Tag: acrylics

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.





They are a Language.

Words unspoken.



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





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.





…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.



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.



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.




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!




Color of Imagination…. Purple 9

Color of Imagination…. Purple 9

So much fun to be had with the color purple.

Our imaginations take flight more so, with this one magic and mysterious color.

And, at last,  the left brain….takes a seat.


“What,  IF….”  is the dominant theme with 9  “purple, violet, magenta, lilac, lavender”  images below.

No rules, just play.



watercolor test color swatch, daniel smith amethyst, watercolour purples, creative art techniques, debiriley.com
purple test strip  – its a great way to warm up


Magic of Purple Paints

I love that there’s an infinite amount of Purple subjects to work with:  flowers, hills and mountains,  ponds and fanciful shadows… with an endless variation of warms and cools, lights and darks.


Purple is the color of magic. Of freedom.

Of mystery, of the arts, of creativity, of the archane.

It is a liberating color to use.


Don’t let any preconceived ideas and thoughts about ‘purple’ sway you.

Thoughts of  wishy washy faded wallflowers and pale shrinking violets;  or stroppy, SHOUTY purples;  or even the dreaded  “grandma purples.”

Ignore those thoughts.


You want New Ideas!



So,  allow yourself to play, for awhile.

To be free and imaginative, with the color purple. 



Thats enough talk.  Enjoy the 9 images!




creative imaginative art techniques, use purple paints, debiriley.com
shadows, purple background



purple rose photograph, debiriley.com
purple rose  – a great source of painting inspiration!



inspiration of nature flowers, purple rose photograph, debiriley.com
inspired by purple roses



watercolor with a palette knife, amethyst daniel smith paint, debiriley.com
amethyst with palette knife:   creatively, a Vertical format



lily pond in deep purple, nature photography, cool palette blue green and lavender, debiriley.com
Deep Purple and Blue – a pond, a little bit of magic


watercolor landscapes tree reflections, painting morning on the water using watercolors, creating mood with paint, debiriley.com
Serenity with Watercolors…  calming lilac and lavenders




shadows of violets, purples, painting, debiriley.com
Mysteries in dark violets and purples  – this is a bit of glad wrap technique





impressionist landscape mountains and water, purple lavender, cobalt teal blue waters painting, debiriley.com
Impressionist Landscape: Purples and Teal Waters  … debiriley.com (c) 2018







Cobalt Teal Blue: Stages of Art

Cobalt Teal Blue: Stages of Art


“We arrive totally new

at the various stages of life and

there we often lack experience

despite the number of our years.”

Francoise de La Rochefoucauld VI  1613  French writer


cobalt teal blue abstract, la rochefoucauld quote, debiriley.com
Stage One  Cobalt Teal Blue Abstract


In Stages

I think his quote sums up our experience with painting, art, as well.


Every time we think we attain a new level, get to the next stage, we discover ourselves beginners all over again.


Beginners don’t realise that this is ‘just what happens.’

Often as Beginners, we believe the journey will be smooth sailing, once we learn the basics.

That the there won’t be much more mystery, or challenges, or setbacks after that.



Those who have been at it longer, know differently.  Know the drill.

Because, as long as our innate artistic curiosity remains,  there will be challenges.


We have been down the path enough times before not to be overly discouraged.


We know…. to wait it out.

To work it out.

abstract blues, cobalt teal blue painting, debiriley.com
Stage Two



La Rochefoucauld

I chose La Rochefoucauld to quote from today, for two reasons.

The quote content suited the post and image, firstly.


Secondly, he isn’t one of the most well known writers people have read about.

But, he has so many quotes, maxims that are valuable gems.

Just as applicable in 2018 as they were in the 1600’s.


And Art, is about discoveries.

About curiosity that is never ending.



reference for painting abstract of water, debiriley.com
original reference photo


The springboard, the origins of the painting came from the photo of water in green blue.

Not really a magnificent specimen on its own.

However, it does not need to be.


The reference sources only need to Inspire.

To ignite within the artist a desire to create something more, something going Beyond that initial photo.



Abstract Art

As an abstract, it need not Be anything.

It doesn’t have to represent a boat, house, flower, lake, ocean, etc.

Its non-representational.


abstract expressionism, acrylic painting on canvas, debiriley.com
The Pond,  Abstract 


If,  a painting was Semi-Abstract then,  we would be able to discern perhaps that an area might be a sky shape.

