Tag: beginners paintings

Beautiful, her words….  (Words To Paint By)

Beautiful, her words…. (Words To Paint By)

Melbourne, a thriving cultural metropolis.  A mecca for Australians wanting a touch  ‘more.’

My friends, my students,  they frequent the city and bring back stories to share with me.  I’ve yet to go.

It is, most definitely, on my list.

In a city of 4.8 million people, there is an abundance of  art museums, galleries, and art shops whispering my name.


So I was looking up one of my mentors, David Taylor who teaches at Senior Art Supplies, in Melbourne.

Wondering how he is, thinking I’d love to go visit and simply, chat.  (David is a lovely man and he’s had a tremendous influence on my art journey, to which I’m truly appreciative.  If you are in Melbourne, or can go to any of his international workshops. Just Do It.)


While on the store website,  I noticed that an ‘Alison Hanly’  was listed there, teaching creativity.


You know, I was intrigued with that bit of information.

Creativity and Imagination!


pouring painting abstract, Indanthrone Blue acrylic on canvas, creative fun techniques in acrylics, debiriley.com
Creative acrylic technique,  indanthrone blue Stephanie




I went onto the web to do a little more research on Ms. Alison Hanly. 

I’ll share her so very beautiful words, her philosophy about creating art.


“My focus is on self expression (yours) and helping you figure out what and how you want to paint or draw.

I am not going to teach you my method, I don’t want you to come away painting exactly like me.

I want you to come away painting and drawing just like you.

I can teach you the principles of good image making, i.e. composition, tone, colour etc.

But that knowledge is simply to help you understand what you are struggling with and give you more choices.

I don’t believe in ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ ways to paint.

I don’t believe it is possible to ‘cheat’.


Art is about problem solving and trying any way you can to get the vision in your head out of it so others can see.


Art is also about experience, you can’t learn it from reading books, you have to do it.

It is experimental and sometimes the experiments don’t work, what we do then is talk about what happened and what might have worked better.


The journey you take as a creative is not all sunshine and light, it is not always playtime nor is it always easy.

I love it when it is all of those things, but it often isn’t especially when you are starting.

It can be bliss,  peace,  contentment, connection,

but it can also be frustration, disappointment, an ego battleground and just plain boring.”



Helpful Hints

It was fascinating to discover that   Alison not only is a painter, but is a musician, a radio producer and writes.


A helpful thing, which I’ve done and I’d also suggest to students,  or to any artist actually, is to print off Alison’s words.

Tape them to your easel.

Place them so you see them, each and every time you go to create… when you wish to express your voice that is within You.


Yes, she can write.

Beautiful are her words.





Partner Posts on …….   Creativity

Creativity  pass it along 

Creativity  – 10 Faces

Creativity – its many, forms 

Threads of Creativity

In the Creative Zone 

Creative Color Magician – Disney 



Colors of a Summer’s Day

Colors of a Summer’s Day

Brushstrokes of Summer Joy.  Radiantly bright and bold.

The colors, the flamboyance, the sheer energy and freedom of a Summer day.

Speak to us, in the enchanting voice of a childhood lost and found.


abstract expressionism, art from a child's eye, painting fresh and freely, debiriley.com
BOLD Summer Day Colors, abstract by Thomas



and Create.


How easy it is for some!


When we were still children, it was easier.  This imagining and creating.

It was  a natural part of life.

Like Breathing.




Bold Summer Day Color …..  Seen with a child’s eye.

Amazing how pure those brushstrokes are.


How fresh.

How unmuddied.


How fun!





10 Learning Points and What I enjoy about this:


  1. The small hints of foliage mint greens that ‘peek’ through.
  2. The very bold golden yellow at the top, hinting… at summer sun.
  3. Cobalt turquoise… just because, I like it.
  4. The alizarin in fluctuating tones, lighter and then so deep and dark.
  5. The colors are, all, echoed throughout the image for a wonderful sense of Harmony.
  6. WHITE Space!  that is so important, don’t fill it all in. It gives us… room!
  7. The energetic attitude of the artist as he painted is clearly visible, in those brushstrokes.
  8. It has a sense of design and movement; its not flat nor static.
  9. It has fabulous ranges of tonal values within this painting.



