Tag: monochromes

Addictive, Sheer Fun … Monoprinting

Addictive, Sheer Fun … Monoprinting

Addictive, yes.  But in a such a good way!

This is the kind of Addiction, that is good for us.



monoprinting in blue, handprinting, abstractions in prussian blue, debiriley.com
Sheer Fun……..     Monoprinting by Maureen

Monotypes and Monoprints

These were the focus for this week’s process…. at work.


They are two of the best techniques that I’ve used in sessions that always help participants let loose.

To let go.


To disentangle themselves from the rigidity of standards, regulations, rules.

And the demands of that voice within that whispers,

Where is, The Product?

and …   how Good, is it, really?”



Yes.  Monotypes and Monoprints are my ‘go to’  topics for when, the group needs to be encouraged to –   just let go.



monotype handprinting, purple floral patterns, fun art techniques, debiriley.com
Florals by Sue, monotype handprinting



Process  and Product

I love to encourage “process.”

“Process focus”  defeats fear.


Students, usually love to follow after the Product.

“Product focus,”   generally …. increases the likelihood of tenseness, fear, anxiousness.


Thus,  you can see the motivation  I have behind my strongly ‘Process based’  courses.



When we do monoprinting…. it is about the process.

And, wonderfully,   a plethora of prints pile up!

Not all are Rembrants.  Not all are ok.

But when we get a couple out of 10 that are pleasing,  how Lovely.

A bonus.





handprint on Stonehenge paper, still life subject monoprint, black ink on grey paper, debiriley.com
Monoprint on Stonehenge,  A sublime bouquet…. Libby



Drawn onto the glass plate, (with a palette knife inked up)  then, the print was pulled.

A still life bouquet emerged.

Like magic.



A flick of the knife here and there.

Implies a vase is resting on a table.

With a few scatterings of leaves and a floral shape or two.

There is mystery here.

Inferences and subtle suggestions.



This is very zen,  very wabi sabi.      

Nothing…. is All spelled out for us.

We must, engage.

Enter the scene.

and so – we stay awhile, to figure it out.


Well done Libby!!



monotype in black ink, powerful design, fun art techniques, debiriley.com
same image, look now for a seated woman


Another Perspective


If,  you now look at the top a shape emerges as a head.

Maybe she wears a cap or beret?   Her face, well only the mouth can be seen….. as she glances over to our right.


And her body and torso angle downwards to our right.

It seems as though, she may be wearing a belted dress, or coat.


She appears to have a large fluffy scarf or hat perhaps upon her lap.

And , and (her right)  shoulder extends out and then in.

As if its then resting on her hip.

Is she  standing or is she seated….?



This type of image is the kind that makes for Excellent series.

You can do, hundreds of creative things with it.


Thats why its so important, to stop.  To pause.

To leave it alone.

To come back later with fresh eyes.

You can then fully harness its potential, rather than spoiling it by fiddling about.   



monotype handprinting, green prints of water, debiriley.com
Transitions of Greens, Joyce …monotype


The silken smooth dark to light transition of greens is really quite lovely.

Near black the dark green in foreground has a wonderful sense of depth.  The print pales off into the distance, allowing the viewer to travel through the image.  Even though, it is not quite finished, not quite representational – still we look and see and feel the depth.    This would be so very easy to return to, and put in just a couple of touches to ‘finish.’   Lovely.




monotype in blue, blue tree print, handprinting for beginners, debiriley.com
Lauren’s Leaning tree, Monotype


The blue knobby tree was handprinted.

Lauren used prussian blue ink,  a  Qtip  of all things,   was used to apply and draw the ink onto the plate.







All of these images, were so very kindly allowed onto my website by my class students.


….. please note that they are the owners of the images, with the sole right to copy, duplicate, sell or distribute.



Digital piracy is not ok.












Soft Trees across the waters: watercolor

Soft Trees across the waters: watercolor

Soft Trees across the waters is a nice little watercolor study, anyone can do.

It doesn’t take long.  Nor involve many paints at all.