Another shape, could infer a shrouded figure, or a boat out upon misty waters.  This, is what a Semi Abstract painting is.


Lunar Black, Quincacridone Sienna, Daniel Smith watercolors, debiriley.com
Smoke and Fire  – semi abstraction


Impressionist, we can detect straight away that something is a flower, a tree, car, cup, etc.

Maybe not, the exact precise street address of the place.

More the mood and feeling of the place or person though.

Autumn Color watercolor landscape, how to fix a watercolor painting, fall tree colors, debiriley.com
moods of autumn watercolor & pastel landscape:  Society6 shop


Botanical art is very precise.  We will know what type of flower it is, the species, etc.

The measurements, the ratios, will all be correct.

Everything leaves, petals, stamens, roots, etc. will be exact in their detail.




Abstract cobalt teal #9 

Abstract art  – A Definition 

Cobalt Teal Sea Sirens 





Hints, of blue….. its ‘key’

Hints, of blue….. its ‘key’

Four acrylic mixed media abstracts; all with the power of blue.

Harnessed together with opposing forces of tonal values.

Discover how you can effectively use these intriguing differences: high key and low key.




Light and Shade

Light and shade, or as I term it, Tonal Values.



High Key

With a “high key” painting, the prevailing dominant ratio of tones will be on the Lighter end of the scale.

Perhaps, about   75% – 80% Light Tones.


Tips for  High Key Watercolor: you would use more water with your paints and, leave a lot more of your paper – White.

High Key Acrylics and Oils:  you would increase the amount of white to all the paints you use, and in many places use nearly straight White out of the tube.


Second Tip:

when we are trying to learn and cement a specific skill, we really will learn it faster, if we focus on that skill.

And lessen the pressure to ‘do well’  with the all  rest of the skills.


By limiting my colors ie to blue and focusing on the Key, I’ll increase my speed of learning and proficiency.

And thats what we all want to see.

Evidence… of Progress!




A High Key painting creates the feeling of space.

Of Freedom, movement, breath, light, air, action.


It is lighter, breezier, cheerier.

It uplifts, and is much more joyous.


hints of blue, high key painting, bleu ocean beach abstract acrylics, debiriley.com
High Key, hints of the blue



high key blue abstract painting, using texture tone and color in art, debiriley.com
High Key, in blue


In both of the above images, the Light and Mid tone percentages are greater than the much smaller percentage of Darker tones.

This is what gives the paintings the ‘airier’ lighter feel compared to the paintings below.







Low Key

These paintings below, have a higher percentage of darker and mid tones.

The mid tones and dark tones dominate the image.

Rough estimate 75% or so.   Give or take.


The Low Key paintings create a more somber feeling to viewers.

There is a sensation of being more contained,  but it also can have nuances of foreboding at times as well.


abstract acrylic on board, low key painting, diagonal patterns, debiriley.com
Low Key painting, Cerulean with black,  abstract on board panel




blue abstract on board, heavy texture, darkness to light painting, debiriley.com
Illusion of the darkness of space, A low key painting  in blue




When you wish to convey summer, celebrations, joy, movement, spaciousness, etc.  you now have a definite tool to rely on.

Simply ‘High Key.’


Same thing when painting to express the opposite.   Use,  ‘Low Key.’


Awareness of our options, gives us the strategies and the power to execute them –  as the subject and mood dictates.





High Key  –  Watercolor Mountain

This is my rough estimate of  the painting’s tonal value ratios….

Light tones 40%

Mid tones  50%

Dark tones 10%


Additionally…. with a Vertical, format rather than a traditional horizontal, it provides us with an increased sensation of movement, of implied action.

Of Space and of Depth.


Staining watercolor paints, prussian blue pb27, Impressionist watercolor landscape mountain, granulating paint manganese blue, cerulean blue, debi riley watercolor, debiriley.com
Mountain Prussian Blue watercolors, full sheet 22×30 


I included this at the last minute, because it illustrates nicely the ‘sensation’ of high key using vertical format.

And to show you how you can ADD Light Tones (white,)  by using light white matts to increase the light ratios, if, that is what is required.





Midnight Dreams: indigo

Midnight Dreams: indigo

There in the distance…. the deep velvet near black, midnight blue sky twinkles with stars.

