Tag: Daniel Smith watercolours

Watercolor Techniques: painting water

Watercolor Techniques: painting water

Short and quick today.

Observing how water can be painted using watercolors.



Painting Water

In the samples shown,  I’ve created the impression, the illusion of water on paper.

Cobalt teal blue in watercolor helps, of course.

But, so does understanding the tones, the feeling, mood, and which of the common techniques to use.



watercolor techniques for water, beginners watercolour secrets for water, debiriley.com
Techniques for painting water: watercolors



We learn as we go.

Practice… repetition until a technique process becomes second nature, was the secret key to my own improvement.



Using dry brush, washes, charging, splatter, leaving White of the paper… they all combine to help with the illusion.

In the first demo,  you see a background a mid ground and foreground, along with a focal point.  These help guide the viewer and make the image understandable.


Whereas in the second demo, a mere wash of a couple colors,  we must engage more.  There is still enough information, but its less tight and structured.

More free flowing and carefree.  Perhaps, in holiday mode!   But you will observe more warmth in front, the White cresting wave in nearby, and there isn’t much action in the back.

Our minds, have decided yes, it is water we are looking at. And,  Most likely, the beach.

We’re good to go.



follow up posts

watercolor beginner basics 

11 fun water techniques 

watercolor easy techniques 

depth   via splatter


tonal value   Into the Light



Impressionist Watercolor Landscape (artistic license)

Impressionist Watercolor Landscape (artistic license)

Its about artistic freedom, artist license.

The joy of expressing in paints, brushstrokes, color, the things you’d like to say with words… but can’t.


artistic license, impressionist watercolor landscape, Daniel Smith watercolors, limited palette, debiriley.com
Artistic License Impressionist Landscape

Communicate Through the Arts



If I was a singer, maybe the words would be clear and perfect.

And elegant, eloquent, full ranged.  Sounding lovely and lyrical.

But then, maybe not.



Bruce Springsteen

” A great singer has to learn how to  Inhabit a song. 

You may not be able to hit all the notes.    That’s OK.

You may not have the clearest Tone.   You may not have the greatest range.

But if, you can Inhabit a song,  you can communicate.”


This is a quote from Springsteen’s December 19, 2016  PBS interview.





As artists, in any profession, in any media….. that, is a very fine goal to take to heart.





(Living, Abiding in the place)


I feel that in this landscape watercolor I do inhabit the painting.

It typifies me.  It is a signature Debi Riley artwork. Unique to me.  Created from my memories.


As I paint, I remember…. the Pages River in Murrurrundi.

The tall vertical poplar trees that dot the area.


I recall, the hill across from the Emirates thoroughbred stud farm, paddocks filled with gleaming broodmares.

The many times I’ve visited there and the soft spot it holds in my heart.



This location means something to me.

This subject –  has meaning.

And so, it is easy for me to inhabit the artwork as I create.



We can All… do this. 

Beginners, yes,  right on to the advanced.

Singers, chefs, writers, composers, painters, whatever.


But,  what we must do, however, is dare to

be our own selves,

to inhabit our songs… our creations.



John Olsen

Fred Williams 

Watercolor Hills 

Watercolor Landscapes and textures in color …. 

4 Findings – in the art studio

4 Findings – in the art studio

What is in my studio!?

Like some of you there are days, I don’t dare even look. But, then like today the spirit captures me and I dig in.


Here are a few of my findings I found enjoyable.

Things I’d forgotten.  Images long left in the boxes.




4  Art Findings

Straight from the studio.

Not prettied up, no frames, no matts, no cropping.

Just “as is.”   In their raw state.


loose and easy watercolor trees, colorful trees in watercolour, debiriley.com
Watercolor Tree Landscape study




watercolor loose and easy, palette knife with watercolour to create landscapes, debiriley.com
palette knife and watercolor



less in more simplifying in watercolor, use a palette knife to simplify the subject, debiriley.com
Less, is more – watercolor





minimalist watercolor landscape in greens, daniel smith primatek watercolours, debiriley.com
Watercolor miniature landscape









Haunting Magic of Nature

Haunting Magic of Nature

Nature.  The allure of those hushed and quiet spaces.

