Tag: flowers

Finding Art… in Singapore

Finding Art… in Singapore

Where might you see art in Singapore?

Two words….

“its everywhere!”



I didn’t expect fascinating art creations, sculptures, installations, etc.  to literally be around each street corner in Singapore.

That was,  A Surprise.

It was fun, to see artsy things pop up around pretty much where ever I looked.


art in the garden, Singapore flower dome, travel asia, debiriley.com
Art, in Singapore


Art Singapore



Singapore did surprise me.

I found so much more here, than I thought I might.


Too much almost.

You’d need to visit more than a week to take in adequately all that is available.

I went to two art exhibitions that were stunning. (More on those in a later post.)

The river cruise, animal park, Orchard district shopping – kept us busy.

My camera card was filled.  My hand, sore.

So many photographs – but truly I couldn’t resist.




Gardens by The Bay

My featured shot for the flower dome seems straight out of Alice in Wonderland.

It does capture the mood perfectly.



Gardens by The Bay info

The design team for the project included WilkinsonEyre, Grant Associates, Atelier Ten and Atelier One.

Located in the central area of Singapore, is a 250 acre park of reclaimed land.


The idea behind creating the gardens was to transform the city.

To change it from a garden city…… to a

City in a Garden.  



Yes, they did.



Singapore Garden by the bay, flower dome, debiriley.com
Flower Dome Garden by Bay Singapore



With family now in Singapore, I think we will have a few more visits in the future.





Walk on the Calm Side: 55 minutes

Walk on the Calm Side: 55 minutes

I pulled over into the nature reserve’s parking bay. Quickly glancing down at my watch, 7:08 am, (just double checking.)  Mentally going through my morning checklist.  Organising the sequence of events.

Wondering if I, really, should be taking this time.

Should I, be using this time to enjoy,  a short walk on the calm side.




The Walk Begins

The Walk begins with limitations,  with less than ideal circumstances.


I’m going to do it regardless.

And  make the most out of it.



I grabbed my camera, locked the car, stuffed the keys in my pocket.

Mind’s in overdrive.

Be in the car and back on the road, by 8 am.

Be at the first appointment at  8:15

Yes.  That is doable.

OK. I’m set.



Strange way to begin a walk meant to relax, meant to be restorative, meant to de-stress.

All the while, thinking:  stick to the plan, move in the ordered sequence.

Get all the items marked off,  finished.


At least today,  I allowed my self more than 7 minutes.




Does any of this, sound familiar?

Anyone else, ever ‘over structure’  their time to relax,  their zen time so   that it just might not be  so very zen after all?


Usually I approach my walks, well, more like Zen Strolls.

But. You know….. the holidays.

Then, there is the sun.


Early mornings are still around 80 degrees right now and nice.

5am would be ideal.

I just don’t want to get in the car then.

I need my coffee.

It IS  about priorities.




Continuing….  Back To The Walk


The target goal is back in the car in 45.

Hop to it.

My first pause was the bridge again.


You saw it differently in the last post.  Here, I am.


nature walk photography in the park, debiriley.com
Bridge and reflections

Today’s bridge photo features the cool calmness of green, the reflections rippling.

Advising me perhaps, to “slow down.”



Calm Cool Florals  by the wayside

Lovely lavender – blue agapanthas were scattered around the parkland reserve.

The morning light, was perfect.

I stopped.

A few minutes went by………….

I was enchanted by the colors, the soft light of morning.


I felt myself relaxing.

Breathing in nice, big,  deep breaths.


soft light in morning photography, flower agapantha, nature walks, debiriley.com
Soft Light, Agapantha



Sit, Reflect.  Meditations

A park bench was right alongside the footpath.

I glanced then kept walking.

Thinking,  “No Time.”

I reluctantly walked on by another 30 meters.

I turned around.

Back to the bench and sat myself down.


After all,  this,  is going to be A Walk on the Calm Side.




Time – Spent

Tick Tock.

Ten minutes went by.

It was calm, meditative.

I was enjoying this.

Blood pressure was going down, I was going to be refreshed, energized.