So it seems.



indigo blue green collage, midnight blue acrylics on paper, debiriley.com
Midnight Dreams: indigo collage


Midnight Dreams

In my last post, I did promise a little more interesting “Title.”

Sometimes, artists do dream and then create.

So it was.

I didn’t capture the precise dream like qualities.

But I did convey the colors in the dream.


The Midnight Dream is expressed as:

A collage with torn papers and acrylic paints.

Indigo blue transitions to cobalt, then cerulean.

Finally the surface is bared with whites upon the foreground’s stark shape.



What, is it?

The shapes are vague.



I think, I’ll encourage your own imaginations to take over.

To imagine, what it could be. 

In your mind,  your dreams.



The theme of “dreams” has come in handy;

with  Watercolor  Daydreams II  and   Just Daydreams preceding this post & painting.


I just really, like the colors.

Indigo. Cerulean.  Prussian blue.   And those gorgeous blends of greens.



Design Elements

I enjoy this movement, direction, pathway the painting takes.

A little journey.

Upper left to centre.

Flowing downwards in a smooth diagonal path.


Atwell Students might also notice the other feature that plays such a major role here.

The tonal values, are plentiful.


The smooth gradation of tones from near black at the top, to the white at the base.

That’s what is guiding the viewer’s eye.

Its this,

that makes the viewer’s eye roam,  travel through the painting so easily.


And so, even if one  can’t quite pin down

what the painting represents exactly –

still, we can enjoy the journey it has taken us on.


In those Midnight Dreams. 



Color-filled Textures!  Watercolor class lesson #6

Color-filled Textures! Watercolor class lesson #6

Color and Texture:  Watercolor Class Lesson #6.

It was pure fun.  I always thoroughly enjoy this topic and technique.

We played with paints, palette knives, pastes, gels on sturdy boards.

We turned plain old  ‘normal’  watercolor, into a Unique Creative Adventure.


Is what I’m talking about!


creative textures in watercolor, using gel for textures, blue craggy abstracts, debi riley art, Perth gallery art lessons, debiriley.com
Creative Watercolor Textures, molding paste and impasto gel






Yes.  We used Acrylic products, for use with Watercolors!

Impasto gel  and Molding paste. 

They are so exciting, so versatile, I do love them.

They unleash your Imagination.

I’ll tell you how……



creative watercolor techniques, cobalt teal blue paint, debiriley.com, watercolor art lessons free
Creative Watercolor textures



Texture: its Function 

Creating Texture in the painting…. what purpose does it serve? 

What locations does it best serve in?   


Texture Effects will help the artist to create depth, dimension, perspective, form and space. 


Texture creates visual “Interest,” preventing the painting from being boring,  from monotony.


Selective Texture,  is especially useful in capturing and holding the viewer’s interest.

Place the Texture in preplanned Select areas.  Areas you have targeted for the viewer to look at,  then you create more contrast and texture in that area.


Art Basics.  Its a good idea to try to remember the basic guidelines.

… A regular painting will generally have a background, middle ground, foreground, and focal point;  and how Texture increases coming forward, into the front.      





Progress – with Different, New Ideas

Using  Watercolors, doesn’t automatically  mean you must only use watercolor paint products. 

There is no “rule” stating your paintings must be pure watercolor paint only.   

Using Watercolors,  doesn’t rule out creating Textural surfaces with mixed media, or acrylic mediums. 

Take your art to the next level. 

Expand,  to include the possibilities of  alternatives, taking you beyond The Beginner levels.  Go ahead, try out the the textural gels and pastes. 




Preparing the Surface

Before we apply the Texture gels and paste, the surface (in this case a wood board) needs primed.

By that, I mean triple coating with gesso.  Making sure the masonite wood board is 100% covered up and completely white. Do the sides as well.

Allow it to dry in between coats.

The masonite board is Ideal.

These boards are sturdy, (vs paper or the warp-able thin card canvases.)

They will uphold the weight of the textural mediums applied so lavishly and vigorously.   


Once the gesso is dry, apply the gel or paste using the palette knife.

Be very Generous, with the gel and paste.

Don’t try to make a “tiny bit” cover the entire board;  scraping it across, till there is no texture left at all. That won’t work.

Go on ……    S l a t h e r     it   on!


