Tag: creativity

Sketching, Life and Nature

Sketching, Life and Nature

What is she  gazing down upon?

What is she,  thinking and what is she feeling?

By inferring, or hinting at things  just outside their view,   my objective is to engage the viewer more.

 

sketches pastel, natural poses, soft portrait drawing, limit palette for impact, debiriley.com
Sketches natural life poses … 5 minute fast and loose

 

 

Sketches Fast and Loose

Photographs often, though not always,  spell out a subject with exact precision.  Recording textures, veins, size, color, width, weight. Documenting location, species and the individual. And some types… of art styles do as well.

Which is great, when that is what is called for.  When that is the feeling you are wanting to convey.

A cataloguing of the details.

 

However,  its different with fast,  five or ten minute sketches.

Sketches done on the fly, capture the mood and essence of the thing.

Conveying the ‘feeling.’

Impressionistic.  Interpretive.

 

Embracing  Simplicity.

Rather than struggling to achieve 5 star wonders with  ‘complexities.’

 

 

 

Natural Poses

I feel,  Subjects are more authentic, truer to their essence,  when at rest.  At ease.

When allowed to be in a natural setting.

In nature.  Out in the forest,  sitting amongst the rocks and logs.  Being at home upon the banks of the river.

These poses,  can give the viewer  more.   Whether its in the form of photography, sketches, drawings, paintings, or other art forms.

 

This sketch, reflects this.

The limited palette of earthy browns and forest green, simple yet sufficient.  Hinting at woodland themes.   My subject sat leaned up against the tree logs and branches, head tucked.

Maybe she was the young mother, or older sister, or aunt. Who knows?   But she kept an eye on the child in pink.    An active one at that.

The hike there,  to the bridge was fun.  OK  a challenge!  But obviously, the child in pink still had plenty of go.  Her watcher…. not so much.  I smiled.

 

pastel portrait sketch, 5 minute portrait pastel, debiriley.com
Matted Pastel    –         “downward  gaze”

 

Using this format, and this pose as well  “downward gaze”   shifts the viewers minds.   To make them, ponder a bit.

 

Make the Viewer … Wonder

Take the viewer out of the little box where it is all explained already and nothing has been left unsaid.  Take them out the world they are currently in,  and help them to imagine the world this subject resides in.

Allude to mysteries and things around the corner.

Hint of magic yet to come.

 

Contemplations  of the River

 

 

If a book has been so well explained and summarized, there is nothing new or exciting left to be revealed by looking further in the book,  we will not.

So too with our art.

With our paintings, sketches, drawings, photographs.  We will look for the exact time that it takes to define the plot.

And then, we move on. Period.

 

I think,  as an artist,  I prefer to try to keep the viewer wondering. Just a bit.

Wandering through the scene, through the book… looking for, more.

 

 

 

 

Riverside… child at play

 

aspirations

I do not, want my art to be ‘all spelled out’ and perfectly revealed in every fine detail.

No.  I’d like there to be a lovely fusion of lots of soft edges tempered with just the right balance of  crisp edges to draw the eye.   With warm colors telling you what is front, and cool paler colors speaking of far distant things.  Lines that are curved to soften  the mood,  with diagonal directionals for subtle hints of movements.

I’d like my sketches to be authentic.  My art to be original, and real. And me.

 

I aspire to keep my viewers, wandering through my artwork.

Imagining.

Realising,  of course,  not all are going to be lovely frame worthy pieces. Thats ok.

 

I’d much rather you, let your imagination free and loose;  than for me to have a frame worthy work every time.

 

 

 

 

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Summer Retreat

Summer Retreat

Good Morning!

With so much news to share, its been really challenging for me to choose which topic to begin with since my return from summer break.

 

Summer

Summer?  Yes, well,  it is a wild and wet, brisk, winter here in Perth.

Refreshing, shall we say.

But it is summer, in Seattle.

summer, pacific northwest, forest, sunlight
Summer, conveyed through art

 

The summer retreat at my sister’s was an opportunity,  I couldn’t waste.

We don’t see each other often. Living across the pond, as we do.

I wanted to spend her birthday with her.

 

It was a shorter holiday than planned.

But we can infuse lifetimes, into an hour, if needs be, can’t we?

 

We both made  the time count. 

