Tag: design

Blue and Orange Complements

Blue and Orange Complements

In landscapes, paints, flowers….

my eye is always drawn to the blue/orange complement combination.

The land around Perth, up north near Kalbarri has beautiful and rich terracotta tones.

Perfect, inspirations.


rocks of Kalbarri, photographs of Western Australia, debiriley.com
sizzling orange red rocks


Land and Sea Complements


The boulders and escarpments…..

Fiery orange.

That ignites the earth when the last light of the sun touches the boulders.


In the above boulder image,   looking past  all that dominating rich earthy orange color… we can see the nuances of its complement, blue.

Whispering in ribbons throughout the rock.

What an inspiration!



The sea ranges from cobalt teal blue, to phalo blue and indigo.

Depending upon the mood of the sea that day.


complementary pairs in the landscape, Kalbarri WA, debiriley.com
orange and blue, land and sea




The next post,

I’ll show a little more with these two color complements.





Gardens in Color!

Gardens in Color!

Gorgeous rich ruby red stalks splaying out in verticals and diagonals.

The reds, a perfect foil to the citrine green foliage.

Delightful Colors found in the garden.


delicious garden colors, ruby red, citrine yellow green palette, colors in the garden, debiriley.com
Garden Colors, ruby and citrine green



This photograph, is one of the few, I would use as a direct source to paint from.

It would (and will)  make a lovely illustration,  for my Society 6  and Redbubble shops.


Generally, I’m not so keen to use one photo as a painting source.

But,  there’s always exceptions.


This I think would be brilliant on pure white hot pressed paper with no background whatsoever.

Or,  it might make a very strong design as a linoprint. 



Zen Strolls

Strolling about,  does, have plenty of rewards.

Had I been ‘power walking’ I’d have missed out on this beauty.




The composition is especially interesting, with the verticals and diagonals.

The textural patterns within the leaf foliage, create added interest.

Leaves and stalks going gently out of the picture frame assist the design.

Making it seem less ‘crammed in.’

More open, more …. real.





The Meaning of Doors….

The Meaning of Doors….

Doors and Windows: they’ve fascinated all of us in one way or another for centuries.

I’ve chosen them, as the Theme, for Term 1,  2018.


They’re interesting to paint, with great shapes and designs.

However, its more than just that.


Balmain NSW colorful stain glass window, debiriley.com
Shapes and Design:  Colors of the Door and Window


Art. Its not enough, just to paint pretty. 

The aim is to be able to ‘touch’ and move others through art.

Move them through “the doorways,”  whatever those doors might be to the viewers.



Might be enough.



The origins of the word “door” in English began from a Sanskrit word,  Duarah.

This has the meaning of two doors.

And from this, comes the Greek Thura, then  German Tur, and Middle English Dure (Dor) and Old Norse Dyrr.


This is how our modern word, “door” originated.


The Gaulish, Doro… means mouth.

Doesn’t that provide a thought provoking picture?

Our lips the double doors.

Our words we speak from our lips, those double doors; might be crowds bolting out those double doors or they could be solitary entities slipping past the double guards…. almost unnoticed.



door and window, inspiration ideas for abstract paintings, geometric shapes, design ideas, debiriley.com
door and window: looking for inspiration

Thinking and Making Choices

Many of us, never pause, to consider “Why?”

Why we are pulled so compellingly to certain subjects, scenes, media, papers, colors, songs, etc.


I do…now.

But ‘you’ are an art teacher. (I hear you.)


Yes. Yes, I am.

But we don’t have to be practicing artists to stop and wonder for a quick second, for a moment,  why a thing might be.

It grants us a much better understanding and awareness of ourselves and those around us, so I believe.


I don’t see it as wasting time. Its something I can do while shopping, waiting in line, waiting in the traffic jam, waiting…. on hold.

I’m just ‘thinking’ after all.



solid timber Doorway, Balmain NSW Australia, buildings, debiriley.com
Doorway of Balmain

Door Subject: an  Example

Bold blue surrounds. Solid and sturdy big, double doors in  raw timber. Large iron hinges bolted in so securely.

The appearance given: Stay out. Shut tight against the outside.


Arousing curiosity.


And there it is.

A hint.  That if we as artists infer, and hint at something in our work – it makes the viewer much more interested.


To spell it all out,  show it all,  to reveal everything…. spoils the viewer engagement.

The mystery is over. The show is over.

The audience is now rather bored.


I think, that is why I love soft edges when I paint as much as I do.  Its the mystery.

And why I normally won’t paint from a photographic reference that  reveals it all.




UWA exterior debiriley.com
UWA   ‘portal’  arches




Doors, Windows, Gates and Portals

They represent opening and closings. Exits and Entrances.

Different pathways. New perspectives.


Doors can be things of mystery, things of the future, unseen  and hidden.

