Tag: cobalt

Zen Stroll: Watercolor Tree Inspirations

Zen Stroll: Watercolor Tree Inspirations

Can we lower blood pressure in under 5 minutes?  A soft smile upon our faces?

And, can we  be Ready for the day? 

Calm morning strolls, no matter how short, are perfect.  Perfect for refreshing, for inspiring.

For gaining new insights.


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

The Zen Strolls

My Zen Strolls began a few years ago, with the instructions “get some exercise.”

The idea was for me to jog or something like that.

The traditional idea of exercise.


I thought I’d walk. Cheap, handy, etc.


An incentive.

I needed a reward.

So I took my camera, thus my “prescribed” program of exercise morphed into a meditational zen stroll.

Something I enjoy.

Look forward to. And will do as often as I can.


I had to look at this exercise thing a little differently, than the standard way of thinking about it.

With new fresh eyes.

No. I do not actually do aerobic exercise. At all.

But, my blood pressure is lower. Enjoyment is higher. And some days,  I end up walking 2 hours.

Works for me.




The Difficult Questions


Approach it all, with a New Innocence.


Whatever it is, whether its ‘exercise’  or if its Art.


Those ….. ingrained traditions.

Those old accepted beliefs.


Question them.



Why do we need to skimp on paint?

Why do we need to use Just Beginner quality products?

Why do we need to paint tiny, shrinking inwards, rather than Bold & Outwards!?

Why do we need to parrot the exact scene, line for line, word for word, without expressing our own selves?



Do you pause, and wonder about

HOW are these actions, serving us, in the  Long Term?


These are the hard questions, we need to ask of ourselves, in order for the doors of creativity to fully open.




Good Advice


“What purpose is this thought or action serving?”

This was what one of my professors, demanded of me, in the nicest way possible.



It stopped me, in my tracks.

And made me think.


She was a great one for doing her own thing, her way.

And making certain that others found their own voice.

It was years ago, and I’ve not forgotten her words.




zen nature stroll, meditational walk, reflecting in nature, debiriley.com
stillness and serenity   –  a zen stroll



Art is Feeling

I explore in many posts, ideas about feelings, thoughts and emotions in this Art website.

Not just the mechanics, the step by step techniques.

Basics are good, needed, but without the spirit and imagination to spur us on, we falter.


One can not divide the two…. Art and Feelings.


The artist’s feelings, emotions, are what breathes Life into the art work.

Without that vulnerability, ‘risk’ taking,  the resulting product is bland and flat.

Its an empty product without taste, not many would be interested in tasting.


rough bark photograph, canon eos, debi riley art, art basics
Bark    Rough,  but soft in the back.  how it looks, feels




I’m working on some watercolor color charts.

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


Plus, a  quick tree or two… these will go into Part 2 of Zen Strolls, my upcoming next post.





A Walk, for Blue

A Walk, for Blue

Just a super quick post.

About a short walk, around the block and back.

A relaxed, amble, if you will.

Looking for things “Blue.”


blue flower photograph, zen stroll, relaxing nature walks, debiriley.com
Photo in blue – Wabi Sabi flowers

Blue Flowers


I did find lots of lovelies in wonderful shades and tones of blue.


Cerulean, Ultramarine, Prussian, Indigo, Indanthrone, Cobalt,  and tons of in between blends.

Its amazing just how many things are out there in Blue;  when you hunt for them.



The hunt didn’t take long.

Ten minutes to circle the block; at a slow pace.

Slow…. to make sure I didn’t miss out on anything!




Camera Information:

Canon Rebel 600D      Lens Canon Macro EF 100mm 1:2.8 L

ISO 100      shutter speed 1/640      Aperture  f4


On a side note… I really love using the apertures open.

The f stops at f5.6 or f4  f3  or less.

This,  creates soft blurred backgrounds.  

Medium soft middlegrounds too.    Only the Focal Point is sharp. 

Just the way I like it.      (For photos and for paintings.)




