Tag: Australian Artists

Impressionist Colors of the Sea… John Peter Russell

Impressionist Colors of the Sea… John Peter Russell

A fine example, a master of the impressionist era.  John Peter Russell should not go unnoticed by art lovers.

Admittedly, while in America I hadn’t heard of him.

Until  I moved to Australia and visited the New South Wales Art Gallery.



impressionist sea painting, john peter russell art, debiriley.com
impressionist sea…. John Peter Russell


Impressionist Artist


What Beautiful colors.

Exquisite brush movement.

The sensitivity of his brush is quite apparent when you look close.




John Peter Russell  was born in Australia in  1858, but moved to Belle Ile, Brittany.

This, is where he painted much of his work.

Les Aiguilles, Belle Ile  is another lovely free loose and easy watercolor impression of the area there.

If you go online google… John Peter Russell paintings, to find his work.  They are outstanding.




Versatile Artist

Russell created gorgeous oil paintings, just as easily as he did watercolors.

The following link below, shows one of Russell’s  oil paintings of the sea, lovely and spirited.

According to the Sept. 2015  Christies.com article  “Australia’s Lost Impressionist” …. Russell was a friend of Rodin and was inspired by Monet. 




5 Keys

5 Key Things I think watercolorists of all levels might come away with after studying Russell’s work:

  • a sense of color spontaneity
  • fresh raw,  vigorous brush movement
  • transparency of colors and the lack of muddiness throughout the work
  • his ‘permission’ in allowing the pigments to merge, mingle, flow … at will
  • harmony of the complementary color palette of pink- red and green- blue



More to come

I do apologise to all if I’ve not replied to you.

I’ve been away visiting in Singapore,  and we just returned from the amazing city.

The National Gallery was stunning with its exhibitions; the city’s buildings … were art creations.

Yes  – there is more to come in upcoming post articles!






John Olsen: Painting A Timeless Land

John Olsen: Painting A Timeless Land

John Olsen  is easily recognised as one of Australia’s most iconic and productive artists.       An Australian legend  and inspirational artist whose landscapes clearly reflect his intimate knowledge and feelings for the land.

John Olsen artist
Artist : John Olsen

Five Bells,    oil painting   1973,   New South Wales Art Gallery NSWAG in Sydney, Australia.   A lovely painting, with its bold blue brilliance against the starkness of the white background and seen in person – its just stunning!


John Olsen’s timeless landscapes

Viewing his paintings, you can sense the timelessness of the land. Olsen conveys with ease the  spirit of the land.  He isn’t tied to a rigid western format but has a fluid interpretative and expressive approach. He paints with passion, feeling and sensitivity.

Olsen goes beyond a narrow traditional approach, into what I might term, a wholistic approach.  Looking at the landscape, at the environment from a much wider perspective.

Personally, what I’ve distilled from seeing Olsen’s paintings is the feeling of seeing the bigger picture.   And this, gives me a greater awareness of how all earth’s elements relate and communicate and depend on each other.

How we are all connected.  A very good thing to pause and reflect upon.

John Olsen artist
Artist : John Olsen

Australian Flux,   this detail of the painting  highlights  the intricate layerings and patterns that went into creating the depth of the image.  The bright blue orbs draw the eye while the smooth blue grey, pastel sky shape serves as a calmative to the piece.


Dr. John Olsen was born in 1928 in Newcastle, NSW, Australia.  He travelled abroad into Europe and Africa. He returned and travelled extensively throughout Australia gaining sensitivity and insight into this ancient continent, which is so apparent in his paintings.


Landscapes:  Spirit of the Land,  John Olsen

Nearly all of his works are landscape themed, reading maplike or from an aerial viewpoint.

A creative, clever and inventive artist Olsen is adept at not just oils, but printmaking, ceramics, tapestry, gouache, watercolours.

Clearly,  he’s not an artist that is content to be boxed, pigeon holed into creating only one form of work to just please others!

John Olsen has a string of prestigious awards and accolades:  awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE)     as well as  the Order of Australia. (AO)

He has won the sought after Archibald Art Prize, the Wynne Prize and the Sulman.  Olsen’s paintings are found in the state galleries, the NSWAG (New South Wales Art Gallery) and the Olsen Irwin Art Gallery in Sydney.


All of John Olsen paintings are exquisite in their colour sensitivity,  the mark making,  textural layerings,  and beautiful tonal nuances.

What you will find in every work John Olsen has done – is a great clarity of abundant tonal values.  There is no muddle of flatness.  There is clear evident Light tones, Mid tones, and Deep Dark tones within his paintings.  I love this about him!

While I have only chosen just the two to showcase, if you visit  Olsen Irwin  art gallery and NSWAG  you will get a much broader and exciting view of his more of his inspiring work.


I have to say,  between two Australian artists,  Fred Williams and John Olsen,   I could not pick who would be my ultimate favourite. For over 20+ years, I’ve danced between the two.  I love them both.


I’ve included my painting Mountain In Blues, as it is one that I feel most reflects the Olsen influence upon me.  Have a look at my Gallery page and I’m sure you will see more of that influence on my work.

watercolour mountain in blue, debiriley.com
Mountain in Blues, watercolours, debiriley.com