And they can be barriers, things that set boundaries where we are allowed and disallowed.


The closed door, is in itself presents “a challenge.”

Full of possibilities; we don’t know, what lies on the other side.

We can only guess.




If the door is locked, we must find the key.

Acquire permission, to gain entrance.

Somehow, we must pay the entrance fee, however the ‘payment’ is defined.


In a way, it is a test.

A test of our wills.  The intensity of our need to see, to get to the other side of that door is tested.

Will we, give up just a fraction of a moment,  too soon?



Doors –  Decisions To Be Made

Doors. Present us with a multitude of choices.


Which to choose, why we choose it, when to choose it.

Doors are never simple.

Even when you think they are.

Inside, our minds realize the complexities of the doors.

Inside the brain is processing thousands of ideas, concepts, problems, solutions.  All at once.

Thankfully, we generally are unaware of all this brain traffic going on.





UWA campus grounds, doors and windows, historic buildings, old buildings Perth, debiriley.com
Historic building, beautiful doors and windows.  Perth UWA


Painting and Drawing Selections

Decisions are made, as we draw and paint.  Actually, even before that.

When we are choosing… the doors.


We’re choosing if,  the door is to be wide open.

Or shut.

Locked up, with bars and padlock chains.

chains across doors, debiriley.com
Chains across the Doors



Should the door be left slightly ajar, just hinting at openings and possibilities?

Should we choose the door that’s wood, single door or double door?  Maybe the door has a window in it with a beautiful winged, design?

Or do we choose to paint a door that is carved with lions and protective icons as symbolic guardians?


A steel door, that would be significant as well.

What about a lovely colored door in soft gentle welcoming pale butter yellow?

You see, all the choices we make will influence the rapid fire pathways the viewers’ minds take. Their feelings and perspectives.


UWA archways debiriley.com
arched doorways



If the door is closed, is there a handle or a key? What type of door knob is this?  Does the door, have a doorman, A gate keeper?


We face a closed door.

There is a decision to be made.

Do we turn away, or make the attempt to enter into this new place?


Doors opening.  Invitations. Opportunities.  New adventures.

The door of opportunity might be represented, if open or slightly ajar.

The doors of transition may be left ajar for us, or left unlocked.

Doors often symbolise a transitional change of some type.

We may have to delve, to discover the exact nature.


Doors closed.   “No, go away.”  Stay out.  Impasse. Protection and safety of the residents.

Doors locked.  Security is prioritised.  A Test of will and motivation,  decides what comes next.





Many artists of the past have painted great masterpieces, with doors, taking a major role in the work.

(art books Delacroix..and more)


John Frederick Lewis… (one of my favorite artists)

The Coffee Bearer

An Arabian Chief, seated in Cairo bazaar 



Antiochus and Stratonice 


Jean Leon Gerome

The Green Portal 



The Kasbah Gate 


John Singer Sargent

Venetian Doorway





I have constructed an art board, on my Pinterest site “Doors and Window.”

You can find dozens of brilliant paintings there.

Its dedicated to all things regarding doors and windows: paintings of the Masters, modern paintings, watercolors, oils, pastels. + Photography.


I hope my Atwell classes have found this article explanatory as to  “Why”  I chose this theme for the term.

And indeed, why it was, that a “theme” was appropriate for us now.

I’d like to think that while we paint with the aim to touch and move others, we also become more in touch with ourselves in the doing.






Gardens by the Bay: Face Time

Gardens by the Bay: Face Time

The faces we see. Passing us by.

On the walls, crouched in canoes, rising tall as totems.

More faces, mirrored in the deep ebony ponds.Perhaps, even a few faces planted somewhere in the gardens.

What a wonderful joy to find faces in the Cloud Dome at the Gardens by the Bay.

It is ……

Singapore still.

Singapore Gardens by the Bay, art sculpture faces, Singapore travel sights, debiriley.com
Monkey Creatures’ Faces of Stone



Singapore inspires

As an artist, I would rate the Cloud Dome Gardens By the Bay a 10 rating.

I’d go again.

I recommend it highly and suggest my artist friends to not miss out.


I went to the Gardens for the pretty flowers.

However, finding faces everywhere I turned,  compelled me to add them in.


These faces were immensely interesting….

Inspirational, as I did my zen stroll through.



stone face sculpture, art in Singapore, gardens by the bay, cloud dome, debiriley.com
Face of Stone


Of course my intent had been of taking shots of the plants, of the magical orchids, the exquisite flowers.

And I did.

Hundreds of shots of those are waiting. I’d say, they are expected. Typical.


Maybe thats why,  I’m choosing to feature the Faces first.

I love the pleasantly unexpected.  The Different.


I’m guessing,  many of you, do too!