Imagine and Create

10.    Its very Abstractedness, invites the viewer’s imagination. 

And that is the secret thing, we artists all want…

To engage you, the viewer, completely into our world, even if only for just a brief moment!





We wonder.

What was this young man, thinking at the time?

Was he looking out into the bright gardens outside?

Was he remembering some gorgeous colored birds from a zoo?


Or …maybe he had a quick flash of memory and the colors popped into his head as he thought of the wonderful stained glass window he passes by so often?



bird photography, Perth zoo, bright colored birds, debiriley.com
Bright colors



Balmain NSW colorful stain glass window, debiriley.com
Colorful Window



A thank you goes to the young artist, Thomas,  for allowing his work to be ‘on show’ for all to see.






Share Some Art

Share Some Art

As many of you may have discovered reading my articles, I have a very broad scope on what “Art” can be.   Sharing Art, is simply a way of giving what one is able to – to some one else.


Kalbarri Australia, ocean photograph, travel to Western Australia, Perth, debiriley.com
The Art of Kalbarri Color turquoise waters Perth



The Forms of ART

Art comes in Many Diverse Forms. 


A visit overseas to see a relative is art.

Smiling at a stranger at a stop light, yes, I think that is an art too.

The cake decorator at the bakery just may be an artist as well.

And I know my local barista is one!



Why? Why would I think that anything other than a play, a painting, a musical, a sculpture …. Was ‘REAL ART’?


Who am I to look upon a child’s first drawing and loftily say – That, is not art!

Or to an elderly man’s painting using the only tools he has, and think its not art.



What ART Means

What is Art to me?

it is creating something from deep within oneself,

expressing it outwards in whatever form it takes,

and sharing it with others,

for the good of all.



Giving, what we are able to

Art is our way of connecting our ideas, thoughts, emotions with others. Of sharing.

Some of us, attempt to light a pathway that others might see the boulders we tripped over.


Art is connecting, sharing, of helping;  of giving what we are able to others,

And lets not forget Hope.



Art is Hope

Art is an entity that especially when shared, may burst into  Hope.

Hope feeds the human soul.    We can not do without it.



art is hope, sharing art, debiriley.com
art is hope



Just… Let go

Just… Let go

I’d like to inspire you. I hope I do.   I’d like to infuse you with the spirit of adventure and to encourage you. To excite you with the possibilities and wonders your very own creative voice has for us.  To let you know that those little wee mistakes, imperfections are part of this beautiful process of art making.

I’d love for each of you who are wishing that you too could paint…. to just let go.



Letting Go the Map

I went for a drive.

car drive with polished nails, debiriley.com
Going for A Drive…. let go the map

I was planning on finding a riot of color for this Monday’s class.



I did find some flowers with pretty colors.

But…. found it was the mysteries of the shapes that lured me in. It was the soft lull of the blurred backgrounds that really captured my heart.



Funny thing. Setting out on a journey with a destination in clearly in mind, and discovering better things along the way.

I like that.  It keeps life interesting, fun, joyous and surprising.



I by nature, always have loved set routine.  Patterns, recipes, formulas, templates.  Monday through Sunday. I’m an introvert. This is just how I seemed to function best.

But I’ve learned also, that it tightens and narrows. It becomes more and more like concrete shoes. Especially. With art.



I’ve learned to more and more to just Let Go.

I enjoyed letting go in Blues.  The abstract floral petals image below. It was inspired by the lovely shapes of petals.   It is an abstract.  I loved how the colors and tones ran and played together.

Is it ‘perfect’?   Oh No, not by a long shot.  Do I love looking at it? Yup.   and so,  thats Good Enough.


abstract petals in blue watercolors, debiriley.com
abstract shapes of  floral petals, debiriley.com

Let Go and try things my own Unique way.

To try odd experiments.  I don’t ‘have to’  show them to anyone,  do I?!   They’re Just for me, just so I know if this ‘test’ will work out for me, or not.

If not, well I’ll try new next time!  Art is fun!  Not to be afraid of.


When one avenue doesn’t work, try another. and another. and another. and Another.


Be so determined, that you will practice.  You’ll paint outside, you’ll set up your own still life on your own tables… You  will  Do Whatever  It  Takes…   in order to improve your basic art skills and paint the paintings that are within you. Needing Let Out.