Spaces  So quiet,  yet filled to overflowing.


And when you leave them,

as you do –

they will always,

haunt your memories.


Those spaces never,  really leave you.


colors of nature, places that haunt your memory, landscapes wild and free, cobalt teal blue pg50 Daniel Smith watercolor, debi riley art, debiriley.com
Colors of Nature,  The Quiet Space impressionist watercolor


Impressionist Watercolor

A simple scene.

Pared down to a minimalist design.



Using the least amount of paints and brushstrokes possible.

Yet, striving to make each one of those,  imperative.




No more.  No less.

It is a hard task to restrain the compulsion we all seem to have ….. that calls incessantly for “More.”



But if you can do it, then the viewers’  can also see what you saw and felt:


That haunting magic Nature speaks through color –

in the quiet,  filled spaces. 





Make It Count

The key with this painting, was to make every thing I did, each step moment by moment…. count.

To be fully present.

From the selection of brush, paper, paints, music played, techniques used, brush stroke direction and number.


I made each mark relevant,  as the clock ticked.




Selected Partner Posts

Quiet joy in nature

Minimalism less is more 

Cobalt Teal blue

Color   moves us 




Sea Coves

Sea Coves

Beautiful blues and crystal clear turquoise waters of the sea, seem to always draw us closer.

Well, those colors mesmerise me at any rate!


creative experimental watercolor techniques, watercolour abstract seas, blue lagoon painting, debiriley.com
Sea Coves, experiments in watercolor


Watercolor Experiments

This was a lovely fun experiment.


Just simply pouring paints on and then watching their tiny particles float and drift, then finally sink as they dried.




You’d have to be an enthusiastic artist to admit, that watching paint dry…. was fun and entertaining.




The Surface

I think with this one, in particular using the ultra smooth clayboard surface really did the trick.

The pigments were allowed to do what they do best, they were not fiddled with; the loveliness of the flow was never disturbed.

The board, itself worked with me, worked with the paints and  kept the translucency so pretty and lovely.




Using Daniel Smith watercolor paints was extremely enjoyable.

Lunar Earth, and Prussian Blue were the 3 major players.

I did add a touch of buff in 2-3 spots later.

“Judiciously”  of course!





What’s INside?

What’s INside?

Part of the fascination with paint, is how it reacts.

Its innermost response.



Daniel Smith watercolor Lunar Black, Quinacridone Sienna, mixing browns in watercolours, debiriley.com
Painted Bands of  Lunar Black + Quinacridone Sienna



Inside The Pigments

Paints,  do things.

Very interesting and lovely effects are created when 2 paint pigments – meet.   Some hit it off and are an immediate winning pair.  Some, you just don’t ever put in the same space together again.


“Each paint pigment has differing compounds, different ingredients.”

Just as sugar, flour, salt, vinegar are different cooking ingredients and cause uniquely Different Consequences; so too,  paints are different.

With unique and interesting results when paired in specific combinations.



It is endlessly fascinating and creative.

To see how the different pigments respond to each other; edging inwards, layering and blooming.


Looking like painted bands of sediment from deep within the earth’s hills and cliffs.

Or speckles, or rivulets….


For me, its as if each time, is a surprise.

A mini Christmas unwrapping…. to see what’s IN side.



Granted, while many of you may not be as keenly interested as I am about each paint’s ingredients;  you might be,  quite intrigued with What effects these paints create.  




Peek In:  Snippets of Colors

A few samples, test strips and snippets of the intriguing realm of pigments –

A look, Inside.


