Tag: ocean paintings

Impressionist Colors of the Sea… John Peter Russell

Impressionist Colors of the Sea… John Peter Russell

A fine example, a master of the impressionist era.  John Peter Russell should not go unnoticed by art lovers.

Admittedly, while in America I hadn’t heard of him.

Until  I moved to Australia and visited the New South Wales Art Gallery.



impressionist sea painting, john peter russell art, debiriley.com
impressionist sea…. John Peter Russell


Impressionist Artist


What Beautiful colors.

Exquisite brush movement.

The sensitivity of his brush is quite apparent when you look close.




John Peter Russell  was born in Australia in  1858, but moved to Belle Ile, Brittany.

This, is where he painted much of his work.

Les Aiguilles, Belle Ile  is another lovely free loose and easy watercolor impression of the area there.

If you go online google… John Peter Russell paintings, to find his work.  They are outstanding.




Versatile Artist

Russell created gorgeous oil paintings, just as easily as he did watercolors.

The following link below, shows one of Russell’s  oil paintings of the sea, lovely and spirited.

According to the Sept. 2015  Christies.com article  “Australia’s Lost Impressionist” …. Russell was a friend of Rodin and was inspired by Monet. 




5 Keys

5 Key Things I think watercolorists of all levels might come away with after studying Russell’s work:

  • a sense of color spontaneity
  • fresh raw,  vigorous brush movement
  • transparency of colors and the lack of muddiness throughout the work
  • his ‘permission’ in allowing the pigments to merge, mingle, flow … at will
  • harmony of the complementary color palette of pink- red and green- blue



More to come

I do apologise to all if I’ve not replied to you.

I’ve been away visiting in Singapore,  and we just returned from the amazing city.

The National Gallery was stunning with its exhibitions; the city’s buildings … were art creations.

Yes  – there is more to come in upcoming post articles!






Sea Sirens ll  – Into the Deep Blues

Sea Sirens ll – Into the Deep Blues

Resist? I don’t think so!

Not many can ignore the promises she makes with her gorgeous sea greens, as they flash into deep near violet ultramarine.


seascape abstract in oils, cobalt teal blue, ultramarine blue, painting the sea, debiriley.com
Sun’s Light plays across the waters


Sea Sirens: Ultramarine, Cobalt Teal Blue

The Sea.

She, is a Sea Siren and I’m as pulled into the deep as everyone else.


These colors, ultramarine blue and cobalt teal blue, are my most irresistible lures.

I look. Look again. And relax into the waters.

From the serene shallows out all the way into the far depths out of the sea.


There is something – about these two.

These beautiful, Sea Sirens.


impressionist oil painting, abstract ocean in ultramarine blue, ocean beaches and shores, debiriley.com
Sea Sirens, cobalt teal and ultramarine blue



Being Present

Both of these images, (Above and Below)  I zoomed right in on the painting.

Focusing on that gorgeous textured weave of the canvas.

Blurring off the front and back.

So that it mimics, it ‘appears’  that the only thing present …..

is   This Moment In Time.    


no past, no future, just the now.




As I was sitting on the dunes, my eyes drawn out to sea – it was fabulous to “be in  that moment.”

Watching surfers, as finally they captured their prize.

The perfect cresting wave in….  “That singular Moment”  they’d been searching for.


When,  absolutely every thing is in exquisite balance and harmony.


This what I was trying, to convey here.




Capturing …The Moment




Digital Art, Fun Verse

This was a quick, and fun little play with verse in formats and designs.

It was only on the computer… so I didn’t actually spoil my painting!!


The vertical design, I liked.

I thought that making the second phrase a smaller text, enhanced the atmosphere, the feeling of being drawn in.

Of being Lured into the deep.


sea sirens, oil abstract, ultramarine blue oils, cobalt teal blue pg50, painting the sea, debiriley.com
Lured …into the deep



Snippets –

I chose several views of the painting to show today.

