Category: painting

Art – Acts of Creation

Art – Acts of Creation

To Create

What is it ‘to create?’

Why  might this interpretive definition be important to you?

While I’m specifically  writing this article for the current participants of my courses in Perth, I feel it is  relevant for many others who’d like to be encouraged,  as they create.

watercolor painting techniques
Acts of Creation, palette knife & watercolor

People who create things – ‘Creators’

We do not, need to be  painters,  to be considered creators of art.

If you make things, build things, develop things – you are a creator.

 

We have been led, to believe only a select rare few, are artists. Are deserving to be named art creators.  Not so. We are all, born to create. In some form.

Art, takes an infinity of forms: Music, photography, dance, building & bridge design, digital apps., surgery,  interior design, fashion design, coding, cooking, sculpture, writing, martial arts….  We can make anything an ‘art form’  if that is our desire.

To take something to an ‘art form,’  we must truly love the subject.

Become partners with it. At ease and in tune with how it looks, moves, feels, sounds, responds.  The beginning of artistry is love, time, connectedness.

Whether we’re painters, teachers, computer app designers,  composers, surgeons, city planners – we all can enhance our work when we “feel” the situation, the surroundings, immersing ourselves in the subject. Being connected.

Its this way we can best share the excellence of creation we have  envisioned with the world.

 

palette knife in blue
Knife’s Edge A Dance in Blue

Acts of Creation:  All In

We use, channel, harness all of our senses in order to create the art.  

But, we must do so opened up.  All In.

To be All In,  means you’ve put everything on the line.

Wabi Sabi, tears and tears

You are Vulnerable.

Stripped down to your core. And must engage the process  with sensitivity, with feeling.  Being attuned to,  in time with our chosen partner,  i.e. subject.

What is your subject – Is it the Mountain? The ocean? The forest?  The dancers at the ballet?   The little rose bush, that the frost of autumn has  aged overnight?

 

Those cool professional walls, barriers, and that distance put into place to keep us “safe” and protected from feeling hurt, or embarrassed?

They don’t help us.

What they do is  negate the power of creation we  could have  infused our art with.

 

Why do we copy?

Replicate Joe Smith’s painting?  What ‘risk’ are we taking in doing that?  If it is mocked and we are embarrassed, we can always say, “Oh well, I only copied Joe. Its not mine. Not really.”  And, no. It’s not.

When we open up, we then are so vulnerable. And this is the  scary thing.

It is an uncertain thing.  

We do not like the fact that we don’t know for certain if  our creation,  will work or not.

IF, it will be ok.  Be ‘good enough.’ Or not.

To have family, a friend, a mentor … “approve.”

Get “likes” or not.  Get followers or not.

Life is way too short, for us to make those approvals of monumental significance.

Your own opinion, that’s the one that is of monumental significance.

 

And, yes. It is a struggle.

Every time we pick up the pen, the brush, the mouse, the knife, we hear the voice in our head tell us to  do it better this time.

 (Silence that voice each time.  It knows nothing.  Nothing…. of relevance to the act of creation.)

 

It is the Uncertainty,of not getting it right, that stops us.  It is what blocks us, chains us, ties our hands from trying.  

It is the Uncertainly that stops us from being  ‘ALL In.’   Prevents us from  giving it every thing we have to give.

But if we never try, never summon the courage, (in some cases we must  invent it if that is what is required)  then the world, misses out on what we alone have to give.

 

monotype in blue
Fallen upon my knees, failing

Yes.  We will stumble.

We will fall to our knees.

We will fail.

Its ok.  I repeat, it is ok that we make mistakes, stumble, fail.

*side note,  if you are a bridge engineer, aircraft mechanic, heart surgeon, airport traffic controller…. its ok,  if you have a little higher standards than what I’ve just mentioned.  In fact, thanking you in advance for it.  cheers!

 

For too long we have all been told, trained and conditioned, to believe in the god of perfection.

“Get It Right.”