Just Let Go  and Please Your Self

Let go the need to show someone else.

The desire to please  somebody, other than your own lovely self!

This art… it is For You!    After all, YOU are the one taking the time, effort to create it.  It certainly should be something you love and means something to you.


If no one else ‘gets it’  – no worries.   I wouldn’t care if   ‘they’ didn’t like my brand of gluten free dairy free  coconut chocolate ice cream.

It is…. delicious to me!!!!     and I’m smiling as I write this thinking about it.


tea tree florals in macro, pinks and greens, debiriley.com
Letting Go,  soft and blurred background.    debiriley.com


Let Go Comparing

Let go the compulsion that we have that compares us to somebody else.

Stop. Comparing you to anybody else.

You are you.

We need you, to be you and to use your art language (paint) and express your inner creativity.


Seriously,  I love these guys, but I’ve seen enough copies, replicas, that really I don’t want to see any more.   (Whether the copies are of Monet, Sargent, O’Keefe, Picasso, Pino,  Whistler, David Taylor, etc. ..or myself.)


We don’t need any more copies.


What we really need  –  we  need more – Originals.

Just. Let. Go.




Let Go Perfection

Letting go of Perfection  is a challenging task. Embracing ‘imperfection’ seems almost …lazy, slovenly, slackardly.  At first.  But its not.

Have a read up on Wabi Sabi.  On Zen.

Both of these ideas can be vastly helpful to the new artist.

Wabi Sabi …. “nothing is permanent, finished or perfect”   thats a 6 word summary to a topic that is so beautiful, so rich and layered it would take several posts to illustrate!   My Zen posts might be a start.


Can you see the imperfection? the insect… that ‘messes up’ the photo below?  it is so … Wabi Sabi, so I left it in and decided to use this one as is.

flowers to inspire, photograph, debiriley.com
Inspiring Shapes of Flowers



The artists out there,  Those with generosity of soul.

Those who want to see others succeed.

Those who enjoy seeing others  finally expressing  authentic inner creativity –  those people I promise – will not   say hurtful things about your unique and authentic, your personally created  original  artwork.


The first words of a toddler might be dada.  The caring mother rejoices. She does not scowl that the child didn’t say mama first.    We rejoice at the heartfelt release of inner creativity and self expression.

If a loved one happens to use the wrong words to express their interpretations…. realise they’re not doing it to hurt; they may not have the art language to use to help them out.

They may have been conditioned to only accept a certain type of art as “art”  and have not been exposed to many art galleries or museums;  they may have NO Idea what its really like to actually have a brush in their hands and be try to remember and do the 1,000 things one must in order to put together a painting.  (no. No clue at all.) They just don’t know!


Word of advice, just don’t show your work to ‘mean’ people.  Its not worth it.



Just Let Go.



We need Originals.

We need the real you.




Fresh Watercolors

Fresh Watercolors


How do I avoid dull watercolors?”

This is the question I’ve been asked a lot lately. So I’m going to share with you with the solutions and options, that have worked well for me.


getting fresh watercolors, avoid dull paint, simple beginner watercolor steps, debiriley.com
Fresh. Watercolors! debiriley.com




Problem:  Dull Watercolors

You want to know why you keep getting lifeless, dulled looking watercolor paintings and you want to know how to stop it from happening!




Causes and Solutions


A.  Paints:

Inappropriate paints for the task at hand


  • Mixing Opaque paints (such as Cadmiums, Light Red, White, Ochre, etc)  into your mixes cause troubles.


  • Mixing student…. grade paints,  cause troubles and dullness as well.


  • Using a Stainer when you really need a Granulator, creates troubles.  A Stainer is transparent, deeply dark, and shoots Forth like a jet rocket. Whereas Granulators, settle and sink into the paper’s crevices to create more textural effects.


  • Mixing 2 warm colors together (ie Cadmium Scarlet Red and French Ultramarine blue)  Both are warm versions of their Color –   creates –  mud, dullness, listnessness.


  • Learning and knowing the warms and cools takes time.  Some effort. And a keen desire to improve.   This part, is not an overnight quick solution, but slow and steady.




EASY to strip back.   123

Limit dramatically the paints you use:   3 Paint colors.

