Tag: imagination

Through The Trees …. sparking the imagination

Through The Trees …. sparking the imagination

Through the trees, we peer.

Piqued, intrigued.

Its just enough.

With its shadowed edges and leading lines ….

‘Sparking the Imagination’



zen strolls, nature walks, zen photography, debiriley.com
Through The Trees  ………….    “Sparking the Imagination”



Sparking the Imagination


What began this little mini Series was  “Soft Trees across the waters,”


beginner watercolor landscape techniques, painting simple trees and water in watercolours, daniel smith indigo, debiriley.com
Watercolor Soft Trees across the waters


then progressed on to,  “Across the Waters II.”


beach clam diggers painting, watercolor beach, impressionist landscapes, debiriley.com


modern minimalism art, impressionist watercolor landscape, semi abstracts, debiriley.com




It now finishes with the photo,  “Through The Trees,” Part III





We all have creativity.  In some, form.

(And there are of course, many many, more forms of creativity than just painting.)


The trouble or dilemma we often face is usually  “Permitting” our innate creativity to emerge.

Permission is needed, or it stays locked up tight.



This is something I’ve mentioned to art students quite some time ago and it is well worth repeating:

We all have creativity.

We  need to allow ourselves, the freedom,  to make use of it as often as it flickers by.

And,  we need sources of Inspiration.





Featured Image Inspires

Sources of inspiration can be many things.

A memory. Fragrance of a flower bouquet. Nature walks. A sea shell. A quote or a poem.

A historical person. Photos of much loved placed so long ago…..

There really is no set boundary, for sources that inspire you and your creativity.


This Featured photograph is a good example, I believe,  of the type of reference source that feeds and  inspires creativity.  



Why? How so?


It is nearly monochromatic.

Thus,  we must fill in the blanks that are there.

Our minds need to engage in this image more.

More so than if the image was already spelled out in dozens of lush, seductive colors.



Its doors, windows, gates are all open.

With all its soft edges and fewer Hard sharp super defined edges, it is less ‘dictator-like.’

Not as tyrannical as a super sharp, ultra defined reference photo would be – consciously, or not.

Our creativity isn’t being stifled,  dictated to and nothing is imposing its will saying we must stay within the lines.


It is open ended, with its high ratio of soft blurred edges.

These lovely, gentle blurred soft edges, fill us with the need, the wish, the desire to dream, to reflect, to pause.

To imagine –

within this image, this place,  as if,  it was real.



Its invitational.

It welcomes us in to have a wander through.

It creates the mood, the atmosphere of reflection.

Of wanting to Pause and  Wonder.




Inspired Creativity

When we engage,  when we imagine,  when we wonder….

we begin to become inspired.



And with that inspiration;



leaps and bounds out,  to play.


water reflections, acrylic painting, debiriley.com
water reflections





The Lily Pond

The Lily Pond

The lily pond.

I was, in a way, inspired by Monet.  But, No…..

Monet never created nor painted quite like this. Showing the dark and the shadowed side of nature.

His lilies, lily ponds, his fields, his canvases were more Dreamscapes. Filled with the sunnier, brighter side of day.


It is admittedly, the approach I too generally follow.


That’s not the path this subject wanted to follow.

It  spoke of a different message altogether.

I sighed, and went along with it.


Artists really are   “co creators”   for the subjects themselves,   reveal how they want to be portrayed.


digital photography Luminar, canon rebel 600d, meditational writing, zen poem, lily pond photograph, communicating through art media, debiriley.com
Lily Pond




Silence splatters down

like rain


tear stains of scarlet

upon the quiet


little lily pads

now stained


remaining silent

they listen



and waiting





silence’s echoes

are washed away




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






Pinks and Greens, in the Forest

Pinks and Greens, in the Forest

Another zen stroll. Not so leisurely as most of my strolls but still enjoyable.

This time,  there was a deadline.  I was On the clock.

In the forest.



walking in the forest, zen strolls, nature photography, meditation in the forest, colors of the bush, debiriley.com
Discoveries to be found, in the Forest


Begin With A Plan


I went with one purpose in mind.

However, the weather and wind refused to cooperate.

I tried to get the shots anyway.  But you know when you begin to force things, they only get worse.


Tick Tock

On the clock.


I didn’t have time, to get all snooty with the weather.

To grumble and whinge about what was going wrong.

I needed to “find things that were going right.”


I needed to get on with it.

Find some things out there in Nature that were just as appealing.

Just as lovely, exciting and enticing as what my original plan was.

I could do it.


forest pink blossoms, zen strolls, Perth, meditation in nature, debiriley.com
Forest Pinks


I found a gorgeous shrub, decked out in pink and cream blossoms.

