Tag: inspiration

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Zen Brushstrokes I
Zen Brushstrokes II
Veiled

The Art of More with Less

Three paintings, on the surface they appear simple. Easy.

Maybe without the studied and contrived perfection we’re used to.

They have a type of non conformity that is in direct opposition to what “art is supposed to” look like. Or so, what many of us may have been told.

They are Abstracts.

Blurred, veiled and vague.

With many abstracts, we’re left uncertain as to the precise, exact subject. There is no definitive object… leaving some of us a little bit uncomfortable.

It’s the guessing. The wondering. Being in the dark, that we’re really uncomfortable with.

We like it all spelled out. Clear.

We are perhaps uneasy with the thought of guessing incorrectly.

Nor are we comfortable with the huge margin for error that these nonrepresentational paintings provide.

We are forced to use our intuition. To ‘feel’ the emotions from the painting and from ourselves. Once again, things many aren’t completely at ease with.

A little secret, a painting can be likened to a person. It should emote. You should, be able to sense what the prevailing mood is. It shouldn’t be as if it were a flat empty face/space.

 

Depth and Layers

The first image.

The brush was fully loaded with three colors and brazenly, swiftly, applied. The colors merge together and yet, we see each individual.

Connected, yet their own, individual entity.

I love that philosophy.

The remembered scene, a waterfall on the edges of Mount Rainier National Parks in Washington. The emerald and pine greens with the with frosted froth of the falls…. left an indelible impression.

So even though this painting is an abstract, it’s been distilled from my reality. My depth of experience.

 

Blue Lined Road

This second was such fun! Another acrylic, it had a bright neon orange base. Quite vibrating.

I’d decided to overpaint to neutralise the shocking orange to a low and subtle level. I used a four inch old house paint brush to apply the blue and buff in five brushstrokes.

Ie less is MORE.

I paused, considering colors, tones, and the placement of those five strokes. I wanted to convey depth, texture.

But also the feeling, the sense of “going” somewhere. That there was a path, a direction in which we could follow in our travels in this painting.

I think that was accomplished.

 

Inferred

The third image.

The subtle hints, the mystery of the layerings and veiled coloured edges – is beautiful.

I want to paint More,like this.

 

Looking at this last image Veiled, there really is a lot of movement and texture and topographic work going on.

One might need to look, that is to search into the crevices filled with the gold leaf dust, before the image’s true self starts to reveal itself as : the landscape.

The landscape, Australia.

On the surface, it appears flat.

Empty even. But when you dig deeper, and look closer, you discover it’s immense resources. And beauty.

 

That too is part of the More….. that I’m referring to.

 

 

 

 

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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.’

Flaws.

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

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.

Authentically.

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

Summer Retreat

Summer Retreat

Good Morning!

With so much news to share, its been really challenging for me to choose which topic to begin with since my return from summer break.

 

Summer

Summer?  Yes, well,  it is a wild and wet, brisk, winter here in Perth.

Refreshing, shall we say.

But it is summer, in Seattle.

summer, pacific northwest, forest, sunlight
Summer, conveyed through art

 

The summer retreat at my sister’s was an opportunity,  I couldn’t waste.

We don’t see each other often. Living across the pond, as we do.

I wanted to spend her birthday with her.

 

It was a shorter holiday than planned.

But we can infuse lifetimes, into an hour, if needs be, can’t we?

 

We both made  the time count. 

Moment by moment.  Mindfully.

35 days.  To fill a well.

And so we did.

 

    LIFE  Is Art.   and,  Art… is Life. 

As an artist, and an instructor, this is  a message that is important for me to share.

The two, are one.  All of us, seem to be forgetting this.  (more on this, in upcoming posts!)

 

Most of the time, we had a fabulous summer retreat vibe going on, keeping it low key, staying in her lush green gardens.

The lawns and gardens were filled with ponds, flowers and trees.

 

Oh!  and the most delicious raspberries, that I pilfered early each morning. Yum.

Flowers… blooming right beneath my window. Incredible!

summer hydrangea, purple flower macro, flower photography, summer Seattle, debiriley.com
Below my Window …. copyright debiriley

 

 

 

Mornings –   Dawn Breaks

My mornings were…  oh wait,   I’ll take you there!

 

 

 

macro floral dew drop, purple flower bokeh,zen photography, debiriley.com
first light, early morning dew

Before the sun arose, I watched  the night fall away sliver by sliver, through my bedroom window.

Until the light came streaming across the dew kissed lawn for a magical few seconds, and leaving me little time to snap a photo.

I think I was more focused on the experience, than the ‘capture’ on those mornings.

yes… more on the Process;  less on the Product.

 

I was mesmerised with the peek through view of looming ranges of the Cascade Mountains, that I could get by standing on my tip toes and looking east.