Thinking to provide mini glimpses into the quirks of the sea.

She has many faces and so many moods.


I’ve taken huge leaps of artistic creative license.

I’m allowed. I am the creator…of this piece of work.


Its an interpretation, an expression, it is not a literal duplication of the scene.

Lucky me, I have my camera for that!!


No, the painting was from the spirit.

A Dialogue of expressing the moods.



Materials Used 

Oil paints

ultramarine blue pb29

cobalt teal pg50

White pw6

prussian blue pb27    (I used only a minute ratio of this at top, about 4% with the ultramarine blue)

The golden sienna you see was part of my backdrop I chose, not paint.


I used a 24 x 36 canvas   with some old (ratty) brushes. For the most part, the paint was applied fairly thin.

And brushed right into the canvas fabric. 

I like the Textures of the canvas showing through once the paint was on. The paint thinly applied helped ‘illuminate’ this feature.




Discover more, Sea Siren colors

Part 1  Sea Sirens  

Ultramarine blue  BOLD Beauty

Ultramarine blue pb29 tips

Cobalt teal blue  reflections

Cobalt teal blue ..addiction

Cobalt teal blue summer in my soul



Summer in my Soul (cobalt teal blue)

Summer in my Soul (cobalt teal blue)

Even in winter, I always have summer in my soul.  Thats what Cobalt Teal Blue does. It adds a slice of summer, even in the midst of winter’s cold grey days.

And, As promised…. more CTB (cobalt teal blue) will be featuring this summer!

summer time, beach and ocean, cobalt teal blue, debiriley.com
Cobalt Teal Blue, in Summer


Cobalt Teal Blue

Its summer in Perth.

The northern hemisphere is snuggling up to cozy fires and perhaps a white Christmas soon. But not here.


In Perth,  Its The Season for –

Cobalt teal blue waters behind bright white sand beaches;  set against the stark bold cobalt expanse of the heavens.


With a bit of the Fremantle Dr. to stir the air.

The Fremantle Dr. is a local term for the afternoon breeze that graces the lovely homes dotting the coastline. If you live on the beach or near it,  the breeze is really quite pleasant on a blazing summer’s day.


The Indian Ocean is a pure, nearly unbelievable CTB.

My abstract painting, really does emulate the turquoise  colors of the coastline  along Perth, Western Australia.



Inspiring CTB (cobalt teal blue)  posts:


cobalt teal blue    Oceans ……

cobalt teal blue    so, Beguiling!

cobalt teal blue     reflections……

cobalt teal blue    Easy, on the eyes

cobalt teal blue   impressionist paintings


surf painting in acrylics, debiriley.com
Surf Play debiriley.com



With a bit of inspiration, a tube of Cobalt Teal Blue,

I always have Summer in my Soul!   





Wonderful Wednesday Watercolours – The Detours

Wonderful Wednesday Watercolours – The Detours

Watercolour Wednesday again!  Fun and exciting, Watercolours are predictably unpredictable. With their own unique Quirkiness. Love them!

watercolour ocean with palette knife, debiriley.com
Watercolour Ocean



Watercolours Wonderful and Unpredictable

You just never know with watercolours, they seem to have a mind of their own at times. You tell them to go right and they go left!  And then you have all these Detours…   I’ll show you mine.

Watercolour Starting Out Plans

My initial idea was to use my palette knife to create a colour-filled, bold impressionist ocean scene that was loosely based on a couple of my older reference photos.   In my mind, I didn’t want ‘tired, wimpy watercolours.’   But rather, BIG and bold – wild tempestuous seas.

ocean photo
Ocean Reference



Watercolour painting Materials

Palette knife,  paint colours of cobalt, ultramarine blue, phalo green,  burnt sienna,  burnt umber,  buff titanium.  Watercolour papers –  Arches hot press and cold press.



Watercolour Steps, Processes  and Techniques

My first warm up. Hmm.  A bit wimpy. Not even close.

