Tag: imagination

Expressionist Creative Perth Artist

Expressionist Creative Perth Artist

The Arts in Perth: nurturing the self to foster creative identity and confidence.

What do I do? I teach art? perhaps. But at the core, the reality is I am sharing something far more important. I’m more of an encouraging ‘creativity mentor.’ A coach. I love to share artistic pathways that help the individual reclaim their innate identity, power and confidence. Balance through the arts.

Once in a while, I come across a client who has an ease within themselves straight off the bat.

This is not the typical beginner response. But their comfort at communicating, at expressing in paint playfully, in pure joyful Freedom – is Different.

It sets them apart.

They already are absorbed in the process. Totally engaged with the physicality of the action. In the act of painting all on its own, with no thought of reward or product or result.

That in all my experience is so, unique.

It is, in my opinion the highest benchmark of An Artist.

Today, for my first true, post back… I’ve featured Paola (a client) and each of the art works seen belong to her.

Paola hasn’t been with me for long period of time, a couple of terms is all. She first came to my course “Draw, Print, Paint.”

This was an intermediate to advanced level course. Not specifically designed for a brand new Beginner!

We drew…..in a loose, bold, super fast and free approach.

Extremely Non traditional.

No – straight lines! No – rigidity.

No – erasers. Are, your eyes open yet?!

No – concern over flaws, imperfections, wrong angles, etc.

Simply, drawing big and bold with a fat black Sharpie marker! The concept was to have Fun and to play.

On cheap papers. This diminishes fears “of wasting money.”

Loose, and easy…. watercolor painting

Paola next booked into Watercolors: Loose and Easy.

abstract expressionist watercolor l Paola

Once again, the course was not specifically designed for complete beginners.

But once again what Paola envisioned and created, was captivating. Her extraordinary absorption in the process is fascinating to see.

Each brush stroke, deliberate and meaningful.

The color was stroked upon the paper, and left. Alone.

Where it melted and merged and vibrated with its fellow notes.

There was no fiddling. No over working. No excess concern over flaws and imperfections in paper, paint, or marks made.

They were made, and then… let go.

She has a wonderful ability to find her own place of safety and security within herself enabling her to simply respond in creative liberation. Without a lot of coaching, coaxing, guidance from myself.

I’d like us all, to be able to feel that free to express our own voice, in our own words, without fear of reprisals. Of being called out for some perceived small imperfection or ‘mistake.’


Well….. we are, Human!

Wabi Sabi

One of my personal, favourite words and philosophies over the past couple years has been, and is – Wabi Sabi.

If, you look it up you’ll discover lovely beautiful things about it.

The concept is that there is beauty to be seen and found, in the Imperfect. In the unfinished. And in the Impermanent.

It can be a game changing discovery for some of us, former “perfectionists.”

I’ve done several series and posts on The 7 Days of Zen, and wabi sabi elements you might have a read on if you’d like.

Creative Freedom, abstract expressionism – Paola


Creativity requires a sense of ‘safety.’ Our creative imagination will refuse to come out to play, until it feels secure. Safe. When it knows it has the utter freedom to be authentic, its own self, imperfect and flawed as it is!

We will not, see fresh new inventions, new medical, tech, science breakthroughs – in environments of stress, fear, negativity. The fear of being vulnerable to attack, causes the creative side, our clever side to stay hidden. Buried.

Trying to excavate the hidden creative buried far beneath the layers, deep in the crevices, that almost nothing can pry out – can be exhausting work. It takes immense patience. Time.

And sometimes, someone else’s eyes to see that gem and make mention of it, softly and kindly. Repeatedly.


At work, what I really do, is: I campaign against fear.

It is Fear, that so often leads many to replicate someone else’s words. Or their looks. Or opinion. Or someone else’s painting. There is No need!

abstract still life indigo and orange Paola

My philosophy is:

“YOU, Are absolutely every bit – just as interesting, good, valuable and faceted – as Monet/Madonna/Oprah or whoever it is that is being copied.”

Probably more so. Please let us in, tell us your story.

Thank you Paola,, for so kindly and with courage, allowing me to feature your work on my first post back. I am grateful. Debi

Color of Imagination…. Purple 9

Color of Imagination…. Purple 9

So much fun to be had with the color purple.

Our imaginations take flight more so, with this one magic and mysterious color.

And, at last,  the left brain….takes a seat.


