Category: watercolors

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

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Creative Art Inspirations

Creative Art Inspirations

Inspirations

Stella Terrill Mann,

“Every time we say, Let there be! in any form,

something happens.”

I’ve been away.

Not literally, but figuratively. Taking a …. Pause. Reflecting.

Many of you, readers, customers, students and friends ask with increasing frequency, “When, are you going to post again?!”

“Soon, When it is Time.” Has been my response.

Artists, creative people in general go through cycles, and bursts of productivity.

Then, seemingly endless – long empty dry, droughts.

Where nothing is happening. So it seems on the surface.

But look deeper. And you discover all the myriad ingredients simmering and merging together quietly.

They just aren’t ready yet.

We have to learn patience.

It will happen. We will not be stuck in the drought or winter, forever!

Winter isn’t really a time of sleeping. Its a very busy time. Underneath the layers of earth, major preparations are being done.

Side note…..

I have been away for quite some time, so I decided to freshen the blog up a little.

I’m testing out a new WP format, and I will just have to press publish to see how it all goes. I like experiments!

I hope you like the change.

Thanks for your patience and continuing to ‘check in’ while I have been on pause and reflecting.

Cheers, Debi

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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watercolor Techniques: painting water

Watercolor Techniques: painting water

Short and quick today.

Observing how water can be painted using watercolors.

 

 

Painting Water

In the samples shown,  I’ve created the impression, the illusion of water on paper.

Cobalt teal blue in watercolor helps, of course.

But, so does understanding the tones, the feeling, mood, and which of the common techniques to use.

 

 

watercolor techniques for water, beginners watercolour secrets for water, debiriley.com
Techniques for painting water: watercolors

 

 

We learn as we go.

Practice… repetition until a technique process becomes second nature, was the secret key to my own improvement.

 

 

Using dry brush, washes, charging, splatter, leaving White of the paper… they all combine to help with the illusion.

In the first demo,  you see a background a mid ground and foreground, along with a focal point.  These help guide the viewer and make the image understandable.

 

Whereas in the second demo, a mere wash of a couple colors,  we must engage more.  There is still enough information, but its less tight and structured.

More free flowing and carefree.  Perhaps, in holiday mode!   But you will observe more warmth in front, the White cresting wave in nearby, and there isn’t much action in the back.

Our minds, have decided yes, it is water we are looking at. And,  Most likely, the beach.

We’re good to go.

 

 

follow up posts

watercolor beginner basics 

11 fun water techniques 

watercolor easy techniques 

depth   via splatter

depth 

tonal value   Into the Light

 

 

Watercolors Rescued… from the bin

Watercolors Rescued… from the bin

A moment of despair.  It didn’t go as planned. The result was not what was expected, wanted, desired.

And so, it was crumpled. Torn. Thrown away.  Discarded.

How many times, how many ways, how many things does this relate to? I wonder.

We often panic too soon it seems.

 

watercolor rescues, beginner painting tips, debiriley.com
Rescuing a palette knife painting from out of the bin  (mine)

 

Rescues

Both of these images were “rescues.”

One  was from a student below, and one was mine.

Both show evidence of impatience, of frustration, with damage done to the papers.

 

The damage…. we can view as being like scars upon the landscape of the painting.

 

Without such scars, without the etched in grooves and lines and evidence of its character layered deep…. we might,  merely skim along the surface shallows.

 

 

Precision. Perfection.

Doesn’t quite have… the richness, the elegance, the depth of character that time, weather, and those storms  have created.

 

In other words, the compulsion…. to Get It Right, should be a low priority  and the higher priority should be on Expression.

ie…

How does it feel, to be in the moment, creating this?

Did you enjoy the moment?  Were you ‘in the creative zone’?

Did you  express your own interpretation of  the mood, the feeling,  emotion  of the subject?

Those, take precedence.

 

watercolor rescues, beginner basic tips, debiriley.com
another rescue- student’s work

 

The wrinkles and crumples (from the unhappy creator)  do not concern me. I like them.

It is a wonderful technique, creative and fun,  to crumple your watercolor paper before you begin!

Smooth it out best you can,  and carry on with painting.   Try it, and see.

 

This abstract image, I rescued is filled with lively, loveliness of color.

Such luminosity and movement.   Such spirited transitions of tone, textures.

I could not,  allow this to remain in the bin.   It needed, saving.

 

And,  that hint of cobalt teal blue along the bottom edge  made sure that this watercolor ink piece was rescued!

 

 

 

 

Yes… I suppose that Sometimes, a piece truly needs to be retired to the bin.

But  not nearly as often as many of us opt to do as first response.

 

So many of these pieces can be wonderful Rescues.

Not throw aways.

 

I need to alter my pattern of thinking:  to believe  I can find ways, of making use of products,  images, and things.

