Category: photography

Queen’s Gardens: Sculptural Surprise

Queen’s Gardens: Sculptural Surprise

The “Part II” of Saturday’s Work Excursions

Education. When I present skills, concepts and new techniques, I also learn. I learned …. a LOT, from my venture To Queen’s Gardens in Perth.

On the job, on going education. Perfect.

Ok.

Yes. There have been days, of ‘not so’ perfect. And I most definitely will not share those with the public. But overall, it is a great gig.


Sculpture Close up…. Sir George Frampton’s “Peter Pan” @ Queen’s Gardens, Perth

Sculpture: Peter Pan

I left the green shaded groves, of the UWA Sunken Gardens. Leaving the calm, zen there.

I drove off, into the city. Clearly following my well researched and diagrammed directions. I had studied this. I knew the route.

Detours.

In the city. Gosh. Who, would have suspected?

Where was my Plan B?

Needless to say, the first attempt to arrive at Queen’s Garden was met with Strike One.

I ended up, very close to my original starting point. Oops.

Do I give up and go home? Do I allow the city, and detours, to be victorious? I sighed. It WAS HOT. 90+ degrees. How bad, did I really want to go?

But, you know, I am Determined.

Someone just recently, made that comment – that I was very determined. I’m not certain if it that was a polite way of just saying, ‘Stubborn.’ I’m thinking it was though!

My “Stubbornness” won out.

I continued on my target goal to the Queen’s Gardens. Finally, 55 minutes later – I arrived! It should have taken 20, tops.

Victory. Ok I met some more road closures, detours. And had to walk from the river to the Gardens. (Bonus, more exercise for me!) The point is, I achieved my destination point.

I had a nice pleasant stroll around.

Relaxing. Taking photos of turtles, black swans, golden breasted waterfowl, massive ivory waterlilies on the deep blue ponds, wooden bridges, and the famous bench from the movie “Notting Hill.”

Queens Garden Perth, Peter Pan statue by Sir George Frampton

Towards the end of my stroll I came closer to the large statue that had caught my eye earlier. It had looked like a Pied Piper of sorts.

Peter Pan statue, Queen's Gardens Perth

I was so immersed in the faces and features, the transcendent expressions the artist brought to life, I didn’t look first at the title or description.

Instead I engaged with the art. Section by section.

I loved the ‘rabbit’ like ears upon some of the figures.

Queens Garden, Perth Peter Pan statue close up details  Sir George Frampton. JM Barrie Peter Pan
close up section of Peter Pan statue… Queen’s Gardens Perth

Once I was finished with taking the photos, then I read.

I discovered the statue was based on JM Barrie’s story of Peter Pan.

The sculptor was Sir George Frampton. This was one of his 6 replicas he cast from his original mould. This sculpture was erected in Queens Garden in June 1929.

The original is in London, the Kensington Gardens.

Apparently with the original statue, Sir George…. acted without authorisation.

Overnight, without prior permission, he erected his Peter Pan statue unbeknownst to anyone.

He did get chastised…. however in his defense he stated that he’d simply wanted the children to be surprised. To awaken and see the ‘Peter Pan’ in the gardens ‘as if the fairies had done so overnight.’

I can just imagine how this explanation went over!

But, I think, he may have had a smidgen of ‘determination’ within himself. I don’t think he was going to allow anything to dissuade him from his goal. He knew what he wanted to accomplish.

And he did so.

Finally…

Artists need to have this quality of Determination.

This almost wilful, stubbornness.

It is this, that enables them to overcome the 1001 odds that are stacked against them.

The challenges of the city proved to be an excellent educational tool. We can choose to give up too soon, or choose to be Determined.

Is It, Art?

Is It, Art?

What defines … ART?

In the words of Thomas Merton,

 “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

With this philosophy as our main criteria of how we define and perceive Art, much of what we do in our everyday lives could quite possibly, be seen as a form of artistic expression.

And if we began viewing these common things in such a light, then in so doing, we are are led towards living each day…… artistically.

Artfully.

Gardens of Perth Western Australia. UWA Sunken Gardens is a delightful and romantic tucked away space near the CBD. Magical. Calming and inspiring. debiriley.com

Zen Stroll

Yesterday’s adventures included a work related excursion first, to the UWA campus Sunken Gardens in the morning. Later on in the afternoon, a visit to Queen’s Garden was fun.