“What,  IF….”  is the dominant theme with 9  “purple, violet, magenta, lilac, lavender”  images below.

No rules, just play.



watercolor test color swatch, daniel smith amethyst, watercolour purples, creative art techniques, debiriley.com
purple test strip  – its a great way to warm up


Magic of Purple Paints

I love that there’s an infinite amount of Purple subjects to work with:  flowers, hills and mountains,  ponds and fanciful shadows… with an endless variation of warms and cools, lights and darks.


Purple is the color of magic. Of freedom.

Of mystery, of the arts, of creativity, of the archane.

It is a liberating color to use.


Don’t let any preconceived ideas and thoughts about ‘purple’ sway you.

Thoughts of  wishy washy faded wallflowers and pale shrinking violets;  or stroppy, SHOUTY purples;  or even the dreaded  “grandma purples.”

Ignore those thoughts.


You want New Ideas!



So,  allow yourself to play, for awhile.

To be free and imaginative, with the color purple. 



Thats enough talk.  Enjoy the 9 images!




creative imaginative art techniques, use purple paints, debiriley.com
shadows, purple background



purple rose photograph, debiriley.com
purple rose  – a great source of painting inspiration!



inspiration of nature flowers, purple rose photograph, debiriley.com
inspired by purple roses



watercolor with a palette knife, amethyst daniel smith paint, debiriley.com
amethyst with palette knife:   creatively, a Vertical format



lily pond in deep purple, nature photography, cool palette blue green and lavender, debiriley.com
Deep Purple and Blue – a pond, a little bit of magic


watercolor landscapes tree reflections, painting morning on the water using watercolors, creating mood with paint, debiriley.com
Serenity with Watercolors…  calming lilac and lavenders




shadows of violets, purples, painting, debiriley.com
Mysteries in dark violets and purples  – this is a bit of glad wrap technique





impressionist landscape mountains and water, purple lavender, cobalt teal blue waters painting, debiriley.com
Impressionist Landscape: Purples and Teal Waters  … debiriley.com (c) 2018







Leonardo da’Vinci  …. insights into Silence

Leonardo da’Vinci …. insights into Silence

I chose Leonardo today.  A genius.

A well rounded artist.

A thinking, artist.







Leonardo daVinci quote on Silence, bird nest photograph, Silence in photography and art, debiriley.com
Silent – as an empty nest


Leonardo da’Vinci


But so much more.


All the things I aspire to be. To become.   He is a good role model.

I don’t want to copy him, but to emulate his outlook. His creative, approach.  That is enough.



Leonardo and his Mona Lisa, his Last Supper,  his Sistine Chapel… such glorious works of art.

Even so, with all that ‘artsy stuff’ he had going on, Leonardo also thought about other concerns.  His art did not solely revolve around pretty shapes, tones and forms, wondrous paint colors, lush curves and delightful wine lunches with art friends.


Rough Times

The times he lived in were…. rough.

People lived on the edge. They weren’t relaxed, not on the whole.

The surface you saw,  skimmed over,  might look smooth.


But below, churned  the worries and stresses of looming disasters.

No one was safe. Everyone had to agree, had to toe the line and speak a certain way.


One misconstrued word could brand you heretic, sending you to the Tower, to the pyre, or into exile if you were lucky.

Yes…. walking to a sick friend’s home to lend a hand, on a Sabbath was punishable.

Hanging some wet washing out on the laundry line on Sabbath- was punished.


If you had some money, you were fined.

No? the stocks, the lash, would do.


If the authorities were being  charitable  they would only make you wear a placard upon your body around town, stating what a ‘damned’  thief, harlot, heretic, unrepentant soul you were.

Interesting times.   Indeed.



Weirdly,  Wonderfully Out of the Box

Can you then,  just imagine the level of Leonardo’s  inner courage to be himself. 

To plunge ahead and write, paint, speak out the way he did?

The risks he took.



Flying machines?!!


When   The World supposedly WAS FLAT!  oh my.

I thought I was fairly bold, confident, a bit quirky in my art creations.

But, no.

I am not that brave, that outspoken, that weirdly wonderfully out of the box.  Not at all.



Art takes courage.

Creativity and self expression demands courage.

Leonardo style!




Quote 1

I found these quotes of his insightful.

A window into the mind and soul of one of the greatest artists  that the world has given us.



“Nothing strengthens authority

so much as




If anyone would know the truth of that, it would be Leonardo.