Moment by moment.  Mindfully.

35 days.  To fill a well.

And so we did.

 

    LIFE  Is Art.   and,  Art… is Life. 

As an artist, and an instructor, this is  a message that is important for me to share.

The two, are one.  All of us, seem to be forgetting this.  (more on this, in upcoming posts!)

 

Most of the time, we had a fabulous summer retreat vibe going on, keeping it low key, staying in her lush green gardens.

The lawns and gardens were filled with ponds, flowers and trees.

 

Oh!  and the most delicious raspberries, that I pilfered early each morning. Yum.

Flowers… blooming right beneath my window. Incredible!

summer hydrangea, purple flower macro, flower photography, summer Seattle, debiriley.com
Below my Window …. copyright debiriley

 

 

 

Mornings –   Dawn Breaks

My mornings were…  oh wait,   I’ll take you there!

 

 

 

macro floral dew drop, purple flower bokeh,zen photography, debiriley.com
first light, early morning dew

Before the sun arose, I watched  the night fall away sliver by sliver, through my bedroom window.

Until the light came streaming across the dew kissed lawn for a magical few seconds, and leaving me little time to snap a photo.

I think I was more focused on the experience, than the ‘capture’ on those mornings.

yes… more on the Process;  less on the Product.

 

I was mesmerised with the peek through view of looming ranges of the Cascade Mountains, that I could get by standing on my tip toes and looking east.

For me, it seemed to add a touch of morning zen.

Thoughts of,  “oh yeah….  I remember now,  the way it was in those early summer days in the Pacific Northwest!”

 

 

 

Sunshine and Roses

Sometimes in blogs,  we get carried away.

Making it seem as if we’re living the life of Riley.

No pun intended.

 

But,  I’m going to admit…. that,  “No. Not All,  was not sunshine and roses on my summer retreat!”

It never is.

 

Dilemmas, injuries, interrogations, all the usual suspects and then some, came out to try to cause mayhem.

 

But the overriding fact is   “Love does, leave a memory  No one can steal.”

 

love quote, memory of love, debiriley.com
Love  sign from my sister’s  garden

 

A Rose for Love

Below a rose.

Lisa’s Rose  just outside my bedroom window

 

rose soft focus, orange purple color floral, photo rose bokeh, debiriley.com
Rose given in love

 

Hints of subtle context, perhaps so.

Only the tips of the closest leaves are clearly seen, visible and identifiable.

The rest of the rose is so softly diffused and dissolving.

 

What mysteries the artist, could…. infer if we were,

to pause and reflect a moment?

Perhaps about the person who gave, or the person viewing, or even as a metaphor for some other and deeper things?

Who knows?

 

 

 

Summary on Summer Retreat

As artists,  we dig and delve.

We think.

We retreat.

We fill our wells so that we may create with restored vitality, fresh imagination, wild creativity once  again.

 

 

There is of course more to come about this summer trek, including cobalt teal rivers, rainbow waterfalls, and demon hordes of thirsty mozzies set to drain us within 5 minutes of reaching our destination.  Should be entertaining.  Cheers.

 

 

From The Sea to Watercolors and, Beyond

From The Sea to Watercolors and, Beyond

The Sea and its aqua tinted beaches, is a place of inspiration for most of us.  And whether we are physically there or not, we can enjoy the sense of  ‘being’ there.

We can go  beyond the limitations of having to actually be somewhere to reap the benefits.

 

watercolors and the sea, abstract sea paintings, blue watercolors, ocean theme art, debiriley.com
from The Sea, watercolors and Beyond

The Sea

From the beaches south, down near Albany,  Western Australia.

 

The sea colors are magical.

The red orange terracotta boulders give it warmth and life.

The buff titanium sands shimmer in the sunlight.

 

I adore this place, this photo.

I ‘feel’ it, every time.  I’m re-Inspired by its memory every time I look at it.

 

What’s not to love?… and how could it not be etched into my memory?

 

 

I was there for awhile.  Taking it all in.  Taking hundreds of snippets and snapshots.

Becoming immersed.

So even if,  I lost the photos,  even if I no longer had tangible references to look at my mind … remembers.

All the feelings.

The colors.  The wind.  The textures. The sand shimmering and the sun sparking on the water.