Its just painting watercolor landscapes with simplification in mind.


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


Watercolor Basics

A very, abbreviated summary is in this post.  With just 4 ideas and tips listed.  It doesn’t really begin to scratch the surface of what beginners might be looking for or, needing.

I could, suggest heading for Watercolor Basics page;  No Fiddling; Impressionist Landscapes;  Trees;  the 3 edges of watercolor;   7 Ways of Watercolor 

and of course you can always

just go to  my   SEARCH Bar …..  type in a word and voila!





First thing to do is – break the many complicated shapes down into 3 or 5 Big, shapes.


ie  the sky, is a Shape.

the trees are a shape,

the water is a shape,

and then the shoreline from front to back is,  just one shape.


There.  Thats 4  big shapes.


Made so much easier than what was really there, in all that very confusing,  clutter of detail overwhelming the mind and eye!




Limited Palette

Using a nearly monochromatic palette of just 2 paints, goes a very long way in assisting your painting efforts.

In making your watercolor landscape paintings simpler, more successful, and easier to learn how to do.


I used 2 paints.

Indigo blue   and  Burnt Umber  Daniel Smith watercolors  mixed well together,  creating smooth browns with super darks where needed.



Shadows and Light

It is important….. to ensure you achieve a good sufficiency of light tones, mid, dark tones (LMD)  throughout.

LMD give you a 3Dimensional look. Depth.

Leaving enough of the white paper, well,  Plenty of it actually,  and  not covering it all up. Don’t  just …..fill it all in with your watercolor paints.


(all I did was mark the area to be left pure white;

then dampened AROUND that area.  And painted into the areas that were Damp.  That left my dry area nice and clean and pure white. Lovely!)


In my sample image shown, I have used a photo with a deliberate play on light and shadows.

It has a very strong shadow cast upon the white backing paper.

This….serves as a great reminder to make good use of your Light and your Shadows.

Contrasts are critical to success.





You might also notice the edges in this watercolor.


Almost every where are soft edges, gentle edges.


Except for the water in the front.

The hard sharp edges of the water, balances out the soft edges elsewhere.

Plus, gives some definition, form and meaning.

They tell us, where to Look.







We, almost all of us, get a bit frustrated when things don’t progress as we expect.

As we want.  As we had envisioned.


I know.

I’ve had 30 years of painting. Things,  do not,  always go as envisioned!! 


So, to help out with this pesky little dilemma,  what I  suggest is to set out 5 – 7 pieces of paper.

Medium small  works just fine.


We will do…. several trials, practices, warm ups.

In other words, we Need, the experience! 



The first is always a test, a trial.  We learn a lot from this one.

The second is the second trial.  ……  “learning more.”

The third we are getting in the groove.

#4 Hey!  Things are going much better.

#5 You really do see improvements from #1 to  #5 or 7.


And to be honest, really,  that is   all we can expect from ourselves.  

To see improvements,  with the practice and over time.




My Suggestions

“My”  way,  is not the only way to create,  to paint.


There are many ways to paint landscapes, many ways to paint water.

This is just one simple way for watercolor beginners to get started.


To learn in easier steps, some basic watercolor techniques of trees, water, landscapes.

In an impressionist approach.

Simple, fun, enjoyable and with pleasure.








Patterns In Black and White

Patterns In Black and White

As much as I Love color….. sometimes black and white art images can appeal just as much to me.

floral patterns in black and white, monotypes on japanese paper, debiriley.com
Floral Pattern BW, debiriley.com (c)

Floral Pattern Black and White

Inspired by a vase overfilled with flowers, this monotype is completely pattern based.

It is an abstract, most definitely.

And as such, I thought it would make a great design for my shop products.  So when I’m finally up and running, this is one that’s going to be earmarked …get ‘readied.’



I’m quite enthused about monotypes.  It’s one of my favourite forms of creating art. The process is always an adventure, and something…wonderful seems to always happen!


They’re fast, fun and prolific.

You nearly always get more treasures than expected with this process.

I think of it as a Gold Mine.