Living in precarious times, with the rulers warm and well fed,  perched high upon their shaky golden thrones.

Right upon the precipice.  Just waiting… for a strong gust to come storming along.


And those rulers,  they hoped,

that by  instilling Silence,  it would keep the gust from blowing. One more day.




Quote 2

How, could it be even be possible, that he imagined  with such clarity and depth of feeling – something, that we,  only in this century,  have experienced?

It seems so strange, his out of time, inventions and thoughts, ideas, doesn’t it?

He lived 1452 – 1519.


“Once you have tasted flight,

you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,

for there you have been

and there you will always

long to return.”





Da Vinci    Wiki Quotes    


Da Vinci quotes 





Blue Ice: painting in prussian blue

Blue Ice: painting in prussian blue

Blue Ice caught in between the shadows, cracks and crevices are the ultra rich tones of Prussian blue.

A thousand hues of blue, pool against the shores.

Captivating. Engaging.

Making us pay attention for a moment,  to become immersed in the swirls of color.

Those gorgeous textures that ask to be touched;

to be looked at just a little longer,  to be seen in their depths.



blue ice watercolor abstract, prussian blue pb27 watercolor, abstract watercolour in blue textures, debi riley art teacher, debiriley.com
Blue Ice, watercolor abstract


Blue Ice –  textures in watercolor


So we look.

Down the sides and slip into the shallows first.



Sinking into the reaches of the frigid waters,


flowing soft and deep

dark and rich and oh so cold.


Blue Ice.




Creating in “Prussian Blue”


“Blue Ice”  is part of a continuation of  Color Textures Lesson #6

as well as  Creativity Pass It Along  

Both posts lay the foundation for this creation.



Texture was integral in the piece, with the molding paste applied onto the surface in random patterns.



My Creative imagination helped me to form and define the intangibles into something, from out of the chaos, slowly.

It, evolved.

I did go back in later, to darken a few areas.

This emphasised the places where it was needed and anchored those shapes more successfully.



The other player was Power of the  Blue.

Once again, I have chosen to use only blue for my painting.  Leaving the paste and gel mediums and the support surface to be my lights.

I used Prussian Blue pb27  watercolor.

The support is a canvas pad paper, you can see its woven texture quite well throughout the piece.


I enjoy the freedom and the creativity that painting in monochromatic palettes allow.   It seems like I might be restricted, constrained by only permitting myself the one color to use.  But I find it is utterly freeing.

Blue Ice would never have emerged, had I not set myself a monochromatic theme.  And I am very pleased with how the painting, Blue Ice finished up.


The Intriguing Circle in Art: Enso

The Intriguing Circle in Art: Enso

Enso. An Intriguing word.

A strange word, a new word?  I can explain.

Or rather,  I can provide subjective descriptions. And examples.

Allowing you to form your own interpretation of what an Enso means, for you.


Japanese Enso, zen art, meditation, creative brush use, circle of enlightenment, debi riley art
Enso …. in blue,  with silver dust and cobalt teal


The Intriguing Circle: Enso

My thoughts on the Enso.


My very first thought: It nearly defies definition.

I don’t really think there is a concrete, hard and fast  “This, is Enso”  definition.

Intangibles are often difficult to completely pin down.

More like trying to capture Vapor as it rises above  – drifting off, and forever, just out of reach.




But lets give it a go.


From Wikipedia….. 

This spiritual practice of drawing ensō or writing Japanese calligraphy for self-realization is called hitsuzendō (筆禅道“way of the brush”).

Ensō exemplifies the various topics/dimensions of the Japanese wabi-sabi perspective and aesthetic:

Fukinsei (asymmetry, irregularity),

kanso (simplicity),

koko (basic; weathered),

shizen (without pretense; natural),

yugen (subtly profound grace),

datsuzoku (freedom),

and seijaku (tranquility).


In my 7 set series, The 7 Days of Zen,  I explored each one of these Zen  “Wabi Sabi”  topics.

If, you’d like to know more start with The 7 Days of Zen and work your way to The 7th day!




Enso….. It is a circular form drawn and painted, while in the midst of a quiet contemplative state of mind.

It is

A  Moment

when,  the mind

freed –

permits the body and spirit as one,

to Create.




enso, ink drawing, debiriley.com
enso in Ink…. debiriley.com




The Enso,  it could be…. drawn in the dirt or sand.

