Tag: art books

A New Innocence

A New Innocence

The Sleepwalkers.

Its an old book, really old, 1959.

Yet, I find it immensely compelling.

The author, Arthur Koestler.   Who? …. nope, never heard of him.

That’s alright, neither had I.  But, just read this:


“Every Creative Act involves

a new innocence

of perception

liberated from

the cataract of

accepted belief.”

Arthur Koestler,    The Sleepwalkers  




arthur koestler quote from The Sleepwalkers, a new innocence, every creative act, debiriley.com
new innocence

A New Innocence in the way we see….


I’m reading Julia Cameron, The Artists Way  and Betty Edwards book, Drawing on the Right Side of The Brain.

Switching it up, and comparing both of their insights on drawing, on art, on filling lives with Creativity.


And that’s how I stumbled upon Koestler’s words, in Betty Edwards’ book.



I think, its fairly irrelevant the type of art, the type of Creative act we do, it could be writing, dancing, singing, but his message is true for all.

We need to let go the old, “thats the way its been done”  belief system.

And come to the studio with Innocence.


What Koestler is saying, I believe is this.

We do not have to rely upon what we were told to do years ago, just because.  Just because is never,  a valid reason.

Neither is, because its easier for me to deal with it done this way, so you need to learn to do it like this.




Arthur Koestler book

This quote of his has replayed in my mind for weeks.

Until I set about doing a bit of research.

And this week, went to Amazon to buy his book.

I haven’t begun to even scratch its surface.

But I’m excited to keep reading more.


The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man’s  Changing Vision  of the Universe   at Amazon.




With a New Innocence,

of perception.

yes, I do like the sound of that!


What Would Michelangelo, Say?

What Would Michelangelo, Say?

I’ve been reading a couple books… well, several actually at the same time. Very unusual for me.

Multi-tasking is so not, my forte.

My preference is to fully engage, to finish something completely, before beginning any new project or story.

Exception. Somehow paintings are different.

Having 5-10 on the go at the same time, works beautifully for me.




Books and Quotes


The two books, The Art of Peace by Morihei Ueshiba  and   The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron –  partner up very well.

And so far, reading both of them, its going well. Slow, Though.



“The greater danger

for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high

and falling short,

but in setting our aim too low

and achieving our mark.”


The words of Michelangelo




Thinking on this, perhaps failing, falling, doing poorly, mucking things up …. is not,  “a major” problem. Its not going to be the end of the world.

For that is surely our fear, when we deliberately, set our aims well below what we could achieve.


watercolor abstract in lavender and blue, Michelango quote, creative experimental watercolor techniques, debiriley.com
Ice Falls



The Art of Peace was brought to my attention by Val Boyko over at findyourmiddleground.com

Val has a wonderfully inviting, calm and accepting way about her that transfers to her website blog in a refreshing way.

As you all can tell by now, with my art I lean towards the zen minimalist style.

That   “Less is More”   and for my guys here at home,  the word “judicious”  will spring to mind I’m sure.



I’m reading The Art of Peace as an ebook, as I was too impatient to order it and wait for it to arrive from overseas in the mail.

It was a question of,  “Have it Now,  or in 3-4 weeks.”

Only a few pages in, but love the calm, peaceful philosophy and the calligraphy!

oh. that is ART!


Ueshiba explains to us about shapes.

“The triangle represents energy, initiative. It is the most stable physical posture.

The circle symbolises unification. Serenity. Perfection. It is the source of unlimited techniques.

The square stands for form, for Solidity. The basis for applied control.”



Ueshiba does not attempt to teach how to move or work the body, it is the mind… he wants us to work on.

To master the art of governing our mind. hmmm.  lots of fresh air, nature, outdoors, discipline, practice, and more practice…. and practice within our minds,   and good old fashioned labor.

This sounds hauntingly familiar to me. That discipline thing.  That ‘homework’ thing,  practicing.    And, like I said I’m only into it by just a few pages.   Lots more to go.





The Artist’s Way


The other book,   The Artist’s Way   A Course in Discovering and recovering Your Creative Self ….by Julia Cameron.   I’ve had it for ages and did read through it over 20 years ago.

This one is a real book, not an ebook.

I picked it up again recently to try to determine if it was a keeper.  If it was going to be finally discarded or given away along with so many other books just sitting unused, on the shelf.


Two paragraphs in.

Thats all it took, to hook me.

I’m not only keeping it “for later”  but starting it right now.

Brilliant quotes.   Thought provoking ideas.  Creative approaches to art, life, imagination and all forms of creative expression.


I’m not too far into this book either, but I’m thoroughly enjoying each page. Each new idea.





Quote from The Artist’s Way


Only when

he no longer knows

what he is doing

does the painter do good things.

Edgar Degas





The featured painting

I chose to sort through my older artworks and demos to find an image that I felt would fit. I needed a Goldilocks, for the post.


Ice Falls stood out from the rest.



Strong. Cool and calm, with a sense of a ‘climb’ to it.

Delicate patterns created by the plastic glad wrap provides just enough visual interest to hold the eye.

The use of cartridge paper, non-sized, allowed for the greater amount of ‘bleed-through’ that is seen. A lovely contrast to the harder, sharper edges.

A simple palette just permanent rose and cobalt blue mixed. Create soft warm lavenders and the chilled blues. Nice contrast of warm and cool.