For me, it seemed to add a touch of morning zen.

Thoughts of,  “oh yeah….  I remember now,  the way it was in those early summer days in the Pacific Northwest!”

 

 

 

Sunshine and Roses

Sometimes in blogs,  we get carried away.

Making it seem as if we’re living the life of Riley.

No pun intended.

 

But,  I’m going to admit…. that,  “No. Not All,  was not sunshine and roses on my summer retreat!”

It never is.

 

Dilemmas, injuries, interrogations, all the usual suspects and then some, came out to try to cause mayhem.

 

But the overriding fact is   “Love does, leave a memory  No one can steal.”

 

love quote, memory of love, debiriley.com
Love  sign from my sister’s  garden

 

A Rose for Love

Below a rose.

Lisa’s Rose  just outside my bedroom window

 

rose soft focus, orange purple color floral, photo rose bokeh, debiriley.com
Rose given in love

 

Hints of subtle context, perhaps so.

Only the tips of the closest leaves are clearly seen, visible and identifiable.

The rest of the rose is so softly diffused and dissolving.

 

What mysteries the artist, could…. infer if we were,

to pause and reflect a moment?

Perhaps about the person who gave, or the person viewing, or even as a metaphor for some other and deeper things?

Who knows?

 

 

 

Summary on Summer Retreat

As artists,  we dig and delve.

We think.

We retreat.

We fill our wells so that we may create with restored vitality, fresh imagination, wild creativity once  again.

 

 

There is of course more to come about this summer trek, including cobalt teal rivers, rainbow waterfalls, and demon hordes of thirsty mozzies set to drain us within 5 minutes of reaching our destination.  Should be entertaining.  Cheers.

 

 

Sunshine and Roses

Sunshine and Roses

Bright and Summery.

Who can resist roses with their beguiling perfume and lovely colored petals?

 

sunlit pale pink rose photograph, canon camera, debiriley.com
sunlit pale rose

 

They have a way about them, don’t they?

With them…. its all sunshine and roses.

 

garden roses in pink lavenders, purple rose photographs, debiriley.com
Riley’s Roses

 

 

 

 

deep red rose photograph, canon macro 100mm lens, debiriley.com
irresistible

 

 

 

Even though I now have a most delightful rose garden, I still get ‘inspiration’ elsewhere.

I do the zen strolls around the bushlands and the neighborhood,  finding new treasures to admire.

 

On the odd occasion.

I still, peer over into the neighbor’s garden. 

 

 

 

 

Summer

Summer

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

Fun.

 

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

“Summer”

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!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where, Do You Paint?  … my kitchen counters

Where, Do You Paint? … my kitchen counters

I have a studio, with 2 art tables and easels.  I have 2 art tables set up on the patio.  And still,  many, many times I paint on the kitchen counter.

It doesn’t really make sense.

Especially to the someone who has gone above and beyond to assemble said studio, those tables and the gear for this ‘persnickety’ artist.

 

 

 

 

What is it, about the kitchen counter?

What does it have, that the other places…. don’t?

 

I’ve never paused to contemplate this until now.

Til the post of yesterday, “How much do you paint?”

This post,  it made me think, it caused me to question things.  How? Why? Where? When?

 

All great questions, insightful, if we dig our way to the bottom of them.

 

 

 

Where, do I paint?

It does have a little bit to do with Light and yes with space too;  but more than those, its about:  Feeling.  

When I’m in the art studio, I am  in isolation.

beginners watercolours getting started in the art studio debiriley.com
 art studio …. tidied up! 

 

I’m cut off from the other rooms, from whats going on elsewhere.

I’m not part of the rest of the house.

And that sensation fosters a tightening up.

 

 

 

Comfortable

When I’m in the kitchen space, I’m perfectly at ease.

All rooms connect.  I feel Free and in the zone.

 

I paint when no one is home, so there is a feeling of aloneness, but not, loneliness.

That is a huge difference to me as I create.

 

 

 

The kitchen area, its not a big space.

Nor is it infused with an abundance of natural light.

Its not the best lit room of the house.

its adequate.

But it comes down to how I feel, when I’m creating in that space  vs  when I’m in the other spaces.

I will always paint better, create better, when I am comfortable.

At ease.

 

 

Outdoors

I do love to paint and create out on the lawn; sitting near the rose garden.

I feel free and loose and at home there.

There is no sense of being cut off or isolated.

I’m part of the whole.

Thus, painting is easy there.

 

 

I guess, the bottom line is that we just need to paint, create in the space  – wherever  it may be  that makes us the most comfortable.

How many of you, paint at the kitchen table or counter?

 

 

 

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

 

Illustrations….

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.

 

 

Design

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.