Tag: originality

Beautiful, her words….  (Words To Paint By)

Beautiful, her words…. (Words To Paint By)

Melbourne, a thriving cultural metropolis.  A mecca for Australians wanting a touch  ‘more.’

My friends, my students,  they frequent the city and bring back stories to share with me.  I’ve yet to go.

It is, most definitely, on my list.

In a city of 4.8 million people, there is an abundance of  art museums, galleries, and art shops whispering my name.


So I was looking up one of my mentors, David Taylor who teaches at Senior Art Supplies, in Melbourne.

Wondering how he is, thinking I’d love to go visit and simply, chat.  (David is a lovely man and he’s had a tremendous influence on my art journey, to which I’m truly appreciative.  If you are in Melbourne, or can go to any of his international workshops. Just Do It.)


While on the store website,  I noticed that an ‘Alison Hanly’  was listed there, teaching creativity.


You know, I was intrigued with that bit of information.

Creativity and Imagination!


pouring painting abstract, Indanthrone Blue acrylic on canvas, creative fun techniques in acrylics, debiriley.com
Creative acrylic technique,  indanthrone blue Stephanie




I went onto the web to do a little more research on Ms. Alison Hanly. 

I’ll share her so very beautiful words, her philosophy about creating art.


“My focus is on self expression (yours) and helping you figure out what and how you want to paint or draw.

I am not going to teach you my method, I don’t want you to come away painting exactly like me.

I want you to come away painting and drawing just like you.

I can teach you the principles of good image making, i.e. composition, tone, colour etc.

But that knowledge is simply to help you understand what you are struggling with and give you more choices.

I don’t believe in ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ ways to paint.

I don’t believe it is possible to ‘cheat’.


Art is about problem solving and trying any way you can to get the vision in your head out of it so others can see.


Art is also about experience, you can’t learn it from reading books, you have to do it.

It is experimental and sometimes the experiments don’t work, what we do then is talk about what happened and what might have worked better.


The journey you take as a creative is not all sunshine and light, it is not always playtime nor is it always easy.

I love it when it is all of those things, but it often isn’t especially when you are starting.

It can be bliss,  peace,  contentment, connection,

but it can also be frustration, disappointment, an ego battleground and just plain boring.”



Helpful Hints

It was fascinating to discover that   Alison not only is a painter, but is a musician, a radio producer and writes.


A helpful thing, which I’ve done and I’d also suggest to students,  or to any artist actually, is to print off Alison’s words.

Tape them to your easel.

Place them so you see them, each and every time you go to create… when you wish to express your voice that is within You.


Yes, she can write.

Beautiful are her words.





Partner Posts on …….   Creativity

Creativity  pass it along 

Creativity  – 10 Faces

Creativity – its many, forms 

Threads of Creativity

In the Creative Zone 

Creative Color Magician – Disney 



Gardens by the Bay: Face Time

Gardens by the Bay: Face Time

The faces we see. Passing us by.

On the walls, crouched in canoes, rising tall as totems.

More faces, mirrored in the deep ebony ponds.Perhaps, even a few faces planted somewhere in the gardens.

What a wonderful joy to find faces in the Cloud Dome at the Gardens by the Bay.

It is ……

Singapore still.

Singapore Gardens by the Bay, art sculpture faces, Singapore travel sights, debiriley.com
Monkey Creatures’ Faces of Stone



Singapore inspires

As an artist, I would rate the Cloud Dome Gardens By the Bay a 10 rating.

I’d go again.

I recommend it highly and suggest my artist friends to not miss out.


I went to the Gardens for the pretty flowers.

However, finding faces everywhere I turned,  compelled me to add them in.


These faces were immensely interesting….

Inspirational, as I did my zen stroll through.



stone face sculpture, art in Singapore, gardens by the bay, cloud dome, debiriley.com
Face of Stone


Of course my intent had been of taking shots of the plants, of the magical orchids, the exquisite flowers.