Or done with a brush using water only upon a footpath…… to vanish within mere moments.

Very Wabi Sabi.


The purpose of the Enso is  or could be, about causing the artist to focus on the Inward journey.

To think.  Contemplate and become more aware.


It  isn’t actually about producing  something for show and tell,  for sale, for display, for others.

Enso……  its about the intriguing inner journey we all walk, step by step, each day.



enso in greens, overlapping pattern in spring limes, rice paper and watercolor, enso art, debiriley.com
enso design by karen



I believe Enso symbolises –

The Circle of Togetherness.  United, connected, in harmony.  Oneness.

The Circle of Awareness  ie  “Enlightenment.”


Its about feeling.

Its is about en-lighten-ment…. The light of understanding shining  suddenly upon you.

It is about letting go.

It is about self reflection, contemplation, peace – serenity.


Purpose filled.

Not wasted, not empty.

Its about making each step,  every breath, every brush stroke,  each mark made,   every step taken – mean some thing.



blue copper enso on rice paper, japanese painting, meditation, zen art, debiriley.com
Blue Copper Enso,   A ‘closed’  enso;    student’s work from class


Enso is a single,  thought filled ……. studied brush mark.


A brush mark upon a surface in a circular form.

No need for ‘perfection’  –  full stop.


The need,  is for the aiming towards unity, oneness, balance.


The Enso is the visual culmination of  an enlightened moment, a space, a place in time.




The Enso has phases as the ink on the brush, slowly runs out.

The first 1/4 of the stroke is usually full, dense, dark, thick, even having blobs.

The next phase runs smoother,  finer.

By the 1/4 mark from the end though you’ll see a rapid decrease in ink.

Often giving a wispy tail effect on many enso drawings.

These things are dependent, upon the paper used and the brush used.

As well as  the individual artist.


enso point of beginning and end, zen art, enso in blue, debiriley.com
Libby’s Enso; enso beginning, end



Enso  Steps 

  1. Gather the art supplies. inks, brushes, papers, canvas, paints, etc.
  2. Contemplate,  be meditative about the enso image you desire to make 
  3. FULLY  LOAD   brush with the ink, paint required for the entire, enso
  4. Breathe deep calming relaxing breaths, inhaling exhaling, til…. Relaxed
  5. Draw the enso shape – Using ONE long, fluid, stroke…….. just 1
  6. If, you wish,  add your thoughts, words or verse to the image 
  7. sign it;   as you do, think about balance & harmony of placement


you can use canvas, papers of all sorts… rice paper is fabulous, bamboo, cotton, silk, etc.   

you could deckle ie tear the edges of the paper to make it look more weathered, decorative, wabi sabi 

using metallic powders ie  copper, silver, gold,  sprinkled into the ink or watercolor could add dimension

or you could draw the enso over a Pale, tinted wash of watercolor – just make sure the ink you Enso with is deep dark enough to go over the w/c wash & provide Good Contrast!      



serenity enso, japanese enso on rice paper, serenity enso, zen art, debiriley.com
Serenity – eleanors enso




ENSO Benefits and Learning Outcomes

A primary benefit is it trains us to be more mindful of our brushstrokes.  ie not to fiddle. 

Reminding us,  every single brushstroke and mark we make,  needs to Count.

Needs to mean something.  We become more aware of this, the more often we practice Enso.    

Bottom line is: we get paintings with far less Mud, far less overworked paintings, more decisive bolder,  stronger artwork when we partner up, with enso practice.     

Creativity and Imagination are developed, strengthened. Made into super highways in us rather than the meager little goat tracks they once were.   


The enso shape,  the simple circle, permits the mind to wander.

To wonder. To Imagine. Unlike the box like rectangle, that tends to restrain us, confine us. Keep us in our place.

The circle, the enso invites creativity.   

And by inviting creativity we actually … perform better.




The practice of this form of art, helps the artist in these ways: 

  • Developing a sense of calm, using a new, clarified approach creating art.
  • Finding, seeking out the connections…. (within the subject, within the larger picture, within the self) 
  • Stillness. Contemplation before creation results in a stronger image ie Result.
  • No fiddling. Means No Mud.    This, transfers over into all your painting efforts. 
  • Relaxation.  It is in the peaceful non-stressed state,  we are freed to be Creative.
  • Concise, Meaning-Full.  The practice of enso trains us to make every mark,  count. 
  • Begin to think on the content, the deeper message of your art.
  • one stroke.  This, teaches us restraint. A wise &  Masterful use of tools, materials, resources.
  • In The Creative Zone.  Fully present in that moment. no where else. Where you are  connected to the art, to the tools – materials, the subject, the self, the mood/feeling.  Enabling you to convey those things onto the paper. 
  • Enso … to me,  is a frame of mind where we are Calm. Measured. Purposeful.    An ideal space to be, when we want to really truly permit our creativity, imaginations free.