The dark olive green needle like foliage paired beautifully with the pinks.

The previous post about how color talks, how it expresses feelings,  played a role in my choosing this specific combination.

Its definitely a softer look.

Much more delicacy is provided here, than the prior post’s color  palette of red, black, yellow and cobalt teal.



I went out, with the sole purpose to get some shots of the scarlet flame trees reflections upon the pond.

I pass it by nearly every day, telling myself “one day.”

So off I went, to finally accomplish my mission.

And failed in getting it done.  I’ll have to go back, of course.



I chose to bend. I chose to adapt.

My purpose had to change.

I chose to alter my mental outlook.

From being cross that my goal was being thwarted, to being interested in the challenge of a  New Goal.



it reminds me of, well, Painting!



spring pink blooms, nature walks, flower photos in pink, relaxing in nature, zen strolls, debiriley.com
Spring Pink



Building…. character and skills

I believe that this photography event, what happened, was better than my planned version.

It was character building.

OK that sounds horrible to us all, I know it!


But, its true.

I didn’t get my way.

Yet, I chose to make the new path a better version,  better than my original planned path.


That, is the secret

of how I can  become a better artist.  


And Perhaps, improve in other areas as well.




There are many,  discoveries to be found in Nature, in the forest.

One needs to always be asking,  inquiring to find those discoveries though.


nature meditation, relax in the forest, landscapes to calm and soothe, debiriley.com
in soft lavender pinks



The trees had their say.   

I guess its nature’s way.

Its lovely, finding peaceful places even when you weren’t looking.



And I did make it to my appointment with time to spare. Just.





If I Was Eleven….

If I Was Eleven….

The world of the artist is filled with imagination. The kind of imagination children still have, even at age eleven.

Somewhere along the way, that creative expression, stops. The imagination gets shoved away, packed up, boxed up tight. Then hauled up into the attic.

Its expected.



art on the walls, imagination for children, debiriley.com
art on the walls





But, if I was eleven……..

I’d play in the forest shadows again, splash in the river streams, search for minnows and bright colored stones.  I’d race my horse across the fields, jumping the logs laughing like mad.  And dash her through the river, swimming across the deepest cool channels.  On a hot summer’s day, I’d grab onto the rope swing and fling myself into the depths of lake.

Because I could, because it was … fun. Because I was Eleven!


imagination of a child, art and creativity, debiriley.com
playing, in the creeks



play like a child, art is fun, canon 600d, black and white photography, debiriley.com
Childs Play, at the park




If I was eleven….

I’d find my box of crayons again and draw on the biggest pieces of paper I could find. I’d draw on sidewalks, fences and walls… even if, that’s called “graffiti” to some.   I’d color my hair gold, then indigo purple, and back to chestnut brown.  Then, all 3 at once!


painting colors on hair, childrens hair colors, fun imagination, debiriley.com
wild colors for hair





If I was eleven…..

I’d make sure that once in awhile, I remembered, to tell my family I really did love them.   I’d play more Scrabble with my great grandmother.  I’d walk over to my grandmother’s,  right next door,  more often than the occasional visit. I’d ask her about what it was like for her, way back then …. when They were eleven.




If I was eleven…..

I’d live each moment like there was no tomorrow, like every second counted…. because when you are eleven,  that is just how it seems to be.

And when you are a lot older, well, every moment really does count then too. You appreciate those treasury of memories of when you were eleven.





horse jumps, ready to go, debi riley.com
the Jumps, await, Lets Go!



happy 11th  birthday T





Speaking, with softness

Speaking, with softness

In life, so it is in art.  The loud, the shouting, the bright, the brazen are often who are heard.  The only ones heard, listened to.

They trumpet their wares with sharp edged precision.

Those that speak in softer tones without the sharp, hard edges often become the wallflowers.

In life, so it is in art.

conveying emotion in media, expressing mood in art and photography, soft edges for depth, debiriley.com
Threads of jade silence


Soft Spoken Art

But can I turn that around? I’ll do my best.

Come, see these subjects that speak deeply, thoughtfully, with Feeling…. in their soft spoken, abstracted like beauty.


canon 600d, macro 100mm, nature photography, pictures of zen, soft edges in art, debiriley.com
Early Dawn, dollars in the sun
Where the images came from

I’ve been on a quite a few short zen strolls, those were lovely.   And a some hard, strenuous hikes recently.

With camera and lenses in hand, I’ve been hard at work! 

From – surfers gliding the transparent cobalt teal sea, to the glorious Indian Ocean sunsets, to the zen hike at the zoo.

