Tag: love

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?  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.



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





Love Leaves a Legacy

Love Leaves a Legacy

Once again, Love leads the way in a week long flurry of ‘Love themed’ posts.

Love leaves a legacy and love leads by example. How so?


love, love is greater, heirlooms, legacy, debiriley.com
Love, is a Legacy



So, how… does an old battered book leave a legacy? How does it lead?  How is this, Love?


It begins perhaps with where the book came from.  And, how and why it has been used over the decades.



Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary

Webster’s was in our family’s little library as I grew up. It came to be a book I considered my very close friend.  Webster and I would usually have a quick dialogue just about every day.

I’d turn its see through pages over, wondering what was around the next corner.

Wondering what new word, world, language or bit of history I might learn today. I was excited by the thought of learning ….More.

In my eyes, it was the most beautiful of books. A treasure chest ….. for me. 




I have to tell you, it was my father’s special book.

His gilt lettered, leather bound, decades old dictionary.

To be honest,  no one else ever got the book out of the library.  They left it alone.  On the shelf.



The CALL of a Book 

But I’d always felt its call to me.

Its age and wisdom seemed to beckon me to come and pick it up!  I couldn’t resist. When I’d asked my father, he was more than happy to let me read Webster’s.


It really was a bit advanced for my age at the time.

My father did not say, nor infer that. Ever.

I felt his love and trust each time I opened the pages.  He trusted me to treat the parchment fine pages delicately, with care. So I did.

I thought it was pretty wonderful, special.  I was a kid, maybe not as rough as some…but still. You know how kids are!  Accidents, happen.  Luckily, never with Webster’s though.



Legacy of Love

I loved Webster’s while growing up, for all the amazing worlds and the knowledge it provided me.

I love the book now, for the legacy of love my father gifted me with.

And the book, is a symbol.


antique leather book, love, family, debiriley.com
Antique Aged Leather Book


Asian Influence of Wabi Sabi 

There is a subtle hint of wabi sabi beauty in this old torn book.

Worn by time and hands that loved it.


It has none of the glossy table top  flash of those  ‘pretty’ books.



It has of course something far more powerful and meaningful.




Color is a Lure

Color is a Lure

A week of Love. Its nearly over. But Perhaps I may continue with a few more with this “Love theme.”  I certainly haven’t exhausted the possibilities that reside within my mind’s eye.

Love can be wrapped in so many different, creative beautiful ways.

I’m finding this week a joyful challenge.


bright colorful impressionist landscapes, color as a lure, watercolor clouds, painting what you love, debiriley.com
The Lovely Lure of Color



Color is a Lovely Lure

The lure of color for me is always present.  Shamelessly, my eyes always scan…. for color. You know and I know,  I’m in love with color.

My love should be, of course Tonal Values.



In the early days of my painting journey, my worst downfall was color.

Every time, color was ‘caked on’ to the watercolor paper.



“Because the colors were Pretty.

Because the colors Really were there.”

Because I had no idea that I was mucking the painting up by going in willy nilly with my circus of colors.



Colors lured me in.  My love of color, unrestrained and uncontrolled, set me up for non successful paintings.



I had a high percentage of paintings that were merely “mid tone, mid tone, mid tone…. throw in a dark tone.”

Sad as this makes a ‘colorist’ ……this does not work out well.



Tonal Values  ie ‘shading’

Paintings and drawings need an adequate range of tones, ie shading, in order for the image to come to life.  Without tonal values it will look flat. Shapes will look like they’re ‘floating.’  There will be no depth or perspective, unless I ensure plenty of tonal values.


I’m still learning.

Over time, it gets easier.

But, I still struggle to make certain that “Tone” gets it fair share too.  It is still, a challenge for those drawn in to the lure of color.






Watercolor Love …..

This little beauty simply fell into my lap. I was  ‘in the zone.’  Lucky me, that day!

The paints were out.

My 5 small sheets of paper were laid out as well. Waiting.


Why 5, you may inquire.

I’ve always worked on the premise that if I do several, then surely at least ONE of those will be OK, will be alright.

As well as:   The More I paint and practice – the better I will get.

Both ideas resonate quite strongly within me.



Watercolor Paints Used

My watercolor paints consisted of my 3 Basic colors:

pb28 cobalt blue, py175 winsor lemon, pv19 permanent rose.

And for a unique,  special twist……  pg18  viridian green.



Yes.  Just Because. I felt like it that day.




My watercolor painting is nearly semi abstract.

Loose. Joyful. Full of freedom.


Undeniably, the color lures you in.




Watercolor Fresh Start Tomorrow – Love It!

Watercolor Fresh Start Tomorrow – Love It!

When it all falls apart. The watercolors have gone 20 different ways.

And none of them were your way.

“What a lovely feeling to know, that I’ll wake up and have a fresh start tomorrow!”



watercolor, mistakes, tomorrow is a fresh start, love, debiriley.com
Watercolor Fresh Start



Fresh Start with Watercolors


I was working in my visual journal, the one that isn’t on watercolor paper.

But it has such lovely, encouraging quotes I decided to use it anyway.