(Perhaps a 4th, if  Required.)


My featured art work – Fresh Watercolor,  has 3 paints with about two drops of a 4th paint.

I used Quinacridone Gold,  Permanent Rose,  (these were artists’ Winsor and Newton) and   Cobalt Teal Blue and   Indigo (these were Daniel Smith Watercolors.)

The Indigo, I literally only used 2 dashes at the very final end of the painting to create a lovely luminous Fresh Watercolor.





B.   Timing:

Placing more paint on instead of waiting til the area is thoroughly dry

ahhhhh.   The dilemma of impatience!


and fiddling.   fiddling… yes,  it ranks in my mind as a 4 letter word. It creates Ruin!


A helpful sequence for painting is to remember to use first transparent paints, and then stainers, then  granulators,  and LAST…. if you must,   opaque paints applied on the dry surface.

This, is the Secret to Fresh Watercolors!





C.   Paper:

dull paper creates dull watercolors


If I use nice bright, 100% cotton rag paper I will invariably get a clean fresh lively energised look to the watercolor artwork.

But when I try to ‘go cheap’  and use student papers, Troubles Arise.


What trouble?  The student papers aren’t cotton but a mix of ‘cellulose pulp’  ie like a tissue or napkin really.

Thus, the paint doesn’t quite absorb in nor does it sit right.


The paint washes do not transition and give that smooth and gorgeous seamless blend, that I so love about watercolor!

I get an inferior work every time. In my opinion, its never the same luminosity and “Freshness”  I’m looking for. My Featured work is  fresh and lively, its on Arches 100% cotton cold press 300gsm paper.






So you can see, there are several very simple, very easy steps and techniques you can start doing today.

These simple methods are going to help you prevent tired, lifeless and overworked watercolor paintings.


Yes.  You can improve the freshness, the clean look, the vibrancy, the luminosity of your paintings…. if you simply remember

1  Paints

2 Timing

3 Paper





For more information on Watercolor Beginners  Basic Tips, Techniques the following articles provide great additional insights – to  get started on Fresh Watercolors! 


Watercolor Basic Beginner Tips 

Watercolor 3 types of edges 

Watercolor Techniques Trees 

Watercolor Spectacle of Trees 

Watercolor Mixing green 

Watercolor Secrets  

Watercolor Textures 

Watercolor 10 Great Brush Tips 



10 Faces of Creativity

10 Faces of Creativity

when one thing leads to another……


ultramarine glass reflections, creative still life art photograph, debiriley.com
The Face of Creativity, debiriley.com


A common by product of teaching a multitude of art mediums is…..one thing,  leads to another!




10 Faces of Creativity


  1. creativity.  it can’t be caged. it needs to fly
  2. creativity  holds infinity within its hands of Creation
  3. creativity is a realm.  a world within.  a vast,  world  on the outside
  4. creativity can’t be forced. it won’t be coerced
  5. creativity never responds unless its free to soar and return
  6. creativity is a bird in flight, a dove coming home
  7. creativity is diving from the skies,  stomach dropping, rush of adrenalin
  8. creativity has no warden, no border police, no boundaries, no lines to cross
  9. creativity just IS. by virtue of giving of itself freely. without reservation or fear
  10. creativity is a wide open barn door.  a castle drawbridge,  forever lowered




More Faces of Creativity



Points to ponder




Infinity and Creation soar

upon the wings

of the imagination you

allow to

go free

from within

Your Self





If, we win the ‘battle’ to Control and Master a thing…..

we will ultimately lose the ‘war’ to Achieve

Freedom Of Expression.






Mistakes !!!!


So What, if I mess up?

If an artwork is not a 5 Star masterpiece?


What is the real problem with that?

What if I achieved a 2 Star, and had the time of my life?

and made a discovery to use for the future?



I’m not afraid.

I’m going on a ‘creativity hunt.’