While in the Sunken Gardens, the small group and I sat under the shaded canopy of a large flourishing, grove of trees. It was, Lovely.

The concepts presented to the group had three major points.

  1. The subduing of stress and fear of working ‘outdoors.’
  2. Moving towards peace and harmony with the surroundings and self.
  3. The patient, listening and sensing the specific ‘mood’ of the space/place we had chosen as our subjects.

As we progressively lose these fears, finding more peace and harmony – we are in essence doing what Thomas Merton stated… finding ourselves and losing ourselves in the most wonderful ways.

Perth Gardens, UWA Sunken Gardens an oasis of lush foliage and pools, waterlilies and sparking jade emerald greens.

Pause ; …. and Reflect

While in the gardens the thought crossed my mind about having preconceived ideas. Its so easy.

In my mind, I may have muttered, “ALL these greens!”

I realised I was closing my mind off to the possibilities, that ALL those greens could present.

I concluded that I was being … ‘judgemental’ in my own way, of what I will or will not accept. As art.

And that maybe, by being more open….I could find an infinity of possibilities waiting for me that I’d never suspected, within The Greens.

I should at least, try.

I think, in the photo image below of the pond, I managed to capture some of the many possibilities of All Those Greens.

I lose myself, and find myself…Within The Greens.

Pausing to reflect, by the waterlily pond - Perth UWA Sunken Gardens. Beautifully calm, transcendent. These gardens are a hidden treasure!
Within – The Greens

Yes, Its Art

Art has thousands of variations, nuances.

Flavors, if you will.

As individuals we each have our own particular preferences. One person’s preferring vanilla ice cream over strawberry ice cream doesn’t nullify that the vanilla is still … ice cream.

Isn’t it odd how we never think to debate about someone else’s different food preferences?

Art may be rock n roll to some, opera to another. Some may view Andy Warhol as THE Definition of Art; another rave Rembrant.

It is all art, in every one of the myriad forms it takes. Cooking, music, writing, video, screenwriting, hospitality, textiles….

And, we actually require the seemingly, chaotic diversity of each and every one of these forms.

It stretches us. We grow. We learn.

We. better. ourselves.

SOLD Abstract Landscape Watercolor

2019 I’m conducting a year long course with the title “Watercolor, Loose and Easy.” It sounds like A Plain, Ordinary, Watercolor class.

Doesn’t it?

However, I’m enthusiastically passing along information on 3D, sculpture, and any other art form that presents itself, as an opportunity for the group to expand their knowledge base.

UWA Sunken Gardens, Perth W.A.

This month has been busy. Leading excursions to galleries and venues with various art forms: video, sculpture, ceramics.

The last week’s course home project…. was the creation of a 3d sculpture, in yellow.

Yes, I know.

The course title, is Watercolor. Loose and Easy.

Yet, I strongly feel that now is the time for us to try on a new pair of glasses. It’s time.

We need to expand our world.

Our perceptions. Our vision.

forest grove in watercolor, using Daniel Smith zoisite and cobalt teal blue. Zen like, calm and peace filled.  debiriley.com
Forest Grove – zen

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.

 

 

 

 

Summer Retreat

Summer Retreat

Good Morning!

With so much news to share, its been really challenging for me to choose which topic to begin with since my return from summer break.

 

Summer

Summer?  Yes, well,  it is a wild and wet, brisk, winter here in Perth.

Refreshing, shall we say.

But it is summer, in Seattle.

summer, pacific northwest, forest, sunlight
Summer, conveyed through art

 

The summer retreat at my sister’s was an opportunity,  I couldn’t waste.

We don’t see each other often. Living across the pond, as we do.

I wanted to spend her birthday with her.

 

It was a shorter holiday than planned.

But we can infuse lifetimes, into an hour, if needs be, can’t we?

 

We both made  the time count. 

Moment by moment.  Mindfully.

35 days.  To fill a well.

And so we did.

 

    LIFE  Is Art.   and,  Art… is Life. 

As an artist, and an instructor, this is  a message that is important for me to share.

The two, are one.  All of us, seem to be forgetting this.  (more on this, in upcoming posts!)

 

Most of the time, we had a fabulous summer retreat vibe going on, keeping it low key, staying in her lush green gardens.

The lawns and gardens were filled with ponds, flowers and trees.