Ideas for Your Enso…..

Watercolor Enso colors –    indigo   indanthrone   jade      perylene green      mayan blue     amethyst   purpurite   prussian    lunar black      amazonite        

Pairings……  LunarBlack+phalo      Indanthrone+Ultramarine     Indigo+CTB       Perylene green + Zoisite (or Mayan Blue)   




Artists, References, Sources



Kazuaki Tanahashi

Full of information, techniques, guidance his calm, kind and thoughtful approach to art transfers easily to his students and audience.  Definitely a Master.  Kazuaki’s enso paintings are unique, creative and so soothing.   He has workshops, worldwide California to Italy. Plus, offers online courses.

I love his work.  And simply have to say you’ll love it too!

Check in with Kaz at Brushmind.net


“As soon as you accept the accidental effects,

they are no longer accidents.

They are necessity the part of yourself that you could not expect or design beforehand.

Thus, the realm of your creativity grows wider.”

Kazuaki Tanahashi



Nakajima Hiroyuki

A contemporary artist, uses gigantic brushes effortlessly.  The smallest of brushes, and fingers, hands, cardboard, pastels, inks, acrylics…… seemlingly,  any tool, any media is handled with ease. Ahhh…. once again, A  Master well worth going to have a further study with!

 Hiroyuki, blends  Japanese calligraphy “Shodo” with nature, with Zen, with Tai Chi movements.  It is really,  a performance art. Something to Watch, not merely look at.



Shodo:  the Quiet Art of Japanese Zen Calligraphy  by Shozo Sato   ISBN13   9784805312049   is a beautiful,  hardcover book with large expressive illustrations and instructions.  Available at Abe books online.




illuminated enso, detail of design, yellow and purple pairing, debiriley.com
illumination, the enso path by angela   (enso in detail)



Enso, is a pathway that can lead us towards awareness, towards illumination.



I once explained Enso as a way to enjoy art more, to engage in the process more.  That we could think of it, in a way, Like eating a meal.


We can either quickly bolt down our Thanksgiving banquet.

Or we can fully engage in the savoring of each dish we select to partake of.


It is an awareness of what we are doing right then.

It is a way to enjoy things …more.

Extracting every molecule of enjoyment from the moment that we are able.

To Live.  Not merely exist.

Becoming More aware of our steps, of  our marks we make.



The more I train myself to look at things with simplicity, harmony, clarity, balance, acceptance in mind The better my art work will be.

It can’t help but to improve.

Because I am training myself to fully engage, to fully observe, to be fully aware. This is conveyed to the viewer.


This is,  I guess, philosophy of sorts.

But, it is art.

And an  integral piece for me.


And as your art becomes filled with more variations and content, and more depth;  you too, become more.

It is connected.


silver and indigo enso, circle of enlightenment, peace, moonlit silver skies, debiriley.com
silvery moon midst the midnight skies



In a past post, The Haunting magic of Nature   I stated,

“Make it count.”

Enso guides us along this path in one of the best ways that I  know of.


And,  no.   We aren’t all ready for it at the same time.

That is the way of things.

And, its ok.


So maybe I’m ready now, but when I began my art journey years ago I most certainly was not.

I was too tight, too rigid, too locked into the constraints I had been told were the right ways to follow.


Yes,  its difficult to break, the barriers holding us back.


Not impossible.




Japanese Zen art, Enso paintings, meditative art, using silver and blue in cloudscapes, debiriley.com
Enso in silvered blues of the Moon


More Reference Sources for you


Excerpts below, taken from articles by John Stevens and  Audrey Yoshiko Seo and the Modern Zen Enso may help to further clarify, “What Is the Enso?”


John Stevens   What is an Enso

The Zen poet Hanshan wrote -“My heart is like the autumn moon’’-  perhaps to indicate that the enso symbolizes  the moon-mind of enlightenment.