What happened?!  I used a Brush, for pete’s sake.  Where did that come from?

Watercolours, misbehaving!!

watercolour ocean shores, debiriley.com
The Ocean Shores


Ok. We’ll try again.    Got my palette knife this time, yes.

But, somehow was detoured by cobalt teal blue in acrylics.

cobalt teal blue ocean wave, acrylics, debiriley.com
Testing Cobalt Teal


Next. This is Better….. Watercolours were used with the palette knife.  I did a little bit of testing the prussian and white gouache mixture for an intertwining look of surf and waves crashing about.

But, you ask,  Where did Prussian and White come from? It wasn’t on your materials list!

Yes,  very perceptive.

If, you would have been in the studio as I was struggling along, you could have helped to remind me of these things. It really would have been a great help you know.

crashing ocean waves, debiriley.com
Crashing Waves

So, by this time, I’m definitely calling these “Warm Ups”…  I’m not ready to call them all flops and quit though.


Detours of Watercolour

These are Detours.   They are taking me on the “Scenic Route.”

I’m fine with that; its about the journey. Am I enjoying the process?  Yes…. well, so far!


Now number four, is again with my palette knife.  And it is Bold. Very Good. But, its in acrylics.  Apparently I seem to like these colours. I am repeatedly using them in the past few months – cobalt teal blue pg50,  indigo (blend)  with a hint of hansa yellow light py3.

Ocean lagoon, acrylics, palette knife, debiriley.com
Ocean Lagoon


Finally –   the last was done in all watercolours.

And With a palette knife.  Goodie.

Plus, it was on my hot press paper that was dampened down to allow the fully loaded knife to glide along smoothly even with globs of paint!

Now,  I’ve got a bold, impressionist, watercolour ocean scene, using a knife and its not wimpy…..   whew.


watercolour ocean with palette knife, debiriley.com
Watercolour Ocean


I guess my point here, is the painting journey  is an Adventure.

With a lot of Detours.

Just go along on the Scenic Route that watercolour takes you.

There are wonderful sights and discoveries on these pesky little Detours.




Cobalt Teal Blue, Easy on the Eyes

Cobalt Teal Blue, Easy on the Eyes

Its a very early Sunday morning, and I’m feeling like going for a little holiday as I drink my predawn coffee. A peaceful, relaxing, tranquil place.  Cobalt Teal Blue: a perfect holiday colour!  I’ll scout my photos… can I find my morning holiday?

cobalt teal blue pb 50, photograph debiriley.com
Esperance glittering cobalt teal and turquoise waters

Esperance glittering waters.  An image that soothes, invites and delights. Definitely has a holiday feel!  The serene Cobalt Teal Blue shallow waters look peaceful and clear. Just perfect.


cobalt blue teal pb50 debiriley.com
3 Blues, cobalt, ultramarine, cobalt teal blue

3 Blues photo above – Cobalt, Ultramarine Blue and Cobalt Teal Blue combine in a refreshing harmony of blues. Not totally calm with all that wave action going on, but the dominant blue-greens of the image take precedence and provide a cooling outlook.

Looking closer, I observe that the sky is a nicely softened Cobalt blue,  the far water is a muted Ultramarine blue with the foreground shallows being the gorgeous Cobalt Teal blue.


Restful Cobalt Teal Blue Pb50

Cobalt Teal Blue is a lovely cool refreshing restful blue-green that imparts a meditative sense of tranquility.

In the full sheet painting on the handmade 100% cotton rag Indian Village paper I used Cobalt Teal Blue.

Cobalt Teal Blue Pb50 watercolour painting, debiriley.com
From the Beach cobalt teal blue debiriley.com


A Blue of Many Moods and Purposes

Cobalt Teal Blue is dominantly of a cool mood and atmosphere, but if its placed within a a much colder environment – say indigo or black,  it could very well act as the Warmer accent. I will use it with white and cerulean to create a sagebrush (greyed green)  foliage colour which is useful for still life gum leaf and branches.