I’ve got my Muse by my side……



white dove grey feather floating in jade green water, photograph, debiriley.com
the Muse, as she wills





creativity in art and photography, green reflections, debiriley.com
A New Face of Creativity, airfreshener, debiriley.com



collage in greens, blues, gold, debiriley.com
Collage: Facets of Creativity, debiriley.com



creative cropping solves your art problems, acrylic on paper, debiriley.com
Miracle of Cropping, new creative twist from an old face



watercolor landscape water reflections, creative ways with watercolor debi riley paintings
Watercolor Muse…reflecting – debiriley.com





creative papers in a rose and gold sculptural design, debiriley.com
Rose Gold Collage, debiriley.com





creative portrait of a rose, photograph, debiriley.com
Gypsy Rose Lee, unveil of the rose, debiriley.com




inspiring color, abstracting photographs, debiriley.com
Inspire Me


Scarlets and Reds…. mixed with a dash of deep indigo and indanthrone.  They present lovely facets to sit and just, look into.


creativity includes cropping an image, debiriley.com
New Life, cropped










art materials we want, debiriley.com
The material goods…. of creativity


DIY gelli plate, debiriley.com
Circle.  wonderful face of creativity… try it.  its fun!




glorious Perth Wa sky photo debiriley.com
Glorious Perth Sky photo debiriley.com

If this Perth sky photograph fails to enthuse, inspire and generate some creativity out of me…. some thing, is drastically wrong!!     What a stunning face of creativity.



Entangled - linocut printed by hand, debiriley.com
Entangled – black and white linocut printed by hand. debiriley.com



turquoise encaustic debiriley.com
Thick.Turquoise Encaustic, with oils smeared on top. debiriley.com


oil abstract in blue and orange, debiriley.com
Oils in blue and orange. A River? maybe… debiriley.com





3   Suggested Artists I think are awesomely creative

Dale Chihuly        ……glass blowing artist

Maurice Sapiro    ……oil painter

Rag’n’Bone Man   ….. musician




suggested posts















Art: Splatters and Speckles Add Interest, Depth

Art: Splatters and Speckles Add Interest, Depth

Fabulous and Easy Art Techniques include creating fun, wild, rebellious splatters and speckles!

art texture techniques, spatter, rose photo, debiriley.com
Aged Rose, Speckles photo, debiriley.com


Creative, Freeing, Art Technique


It is a bit like, “Take That,  Right Brain!”

Fun, easy colorful splatters and speckles.  So lovely, so freeing.


And once those splatters are there – now that overly harsh and hyper critical side of the self,  must ‘just deal’ with all the random chaos scattered upon the fabric, tapestry, canvas, or paper.

It can be created in photographic form as well. As you can see from these first two images.


aged speckled rose petal, macro photograph, debiriley.com
Rose Petal macro photograph, debiriley.com


I like it, its refreshing.

It certainly livens things up, adding interest to otherwise dull scenes.

Giving Life, to a bored and rigid lined subject.



magenta ink debiriley.com
magenta ink debiriley.com



Splatter Textural Technique Benefits

Interest and Depth!

This dynamic duo, is so much easier on the eyes – than ‘Right and Rigid’…. by a country mile.


Of course, this is all,  merely my own personal art opinions.  I’m certain others have formed their own after years of painting too.


A friend, Josephine Ann Smith, paints wonderful beautiful, Botanical Australian birds.

She really does need to be more accurate in her line and ratio formulations. I must say her birds never seem ‘rigid’ to me though. She’s very clever in her compositions! We all have unique interests.



mixing greens in watercolor, tropical floral greens, watercolor mixing greens, easy beginner watercolor ideas, debi riley art, debiriley.com
Tropical Flora Greens debi riley




Splatter:  How, When, Where, Why

  • Simply, I use an old toothbrush loaded up with paint
  • Spray (for a finer splatter) or tap the brush  (for larger speckles)
  • Foregrounds are the best location, used to create more depth
  • Middlegrounds sometimes, if, dampened to soften the edges
  • Normally, we don’t want to draw the eye unduly, to a Background
  • Splatter Technique creates lovely dimension, added depth
  • Easily be used as a Camouflage for areas you want to Divert the eye away from



Beginners Watercolour landscapes, debiriley.com
Beginners Watercolour Landscapes, debiriley.com



texture and patterns, quail eggs, photos, debiriley.com
Quail Eggs and Foil   – splatter and speckles front and back




some useful relevant art tips, basics and guides can be found  at my page

Watercolor Basics

With loads of posts on color, materials, design, techniques for beginners.