 

 

 

Watercolors of the Sea

It is all those things,  that is what I most need in order to convey the feeling of the Sea to Watercolors.

 

Thats all I need,  to communicate the message I felt while walking along the shores and climbing the dunes and rocks.

 

Its about….  feeling.

Not documenting or recording detail.

 

Its about the Heart of the place for me.

Not dotting the i  nor crossing the t.

 

 

 

Beyond

We can travel in our minds, or perhaps through past memories of the location.

We can travel using our wonderful imaginations and yes,  we’re still getting the benefits of the journey.

Of being inspired.

 

Its true too, I believe that as we watch the news, television, or read travel magazines, look at Pinterest travel shots, and of course  Google ….  we can become enthused.

Eager and keen to create,  to communicate that feeling of joy or relaxation we may have felt as we looked at a place.

 

I’ve mentioned before, I’m a firm believer in painting plein air.

Nothing can convey the spirit, the essence of that place and your joy,  like this approach.

 

However, not all of us, are able to hike up into the high Rockies. I certainly am not able.

Nor drive to the eastern seaboard to paint along the stunning autumn colored shores of Maine.

Let alone fly to Australia to paint the colors of the The Indian Ocean, or the Great Barrier Reef.

 

We do have finite resources and limitations at times.

I think if,  I fell in love with a location I could never go to but was compelled to paint  –   I’d research it.

I’d study up and learn all I could about the location and its history,  culture,  people.

In this way, there would be some,  sense of connection  that transferred over into the painting as I worked.

 

 

 

Watercolor art

Wild and so unruly.

 

The Sea Foam photograph below the watercolor,   proves to be a great inspirational resource.

Something to refer to.

To look at the warm rocks, and the white foam as it swirls in intriguing patterns.

To note the deep dark patch of blue, then see how it fades into paler softer blues.

 

To figure out ways, we might choose to do some of those things in watercolor…. in a creatively similar fashion.

 

 

Finally

As artists what we do is important.

We travel and journey.

We see.

We feel.

We communicate to others the wonderment  of what we felt as we paused and  ‘saw.’

 

It is a fascinating way to create.

Its personal.

The artist reveals his soul in his art, in this fashion.

 

To interpret the scene in its complexities of feeling, emotive qualities.

This is something we all too often, forget to do in our bid to ensure the details are   just right.   

 

Remember…. if we get the feeling right,   hardly anyone is going to care about some minor details!

 

 

watercolor sea inspired abstracts, using nature to paint from creatively, paint with passion and color, debiriley.com
watercolor students – sea inspired

 

sea foam turquoise photograph, water photo, debiriley.com
from the sea, inspirations  to  get ideas from….    and go Beyond!

 

 

Take your images, your inspirations and memories from the sea … and then,   go  Beyond!  

 

 

 

 

Fred Williams   master 

John Olsen a timeless land

Imagination 

Sea and Ocean 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…a few of my favorite things (palette knife & cobalt teal)

…a few of my favorite things (palette knife & cobalt teal)

I don’t think it comes as a big surprise.

Most of you,  probably felt certain you’d see cobalt teal blue pop up here!

As well as,  my handy PK1008 palette knife.

 

 

painting cobalt teal blue waters, impressionist palette knife technique, creative colorful seascapes, debiriley.com
palette knife and cobalt teal

 

Favorite Things in Art

 

For me,  both the palette knife and Cobalt Teal Blue …. are pure delight.

 

Providing such fun,  such joy in their use, that even if the painting doesn’t make the grade;  it doesn’t matter really, that much to me.

The simple pleasure of creating and using either one of them, often feels worth  more than what finishing off 20 paintings would.

 

We pay,

for enjoyment like that…..

We go to concerts, to the movies, go skiing.

 

Painting.

Its on the least expensive side of Entertainment.

I think its  a relatively cost effective form of amusement that provides hours, of fun.

 

 

Cobalt Teal Blue –  CTB

The first image is a ‘bonus’  having used both the palette knife and CTB.

 

The process was fun, loose, easy.

 

Palette Knife

Dampening my paper prepared it perfectly for the knife loaded with color.

The paper,  was small.

 

Minimalist.

Just  a  4 x 4 inch size.

 

And discretion is used.

Applying merely 3 paints with the knife.