And I did.

Hundreds of shots of those are waiting. I’d say, they are expected. Typical.


Maybe thats why,  I’m choosing to feature the Faces first.

I love the pleasantly unexpected.  The Different.


I’m guessing,  many of you, do too!


Singapore art, faces in sculptures, Cloud Dome Singapore, debiriley.com
Singapore fantastic faces in the cloud dome


Bliss in The Garden


In the Gardens,   we find the time to enjoy the simple pleasure of art.

A time to breathe, as we stroll in the pure and fresh air scented with delicate floral aromas.


Plus, I confess, it was complete bliss in the cool climate controlled environment.

Such loveliness there,  in the creation of these strange and imaginative art forms and faces.


Singapore Gardens by Bay, sculpture faces, art in Singapore, cloud dome, debiriley.com
Singapore garden face


Faces in Art

As an art topic it hasn’t ever truly scored super high as my personal  “Debi,   must do this!” 

However, times change. 


The beauty found in these faces, makes one think.

Could  it be, that faces and portraits and self portraits will now, slowly find their way into my own (Or Yours) art journey?


It could be,  “Face Time.”

totem face, art in Singapore, gardens by the bay, cloud dome, debiriley.com
Totem Face



We speak,  through our Faces

There is much to be communicated in faces, in portraits.

We express volumes, just by drawing/painting the human form as it goes about its daily life.


The art of self portraiture has so much more to say than we might think, at first.

Its not, merely self indulgence as one might presume.


But a laying bare of the soul.

A sharing of the common thread of humanity.


Self portraits are a unique stamp.

Containing information in both their revelations as well as their ‘cover ups.’

Those things the artist chose to hide from the viewer, which in itself, Reveals.


art in Singapore, Cloud Dome art sculptures, faces in art, debiriley.com
Face,  Planted



These Faces from Singapore, have done more than made me “think and reflect.”

In their own way, they’ve influenced my mind enough,  to alter my actions.

Just faces.

Fascinating, isn’t it?




Face Time

Singapore art, sculpture and carving in Singapore Gardens by the Bay, debiriley.com
Faces of the wall





dragon wood carving, art in Singapore, Gardens by the Bay Cloud Dome, debiriley.com
Face of the Dragon




Finding Art… in Singapore

Finding Art… in Singapore

Where might you see art in Singapore?

Two words….

“its everywhere!”



I didn’t expect fascinating art creations, sculptures, installations, etc.  to literally be around each street corner in Singapore.

That was,  A Surprise.

It was fun, to see artsy things pop up around pretty much where ever I looked.


art in the garden, Singapore flower dome, travel asia, debiriley.com
Art, in Singapore


Art Singapore



Singapore did surprise me.

I found so much more here, than I thought I might.


Too much almost.

You’d need to visit more than a week to take in adequately all that is available.

I went to two art exhibitions that were stunning. (More on those in a later post.)

The river cruise, animal park, Orchard district shopping – kept us busy.

My camera card was filled.  My hand, sore.

So many photographs – but truly I couldn’t resist.




Gardens by The Bay

My featured shot for the flower dome seems straight out of Alice in Wonderland.

It does capture the mood perfectly.



Gardens by The Bay info

The design team for the project included WilkinsonEyre, Grant Associates, Atelier Ten and Atelier One.

Located in the central area of Singapore, is a 250 acre park of reclaimed land.


The idea behind creating the gardens was to transform the city.

To change it from a garden city…… to a

City in a Garden.  



Yes, they did.



Singapore Garden by the bay, flower dome, debiriley.com
Flower Dome Garden by Bay Singapore



With family now in Singapore, I think we will have a few more visits in the future.





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!






3 Fun Textures in Acrylics

3 Fun Textures in Acrylics

Texture and Color are always fun.

Relaxing and exciting, at the same time.