Crazed and Hot Ravine

Crazed and Hot Ravine

George R. R. Martin may tell us, “Winter is Coming;”  but in Perth, Summer is coming. 

The bone scorching days when even the flies fear the day and the air con in a tantrum, commits harakiri to get relief.

This very small (2 x 8 inch)  watercolor painting of  The Ravine,  is my tribute, to “summer is coming.”  Tongue in cheek, of course.


hot crazed ravine poem, Boris Pasternak, George Martin winter is coming, watercolor impressionist landscape, hot summer paintings, debiriley.com
Hot Ravine


Watercolor’s Hot Ravine

I love this poem, “March” by Boris Pasternak.   It fits my painting perfectly.

I’ve only included the first two lines, as its really much longer.  You might Google it, to read the full poem.




MARCH    by Boris Pasternak


“The Sun is hotter

than the top ledge in a steam bath.


The Ravine,


is rampaging below.”






The combination I used with the stark flat Cobalt Blue sky  and the burnt orange, terracotta soil as the ravine crumples and falls…. seem to convey the heat, ‘just right.’


The foliage on the tree is barely visible.

On purpose.

The heat shimmers so strongly the colors and tones blend and nearly merge as one.

As they do, when its 120+ degrees.





Using the Vertical format,  extends the drop.

Causing the eye to fold down, following the bent lines of the ravine to tire us out.

Its a workout, in this heat.

A horizontal format would have been easier, lazier, more ‘chilled out.’  This vertical makes us work….in our minds.



Using different shaped formats for your paintings to assist you create and express a mood, story, message is another tool for the artist to think about. To harness.





Love Spring

Its Spring right now in Perth….. beautiful. pleasant.

So very enjoyable.

Zen strolls, abound!

Filled with loveliness.



Just wait and see my next post for some fun bright and  oh so  Spring,  shots I’ve just taken.




To Dream of Skies

To Dream of Skies

To Dream of Skies…. we look up and wonder.

Indigo cloud storms darken the day for a little while; but we know the sun will indeed return.

Giving us sunrises of sweeping cerulean blue tinged with the palest of naples yellow low, on the horizon. Soft peach and apricot flickering delicately like wings upon the tips of the morning clouds.

moody sky photographs, Kalbarri travel photos, debiriley.com
Sky With Attitude, debiriley.com


indigo blue, naples yellow, cerulean blue, ocean coast painting, debiriley.com
Cerulean and Naples Yellow, Indigo


We look up, with wonder in our eyes.

The artist within yearns to capture, to convey, to express those colors painted in the sky and the deepest emotions they bring forth.

We try. We struggle.  We give it our best shot.

Sometimes…….. we come close.   Thats enough.


oil painting, sky clouds, dawns early light, debiriley.com
Dawn’s Light, oil painting


Our paintings rarely achieve the same quality of shimmering air and freshness.

The ‘aliveness’ of that very moment, beating in time with our hearts.   It has been done, but I’m still working on it.

unison pastels, landscape at dusk, mark making with pastels, debi riley art paintings, beginner drawing pastels, debiriley.com
Pastel Landscape at Dusk



wet in wet watercolour technique,skies, debiriley.com
Wet in Wet watercolor  – The Sky has wings



Sundown and Deep Shadows



watercolor landscapes Fir Trees, abstract painting, contemporary landscapes water media, debiriley.com
Fire in the Sky debi riley



Our photographs seldom convey  the human depths we feel and sense as we look up and wonder.

How can it, really?


The intangible. The inexpressible…..

where words fail, paints falter, and the camera is but a shallow reflection.



And still,

the artist looks up with wonder and tries once more.


Charcoal Skies, Australia



skies in black and white, photography with mood, debiriley.com
This, I can Feel




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



Puget Sound, dusk debiriley.com
Naples Yellow on the Horizon,   debiriley.com




My WordPress friend at ancientskies has inspired this post today with his wonderfully textured writings that make me Think.  I always find them peace giving and heartfelt.    His writings were the Catalyst today.  Causing  me to divert from my planned article to go a different direction.

To write “To Dream of Skies.