When I use it in the water, I also make sure I use the Cobalt Teal blue elsewhere in diluted pale glazes. This ensures a unifies approach to the painting.  The sky can have a tiny thin wash of the colour applied just at the horizon, which will look appropriate if I dilute it enough.


cobalt teal blue pb50 wonderful in all mediums

It doesn’t matter whether I’m using watercolours, oils, acrylics, for mixed media, printmaking, DIY gelliprints, photographs, etc.  this beautiful colour creates clean cool images and pretty blue-green mixes that are easy on the eyes.


cobalt teal blue, ocean waters photo, debiriley.com
Aqua Turquoise, Cobalt Teal waters
My favourite subjects for Cobalt Teal Blue paint are undoubtedly oceans, lakes, rivers.

This colour is  really supreme when used for water subjects. However,  I also frequently will employ the paint for florals, foliage, clothing, buildings and trees.

Cobalt Teal Blue pb50 is a gorgeous, refreshing paint colour and really should not be limited by my “Water”  ideas and favoritisms!


Dive Into the Mysteries of Blue Paints

Dive Into the Mysteries of Blue Paints

Sweet, the lovely enchantment of paintings in blue!  Crystal clear and calming. Refreshing.  Mysterious. Deep.  Let’s dive into the mysteries of blue paints:  Ultramarine, cerulean, cobalt teal blue, indanthrone, prussian, cobalt, phalo and manganese.

Ocean, oil painting, cobalt teal blue pg50, cobalt blue pb28, indanthrone pb60, debiriley.com
Cobalt Teal Blue pg50, Indanthrone pb60, cobalt pb28


Unravelling the Mystery of Blue Paints

The beginner needs to dive headlong into the refreshing diversity and beauty of blue paints!

The new beginner painter does not have enough blue paints.

What!  not enough blues?  Don’t I need to buy  greens, purples, browns, greys, blacks? I hear these voices ask.  No, not in my head… real voices.  From students.  (Just so you are crystal clear on that one!)

But isn’t it easier to just buy the tube of green and use it?  Easy yes, wise… debatable.  How so?  Range, diversity, naturalness, smooth fluid transitions, and warmth/coolness temperature control.   “Control”  of depth and perspective is increased at least 75%  by mixing your own greens, browns, greys, purples.



Which Blue Paints  and Why


Cobalt blue pb28

Cobalt pb28 is my staple blue that is first on my list to get. Especially for beginners watercolour painting. It mixes beautifully with just about everything I throw at it, creating a lovely range of foliage greens, browns, greys, mauves.  Cobalt pb28 is a clean, Transparent blue paint colour that is great for glazes. This artist quality blue paint is the perfect blue for a sunny blue sky day. Used for foliage, ocean, sky, hills, trees, still life, just about everything.. Brilliant!

You don’t want to be fooled into buying a cobalt blue hue… it will be made from phalo or ultramarine blue with white.


Ultramarine blue pb29

Ultramarine pb29 is a stunning warm blue that is a Granulating pigment, creating beautiful textural effects on the surface of the paper naturally.  Sensational for mountains, hills, foliage and shrubbery.  I love to add it into my ocean scenes, as it gives a nice touch of warmth to the waters.   I usually prefer the French Ultramarine, its a bit finer and warmer, but its also more expensive. So, I have both.

Easy RECIPE for  Grey:    Ultramarine blue + Burnt Sienna =  grey    (at a ratio of est. 50-50)

Stunningly Vibrant Purple:   Ultramarine + “Permanent” Alizarin Crimson =  vivid purple

Ultramarine Blue pb28 still life flowers, debiriley.com
Ultramarine Vase and Leaves


Phalo blue  pb15

Phalo blue pb15  can be quite tricky to use, as it is very ‘nuclear’!  Its power, is amazing. Just one little drop can spoil a whole painting, so test it rigorously.  It is a Stainer, there will be no textural effects, it dries smooth, flat.  Great to glaze with.

