Tag: foliage greens



The word, “Summer” conjures up a myriad of thoughts, ideas, feelings.



Summer Days, memories and feelings of summers past, debiriley.com
Summer Days


It might evoke thoughts of ……


By gone days.

Picnics in the past, spent under a shady tree while the warm breeze rustles the sun dappled leaves. Or in the cool peaceful breeze of the patio.


For the under 20’s  perhaps Summer brings the more ‘urgent and now’  feelings of where to go,  Right Now!

Perhaps water skiing around a 15 mile island in the bracing waters off the Canadian shores,

or for some the challenge of hiking in the Cascades or Rockies is a great Summer pastime.


But if you’re in the midst of winter, as we are in the Southern Hemisphere, then Summer  might just be a tantalizing lure.


As artists,   to paint Summer scenes with authenticity, we need to fully immerse ourselves in that place.  To be in that moment.  So that the viewer, might also feel the Summer warmth shine upon them as well.


watercolour flowers debiriley.com
Summer Patio Flowers with Soft Edges receding….


Patio in Summer Watercolor

This Impressionist watercolor painting, (not new)   was painted for a class demo.

I’d painted it to show how to simplify and create soft dreamy edges.


It was painted one sunny day in Summer on my patio.

I was there, completely immersed in the shimmer of light, the sun’s warmth, and the wonderful peace.


Watercolor does have a magical  quality I think for conveying light and sun, color and Summer.

When I paint plein air, it is  my preferred medium. It responds truthfully, beautifully when I ask it to  convey something needed for the image.



Commit to the Creation

When we create, write, sing, paint, whatever…. commit,  with your truth.

Be authentic, be real.

Be bold.  Make each and every brush stroke mean something.

The viewers, the audience, will appreciate your authenticity.


“Sing it,  Your Way!”







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.





A Simple Pleasure, the flower

A Simple Pleasure, the flower

The taste of a petal upon the morning breeze.

A simple pleasure, really.


flower photography, simplicity and minimalism, zen, Singapore Cloud Dome flowers, debiriley.com
Pleasures of the lovely flower ….  strolling Singapore Cloud Dome



Change of Plans

I’d planned to write up a post on cold wax today; showing you a fantastic book I’ve read.  Plus a few art samples.

My heart just wasn’t there.


I needed a zen stroll.  But, I have class and time isn’t in my favor.

However…. the next best thing, is right at my fingertips.


I strolled through my garden, of photographs.

Specifically, the pathways I walked while in the Singapore Cloud Dome.

Often, I’m not exactly certain of the precise details of what I’m searching for; but, I know that I will ‘recognise it’ when I see it.

And so it was.


The perfect flower was right there…..


Flowers speaking, whispering

These flowers, whisper out in soft serenity.

And for just that moment, I am right back there breathing in their delicate fine scent.

Nearly imperceptible.



A small note one might have to hunt for,  to realise it is there.

But when it is discovered, its unmistakeable.




You know,  so many things, besides “flowers”  could create a similar response.

Maybe rivers, reflections, snow, the touch of an elderly person as they wave, and say goodbye.




I simply wanted  ‘something lovely’ today.

Not something Busy, Busy, Busy.


Not work.

Not a full 10 point list of do and don’t (s)  or lessons, 15 tips and step by step pointers.




As I was looking at the flower photograph, I thought:

These petals

whisper their silent poetry

and we will only ever hear them –

when we permit

simple pleasures,

an equal measure of time with the complexities.




I enjoyed my change of plans.



Playing around with foliage greens: Watercolor

Playing around with foliage greens: Watercolor

Watercolor Discoveries –  Fun and loose, playing around.

No stress. No schedules. No rules.

Today, it does Not matter –  what happens, as long as the painting time is enjoyable!

This,  is one of the best painting mottos I have.




A few parameters, not rules.


The Parameters: watercolors, greens, not working from photos.

Just using my zen stroll inspirations.

Memory of places I’ve been to.

That, should keep things…. light and easy.

Free and loose.



Techniques to try out

I planned to explore some different ways with foliage greens.

Painting direct, fast. Right onto dry paper.

Not watercolor paper, its cartridge paper.