I thought, I was up to handle a challenge!  I’d put up with thin cartridge like paper.  Deal with it, work with it.  “Partner with it.”

Not today.


Start Over

The first painting was shocking. You don’t see it do you!  No.

But I’m not going to beat myself up either. These things happen.



Drawing The Jungle Leaves

Right now, my new drawing is done at least.

And I like it. I used a big bold black permanent marker to draw with while looking out at my back garden.

We have a giant strelitzia nicolai growing and I love its massive, jungle like leaves.

This plant grows super tall 15 – 20 feet or more. About 6 meters.   It has delicate pale butter cream blooms not orange. With lovely lilac purple accents and pod.

It was a gorgeous Mother’s Day gift from my family a couple years ago. They had no idea I’ve been wanting one for 15 years. It was a great surprise. …. Gift giving. Love, in another form.



Back to my watercolor mess.

I had to read the quote below…. many times.


I think it is strange. Some days I pick up the brush and presto! Its like magic and I’m in the zone and I’m loving the feeling.

Other days. Its about as productive as collecting unicorns.


I’m just being frank.





So then, I read the quote.


The quote by Elizabeth David reads:

 Tomorrow was invented

to give you a fresh start

on whatever doesn’t go well today.



I hope you love this quote as much as I do!



Watercolor – Joy and Love

Watercolor – Joy and Love

Atwell Gallery has provided myself and thousands of people with fresh new creative discoveries. It was here, while teaching class at Atwell this joyful, sparkling watercolor was created.

Like many other absolute beginners, the person was uncertain and just a little apprehensive. Maybe more so.

I can only imagine.


watercolor beginner, Atwell Gallery art, help beginner artists, encouragement, flower art, teaching watercolors, debiriley.com
“Joys” gorgeous color pairing watercolor,  Penny – debiriley.com

It makes me think of the wonderful colors and patterns of Matisse and Gauguin.

I love this painting with its beautiful colors, movement and pattern. I couldn’t resist including it in my week dedicated to ….LOVE.



Watercolor  Joy

I can only imagine, if I was in her shoes.  Coming into a class midterm, a complete beginner amongst the others who have all been painting awhile.

To top it off… the teacher was her sister. Talk about ‘pressure’ right from the get go.


We all have expectations.

We all have standards and criteria in our heads that we strive to meet.

The worry many also have is “What will my family say? My friends? Will they poke fun, laugh? ….Will they be encouraging and positive or will their words  eat away at my joy?”

“Am I brave enough to allow myself the Freedom to release my inner creativity as it wills? Come what may!?”



A Form, of Love

Dear Family and Friends

Friends and Family,  I have noted over many years,  you play a major role in the continuation of your Loved ones creative outlets.

Yes, we all should be, strong and self reliant enough to plunge ahead disregarding the mockery and laughter. (“WHAT is That?!”   “Is THAT Abstract?!”)


But do we? Most can’t. Many creatives, are also sensitives.  It cripples many and prevents the gates of creativity from ever, opening.  Lets not shut the doors upon someone else’s Joy.

Lets be joyful and inspire those we love. Lets find the positives.  Lets imagine ourselves in their shoes.  Lets be Encouraging to those we love, so that we assist them in their art journey.

Artists… we can tell our family to be and find the positive.  To use different words.



What I love most about teaching is the sense of satisfaction and wonder instilled in those starting off on their journeys.  It is Joyful. It is lovely.





What I love about the Painting:

#1 Vibrancy

It is a Vibrant design, with colors that dance and a lovely feeling of movement within.  A delightful patterned watercolor painting.


#2 Turquoise and Orange Pairing

Straight away, my eyes go to the palette she chose. Lush dynamic turquoise-green with its complement orange.  Complementary pairing make eye grabbing art images, every time. Something to remember!


#3 Movement and Rhythm

Movement.  The flower shapes ‘revolve’ and swirl down and towards the viewer.  This is an excellent design idea to guide viewers’ eyes.


#4 Sparkle!

Sparkle.  She allowed…. bits of white paper to remain! This trick gives the illusion of much more depth, more life and energy than if it was “all colored in.”  You know how that looks, dulled.


#5 Edges

Hard Edges. In this image, having all hard edges works for this specific design. It is a very graphic style, very pattern like.  In fact – this would be a prime candidate for Redbubble.com products.  I can so easily see this pattern on fabrics.  Dresses, leggings, tote bags.



I would Love, to see this happen!



You. Can. Do. It. Too.

go to Redbubble.com  and check it out to get the details on how easy it is to get set up.


Open the Gates of Creativity

You’ll love it. It is fun. Exciting. Satisfying.





My Love

My Love

A week filled with Love.

Every post this week will focus on some aspect of this most miraculous of human emotions.

Love:  It’s a Beautiful thing.


Love, valentines day, photography, debiriley.com
My Love, it was You ……  (c) debiriley.com




The Art of Caring for other human beings.

Created living beings.



it is, an art form of the highest achievement.

Love builds up and love






LOVE  –   5 more

for love of color 

touching hands 

love cobalt teal blue 

scarlet love 

love, we don’t need another gadget 




Love, its a powerful, beautiful thing.