White space. Think – Toko Shinoda!   That is who I think of, anyway.




What would Michelangelo say?  

I saw the angel in the marble
until I set him free.






Delacroix to Klee: Books to Inspire

Delacroix to Klee: Books to Inspire

Artists Eugene Delacroix,  Jean Leon Gerome  and  Paul Klee fill the pages – waiting to inspire me with magic woven with their hands, brushes, colours, paints and imaginations. A cherished book,  “Orientalism – Delacroix to Klee” tops my favourites list, with every page filled with a spectacular art image. Mesmerising!

Eugene Delacroix French artist  debiriley.com
Eugene Delacroix artist debiriley.com

Orientalism – Delacroix to Klee          details:    Curator and Editor      Roger Benjamin      ISBN  07313 13569

These exquisite paintings are first rate works from their creators.  They seem to come to life even through the pages,  and I wonder what seeing the paintings in real life would really be like.


From the shimmering cobalt skies of Algiers, Morocco, Tangiers, Istanbul, Cairo ….. the Near East and Middle Eastern people and lands will come to life in a world of vibrancy, colour, textures and heat.   That term  “Orientalism,”  was  basically…. a term that inferred  ‘the East.’   Not necessarily meaning China, etc. as one might initially expect!

With featured artists  Eugene Delacroix and  Jean – Leon Gerome   I certainly get my ‘fix’ for my Arabian horses throughout this book.  And in reference to  my previous post, Art in the horse realm,  the Arabian breed was bred and originated in the Middle East.


Jean Leon Gerome artist debiriley.com
Jean Leon Gerome artist debiriley.com


  • John Frederick Lewis’ use of colour, patterns and light is wonderful; his watercolour on paper  “An Eastern Beauty” c.1851  is a superb design with skilled used of colour, tone, line and Imagination!     Love his work.


  • Etienne Dinet’s  “Slave of Love”  c.1900  small beautifully painted romantic oil that shows a charming young couple with high detail and definition, stunning colours.


  • Lucien Levy-Dhurmer’s  “Evening Promenade Morocco” c. 1930  is a gorgeous minimalistic feat of creative and thoughtful use of shapes.


  •  Paul Klee, Matisse, Arthur Streeton, George Lambert  all have lovely first rate work in the book.


  • Ethel Carrick’s use of colour and light is lovely, her paintings well designed with beautiful, lively broad strokes.  She was the wife to the famous artist, Emanuel Phillips Fox.


  • Ethel Carrick said about painting outside in the blistering Tunisian heat,    “It is hard work…painting all day in the heat and blinding sand. From an artist’s point of view, however it is worth while.”


Yes, I agree.

Being an artist….. It is hard work.   There is so much unseen effort,  it is extremely time consuming.  Being an artist is hard work!   I also agree,  it is very worthwhile.

These artists  have given us their inspired and highly creative interpretations of an fascinating land of mystery.  Some of their great paintings  can be seen in Sydney at the New South Wales Art Gallery.


Exotic lands and the Artist’s Eye

The strangeness of this exotic land as seen from the European perspective is what makes this Orientalism  movement so intriguing. These artists were trying to convey and express the mysteries of  colours, light, atmosphere, culture,  traditions, patterns, textures  as  seen from the European view  and more specifically… from an artist’s  eye.

Which we know,  artists see  the world in a much different light than the average ‘joe.’

The average person may well wonder at the meaning of such things, the purpose, the function,  the life time effort & commitment, let alone the cost.  “What is this jumble of colours?!”  One patron was overheard exclaiming.

An Evening Promenade Morocco is almost at first glance, merely a canvas of whites, greys and purples and a hint of eyes.   “Where’s the Detail?!”   In the words of a famous master, its not what you put into the painting that makes it great – its what you leave out.

But back then, those artists  had a much rougher time trying to convince the public to “like” new styles and subjects. Being creative, original, seeing outside the traditional box was not exactly warmly embraced.

art book collection
Art Book collection

4 More Favourite Treasured Art Books

  • Sydney Long,    The Spirit of the Land;      he conveys a wonderfully evocative style that I much admire.      In my  feeling for the land, I aimed for a  likewise sensitive interpretative approach.
  • Hilary Page’s   Guide to Watercolour Paints  –  its a brilliant and very useful reference tool,  great book on paints and pigments;
  • Watercolor Paper Handbook,  Werner Mertz …. its out of print,  but I’ve managed to replace it the 2 times it went ‘walk about.’    This is a fantastic educational book on what paper surfaces look like, what they do, how they lift and much more.  Amazing book.  Even if it gets taken again, I will repurchase it!    Werner Mertz has some great paintings to illustrate these as well. See Below.
  • Watercolour Handbook Werner Mertz
    Watercolour Handbook Werner Mertz
Werner Mertz handbook
Werner Mertz handbook
  • Tate Watercolour Manual Lessons from the Great Masters    Tony Smibert and Joyce H. Townsend                   Beautiful!       Featuring great masters  John Sell Cotman, Claude Lorrain, John Constable, JM William Turner, Jean Baptiste Corot as well as the work of Tony Smibert with wonderfully adept ‘how to’ landscape and foliage demos and tips.
Tate Watercolours
Tate Watercolours, lessons from the great Masters, Tony Smibert Joyce Townsend