Another inscription,  “Within the ever revolving circle of human passions, things come and go, come and go,”  to represent a wheel.


Zen masters create enso paintings as meditation prompts for their students.

Each Zen master has their own Enso style. That individuality is clearly expressed in their art.


Some enso circles are perfectly symmetrical;

others are completely lopsided.

Most are done in one stroke; others are made from 2  half circles.

Some are massive, thick; others spindly, delicate.  Fragile.

Most begin in the left-hand corner of the paper, but can start at the top or bottom.



Audrey Yoshiko Seo, author of Ensō: Zen Circles of Enlightenment writes,

“Zen circles, ensō, are symbols of teaching, reality, enlightenment, and a myriad of things in between.

Seemingly perfect in their continuity, balance, and sense of completeness, and yet often irregular in execution,

ensō are at once the most fundamentally simple and the most complex shape.

They seem to leave little room for variation, and yet in the hands of Zen masters, the varieties of personal expression are endless.

Enso  evoke power, dynamism, charm, humor, drama, and stillness.”




Modern Zen Enso 

Enso.  The two Kanji symbols that create the word, enso  translate as Mutual Circle or  Circle of Togetherness.


The symbolism of an enso might refer to:  the beginning and end of all things;  the circle of life;  and the connectedness of existence.

It can symbolise being full or empty;  presence or absence.

All things might be contained within, or excluded by its boundaries.

It can symbolise infinity, the “no-thing,”  the perfect meditative state, and enlightenment.

Often it represents the moon;  the moon being a symbol of enlightenment.

The Enso can also represent the moon’s reflection on water,  symbolising the futility of searching for enlightenment outside oneself.




Enso symbolises so much more:

The acceptance of imperfection as perfect,  the universe, single mindedness,  strength, elegance and,  the state of mind of the artist at the moment of creation.


The circle of infinity and the cyclical nature of existence,   simplicity, completeness, endlessness, perfect harmony, the oneness of life and all things contained within it, the absolute fullness in emptiness, the spirit of harmonious cooperation, the visible and the invisible.


The enso is a universally known symbol of wholeness and completion; “form is void and void is form.”

When you take the time, to study the enso  you see that form and void are related….connected.

And, in fact, define each other.



It is a fascinating   expression of individuality  as expressed by variations in ink tones, brushstroke thickness, shape of the circle.

And even the positioning of the single point where the circle begins and ends.


There are so many definitions available, that each of us is left to select or create our own definition of enso.

enso zen art, using color in enso, debiriley.com
enso by joyce



Opening in the Enso

The Enso may be closed or painted with an opening in the circle.


The open enso might symbolise that it is not in isolation, but is instead,  part of  the greater Whole.  ie  “Circle of Togetherness.”

The open circle reflects that the enso is not contained within itself:  but opens out,  into infinity. “Infinity Circle.”


The Open Enso can also suggest imperfection.  Imperfection as an important, necessary, inherent element to our existence.

The Enso can be the open circle of emptiness in which the self flows in and out while remaining centered; or it can be closed.


Allowing the enso to remain open,  is as if we’re allowing room for the spirit to flow in and out of the circle; allowing it to Breathe.

Breath and emptiness are essential ingredients for meditation, contemplation and the creation of a spiritual life.


Drawing the enso is a contemplative meditative.  An inward process.

Meditating in silence for lengthy time period, before picking up the brush and paper is a common routine for the zen artist.

The Enso is done quickly.  As a manifestation of what existed within the artist’s mind already.




Enso is a Zen symbol of the  imperfection of all things.

The natural occurring imperfections of the enso, drawn by man’s hand not machine, nor helped with precision based tools – make the enso a beauty of natural perfection.

Perfect as it is.

In all its flaws, all its imperfections.

The Enso, teaches the student to cease struggling.

To abandon the compulsion for Perfection.

To permit things to unfold, as they will.


enso, zen circle, circle of enlightenment, drawing zen, zen calligraphy, debi riley art, debiriley.com
circle of completion ….enso on rice paper




By embracing the practice of Enso, even if its only occasionally – it can help us not just in art, but every day living.

In making the most of each moment.


We are making marks. Every day.

Every action, step, word, look, art work we create is a mark.

A brush stroke, if you will.


The practice of enso,  I believe,  teaches us that our lives – are works of art –    Or can be.





Inking Up in October

Inking Up in October

Inks on trend….

not that I  ever ‘do what I’m told, or supposed to do.’