As previously mentioned,   I recommend palette knife pk1008 

Dick Blick Comfort handle style 62    soft handle



cool purple watercolor textures, viridian green, teal, debiriley.com
Cool and Purple watercolor over impasto gel


Impasto gel

This will dry clear or nearly clear. 

You will see whatever has been painted underneath.   


So if you think about it, this could work well in many instances.  An underlying ‘not quite resolved’ image, can be covered with the gel and then repainted in areas. With thick goauche, or inks, or acrylics.  


Impasto gel, acts more like the slippery, slick Yupo paper;  the paint will slip off easily. 

debi riley free watercolor art lessons, watercolor and impasto gel techniques
Impasto gel with watercolor stained on top


To counteract this slick attribute, try using either of these techniques:  


A. staining paints and rubbing the paints into the board

B. Gouache White, Opaque paints which will adhere better than the others as they are thicker, denser,  ie more like acrylics       


A bonus, is it that it is so easy to Simply – rinse off and start all over again!!        



masonite wood board art paintings, watercolor and impasto
masonite board,  watercolors over molding paste textures



Molding Paste 

This used to be called Modelling paste.


I used Heavy molding paste.

This will dry off-white and matte,  slightly gritty with a tooth to it; it is ‘absorbent.’   


watercolor landscape trees, with texture, debiriley.com
Watercolor with molding paste


Watercolors applied to the molding paste textured board – acts a lot like a Fresco

Paints are quieted, dulled a tone, slightly less saturated.

But with a lovely old world feel to them, from my perspective. 


Paints are best applied, poured on Or squeezed on… not ‘brushed’ on 

Its not a surface to dob, dab, fiddle about. 


Paints will not wash right off  – the surface is too Absorbent.

But some of the color, will rinse off. Maybe 80% or so. 





Application of the Texture Medium

I prefer applying molding paste randomly.

Freely. Loosely. With my fabulous palette knife. 

Slather the paste on. As if it was meringue.

Don’t be ‘miserly.’


craggy tactile texture in watercolour using molding paste, debiriley.com
A Mountain… emerged from the molding paste textures



You can experiment the textures, by laying a paper onto the paste then lifting, for some fun random foliage like patterns   

With both The Impasto and The Moulding paste,  they must be super dry before any attempt is made to paint.      

If, or when you reach a point watercolors aren’t working for you on them;  they are ready for Acrylics to be painted on. Or mixed media.         You can also re gesso   and reapply the paste.     



cobalt teal and rose watercolor abstract, creative texture techniques, watercolor lesson for beginners, debiriley.com
let the dust settle, teal and rose


Rewards  of Impasto Gel and Molding Paste   

I like using these as wonderful imagination builders. 


Once colors are on and dry;  “things & shapes” begin to emerge. 

Don’t be hasty. 

Allow. This process to happen.   

Things will come forth.   If you allow the Time. 


Perhaps a flower may peer out eventually. 

Or there could be a tree, a leaf, a mountain and sky….. you just never know! 


It keeps you guessing. 

It keeps you looking forward to something – 



The excitement of the Surprise, that these colors and Textures gift you with,  is almost free.      



watercolor beginner lessons color and texture, debiriley.com, Perth art classes creative watercolor, debiriley.com
wonderful white cliffs, the water below….  gouache and a light molding paste


Which Brand you ask?

Golden brand is the one I can always recommend.

It has never, let me down.

It performs brilliantly.

There are, of course many others in a wide range of prices.

I’ve experimented with nearly every brand!


In the many example shown, I have used several brands.  I found each brand has its own characteristics.  One might be toothy and gritty, the other… not so much. One might be translucent. The other, more satin.



Golden’s very useful website page describes their products.

Providing you with a Treasure Trove of great information on the texture mediums, (gels, molding paste, impasto, etc.) and how to use them.

No.  I get no ‘kick back’  rewards, payments of any sort whatsoever for my recommendation for this product.

Or for that matter, any other product I’ve suggested to you.

If I’ve assessed a product and then recommend it as being the most helpful for you; I do not want monetary gain,  to be an influencing factor.

Golden is certainly on the higher end on the budget. But, helpfulness, reliability and  a student’s consistent,  improved results has Value and Worth.





Do Your Own Thing, while creating bold color filled watercolors,  layered up with texture!