 

With forethought;  and then complete commitment to the execution.

 

 

Minimalism

Admittedly,  often these days, I find my images are on the smaller side.

There are reasons for this.

They are easy for me to manage.

To pack  around. Easy to frame up.  Easy to mail off.

 

 

But I do seriously love to create on the large scale paintings….  6 foot and larger.

I itch to get the mural size canvases out.

And just let fly!

 

 

Maybe in Term 4,  if our Atwell Gallery group wants to have a bash, we will bring in 6 foot loose canvas to paint on.

That. Should be Fun!

 

cobalt teal abstract, debiriley.com
teal dreaming

Digital with Cobalt Teal Blue

This second image is a cropped version of a watercolor pastel abstract.

I have gone on to do some creative digital work on.

I  copied and mirrored this image.

I placed it into a large  window like matt to enhance a feeling of looking out a window, perhaps in a winter’s dream.

 

 

 

watercolor abstract, expressing feeling in art, debiriley.com
Solace… forms connecting

Solace in Watercolors

The third image, also has Cobalt Teal Blue splashed about!

With a wide ribbon of CTB  cruising through the back.

 

What I love about this watercolor painting, is the connection of shapes.

 

The sense of belonging they seem to create together,  a beautiful feeling of  Solace.

 

The bright white of the paper keeps the overall ‘tone’ from being dismal and dark.

And, thus it creates a warmer, more congenial sensibility to it that I quite enjoy.

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed viewing some of my favorite things,  in art!

 

 

 

Watercolors Rescued… from the bin

Watercolors Rescued… from the bin

A moment of despair.  It didn’t go as planned. The result was not what was expected, wanted, desired.

And so, it was crumpled. Torn. Thrown away.  Discarded.

How many times, how many ways, how many things does this relate to? I wonder.

We often panic too soon it seems.

 

watercolor rescues, beginner painting tips, debiriley.com
Rescuing a palette knife painting from out of the bin  (mine)

 

Rescues

Both of these images were “rescues.”

One  was from a student below, and one was mine.

Both show evidence of impatience, of frustration, with damage done to the papers.

 

The damage…. we can view as being like scars upon the landscape of the painting.

 

Without such scars, without the etched in grooves and lines and evidence of its character layered deep…. we might,  merely skim along the surface shallows.

 

 

Precision. Perfection.

Doesn’t quite have… the richness, the elegance, the depth of character that time, weather, and those storms  have created.

 

In other words, the compulsion…. to Get It Right, should be a low priority  and the higher priority should be on Expression.

ie…

How does it feel, to be in the moment, creating this?

Did you enjoy the moment?  Were you ‘in the creative zone’?

Did you  express your own interpretation of  the mood, the feeling,  emotion  of the subject?

Those, take precedence.

 

watercolor rescues, beginner basic tips, debiriley.com
another rescue- student’s work

 

The wrinkles and crumples (from the unhappy creator)  do not concern me. I like them.

It is a wonderful technique, creative and fun,  to crumple your watercolor paper before you begin!

Smooth it out best you can,  and carry on with painting.   Try it, and see.

 

This abstract image, I rescued is filled with lively, loveliness of color.

Such luminosity and movement.   Such spirited transitions of tone, textures.

I could not,  allow this to remain in the bin.   It needed, saving.

 

And,  that hint of cobalt teal blue along the bottom edge  made sure that this watercolor ink piece was rescued!

 

 

 

 

Yes… I suppose that Sometimes, a piece truly needs to be retired to the bin.

But  not nearly as often as many of us opt to do as first response.

 

So many of these pieces can be wonderful Rescues.

Not throw aways.

 

I need to alter my pattern of thinking:  to believe  I can find ways, of making use of products,  images, and things.

To be less hasty in ‘simply discarding’  anything that is frustrating and disagrees. That doesn’t work or fit into my mental vision planned.

 

 

 

Partner Posts

Taming the Dragon- perfection 

Wabi Sabi the art of Zen!             look for all 7,   its  a great series

Resolve Fix Paintings 

Palette Knife  landscapes 

Palette Knife creative Abstract  technique 

Using your Imagination   

Inviting Imagination 

Abstracts,  a definition … 

Beginner Watercolor BASICS Page 

Watercolor Beginners,  helpful tips and guides   

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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