Tag: creativity

How Much Do You Paint?

How Much Do You Paint?

“No, I don’t really paint, as much as I used to do, ”  was my response the other day.

I wished I’d had a camera to capture all those expressions from my group, right then!   You could see a million things running through their minds.

Shock.  Say it isn’t so. How is that, possible?   But….

 

Paint Time

It is true.  I don’t “paint”  anywhere near the amount like I did 10, 20 years ago.

Or even 5-6 years ago.

I was insanely prolific.

 

watercolors the impressionist approach, painting day, debiriley.com
fun, free, Letting Go painting day:   several “on the go”

I’d get my paints out and think nothing about whacking out 5, 10, 15 images in one sitting.

There could be 100 images in a week.

No,  definitely not all of them worked out.

That’s alright.

 

I learned things.

 

 

 

When I step back after a painting day, I think about the numbers,  the percentages.

What %  of 100  is an acceptable number for me?

I liken it to baseball stats.  Or to  photography stats, or even … to sales. How many times must I do something before I hit a home run?

Why should I think, to hold myself to an even higher standard,  than say,  those big hitters …. Babe Ruth – Hank Aaron – Ken Griffey?

 

It was and is  about the process.

Expressing the moods and emotions,  that which was within,  and externalising it.

 

And if one of those images was presentable, as a whole, I’d smile.  Even if none of them, were fantastic, I’d still smile.

As the process was and is what  drives me.

 

The need to communicate, to externalise,  the primary driver.    (Most of the time.)

I just enjoy paint, color, the physical act of creating.

 

 

Art Definitions

What changed?

Why am I not painting 100 per week now?

 

I have slowly changed my ideas about art, about what ‘art’ means to me.

 

What defines art, to me?

Art now means much more than just a paint brush and paints.

 

 

Art takes so many forms.

And I enjoy art every day. In one form, or another.

 

Sometimes I go into my garden to pause and reflect on the colors, aromas, the sounds that it brings.

creative photography, nature flower abstract photo, debiriley.com
dreams in the garden – just sitting

 

 

Other times I write.  Or photograph, or draw or, doodle.

This. Is art.

 

I’ve come to think of my art classes, the curriculum and lessons as a form of art in itself as well.  It often involves research of new methods and new tools; of the masters that are relevant to the specific group I’m currently teaching.

iphone 5 photos, glass bottles mini minarets, debiriley.com
glass minarets …class subject to paint        “at work”

My work… has become,  in a sense another form of art.

 

 

A Changed Lane

I could, indeed feel bad or guilty about not painting like I used to.

But I am,  still creating.

 

Still Inventing.

Looking around the corners for new shapes, subjects, colors, ideas.

I haven’t stopped, nor has this slowed down one bit.

Not at all.

 

It merely has changed lanes.

I’m Still going in the same direction….

The laneway is slightly different.  Thats all.

 

 

I think we are quick to judge ourselves many times too harshly, without need.

When asked that question about not painting as much now….  at first, I mentally was judging myself.

 

But I like to take the time to discover the  ‘why’  of a thing.

To dig for the answers.

Because I find in most cases, the root truthful answer, is far less troublesome than the surface answer, the one we assume to be the case.

 

 

 

So even though I’m not putting out 20- 50-100 images a week now;  I am still just as active, just as creatively engaged as I have been at any time in the past.

Its good that I took the time to dig.

Finding the answers to nagging ‘background’ questions –  sets us free to Create.

 

Releasing constraints and criticisms, ie  negativity  that would impinge upon our  future creative endeavors.

 

 

 

Art, is funny like that.

Most of us work better, do better, Create better,  in a positive, uplifting, and free environment.

 

 

Fun and Fast  Watercolor  Landscape

A Simple Impressionist Landscape created from a positive and free mindspace.

Done directly upon coming in from my Garden sitting. I felt positive, uplifted,  liberated….

 

True, it was on not nice,  cartridge paper that soaked in the paint and left marks of the brushstrokes visible.

Unliftable. Permanent marks upon the surface.

 

But this made it,  liberating.

It was either going to work or … not.  So why bother to over think it?!

 

I felt free to do what was needed, to put down,  what needed to be expressed.

 

Faint pale hints of sky, then several strokes of blue for hills and mountains.

Ooops…  oh well!     hmmmm   – boo boos there.

 

Next,  went in some gentler  cool browns to serve as a transition area, just dashed in, real quick.

 

And then,

the super fun part.

 

Splattering warm siennas, moss greens, golden umbers across the stark white foreground.

Now, that was fun.

 

mountain landscape easy and fun for beginner painters, watercolor beginner techniques, hills, mountains foreground watercolour, splatter, debiriley.com
blue mt splatter foreground   –   cropped  section

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Florals for May Day

Florals for May Day

The first day of May  always brings a smile to my face!

As a kid, in the green but rainy Pacific NW, that was the day that heralded …. Spring.

 

 

Florals

May 1…..  It was my non-official day to get outside and find Spring flowers around the gardens.

I’d dash out in between the rain showers to pick a bouquet for my mom and grandmother.

Well, and a couple of nice neighbor ladies as well.

It was fun.

 

purple flower macro, floral photography, May day blooms, debiriley.com
May Day floral

Colors of May

Lilacs, iris, violets, hydrangea, azalea, were my usual Spring favorites.

