in a winter’s dream.

 

 

 

watercolor abstract, expressing feeling in art, debiriley.com
Solace… forms connecting

Solace in Watercolors

The third image, also has Cobalt Teal Blue splashed about!

With a wide ribbon of CTB  cruising through the back.

 

What I love about this watercolor painting, is the connection of shapes.

 

The sense of belonging they seem to create together,  a beautiful feeling of  Solace.

 

The bright white of the paper keeps the overall ‘tone’ from being dismal and dark.

And, thus it creates a warmer, more congenial sensibility to it that I quite enjoy.

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed viewing some of my favorite things,  in art!

 

 

 

Cereal Boxes and Printmaking Landscape Collagraphs

Cereal Boxes and Printmaking Landscape Collagraphs

I created a random design,  using a discarded cereal box to cut shapes from.

Then … I thought I’d try to be clever.  Tricky.  Try something new.

Instead of doing the normal thing, I chose to try a new path.  I used small foam sticky pads to adhere those shapes to my base plate.

You never know. Until you try.

 

 

Collagraph Print

It didn’t work properly.

It would’ve been better had I used my regular glue  ie (acrylic matte medium) to glue the cut cardboard shapes onto the base plate.

 

The Problem:

The sticky foam pads,  allowed the cut out shapes to fall and sink unevenly.  Which meant that the ink being rolled on the plate from the brayer, wouldn’t be level and smooth. The ink would be a hit and miss affair…….oh dear.

 

Oh well.

Too late. I needed to try, to make it work.

I was in class, it was a demo for Atwell Gallery class.

 

What. do you do?

You get on with it.

 

printmaking collagraphs, beginner printing paper and glue, oil based printing inks, debiriley.com
collagraph from cereal box cut outs

 

Printing Processes

I gave up trying to continue on with the normal hand printing process with barren and wooden spoon to get the ink onto the paper.

The shapes were too uneven and the ink wasn’t ‘catching.’   Wasn’t getting onto the paper.

 

I used Masa paper a very versatile paper great for lots of media.  And my hand,  mainly my thumb to press the ink onto the paper from the shapes.

 

 

This last print,  I think is rather nice. Not as solid dark as the others, it has more feeling in it.

There is some lovely texture, tonal variations.

It seems to have a mood to it.

 

The other collograph I constructed not using the foam tabs, was a much better plate.

It provided a far superior printing experience that I let a student borrow for class.

 

Still,  I do enjoy this one featured.

It was a challenge.

Its kind of cool.

 

 

Materials

I used a wonderful ink, not available now.

A professional grade, gorgeous velvety black Daniel Smith oil based printing ink.

I had some saved from about 15 years ago.

It Still,  is still great to use.

It rolls out perfectly. Even after all these years.

 

In class I demonstrated soaking a variety of good printmaking papers, including Rives.

This process worked out nicely. whew.

 

I love doing this,  with the oil ink and using better quality print papers which provides such a beautiful professional finish for even beginners.

Spendy… but hey, once in awhile  its a fabulous pleasure.  And, bear in mind, it can last decades.

 

 

 

Learning Points

experiments,  may not  go the way you expect

stay cool

back up plans,  creative thinking go a long way to making even those work out ok

buying good quality materials, though more money,  usually proves to be more cost effective in the long run

 

 

Impressionist’s Approach …painting water

Impressionist’s Approach …painting water

Rules. Basics. Secrets. More rules…..

For the beginner watercolorist, it can be, all very overwhelming to try to remember it all!

You don’t have to.

 

 

Painting Water

My thoughts on painting water.

 

Keep it super simple.

For Beginners:  Short easy sessions,  that you focus on just one technique at a time are the key.

 

Just one process you want to get down.

Not the  whole shebang at once. 

You can have a lot of fun, keeping it simple,  learning to paint water. 

 

 

 

Impressionist Approach

Keep it nice and loose.

Carefree.  Fun.

In an   Impressionist’s approach. 

 

 

 

impressionist approach painting water, watercolor land and water easy techniques, debiriley.com
Impressionist Moods of Water

 

Its really about Your impression of the subject you paint.

Its more about how you are feeling about the subject that makes the difference.

Its how you personally are interpreting it, what dialogue you have between the two of you… that counts most.

Just let us know,  show us.

 

 

paint emotion, impressionist watercolor, mist on water, Northwest inlet watercolor landscape, debiriley.com
paint emotion

 

 

Sometimes the water appears bright and tropical,  fun and summery. Light and easy.

So.  Paint it that way.

Utilise white sparkles of the paper shining through,  to accent and highlight this point.

Don’t allow it or yourself, to get all bogged down and tight; the work filled with hard edges won’t capture the fun loose and carefree vibe.

 

 

 

Sometimes the water appears dark.  Choppy.  Moody and Sullen.

Well,  paint that feeling!  cool, stormy colors with short choppy strokes will evoke this sensation.

 

beginners impressionist watercolors, painting water in watercolours for novice painters, debiriley.com
practice…water techniques

 

 

 

Leaving white of the paper is a big help.

Painting a few squiggled lines for ‘ripples’ is another fast and simple method that works quite well many times.

Graded washes,  light -mid – dark tones in your water,  is another key factor to remember.

 

The other thing to remember about water, is that the farther away it is –   white waves will be ‘greyed off’ not stark white,   and the less detail, the less color intensity,  the less contrast,  the less strong dark deep tones it will have.

That right there,  is worth jotting down!

 

 

beginners watercolors painting water techniques and ideas, debiriley.com
water techniques

 

Beginners Watercolors

Beginners at watercolor,  may find it useful and easier,  to begin with simpler designs.

Simple basic easy shapes.

Starting right at the beginning.

 

Nothing too complicated or complex, no matter how much our minds are leaping to do so.

I know.

We are yearning to…. paint that busy harbour scene filled with action.

Boats, sailors, shipping lines, cargo carriers, seagulls in flight, reflections shimmering, sailboats flying in the wind.

 

 

But,  I have discovered, small steps.

One thing at a time, works.

Sinks in.

 

So that week by week,  month by month we do see incremental improvements.

Then, we can paint the more involved scene.

Such as the shadowed fir trees reflected in the misty early morning waters of the Pacific Northwest.

 

 

 

 

follow on posts….

Watercolor water 

Watercolor loose and free and easy 

Watercolor Impressionist  –   John Peter Russell