 

Oh!  and the most delicious raspberries, that I pilfered early each morning. Yum.

Flowers… blooming right beneath my window. Incredible!

summer hydrangea, purple flower macro, flower photography, summer Seattle, debiriley.com
Below my Window …. copyright debiriley

 

 

 

Mornings –   Dawn Breaks

My mornings were…  oh wait,   I’ll take you there!

 

 

 

macro floral dew drop, purple flower bokeh,zen photography, debiriley.com
first light, early morning dew

Before the sun arose, I watched  the night fall away sliver by sliver, through my bedroom window.

Until the light came streaming across the dew kissed lawn for a magical few seconds, and leaving me little time to snap a photo.

I think I was more focused on the experience, than the ‘capture’ on those mornings.

yes… more on the Process;  less on the Product.

 

I was mesmerised with the peek through view of looming ranges of the Cascade Mountains, that I could get by standing on my tip toes and looking east.

For me, it seemed to add a touch of morning zen.

Thoughts of,  “oh yeah….  I remember now,  the way it was in those early summer days in the Pacific Northwest!”

 

 

 

Sunshine and Roses

Sometimes in blogs,  we get carried away.

Making it seem as if we’re living the life of Riley.

No pun intended.

 

But,  I’m going to admit…. that,  “No. Not All,  was not sunshine and roses on my summer retreat!”

It never is.

 

Dilemmas, injuries, interrogations, all the usual suspects and then some, came out to try to cause mayhem.

 

But the overriding fact is   “Love does, leave a memory  No one can steal.”

 

love quote, memory of love, debiriley.com
Love  sign from my sister’s  garden

 

A Rose for Love

Below a rose.

Lisa’s Rose  just outside my bedroom window

 

rose soft focus, orange purple color floral, photo rose bokeh, debiriley.com
Rose given in love

 

Hints of subtle context, perhaps so.

Only the tips of the closest leaves are clearly seen, visible and identifiable.

The rest of the rose is so softly diffused and dissolving.

 

What mysteries the artist, could…. infer if we were,

to pause and reflect a moment?

Perhaps about the person who gave, or the person viewing, or even as a metaphor for some other and deeper things?

Who knows?

 

 

 

Summary on Summer Retreat

As artists,  we dig and delve.

We think.

We retreat.

We fill our wells so that we may create with restored vitality, fresh imagination, wild creativity once  again.

 

 

There is of course more to come about this summer trek, including cobalt teal rivers, rainbow waterfalls, and demon hordes of thirsty mozzies set to drain us within 5 minutes of reaching our destination.  Should be entertaining.  Cheers.

 

 

Blue and Orange Complements

Blue and Orange Complements

In landscapes, paints, flowers….

my eye is always drawn to the blue/orange complement combination.

The land around Perth, up north near Kalbarri has beautiful and rich terracotta tones.

Perfect, inspirations.

 

rocks of Kalbarri, photographs of Western Australia, debiriley.com
sizzling orange red rocks

 

Land and Sea Complements

 

The boulders and escarpments…..

Fiery orange.

That ignites the earth when the last light of the sun touches the boulders.

 

In the above boulder image,   looking past  all that dominating rich earthy orange color… we can see the nuances of its complement, blue.

Whispering in ribbons throughout the rock.

What an inspiration!

 

 

The sea ranges from cobalt teal blue, to phalo blue and indigo.

Depending upon the mood of the sea that day.

 

complementary pairs in the landscape, Kalbarri WA, debiriley.com
orange and blue, land and sea

 

 

 

The next post,

I’ll show a little more with these two color complements.

 

 

 

 

Sunshine and Roses

Sunshine and Roses

Bright and Summery.

Who can resist roses with their beguiling perfume and lovely colored petals?

 

sunlit pale pink rose photograph, canon camera, debiriley.com
sunlit pale rose

 

They have a way about them, don’t they?

With them…. its all sunshine and roses.

 

garden roses in pink lavenders, purple rose photographs, debiriley.com
Riley’s Roses

 

 

 

 

deep red rose photograph, canon macro 100mm lens, debiriley.com
irresistible

 

 

 

Even though I now have a most delightful rose garden, I still get ‘inspiration’ elsewhere.

I do the zen strolls around the bushlands and the neighborhood,  finding new treasures to admire.

 

On the odd occasion.

I still, peer over into the neighbor’s garden. 

 

 

 

 

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.