Daniel Smith Tigers Eye, Amazonite, Impressionist landscape, debiriley.com
Looking Inside the colors, test studies



Daniel Smith watercolors, zoisite watercolor green grey, Impressionist landscape trees, water and tree reflection painting, simple easy beginner watercolor landscape, art basics debi riley
Zoisite, test sampling



daniel smith watercolors, lunar black mixes, prussian blue pb27, phalo blue, naples yellow Daniel Smith watercolor mixing, Impressionist watercolor landscapes, basic beginner watercolour techniques in color, debiriley.com
The Hill in Lunar Black Naples Yellow




creative possibilities mixing new colors with Daniel Smith watercolors, Purpurite soft purple, texture and granulating paints in watercolours, debiriley.com
Purpurite-Indanthrone, creative possibilities





Blue Storm Watercolour debiriley.com
Blue Storm Watercolours Indian Village handmade paper debiriley.com



a mix of blues in watercolor, use yupo for abstracts in watercolor, prussian blue pb27, indigo blue, ultramarine blue pb29, indanthrone pb60, debiriley.com
prussian, indigo, ultramarine, phalo on yupo




daniel smith watercolors lunar black, impressionist landscapes, abstract landscapes in watercolor, debiriley.com
lunar black and quinacridone sienna and   prussian blue





I never tire of the seemingly endless possibilities of unique mixes that they can create.

And  – simply by taking  a couple minutes  to mix 2 odd new colors together.  I learn.


(Reminding myself, I don’t have to spend all day.  Nor stick to my normal, usual colors)

Then quickly,  I jot it down, before I forget!

I do Save the sample, for later.

Remember my ‘Later Box?’

Looking   In side  that box is fun.




Colors I can suggest:

For those who might have some questions about colors….

Colors I’ve been playing with and learning from most recently:

Light Red, Buff Titanium, Lunar Black,  Phalo Blue, Raw Umber – yellowish nuance,  Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Sienna, Zoisite, Purpurite, Amethyst,  Naples Yellow (DS) brand only,

and basically …. all my blues.  You know I’m using Prussian!


That Raw Umber, (with the yellowy undertones)  wow.

Winsor and Newton’s is a warm yellow based raw umber, btw.

It is so great to mix with your blues to come up with foliage greens that are natural.  That belong in the landscape.

I especially like the Raw Umber with prussian,  ultramarine, phalo.     But, it also is Ideal to tone down, subdue, any of those tube greens you do have… like sap green, hooker’s green, olive green.

Raw Umber is like a magic wand with those greens! Voila.  Suddenly, the greens look more natural.





I paint often just to see,  what happens with the pigments paired together.

I enjoy the mystery, the adventure,

the surprise of what’s IN side.  


I’d color mix all day. And have.

With no product painting to show at the end.


Just a phenomenal amount of learning.

Oh…. and Fun!




Spring Greens

Spring Greens

Evelyn Flint has a wonderful art website and blog. So imaginative, creative, fresh, free, and Full of Artistic Adventures that are color magic! Her latest post was irresistible, I’ve had to repost it to share with you. You will, absolutely love Evelyn’s art – check out her website.

evelynflint.blog : watercolour

Do you like eating your greens? Personally I love eating my greens BUT…. painting them is a whole lot more fun….. !!

Spring Greens - NB

I did these watercolour samples back in the spring (hence the title of this post). These lovely shades of green (and some neutrals) were created by mixing 2 blues and 2 yellows. The blues were indigo and Cobalt Teal Blue. The yellows were Lemon Yellow and Raw Sienna. There’s a lovely assortment of beautiful greens here but notice the lovely neutral tones in the two bottom left colour samples – they’re edging toward the grey side which I love….

Seaside Colour Mixing - NB

Above we have mixes of Daniel Smith’s Buff Titanium and Cobalt Teal Blue…

On the top line from the left:  Buff Titanium, Buff Titanium + White, Buff Titanium + Cobalt Teal Blue

On the bottom line from the left: Cobalt Teal Blue, Cobalt Teal Blue + White, Cobalt Teal…

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