To be less hasty in ‘simply discarding’  anything that is frustrating and disagrees. That doesn’t work or fit into my mental vision planned.

 

 

 

Partner Posts

Taming the Dragon- perfection 

Wabi Sabi the art of Zen!             look for all 7,   its  a great series

Resolve Fix Paintings 

Palette Knife  landscapes 

Palette Knife creative Abstract  technique 

Using your Imagination   

Inviting Imagination 

Abstracts,  a definition … 

Beginner Watercolor BASICS Page 

Watercolor Beginners,  helpful tips and guides   

Impressionist Watercolor Landscape (artistic license)

Impressionist Watercolor Landscape (artistic license)

Its about artistic freedom, artist license.

The joy of expressing in paints, brushstrokes, color, the things you’d like to say with words… but can’t.

 

artistic license, impressionist watercolor landscape, Daniel Smith watercolors, limited palette, debiriley.com
Artistic License Impressionist Landscape

Communicate Through the Arts

 

Perfect

If I was a singer, maybe the words would be clear and perfect.

And elegant, eloquent, full ranged.  Sounding lovely and lyrical.

But then, maybe not.

 

 

Bruce Springsteen

” A great singer has to learn how to  Inhabit a song. 

You may not be able to hit all the notes.    That’s OK.

You may not have the clearest Tone.   You may not have the greatest range.

But if, you can Inhabit a song,  you can communicate.”

 

This is a quote from Springsteen’s December 19, 2016  PBS interview.

 

 

 

 

As artists, in any profession, in any media….. that, is a very fine goal to take to heart.

 

 

 

Inhabiting

(Living, Abiding in the place)

 

I feel that in this landscape watercolor I do inhabit the painting.

It typifies me.  It is a signature Debi Riley artwork. Unique to me.  Created from my memories.

 

As I paint, I remember…. the Pages River in Murrurrundi.

The tall vertical poplar trees that dot the area.

 

I recall, the hill across from the Emirates thoroughbred stud farm, paddocks filled with gleaming broodmares.

The many times I’ve visited there and the soft spot it holds in my heart.

 

 

This location means something to me.

This subject –  has meaning.

And so, it is easy for me to inhabit the artwork as I create.

 

 

We can All… do this. 

Beginners, yes,  right on to the advanced.

Singers, chefs, writers, composers, painters, whatever.

 

But,  what we must do, however, is dare to

be our own selves,

to inhabit our songs… our creations.

 

 

John Olsen

Fred Williams 

Watercolor Hills 

Watercolor Landscapes and textures in color …. 

Trees,  in Color

Trees, in Color

Outdoors, fresh air.

Wandering through the woods.  Its lovely out there!  Inspiring.

I’ve combined two of my favorite things,  painting and nature….  trees.

 

Inspired

As I mentioned in my last post, zen strolls,  I’ve been working.

Creating.

Inspired by the trees, in color.

watercolor mixing chart, landscape colors, debiriley.com
Palette 1 for Tree Bark

 

watercolor color chart, watercolor swatches for trees, painting trees, debiriley.com
Palette 2

Watercolor Charts

Two Basic color charts in watercolor.

Easy.  And fun to do, well worth your time!

 

 

You only need 3 paints.

  1. cobalt blue pb28
  2. permanent rose pv19
  3. winsor lemon py175

 

Combining these 3 Paints, in various ratios & blends,  create wonderful new colors to use.

I’ve only shown these two charts, but I’ve created over 200 mixes from the 3 paints.

 

The color mixes shown, are  great for trees, bark, foliage, branches, and earth.

For more, on Color Mixing,  see color mixing foliage,   browns,  color  mastery, charts.

 

 

 

forest stroll zen meditation, nature inspirations, watercolor lessons, debiriley.com
Zen Stroll

Zen Stroll  – The inspiration.

 

morning nature walk, inspirational watercolor ideas, debiriley.com
a beautiful morning – another inspiration

 

From Inspiration, to studio and the processes.

painting watercolor trees from nature, debiriley.com
a quick demo  – Ink over watercolor washes

 

The unifying line work created by the ink,  brings the image together as well as helps to emphasize the texture of the bark in this quick demo piece.

 

 

Contrasts

In Art, its all about Contrast.

 

Showing one demo example of “rough” texture is good;  but showing the opposite,  is even better.

 

Below: the silky, fluid washes flow downwards as the pale golden colors stream towards earth.

Its appearance of smoothness, of silken soft bark,  is in direct contrast to the “rough textured” image above.

 

easy watercolor trees, Tree trunk watercolours debiriley.com
Tree trunk – a study of smoothness – charging technique

 

 

tree bark dry brush watercolours debiriley.com
Dry Brush Technique for  rough  bark

 

 

What’s Next!?

I’m thinking…..