I believe you too will enjoy his words, go and have a visit and a read.  ancientskies


acrylic abstract landscape, teal green, apricot peach skies, painting the sky, expressing mood in art, debiriley.com
To Dream of Skies, semi abstract acrylic painting



Simple Greens – Back To Basics

Simple Greens – Back To Basics

Watercolor, The Basics.

Color mixing. No wheel. Just 3 pure colors of loveliness……creating

“whispers of pale mint and greyed greens,

mist laden green foliage of zen.”

Yes.  I love color.

foliage greens, local natural colors used in paintings, mixing watercolor greens without mud, basics of color mixing foliage greens, debiriley.com
Basic Simple Watercolor Greens, debiriley.com

Simple Greens of Nature

What you need:

Cobalt pb28 + Winsor Lemon py175 + Permanent Rose pv19

3 paints +  a sense of fun, patience, serenity and keen sense of exploration is all it really takes to mix these greens.   I used Saunders Cold Press (100% cotton)  for its easy and smoothness of color blending.

Please see Foliage Greens for more green information.   Its a great article,  informative and very helpful.


Nature’s Environment

I created this small color chart of greens with my local environment in mind, thinking and remembering it.


As I go to paint, I select colors that will mix and create that scene.  That remembered color mood and atmosphere.

This is what I’ve always done, its just an automatic response at this stage.   Mimi Robinson the design artist is now making more people aware of this type of approach. Letting her groups of followers know about using the colors that are in our local environment. Those shades and hues, in our own natural living habitats.

This is a wonderful calm, natural approach I love. Which is why I so often go on my “zen strolls.”  I know I’ve said before, they are not meant to be walks or hikes.

But they’re leisurely strolls to fill the well of my inner creative artist.  To take my time.  To not rush in this one thing.

To fully engage and be in the moment.

To see.

To breathe deeply in fresh air.

Zen Strolls are life changing. But I digress.



Color Perfection or,  Essence

When I paint I don’t get bogged down or overly ‘stressed’ to  try to match the exact precise color to perfection.

I like to make sure the tonal values are correct, number one.

Then make sure the message and essence, The Spirit of the land  is somehow conveyed.

The  Feeling of the Land  is a post I think you’d enjoy a quick read through.


Color is … more of a ‘fluid’ living entity though for me.   As you perhaps have come to discover in many of my Color posts:

 Color is a Lure  

For Love of Color 

Colour Me Happy 

The “Red Dragon” Maple trees 

Touching the Mountain  


foggy greens in the natural environment, painting mixes from photographs, watercolor greens, debiriley.com
Foggy Greens in The Natural Environment
Desaturated Greens in the Fog

This photograph was taken on the rare, blue moon,  we saw fog  in our local suburb. A one off occurrence in the 8 years we’ve lived here.


It was quite early before the sun emerged.

Chill and damp. Rather bracing. Loved it!!


You may notice, that the angle of the photo is askew.

I’d kneeled down on the wet grass to try for the brighter green in the foreground to give way as the fog took control in the distance. It was so cold, I was shivering!



I think the photo achieved the subtle range of gentle, desaturated greens that I saw. Covered with a thin veil of fog, the colors softened, into greens of tranquility.

I can see the palest grey greens of the shrouded trees in back.

And the blanketed viridian umber meadow is there too.  So too is the veiled, lime grass green that is the foreground.


Simple Greens, back to basics.  I didn’t need ‘more.’

It was – enough.


The River Speaks, Art

The River Speaks, Art

Lying beneath the stark blue skies, the Murchison River is gouged deep into the red sienna earth. Quiet and at peace, for now.

Kalbarri River, art by debi riley, travel Perth, photograph
River Speaks of Art, debiriley.com

Ancient. 400 million years old with many a story to tell.

Can you, Imagine?



murchison river wildflowers of Kalbarri, W.A. debiriley.com travel Australia photographs
Blue River and wildflowers abound, Kalbarri W.A.


This rugged river raging, flooding in one season and calmly serene the next – inspires us artists in so many and imaginative forms of creative art.