And of course, my yesterday’s zen stroll around the block, finding  a myriad of surprises.



My activities have accumulated 5000 photos in just a couple weeks.

From the many,  there may be a few that speak in the tones I wish.


Now,  for the culling. Not. As fun.

But now I DO have ample material with soft edges for today.



canon 600d photographs, canon 100mm nature photos, water reflections in macro, debiriley.com
Emerald and Jade, ripples



Fear of Soft Edges

Soft edges are hints, suggestions and nuances.

Blurred lines and shapes, that open and envelop.  Soft edges are not defined.


They allow the melding of ideas, of tones, of colors, of movements to blend together – whether in song, or in dance, in poetry or in painting.


Soft edges allow our imaginations to soar and our intellect to query.




Many modern artists, those just starting out, may have a fear and an apprehension with softness of edges. I did too! 


Perhaps, there is a misunderstanding.

Perhaps there is an uncertainty in the use, in the placement, in the application and techniques.

Perhaps softness does not resonate within some….. and their unique personal art style is a harder style.

Maybe more like Ellsworth Kelly, Escher or Mondrian. It could well be.


But for the rest of us,  this apprehension of those  Soft and ill defined edges,  is there.  In masse.



We don’t have to be afraid of soft edges.

Whether we dance, cook, paint, draw, sing, or write.

We don’t  need to have it all spelled out, leaving nothing for the imagination, for the intellect.

We may tell ourselves we need it.



But isn’t it really, truly, because it is Faster.


To have the thing already defined for us?

Already spelled and mapped out.

A  premade item all we need to do is pop it in the microwave to consume?

…. for the most part,  I’m thinking, yes.



This,  is a major part of our Fear of soft edges and ill defined things.

Just the realisation that our compulsion for Faster, for Easier –  is all the fear is,  goes far to ease much of that fear from us.

In truth, many times, we simply create our own fear because we want something …. Immediately.



Hold on, Not so fast!

It takes, on average about 10,000 hours.

To become skilled and master a subject.

We do  need to want this skill passionately enough to do the time.



depth and perspective with soft edges, macro flower photography, canon 600d, speaking softly with soft edges in art, debiriley.com
Beauty in Edges, depth



Inspired by Subtleties

Let me show you, why many times I am so much more inspired and awed by the background of an image, when it is so with excellence.

When the background – becomes the piece de resistance.  




composition, design tips, focal point in art is in focus, sharp edged, background is soft edged, depth in landscapes, debiriley.com
Focal Point, Is in focus, is sharp edged



For maximum depth, we need a Sliding scale of blurred and sharp edges.

Variations and progressive gradations in those edges.

Smooth and Seamless is my ideal.


The Focal Point, most always needs the hardest and sharpest edges to draw the eye to it.

The middle ground is less sharp.  The background – can be a wide range of blurred edges.

A sea of melting, merging colors, shapes and tones.





macro flower photography, spring violet bud, canon 600d, canon 100mm macro lens, speaking softly with soft blurred edges, art tips for beginners, debiriley.com
Shy: its all about the soft edges


Soft Edges

Soft edges are a perfect backdrop to create more depth, more distance, recession and perspective.

They also hint at open windows, doors and open arms. Open minds.




woodland violets, macro flowers, canon 600d, soft edges in art, purple flowers, zen stroll, nature walks, debiriley.com
Woodland violets

Cool greens, greys, lilac purples look charming.  Woodland violets’  blurred softness throughout evokes a clear mood, a feeling.

We have such an abundance of soft edges here,  it denotes perhaps a forest dreamscape.



nature walks, nature photography, canon 600d, canon macro 100mm lens, creating soft blurred backgrounds for mood and depth, debiriley.com
Another Realm, in greens


Soft, as

This has a very high ratio of soft edges to sharp,  about … 96% soft blurred to maybe 4% sharp/harder edges.


pink rose petal, macro flower photo, canon 600d, debiriley.com
Soft, as



Back in the studio, glancing from the vase to outdoors – we get another perspective.


still life photo, soft blurred edges, canon 600d, soft focus background, debiriley.com
inside looking out



Speaking with softness, doesn’t mean to go unheard.

But to choose, with care where the tones, lines, and edges go.

Sharp and soft.  Those edges,  they are as if they were your words.



Drawing… upon the child within

Drawing… upon the child within


Maybe its as easy, as simple as drawing like a child again.  The pure unfettered self expressive freedom a child unleashes while drawing and creating is a joy to watch.

I believe I received just as much happiness from the watching as my granddaughter did as she created this.