Time was being spent, wisely. 

Not wasted.  Not sliding, careening away, forgotten.

Each of the moments here, I will, remember.


I jotted down color notes.

I engaged all my senses.

I wrote notations on the flowers, trees, the wind, the sounds, the temperature, the shadows, the softness of light.


rough bark photograph, canon eos, debi riley art, art basics

Even how the bark would feel, and how the petals did feel.


color and raindrops on flower, debiriley.com
Soft as Silk the petals…..


I made these minutes relevant.


I spent my time. It definitely wasn’t wasted.



On The Way Back

I still had to make it around the small lake, though, back to my car.


The rust colored fence  with curved metal bars, intrigued me.

I loved the shapes, the tones, the forms.  I liked the depth of field.



light red iron fence in park, water fountain, nature photography, debiriley.com
Light Red, iron fence


I thought of how Light Red watercolor paint would be perfect for this fence.

I thought of how this image would be ideal for class interpretation.

How easily they could see the tonal values, light and shade in the shapes and forms.




Calmer Reflections

The next pause, was the quiet reflections.

Again, the hints of light red played a role, but it was softer in this.

Less dominating. Calmer.


calm gentle water reflections, debiriley.com
calm, gentle reflections



I’ve stepped up my pace marginally.

Not a brisk walk by any means.

No more sitting.




Abstractions on the Lake

Then my eyes caught the design,  the patterns, the light on the calm side of the lake.

I had to stop. 


The subject was right up my alley.


Swirling patterns, and so nearly monochromatic.


The most striking feature was the sense of peacefulness it seemed to evoke.


nature photography, water and shoreline, zen strolls in nature, debiriley.com
here.A  moment of Peace


Right Here.

I was here, for a much longer time.


The subject demanded it.

And who am I to refuse a subject, a Muse…. when she calls?



patterns close up, lake and water photos monochromatic and abstracted, debiriley.com
close up and abstracted





calm lake photography, debiriley.com
Serene Calm


Back on the road – 55 Minutes

Taking the last shot, I flipped the camera off,  put the lens cap on.

Grabbed my keys.

Glanced at my watch……..


8:03 am

55 minutes


In my car, on the road.

55  Memorable  Minutes.


A lovely Walk on the Calm Side.









Watercolor …. daydreams II

Watercolor …. daydreams II

It gets challenging around this time of year.

Finding exciting new “titles”  and whipping up spiffy new art designs.

When, we are all, juggling 3 too many tasks as it is!

So. I guess,  we’re stuck with this title.

But,  I promise, to do better.

Next Time!!




Watercolor DayDreams

Watercolor paintings inspired by,  what else …. my yesterday’s post,  daydreams. 


Two to choose from.




watercolor landscapes loose and easy, art lessons Atwell gallery, debiriley.com
Landscape Loose and Easy in Watercolors

Watercolor Techniques

Simple washes.

A bit of charging.  A flick of splatter on damp then dry paper.

Leaving lots and lots of calming white.

Seems to have worked out alright.




watercolor pink patio flowers, painting loose its easy, debiriley.com
watercolors bright, loose, easy



An older work, put in the “Later Box” …. where all those ‘yukky things go.

Remember, the post now?  Thought you might!


I made some repairs.

Its easier on the eyes now.



The Patio Pinks in Blue Pot

You might think,  this was right there in front of me at the time.

But No.

It was simply, a remembered scene.


A place I’d lived long ago that brought back lovely memories.

In my day dreams……







Just…. daydreams

Just…. daydreams

The Lily. Loveliness of form, lithe and ever so long lasting.

Many might shun this most elegant of flowers.

Thinking of mortality.

I never do.



The Arum lily, Calla lily.

Or  “Zante de schia   aethiopica”  a flower originating from Southern Africa.

I guess many now, associate this glorious flower with sadness and mourning.

It wasn’t always so.

Its a cheap flower to grow. That makes it useful for those sad occasions, unfortunately.


It used to be associated with happier things… before commercialism spoiled it for many.