No errors. No flaws.

No scars.

No visible signs of cracks, age, wear or tear.

In other words, absolutely no signs that we are, after all,  Human.

How sad.

Because, being human is the greatest asset we have. Flaws and all.

 

 

Acrylic Creations

I’m currently mentoring privately a beautiful person, with acrylics. We are working on a helpful approach to lessen the fear of mistakes, flaws.  We’re developing a program with Multiple creative  resolution methods, imaginative  solutions, thinking outside the box.

Addressing –  Society’s obsession with imperfections.

It is a challenge to go against our training.  But, we can do it.  We simply repeat, the acts of creation we desire. Over and over, and over.

In the mentoring sessions,  we are repurposing used acrylic canvases. They already have  colors and textures on them,  in abundance.   But, they were not quite working.

The next step is to brush over, in selected areas large swaths of contrasting paint.

We used White. Brilliant!   This creates a lovely and lively sensation of vibration and contrast. The underlying base comes through in places  with the white, skimming along the surface to create fascinating patterns suggesting of bark, trees, foliage shapes.

This Technique clearly demonstrates that the underlying “Imperfect” canvas, with its scars, its hard edges, its yucky bits…. actually was the perfect substrata for the project.

I like how this art creation process can also be interpreted through the lens of life as well.

An Act of Creation, Victoria Jane 2019
This is one of the pieces, my friend created using the acrylic methods described above.   A Wonderful, act of creation.

Art of Connection

I am in fact, expressing in paint, my world. Not yours. Not Joe’s. Mine. This is a very important distinction artists, creators need to make.

When I create a painting, or photographic art image,  I am primarily attempting to convey the dialogue.  In other words,  the  dialogue that is going on between the subject and myself.

 

That simply can not occur if I refuse to spend alone time with it.

If I treat it callously, abruptly,  with little regard, and simply want to “use it” to make a pretty little picture to boost my ego – then, no, I can’t expect its true beauty to shine through.

Its more effective to become friends with the subject.

To learn about it. To immerse oneself into its world.

 

Then…. Maybe I can create art that has a beautiful life energy within it.

What I hope to create, is to convey the essence of what  I myself connect to and  “feel.”

To define this. I think of it in these terms:  of having the emotion of Love of life,  emanate from my creation.  Just as a warm fire in winter compels and draws people closer.

I know.  That is,  a lofty goal. And one I often stumble, fall and abjectly fail at.  That’s ok.  I’m All In.   I’ll keep trying.  Some, do work quite well.  I’m happy with that.

 

In whatever form,  the art chooses to take for each individual, we want to strive to impart a piece of our selves,  into our  “Acts of Creation.” 

 

 

partner posts

Imagination,  Needs an Invitation  

Creativity,  threads of creativity  

Acrylics  Scorched Wings of Icarus 

Palette Knife  a delight 

Resolving Paintings

Expressionist 

Toko Shinodo,  the power of creating with less  

Unbounded  –  The 7 Days of Zen 

Bones of Time – The 7 Days of Zen 

 

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A Timeless Echo

A Timeless Echo

oil abstract, topographical, gold leaf textured painting, debiriley.com
Hibiki

Favorite Paintings

 

I have discovered a new word, I thought I’d pass it along to you.

Its filled.  

And rich, with layers of meanings.

 I love it! 

It fits perfectly in describing a few select pieces of my art. 

I thought you too, might like to know about this word I’ll share it with you.

 Along with a mini collection of my favourite art works I’ve created. 

 

“Hibiki”    Japanese  meaning ……… Echo,   Resonance.   

 

mountain in blue, watercolor mountain, semi abstract landscape, debiriley.com
Mountain in Blues

 

 

abstract watercolor, creative beginner art, blue paintings, ocean waves, debiriley.com
Sea Inspired

This is a collection of my own paintings created either on location, an echo of a memory,    or from a compilation of my own photos that I have taken myself on site.    