But,  I am in the process of “inking up.”


inking up, inktober, october ink, chinese paper brushes with inks, debiriley.com
Inking Up



That’s the start of the process.



Materials for Inking Up


I can’t help but love all my gorgeous papers, inks and brushes and stones. They’re just so lovely!


The  Feel of them, is fabulous.


Slate grey, the ink stone is cool and smooth to the touch.


My Masa papers are slightly velvety, not rough, but with a gentle raspy surface. Which is perfect for the ink. It will absorb, but not act like blotting paper. Nor will it run off, unabsorbed.  I’ve been happy with this paper and its sensitive, versatility.


An old weathered stick gathered from the Pacific NW shores, is worn smooth with the point bluntly tapered. Its not as sharply pointed as my new, fresh skewer.

The first provides a wider, broader line and mark. Perhaps for larger items or things less important.

But the thin, super sharp tipped skewer… it is meant for details. To pull the eye to something important. A focal point.


The chinese brushes, my hakes, and the flat Davinci brush with its silky bristles … lie in wait.

I don’t know yet, what they will be needed for.  I’m sure they will let me know, when the time comes.

Time. Experience. Practice. Mistakes.

With these, you develop that kind of sensitivity to your materials.  And to your subjects.



The stunningly carved head and face of the dragon – lion, really inspires me all on its own.



lion dragon chop, chinese ink chop carved, debiriley.com


Contemplation,   inked up

Every aspect, is considered.

Reflected upon.


I do immerse myself in the process, in the way of the brush.

In the way of the inks. In the way of the materials.


In the Feeling of the subject and materials.

It is, a very non Western way.


It is so much more in tune with the Eastern way of art.

This feels to me,  more liberating.

Expressive.  Expansive.

It works, for me.


Looking forward to inking up, tomorrow!




enso, ink drawing, debiriley.com
enso   and the resting dragon




#700 Our Imagination

#700 Our Imagination

Seven hundred times, I’ve pressed “Publish” and hoped …. for the best.

Sometimes my imagination has a win.

Sometimes, the creative spark has gone walk about.


imagination in art and painting, abstract lily pond in blue oils, debiriley.com
Imagine in the deep


To Imagine …


Regardless of the win or the ‘not so fabulous’ result…. It is about the trying.

The climbing.   Its the Climb…

The persistence.

And the imagination that is inside  All of us.


Asking, to be set free.


That’s what I wish to share with you, today.



Pink Roses oil abstract, debiriley.com
Roses Oil Abstract


4 Abstract Paintings

These 4 oil abstract paintings, were Inspired by nature.

Inspired by my zen strolls through the neighbor’s rose beds, past the local flower gardens and past lily ponds.


lily pond in deep purple, nature photography, cool palette blue green and lavender, debiriley.com
Lily pond   Deep Purple and Blue – PHOTO



blushing rose, neighbours garden roses, debiriley.com
Neighbors Roses….  Blushing at Dawn  PHOTO



In allowing my imagination the freedom to do what it wished, I gave it open ended opportunities.

Opportunities and possibilities my literal representational mind would not, could not see.



When I turn it loose, set no boundaries on my imagination… uncertainties abound.

I don’t know, what I am going to end up with.

It is a Fun surprise.


abstract in oils, imagination in art, prussian blue oils, debiriley.comm
Colors of the Imagination



Yes,  of course, I’ve had the kind of surprises that I scowl at!

They are amusing;  Later.


But, then I get such delightful color blends and imaginative shapes and forms emerge in the other paintings – it makes it all so worthwhile.


It is a risk.    Risks of painting… 

It is a roll of the dice. But oh so fun!




We need not fear,  painting.

We need not fear setting our imaginations   L O O S E.

Nor fear making a mistake. Nor fear someone else, not liking it.


We can look at it,  as if   We Were Cooking.

Sometimes we get the recipe just right, sometimes we don’t.

And even if when we do, still some people just don’t like chocolate and prefer strawberry instead.

Thats ok, thats  their taste.  Their preference.  Right?!




I couldn’t let this 700th post go by without mentioning what to me,

is probably the most important element of art…. our imaginations.


I do hope,  Your Imagination is stirred up and released in whatever art form you create in.

Cheers, Debi



abstract oil painting, blue and lavender palette, swirling colors, debiriley.com
fun…..creative imagination