Its pretty unforgiving.

So every brush stroke must be considered in advance, then executed boldly.



And,  then the challenge

to leave it ALONE.

A ‘must’ with cartridge paper with watercolor.


It absolutely will not, put up with a fiddler.

This, is a beautiful lesson and exercise for all of us.

Beginners, to advanced.

We all will reap rewards.


watercolor greens, mixing foliage greens watercolours, debiriley.com
greens on cartridge paper


Plastic wrap with watercolors

The next technique to explore, is to play with glad wrap.


Trying out the perfect, timing of when to pull the plastic off, for the edges to be …. medium firm.

With watercolors, the timing is critical.  For many different aspects and techniques.

Success hinges on learning how to time the stages of watercolor, down to the minute.

It comes.

With Time!


What I wanted in this experiment, was a medium watercolor edge.

Not a hard, crisp edge.

Nor merging all over the place, utterly undefined.

I needed to take the wrap off, just before, it went Dry.




watercolor foliage greens, creative watercolor techniques for foliage, debiriley.com
Foliage, inspired by nature


Burnt sienna, terracotta, the shadowed indigo, lime yellows, with pale buff titanium here and there…….  my zen stroll from a few months back.

The glorious tendrils of light red transitioning to gold in the sunlight, captured my eye then – and remained in my memory banks.


I didn’t want to duplicate the subject.

I just wanted to reenact the Colors and how they made me feel.

zen strolls in nature, foliage green to paint watercolors, debiriley.com
zen stroll inspirations







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.





Featured today… simply,  because I like it.


impressionist watercolor, bold and colorful landscapes, mixing blues, debiriley.com
Watercolor Loveliness


Watercolor Landscape



This remains, one of my favorite paintings.




It goes unnoticed for months on end.

Stacked in a pile, amongst the many.


Every time I get it out again, it is like a new painting. Its’ loveliness …. fresh, sparkling, happy.

And it makes me smile.






In The Fields – silly saturday

In The Fields – silly saturday

Its Saturday, shall we just for a moment, be a tiny bit silly?  I will, if you will.

In the fields, are weeds.

Are tangles of overgrown grasses. In the fields, just around the corner block, a perfect spot.

I lie amongst the fields of yellow, those ‘weeds’ and grasses soon to be mowed down.

And find myself…….

at eye level.



finding nature's treasures on walks, fields of yellow flowers, canon rebel eos, debiriley.com
In The Fields  and just…around the corner




meadow of yellow flowers, canon rebel eos photography, nature walk, debiriley.com
In Amongst Them


In The Fields

This had to be, the shortest of all my zen strolls.


It seemed as if, every thing was lovely.

It was a beautiful time of the day.

The sun was shining, but not pelting down.

The breeze was there, delicately. Nice.



Everything was lit up with a softness and an appealing luminous freshness.

Grass, weeds, dandelions.





They took on a new and oh so interesting look.

Now more like Cinderellas dressed up for the ball and not the overlooked, plain wallflowers that soon get mowed over.




Yes, yes but I found I quite enjoyed the oddness of looking into the weeds as if they Might Be Pretty.

As if they were the forest.

As if the grass stalks that swayed in the gentle wind, were meant to remind me of something……


nature walks, zen strolls debi riley, yellow flowers in the field, debiriley.com
grass in the wind




fresh yellow flowers in the field, flower photography, debiriley.com
Fresh, In Yellow


A Fresh,  Look

What glasses, did I put on this morning you ask?

Surely, the World and its troubles, can’t have overnight by magic, changed.




I did put my artist eyes back in.


I did go out on the stroll …Resolute.


Filled with purpose, to discover things of loveliness.



No, I don’t have rose colored glasses on.

I see and hear the same news as everyone.



My attitude was adjusted today.

I heard what was being whispered so softly.


I listened.




And I am keen on safeguarding my artist creativity, joy and light.

To not let the woes steal them away.



The  Julia Cameron book,   The Artist’s Way   that I’ve been  rereading, is such a great read.  Old.  And worth a second read.




Silly Saturday

Silly Saturday today, with its playful and different take on those pesky Weeds, was both fun and a little bit serious.

But Just Right, for a Saturday.