People were reminded of:

Youth, innocence, purity, faith, rebirth, the virgin Mary and even the Greek goddess Hera.

Nice things.

Happy things.


Things fit for    “just daydreams.



“Zante de schia”    not… a lily

She stands tall.

Rising out of her dark beginnings.

All length and elegance.

A beautiful, surprise.

From the midst of mud and clay.


black and white photo of calla lily, debiriley.com
Rising Lily


The arum, or calla lily grows in the wetlands, very often as a discard.

Littering the roadside ditches in abundance – as weeds – in early spring.

She loves to have her roots sunk deep.

To delve down through the damp and get her fill of the goodness.

Of that rich, fertile soil she rests in.




Graceful and elegant.



Ready, to be admired.

Ready to have her portrait done.

To be drawn, to be painted.




An artist’s dream.


just daydreams 



lilies, flower still life photographs, afternoon light on flowers, dreamy mood, debiriley.com


References :

Calla Lily meanings…. 


Greek mythology (Hera) … articles  Aquileana   


5 Art Techniques: shouting or soothing

5 Art Techniques: shouting or soothing

What a contrast!   The calm, contemplative quietness of previous paintings in comparison to today’s image.

With an almost aggressive stance the bouquet  leaps in front, jumps ahead of the line.


Its seems strange to think that paintings can soothe us, or can provoke us.  That  they can create mood, feeling,  ambience, atmosphere.

That they can alter us.


But they do.

Well, they can. And I think they should.


Should make the viewer react, in some way.


creating attitude and mood in art, conveying sass in a painting, watercolors with attitude, debi riley watercolour lessons, palette knife watercolor paintings, debiriley.com
Shouting out, floral watercolors


Floral Watercolors

“A Flower bouquet.… so pretty;  and in watercolors!

Oh they will be so delicate and soft,” we think to ourselves.


Do we expect them to be so strident?


High Maintenance?

No.  Not the first thing that comes to mind is it!?


We can make (construct) our paintings to emit any vibe, any response, that we want them to.   How?



5 Art Techniques That Elicit an Emotional Response

Each of these 5 techniques, cause the Viewers to have a quick, gut reaction to a painting.


Color plays a role. 


Warm colors or Cool colors.

Warm reds, oranges, yellows will be more upbeat.  Cool blues, lavenders, greens create a sense of space, coolness.

Wintery? or Sunny and cheerful?  Soft or harsh… Intensely saturated and bright or greyed off, neutral and gentled?

You… are in charge with the colors you choose.

Your choice of Colors can have a sharp “bang” to them or provide a smooth,  relaxing serenity.

Imagine Monday, flower painting watercolor, debiriley.com
Softer Sunny Flowers


Staining watercolor paints, prussian blue pb27, Impressionist watercolor landscape mountain, granulating paint manganese blue, cerulean blue, debi riley watercolor, debiriley.com
Mountain in cool Cerulean,Prussian Blue




Key is another factor.

“Key”  is another term,  for tonal values;  assessing the Overall image for tone dominance.

Is the majority of the painting on the darker side ie low key…  or is the majority on the lighter side ie high key?


High key  under normal conditions will convey a lighter, more cheerful, happier, brighter mood and emotion.

Low key often denotes a more somber, darker, ambience.


burnt umber indigo watercolour landscape debiriley.com
Low Key  – Landscape



If I had to assess my Featured, floral watercolor palette knife image, I’d call it  High Key. 

The break down of tone percentages would be roughly… 55% Light tones   35% Mid tones    10% Dark tones.




Edges are an underestimated player. 

Edges.  I love to use Edges in my art work.

They just tell the story better, create better depth, more interest to the paintings.


Soft edges that blur off provide the viewer with a sense of calm, serenity, welcome, gentleness.

These edges “invite” us in.

Hard, crisp, sharp edges act as barriers and walls.  Keeping us rigidly ‘out.’

Keeping us restrained and in place.    Defined…. and in the box.


sea shore impressionist oil painting, moods of the ocean, conveying the essence and spirit, beach painting in oils, debiriley.com
welcome to the beach, oil painting    Soft Edges


Use your Edges well.  Place them as if they were in your home; and you want your visitors in the allowed rooms, to feel welcome.