Mixes well with others.  Very lovely when diluted liberally with white, into soft creamy pale tints of ethereal blues.   It will create a strong green turquoise when mixed with phalo green.  Then, if you add white to this, it will soften off into an exquisite frosted aqua.  Phalo blue when handled with care can be a most useful blue; and very handy for ocean, water, foliage.


Prussian blue pb27

Prussian blue pb27 is a very easy blue paint to use, it mixes great with most colours and is a perfect accessory to the landscape artist.  It is a Stainer, it won’t lift off 100% its quite powerful very deep and dark; plus,  will creep and spread in delightful ways that all Staining pigments will do.

Prussian is fabulous for foliage greenery.  Mixed with winsor lemon creates nice spring yellow greens; mixed with burnt umber – a darker cooler forest pine green.  Sometimes I will add a slash of it into my ocean waters, to provide a hint of deep dark greeny blue to draw the eye.


Cobalt Teal blue pg50

Cobalt Teal blue pg50  This blue/green even though it is an Opaque, and not a good mixer,  remains one of my favourite colours. I love this colour!  Ideal for water, perfect to cool down areas in a painting, or to act as little accents here and there.

Ocean ultramarine blue, cobalt teal blue pg50, debiriley.com
Oceana in Cobalt Teal Blue, Ultramarine on top


Cerulean blue pb35

Cerulean blue pb35 is my runner up replacement for Manganese blue.  Cerulean is both an Opaque and a Granulator, however it does mix considerably better than most other Opaques.

Cerulean is lovely for winter skies, providing a nice cool touch to the horizon.  It creates delicate foliage greens, gorgeous rock pools, rivers, lakes. Beautifully cool and refreshing.  The textural effects it gives  makes it a great choice for soil, foreground, bark.

Cobalt Violet  OR …   Rose madder genuine + cerulean   =   Delicate pale lavender


Indanthrone blue pb60

Indanthrone blue pb60  WOW, what a blue!  I wouldn’t be without it. There is a brand variance in colour intensity, thus,  I prefer the beautifully fully saturated richness of the Daniel Smith Indanthrone blue.    This gorgeous blue is a near black at full intensity with a peek of violet red undertone for warmth.

When I want an inky black-blue, THIS is the blue I reach for. Its perfect.  A Stainer, it mixes well with others and makes great glazes. Night skies, deep ocean currents, eggplants, delphiniums… and so on.

Watercolour Blues,cobalt teal blue pg50, Indanthrone blue  pb60 debiriley.com
Blues: Indanthrone, Teal, Cerulean, Ultramarine


Manganese blue pb33

Manganese blue pb33 has been discontinued some time ago due to its toxicity. I understand the health issues involved made it no longer viable for the manufacturers and the public. But, this blue was divine in its versatility and softness and mood.  I still look for it at garage sales and once in a blue moon,  score an old Winsor and Newton Manganese Blue.

This blue was delicate. Perfect for flowers, leaves, foliage, rockery, portraits, pets, skies, mountains, hills.  It could create a mood and ambience all on its own.   If you are an old time painter, and actually have a tube or 2,  lucky you!   Just be aware to use with caution.  Wash your hands etc.  Gloves would be a good idea and no drinking/eating while painting.


I’ve been careful to include not just the name of the blue paint, but its PB number  i.e.  its Pigment Blue #  That way, when you see it on the tube of paint before you buy, you know it is the right colour that will mix and behave the right way!    Those manufacturers can name their paints whatever they like. But, once they put the pb# on then we can tell if it really is the colour they have ‘named’ it.      This Pigment #  is the identifier I’ve used now for some years, in order to stop buying cheap ‘hues’  and to stop duplicating my colours.  It works.


A Blue Paints  Chart with Cobalt, Ultramarine, Cerulean, Indanthrone, Prussian blues

Blue Paints chart, debiriley.com
Blue Paints Chart debiriley.com