Just to let you know, none of them are particularly recent.

But older. 

For me, I feel they have,  by virtue of their age, stood the test of time.

They still give me Joy. 

 

abstract expressionist acrylic painting, orange red scarlet, bright color art paintings, debiriley.com
Expressionist in Pink and Scarlet

Each one, still resonates deep within.

Reminding me of how I want to paint.

How I wish to create.

Reminding me that  if I did it once,   (that is if I created a painting I genuinely can  feel the magic  echo within me years later,)  then yes, I can repeat that again.  

And again. And again.  

Success can be echoed. 

 

watercolor abstract simplicity, light red, debiriley.com
Simplicity Wc Light Red

Though, indeed, it might take time.

Persistence. And countless more paint tubes. 

But in the end, it is worth it.

 

watercolor gold abstract, cobalt teal blue, pools of turquoise, abstract painting, debiriley.com
Resonance

All that time, energy, effort is worth it –  to have even a small collection that is Timeless.  

That continue,  to echo in my soul.

cobalt teal and rose watercolor abstract, creative texture techniques, watercolor lesson for beginners, debiriley.com
let the dust settle, teal and rose
acrylic landscape, simplicity in paint, debiriley.com
Simplicity

 

peace, joy, love oil painting in blue debiriley.com
Love. peace, joy, love
debiriley.com

 

More

More

Zen Brushstrokes I
Zen Brushstrokes II
Veiled

The Art of More with Less

Three paintings, on the surface they appear simple. Easy.

Maybe without the studied and contrived perfection we’re used to.

They have a type of non conformity that is in direct opposition to what “art is supposed to” look like. Or so, what many of us may have been told.

They are Abstracts.

Blurred, veiled and vague.

With many abstracts, we’re left uncertain as to the precise, exact subject. There is no definitive object… leaving some of us a little bit uncomfortable.

It’s the guessing. The wondering. Being in the dark, that we’re really uncomfortable with.

We like it all spelled out. Clear.

We are perhaps uneasy with the thought of guessing incorrectly.

Nor are we comfortable with the huge margin for error that these nonrepresentational paintings provide.

We are forced to use our intuition. To ‘feel’ the emotions from the painting and from ourselves. Once again, things many aren’t completely at ease with.

A little secret, a painting can be likened to a person. It should emote. You should, be able to sense what the prevailing mood is. It shouldn’t be as if it were a flat empty face/space.

 

Depth and Layers

The first image.

The brush was fully loaded with three colors and brazenly, swiftly, applied. The colors merge together and yet, we see each individual.

Connected, yet their own, individual entity.

I love that philosophy.

The remembered scene, a waterfall on the edges of Mount Rainier National Parks in Washington. The emerald and pine greens with the with frosted froth of the falls…. left an indelible impression.

So even though this painting is an abstract, it’s been distilled from my reality. My depth of experience.

 

Blue Lined Road

This second was such fun! Another acrylic, it had a bright neon orange base. Quite vibrating.

I’d decided to overpaint to neutralise the shocking orange to a low and subtle level. I used a four inch old house paint brush to apply the blue and buff in five brushstrokes.

Ie less is MORE.

I paused, considering colors, tones, and the placement of those five strokes. I wanted to convey depth, texture.

But also the feeling, the sense of “going” somewhere. That there was a path, a direction in which we could follow in our travels in this painting.

I think that was accomplished.

 

Inferred

The third image.

The subtle hints, the mystery of the layerings and veiled coloured edges – is beautiful.

I want to paint More,like this.

 

Looking at this last image Veiled, there really is a lot of movement and texture and topographic work going on.

One might need to look, that is to search into the crevices filled with the gold leaf dust, before the image’s true self starts to reveal itself as : the landscape.

The landscape, Australia.

On the surface, it appears flat.

Empty even. But when you dig deeper, and look closer, you discover it’s immense resources. And beauty.

 

That too is part of the More….. that I’m referring to.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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