Direction, line movement another.

Horizontal line directionals convey calm ‘restfulness.’

watercolour textures, landscape, debiriley.com
Salt Pan Lake


Vertical movement in the painting will express a more energetic, assertive vibe.

Forest Painting palette knife  –   Vertical Directionals


The diagonal line is the most active.  This expresses the most ‘wildness’ of the three.

A jagged diagonal conveys dynamic energy, unrestrained.


Typically  a balance of the 3 is a great design technique.


There is also a circular directional movement you can employ, it is trickier.  But it can certainly impact the viewers’ responses.   Taking them around and inward, probing in, and leading into the image.   Its another tool for the artist to think about!

contemporary art for offices, abstract art painting, acrylics, debiriley.com
Abstract Green Sphere



Materials and Tools used also play a role.

The Palette Knife, as I used it in the Feature floral bouquet image,  has created quite an abrupt sharpness to the painting.


Brisk.  Now! A Demand is being placed upon the viewers’ eyes with each stroke of the knife.





What do we want our Audience, our Viewers to….  feel ?

That’s the question we need to ask before we begin our paintings.


fresh, no fiddle watercolors, debiriley.com
Fresh Flowers, NO fiddling!


A similar floral bouquet to the featured painting; this is also high key.

But  the shouting and stridency of the featured painting is not in this last one.

Here we have a gentler feel to the floral image.

Its softer, “homier” and more relaxing.   

I prefer, this last image, personally.



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.)




A Monet Morning: I want the unobtainable

A Monet Morning: I want the unobtainable

Morning arises, the early light so gentle, so soft with an  otherworldly kind of glow that captivates.

My post dawn zen stroll  was magnificent  –  A Monet Morning.


blue flower agapantha, Monet art, zen strolls, early morning walks, debiriley.com
Monet Morning .. photograph


Claude Monet

I want the unobtainable.

Other artists paint a bridge, a house, a boat, and that’s the end.

They are finished.

I want to paint the air which surrounds the bridge, the house, the boat,

the beauty of the air in which these objects are located, and that is nothing short of impossible.



Claude,  you say what I feel.

And This Morning…. the beauty was in the air.

How. To capture that?

How. To express that?

Like you say,  it is nothing short of impossible.

Still, with paints or with camera ….. it is the destination.



At The Edge of Summer

Right on the cusp of summer there is still time yet for a beautiful,  freshness in the morning.

A hint of warmth carries with it the scent of newly opening blooms: roses, agapanthas, jacarandas.

They fill the air with promise and mystery and love.



I paused, along the banks of the little creek.

Just to breathe.

To fill in my lungs with the aroma of the morning.

Just to Be.

Just to see.

Just to feel.

To immerse myself in all the things,  around.




Claude Monet  said,

the  Critic asks:   ‘And what, sir, is the subject matter of  that painting?’

– “The subject matter,  my dear good fellow,  is  the light.”




Morning Observations

Over to my right, open fields with long tall spent grass.

Golden, no longer a spring green.

But I can see the burnt umber, the  burnt sienna,   Daniel Smith…Naples yellow,  buff titanium,  indian yellow all making an appearance there in the field.


To the left a thicket, dense and tangled with branches and vines that were weaving upwards.

Spiralling just a bit,  like a spider’s web.  I didn’t enter.


Further to the left, a grove of pretty patterned trees leaned in towards each other.

I wondered what they might be speaking of this early morning.


Shifting, but still in place,  to the opposite side houses with their pretty little flower gardens.


The aromas of the morning blooms, teasing my nose as I inhaled deep.

And again for more.  How lovely.




More like ….  Monet

And this is why, I go for zen strolls.

Why I don’t go for a power walk;

no… not going for speed, nor for quantity either.


A Zen Stroll savors each breath.

The very air I breathe.


It reminds me,  to be  more like Monet.





Monet … Guggenheim 

Monet … Musee d’Orsay