Gorgeous aquamarines with copper and gold and a deep prussian blue in the first image were beautiful to work with.  The Naples Yellow, Cobalt Teal Blue and the soft neutral greys  in the next two were ….. Super fun!

3 fun acrylics

blue shimmering pools in acrylics, abstract textures in paints, fun textures, debiriley.com
blue shimmering pools



crackle with cobalt teal blue acrylic, fun and easy abstract texture effects, debiriley.com
crackle and cobalt teal



naples yellow and cobalt teal blue crackle and torn, abstract landscape grey background, debiriley.com
boulders…torn edges naples yellow + cobalt teal



Textures #6 color filled textures 

Add Excitement with Texture 

Acrylic Ocean Blue 

Naples Yellow

Torn Paper – Tearing It Up  

Fun and Creative Techniques 





Midnight Dreams: indigo

Midnight Dreams: indigo

There in the distance…. the deep velvet near black, midnight blue sky twinkles with stars.

So it seems.



indigo blue green collage, midnight blue acrylics on paper, debiriley.com
Midnight Dreams: indigo collage


Midnight Dreams

In my last post, I did promise a little more interesting “Title.”

Sometimes, artists do dream and then create.

So it was.

I didn’t capture the precise dream like qualities.

But I did convey the colors in the dream.


The Midnight Dream is expressed as:

A collage with torn papers and acrylic paints.

Indigo blue transitions to cobalt, then cerulean.

Finally the surface is bared with whites upon the foreground’s stark shape.



What, is it?

The shapes are vague.



I think, I’ll encourage your own imaginations to take over.

To imagine, what it could be. 

In your mind,  your dreams.



The theme of “dreams” has come in handy;

with  Watercolor  Daydreams II  and   Just Daydreams preceding this post & painting.


I just really, like the colors.

Indigo. Cerulean.  Prussian blue.   And those gorgeous blends of greens.



Design Elements

I enjoy this movement, direction, pathway the painting takes.

A little journey.

Upper left to centre.

Flowing downwards in a smooth diagonal path.


Atwell Students might also notice the other feature that plays such a major role here.

The tonal values, are plentiful.


The smooth gradation of tones from near black at the top, to the white at the base.

That’s what is guiding the viewer’s eye.

Its this,

that makes the viewer’s eye roam,  travel through the painting so easily.


And so, even if one  can’t quite pin down

what the painting represents exactly –

still, we can enjoy the journey it has taken us on.


In those Midnight Dreams. 



Just…. daydreams

Just…. daydreams

The Lily. Loveliness of form, lithe and ever so long lasting.

Many might shun this most elegant of flowers.

Thinking of mortality.

I never do.



The Arum lily, Calla lily.

Or  “Zante de schia   aethiopica”  a flower originating from Southern Africa.

I guess many now, associate this glorious flower with sadness and mourning.

It wasn’t always so.

Its a cheap flower to grow. That makes it useful for those sad occasions, unfortunately.


It used to be associated with happier things… before commercialism spoiled it for many.


People were reminded of:

Youth, innocence, purity, faith, rebirth, the virgin Mary and even the Greek goddess Hera.

Nice things.

Happy things.


Things fit for    “just daydreams.



“Zante de schia”    not… a lily

She stands tall.

Rising out of her dark beginnings.

All length and elegance.

A beautiful, surprise.

From the midst of mud and clay.


black and white photo of calla lily, debiriley.com
Rising Lily


The arum, or calla lily grows in the wetlands, very often as a discard.

Littering the roadside ditches in abundance – as weeds – in early spring.

She loves to have her roots sunk deep.

To delve down through the damp and get her fill of the goodness.

Of that rich, fertile soil she rests in.




Graceful and elegant.



Ready, to be admired.

Ready to have her portrait done.

To be drawn, to be painted.




An artist’s dream.


just daydreams 



lilies, flower still life photographs, afternoon light on flowers, dreamy mood, debiriley.com


References :

Calla Lily meanings…. 


Greek mythology (Hera) … articles  Aquileana