Singapore art, faces in sculptures, Cloud Dome Singapore, debiriley.com
Singapore fantastic faces in the cloud dome


Bliss in The Garden


In the Gardens,   we find the time to enjoy the simple pleasure of art.

A time to breathe, as we stroll in the pure and fresh air scented with delicate floral aromas.


Plus, I confess, it was complete bliss in the cool climate controlled environment.

Such loveliness there,  in the creation of these strange and imaginative art forms and faces.


Singapore Gardens by Bay, sculpture faces, art in Singapore, cloud dome, debiriley.com
Singapore garden face


Faces in Art

As an art topic it hasn’t ever truly scored super high as my personal  “Debi,   must do this!” 

However, times change. 


The beauty found in these faces, makes one think.

Could  it be, that faces and portraits and self portraits will now, slowly find their way into my own (Or Yours) art journey?


It could be,  “Face Time.”

totem face, art in Singapore, gardens by the bay, cloud dome, debiriley.com
Totem Face



We speak,  through our Faces

There is much to be communicated in faces, in portraits.

We express volumes, just by drawing/painting the human form as it goes about its daily life.


The art of self portraiture has so much more to say than we might think, at first.

Its not, merely self indulgence as one might presume.


But a laying bare of the soul.

A sharing of the common thread of humanity.


Self portraits are a unique stamp.

Containing information in both their revelations as well as their ‘cover ups.’

Those things the artist chose to hide from the viewer, which in itself, Reveals.


art in Singapore, Cloud Dome art sculptures, faces in art, debiriley.com
Face,  Planted



These Faces from Singapore, have done more than made me “think and reflect.”

In their own way, they’ve influenced my mind enough,  to alter my actions.

Just faces.

Fascinating, isn’t it?




Face Time

Singapore art, sculpture and carving in Singapore Gardens by the Bay, debiriley.com
Faces of the wall





dragon wood carving, art in Singapore, Gardens by the Bay Cloud Dome, debiriley.com
Face of the Dragon




Cobalt Teal, Naples Yellow, Red and Black

Cobalt Teal, Naples Yellow, Red and Black

Colors talk.  Colors communicate.

They evoke specific moods and messages that are quite clear.

Nature uses color all the time, very effectively, to communicate.


colors communicate, colors talk, color collage, acrylic abstract in cobalt teal blue, naples yellow and red, strong expressive colors, debiriley.com
Red, Black, Naples Yellow and Cobalt Teal:  Colors Communicate



Color Communication


One of the most effective forms of expression.

No ‘words’ needed.

Just the colors.




Creative Artist Expression

As Artists….

We can cleverly use  strong (or soft & delicate)  expressive colors to communicate ‘a message’ with our viewers.


We can choose what we intend for them to see and feel, through our color planning choices.


But first, we need to understand the specific colors.

Understand what each specific color can mean, can represent, in order to help us harness a color.


Using color purposely this way  can make your art far more interesting.

Richer, more layered. Intriguing.

Getting it out of a tired old pattern of painting that may have gotten you bogged down in a rut.





Color Meanings


Out in Nature, when we see red, black and yellow together, often it serves as a warning.

A red flag,  if you will, that the object may be dangerous.



Cobalt Teal Blue 

This cool color is so calming, refreshing and relaxing many of us almost immediately think of tropical holiday waters.

CTB has a hint of playfulness to it that can bring out the inner child.


Naples Yellow 

Definitely a warm, golden glowing yellow.  Alone, or without the red and black, it probably would give off a more welcoming vibe.

Happy, joyful, content. Cheerful!



Is an extremely powerful, dominating color.

It exerts its force of will over nearly everything else, even if in tiny proportions.

Red is associated with warning, danger, power, authority, aggression.

It Shouts out. Its as if, its in all CAPS.

Vibrant Red, really isn’t a shy little wallflower.




Black can be many things!  It can be a neutral, at times and in certain circumstances.

Often, it is just so strong and powerful that its impact overwhelms the rest of the colors.

Its linked to things that are dark and foreboding, death, but also authority, power, strength and solidarity.

Again this is one that can takeover, even in small doses.




For me, with this image,  the saving grace was the cobalt teal.  As it is, its a very dramatic abstract.

With warning colors right through the painting. I wonder what I was thinking at the time. Maybe its a good thing I’ve forgotten!



Unity….. imagine

I love this photograph of a pelican my daughter took while at the Perth zoo.

It almost looked like an eagle’s wing, at first.  Massive and beautiful.

The wing,  filled with black and white feathers joined together.




pelican wing feathers, black and white photograph, unity, debiriley.com



The day wasn’t  bright nor shining.


More the kind that haunts in a dark looming way.



even in the darkness,

the evidence of hope

within those entwined and linked feathers

-heedless of their differences-

is there, for us to see.





we can

imagine –