Song, dance, poetry, sculpture, painting, textiles, jewelry. Multifaceted.





These spectacular rich red terracotta cliff faces set against the flashing blue of the river bends and the bold expanse of cobalt sky…. create so many faces of a river.  Of an ancient land.

So many forms of art to explore.

Exciting, isn’t it?



sightseeing Kalbarri gorges, Western Australia travel destinations, debiriley.com
Red Layered Outcrop of Kalbarri, debiriley.com



Can You Hear?


The Magnificence. Its overwhelming.

Its difficult to know where to begin.

I must wait until I hear clearly what The River will have me say.



Which medium, or technique, or format to select first?!

(Do I want to go large –  full sheets 3 foot, or  6 foot canvas?  Work in soft, buttery oils? Rich, dramatic and blendable pastels?  Perhaps a ‘flattened out abstracted’  approach?   Or small watercolor studies?)


Do them all!  that voice shouts in my head …… but,   I can not do them all at once. Nor put them all together in one mish mash of a painting. Dear Me.






Germination and Sprouting


This is when its best to let the experience ‘set’ for a while.

Let it gestate.  Let the ideas germinate and sprout.



It will become Clear.

I will know, ‘What’ to do first, and how it wants to be done.


The message I want to convey to others will also, be made clear.



Kalbarri gorge oasis, Western Australia travel, outback sightseeing, debiriley.com
Murchison in Verdant Green, debiriley.com


Many times its best   not to Rush into things,  nor to try to rush just to ‘get it finished!’


I do not want to be pushed,  into doing something too hastily and then end up with a chaotic mess.


The creative, artistic process – often – requires   T I M E.

I accept that.

It requires my hard, Effort.  As well.  I accept that too.


I learned these (slowly, I admit)   concepts  from  some well respected experienced artists who mentored me.   Wise people, indeed!

Wish I was wiser and had learned faster. But, we learn at the pace we need to.





My Learning Points of Today 
  • Blue and Red-Orange color variations sparkle
  • Faces of the Landscape slowly, reveal and speak
  • Magnificence,  takes Time
  • The River is a great ‘teacher’





Dig deep into your art subject and allow it time, to dig deep into you.


Just like, the Kalbarri Gorges, dug deep by the Murchison River and ….Time.









Kalbarri Trail

Kalbarri Trail

Kalbarri, W.A. that’s  Western Australia not Washington.

Its very different indeed from my Pacific Northwest background. Though there areas, can look similar to east of the Cascade ranges….

Kalbarri Gorges, Western Australia sightseeing, wildflowers in Australia, debiriley.com
Kalbarri Trails, debiriley.com



Kalbarri Trail Gorges


Magnificent contrasts of bold cobalt blue sky and rich layers of terracotta red orange; accented with flashes of lilac and olive greens!




It was worth the climb down.

And, of course.

Back  up.


lilac wildflowers Kalbarri Gorges, Western Australia, sightseeing near Perth, Kalbarri Gorges, debiriley.com
Wildflowers, Kalbarri W.A. debiriley.com





Yesterday’s  post  “Eye on the Prize”  watercolor landscape,   featured the terrain and climate of WA … Washington, USA.    The day was:  Wet, muddy, brushy, swampy. Dark and gloomy. What a contrast!

Eye On the Prize    …..the Painting’s Story

#worldwatercolorgroup, watercolor landscape, debiriley.com
Eye on the Prize, watercolor landscape, WA.  debiriley.com




Today’s post –  Kalbarri, Western Australia   (W.A.)

Trivia fact.

Kalbarri is 9,135 miles from Seattle, Washington.  Thats  14, 701  kilometers.







Related Western Australia Posts of  Interest:


Kalbarri  red hot watercolor landscape

Kalbarri W.A., watercolor landscape, debiriley.com
Kalbarri Gorges, Western Australia, debiriley.com






There was so much to see and do in Kalbarri, I’ve decided to create a mini series for the Western Australia adventure.  Its just too much beauty to try to put in one post!