I always thought the flowers seemed to lean to lavenders early in Spring.

 

 

hydrangea macro photography in spring, florals in lavender, spring in the pacific northwest, debiriley.com
Hydrangea Spring

 

 

But Sometimes, in a pinch, I had to resort to a gorgeous summery golden yellow blossom…. the lowly dandelion.

 

But, I’d tell myself that it adds more color and a nice warm brightness.

I wasn’t going to it call it just a weed.

I had an obstacle with the lack of flowers in our storm damaged gardens.

‘Golden dandelions,’  were my Plan B solution.  I’m kind of a fan of Plan B. Backup plans for those times  “just in case something goes awry.”

 

May Day, still decades later,  makes me smile.

 

vibrant spring blooms, macro flower photography, debiriley.com
vibrant blooms in Spring 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 

 

 

 

 

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.

Yes.

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 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!

 

The World of Watercolor: Loose And Free!

The World of Watercolor: Loose And Free!

Do you love watercolor?  Love its translucency, its soft melting edges?

Love Colors that seemingly flow together to create something that the hand, the brush could not quite have dobbed or dabbed into being?

I do.

 

watercolor techniques loose and free, beginners fun painting, debiriley.com
world of watercolor loose and free

 

Impressionist watercolor flowers, bright colored flower painting, debiriley.com
Loose Colorful  Patio Flowers

Watercolor Loose and Free

Freedom of Expression

What purpose such looseness and freedom serve, we may wonder.

Wouldn’t crisp, tight, defined, “control” over the entire process be much better?

Maybe. Or maybe not.

Wouldn’t it better … “to bend; not break?”

 

My privilege as a teacher, while adhering to the described course title, theme topic,  is to overview the group’s needs and then tailor the agenda to that.

Diversity within the group, of course means we will all take in the skills, the information at varying rates, the different things presented.

Its just like here, in these posts.  At different times, we will be ready. For new information.

 

I liked the concept of Loose and Easy, as I believe its one of the most effective ways to  become confident and successful with watercolors.

 

Scary at first, yes,  I do remember being a ‘beginner.’

But we ease in. Bit by bit we let go.

Step by step we open the doors.

 

watercolors, bright colors of natures, wet in wet watercolor technique, debiriley.com
Glorious Colors

 

Ways… to let go

Trying any of these, better still – making up your own ways, is a step towards free & loose expression in art.

 

Ultramarine acts as a dark anchor while Lemon blends with Cobalt Teal blue as they fall together.

The explosion of shapes created with Cadmium Scarlet eased into Indanthrone blue, Prussian blue.

Or maybe the sedimentation and speckling patterns made by mixing Lunar Black with Quinacridone Sienna.

Cobalt Teal blue finding its way downwards, as gravity controls its descent in a lovely scene, reflections along the water.

 

creativity includes cropping an image, debiriley.com
Cadmium Scarlet on Blue

 

 

 

There is a time and place for all types, all styles, genres of painting approaches.

Botanical, Impressionist, Surrealism, Illustrative, Cubist, PhotoRealism, etc.

 

bright bird of paradise greeting cards, debi riley art, flower cards for Mothers day, Society 6, debiriley.com
Bird of Paradise Greeting Cards

 

Each artist, will have their own unique personality.

With specific preferences.

 

These preferences,   evolve with time.

Our tastes, change, as we gain more experience.

 

As we gain confidence, step by step, we put our ‘stamp’ upon the things we do.

Just like our clothing, our home decor, our landscaping, our favorite cooking recipes.

And this, is exactly what we are aiming for!

 

 

zen of colour: forest in cobalt teal blue pg50, debiriley.com
‘Zen in the Forest,’    …. a loose interpretative approach

 

 

 

Tips & ‘Guide Posts’  to Painting Loose!

For us to be able to paint and create Loose and Free,  there are some helpful ideas that make it easier for us.

These guide posts serve to inspire us, to lead us in the direction of our goal.

 

 

viridian green watercolor, viridian green pg18, watercolor mixing greens, debi riley watercolors, debiriley.com
Loose and Free!!    Viridian green and Ultramarine  22×30  Abstract

If you like, you could replace the words need and must, with “suggest”  it does, sound nicer on the ears.

 

  • we must be willing to paint loose
  • we have to….  Want It!

 

  • we need to practice,  frequently
  • practice with such repetition, that it might annoy us at times

 

  • we need to Think differently
  • think thoughts of big bold, loose! Free!

 

  • we need to let go
  • we need to open the closed doors

 

  • we need to stop,  all,  miserly thoughts
  • penny pinching  defeats,   Loose & Free

 

  • we need to think laterally
  • creative problem solving  for such issues, IS Possible

 

watercolor beginner flowers, easy purple iris bud, step by step, debiriley.com
Control –  serves a purpose, at times.

 

 

The World of Watercolor Loose and Free, though, is one where we can relax.  Let go.

Enjoy the colors, the music, the tones, the movement.

 

 

watercolor abstract simplicity, light red, debiriley.com
Simplicity Wc Light Red

 

 

bold colorful impressionist landscape, loose and free landscape paintings, debiriley.com
Loose and Free,  interpretation of  W.A.  landscape.      “uncontrolled  ill defined”

 

 

 

 

Watercolor Basics