Unfettered by rules, by expectations, by popular demands.

Yes, that is what art means….. for me.  And is what I encourage with such enthusiasm.



draw like a child, creative drawing, drawing with creativity and imagination, debiriley.com
Draw Like A Child…. free, expressive. happy!



Draw Like A Child

Draw like a child…. free of fear.


Picasso knew a bit about returning to the enchantment of childhood in order to create from within.


Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.



Its this,  drawing like a child, creating from within,  that is our True North.



The Story Line


once upon a time, when we first beheld the world

through our childhood eyes –


and the world was lovely

and we were happy


with the joy of a crayon in hand

we scrawled big splashes across the pages

as our mothers

proudly smiled with encouragement

and enthusiasm



but then we went to school

we learned to stay in the lines


we learned that the sky


the grass WAS GREEN


we learned there were

no dragons, no easter bunnies, no santas, no angels, no knights


we learned our ABC’s

and about those frightening  F’s



we went to work

and learned to toe the line


to cease our daydreaming,

to always pay attention

to The Bottom Line



we learned there were bills to pay,

family to feed,

and there was never enough  time



then if we were fortunate,

we retired



we dusted off the old brushes,

took out the faded paints and charcoals


and wondered….


did all our freedom go,

what happened to our creativity



why did the magic disappear?



The Artist Within – Hope, Encouragement, Freedom

This is the story line, over and over, of so many people who come to art classes.

I felt compelled to try to put their stories into words for all of us. To examine the issue closer.


It is not a case of “not being talented” or gifted.

It is not about “being no good”  as I’ve heard as well.


It is I think,  more like we need some word of hope, of encouragement from someone to get us started on our journeys.

Plus,  we Do need to throw out ‘perfection’ and return to a more childlike creative state.



See – Burn – Free 

When we return to looking, to seeing with our child’s eye, our imaginations and creativity will be restored to us.

When we toss away the school master’s lecture notes and burn them for the illusion they are;

we free our Imaginations.


“perfection is an illusion.”

Merely …..  a convenient measuring stick which others can be graded by,  judged by, monitored, labelled and dismissed by.



I so agree.

(Unless…..  you are a surgeon. or in another life and death profession.  then I advocate as much perfection as is possible. please.)

The world doesn’t require abstract expressionist surgeons.




But I believe it does need us to once again see the magic.

To see the dragons, santas, angels, bunnies and knights.

Even if they are only within our enchanted imaginations.




A warm thank you to  Andrew Seal at  thechangingpalette.com  for his humorous  “abstract expressionist surgeon”  phrase.  I found it wonderful, funny & handy!  Plus, if you check out his website – you’ll discover not only humor in his posts, but some of the most expressive work with ink, pen and brush.  Ink work that is not tight,  nor stiff at all.  But very free and gestural, with lovely rhythm.   the changingpalette.com

Cadmium Imagination

Cadmium Imagination

It could be scarlet fire. For those who wish it to be engulfing flames. #WorldWatercolorMonth

But really its just me, playing with cadmium red and prussian blue watercolors.

Using my preferred medium……. my  Imagination. 


abstract in cadmium red, prussian blue, #world watercolor month, debiriley.com
Scarlet Afire, Cadmium  Imagination



Cadmium  Imagination,  Watercolor

I like this!

Why?!  I simply like the colors and the pattern, and the design shapes.


Its nothing.

I see nothing.

And,  I thought of nothing in particular.



I just…. ‘dropped the colors in’  and liked what the watercolor did.

We do not always have to play by the rules.  Nor  always have to have a plan, or a design, or a subject in front of us.

Sometimes, its a release to just play.  Then see what glorious designs might emerge.






Yesterday’s Surroundings Influence Today.

Even though, I had no visual reference, nor a subject in mind – I do realise that I’m still being influenced.


  • Perhaps, yesterday’s  post   Her Name was July   with that deep blue and red.
  • Or over at live and learn davidkanigan.com   red balloons rising from fog shrouded forests.
  • Maybe even the 4th of July that is coming soon.
  • And,  maybe comments of ‘fire’ from my lovely BC friend……



All these things get  added into the pot

and swirled around

without my being aware.



Just ‘living and learning’;

immersing and breathing wonderful things along the way.

Helped to ‘cook up’  this lovely bright abstract painting.






Cadmium Imagination,   Partner Posts:

Prussian blue pb27    (where would I be without my stunning and useful Prussian blue!)

Scarlet Crimson with a Twist

Flames of a Flower   watercolors

Using Your Imagination




Cadmium Imagination – Day 2,   July  the  official “#WorldWatercolorMonth”