Tag: peace

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.

 

 

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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!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zen Stroll: Watercolor Tree Inspirations

Zen Stroll: Watercolor Tree Inspirations

Can we lower blood pressure in under 5 minutes?  A soft smile upon our faces?

And, can we  be Ready for the day? 

Calm morning strolls, no matter how short, are perfect.  Perfect for refreshing, for inspiring.

For gaining new insights.

 

forest stroll zen meditation, nature inspirations, watercolor lessons, debiriley.com
Zen Stroll –  so inspiring

The Zen Strolls

My Zen Strolls began a few years ago, with the instructions “get some exercise.”

The idea was for me to jog or something like that.

The traditional idea of exercise.

 

I thought I’d walk. Cheap, handy, etc.

 

An incentive.

I needed a reward.

So I took my camera, thus my “prescribed” program of exercise morphed into a meditational zen stroll.

Something I enjoy.

Look forward to. And will do as often as I can.

 

I had to look at this exercise thing a little differently, than the standard way of thinking about it.

With new fresh eyes.

No. I do not actually do aerobic exercise. At all.

But, my blood pressure is lower. Enjoyment is higher. And some days,  I end up walking 2 hours.

Works for me.

 

 

 

The Difficult Questions

 

Approach it all, with a New Innocence.

Yes.

Whatever it is, whether its ‘exercise’  or if its Art.

 

Those ….. ingrained traditions.

Those old accepted beliefs.

 

Question them.

 

 

Why do we need to skimp on paint?

Why do we need to use Just Beginner quality products?

Why do we need to paint tiny, shrinking inwards, rather than Bold & Outwards!?

Why do we need to parrot the exact scene, line for line, word for word, without expressing our own selves?

 

 

Do you pause, and wonder about

HOW are these actions, serving us, in the  Long Term?

 

These are the hard questions, we need to ask of ourselves, in order for the doors of creativity to fully open.

 

 

 

Good Advice

 

“What purpose is this thought or action serving?”

This was what one of my professors, demanded of me, in the nicest way possible.

 

 

It stopped me, in my tracks.

And made me think.

 

She was a great one for doing her own thing, her way.

And making certain that others found their own voice.

It was years ago, and I’ve not forgotten her words.

 

 

 

zen nature stroll, meditational walk, reflecting in nature, debiriley.com
stillness and serenity   –  a zen stroll

 

 

Art is Feeling

I explore in many posts, ideas about feelings, thoughts and emotions in this Art website.

Not just the mechanics, the step by step techniques.

Basics are good, needed, but without the spirit and imagination to spur us on, we falter.

 

One can not divide the two…. Art and Feelings.

 

The artist’s feelings, emotions, are what breathes Life into the art work.

Without that vulnerability, ‘risk’ taking,  the resulting product is bland and flat.

Its an empty product without taste, not many would be interested in tasting.

 

rough bark photograph, canon eos, debi riley art, art basics
Bark    Rough,  but soft in the back.  how it looks, feels

 

 

 

I’m working on some watercolor color charts.

watercolor mixing chart, landscape colors, debiriley.com
Palette  I   for Tree  Bark

 

Plus, a  quick tree or two… these will go into Part 2 of Zen Strolls, my upcoming next post.

 

 

 

 

Watercolor Skies in Ultramarine, Cobalt Violet

Watercolor Skies in Ultramarine, Cobalt Violet

Wet in wet watercolors. Perfect beginners’ techniques to loosen up!

Let the paints, do their thing.  and You…. Allow,  accidents to happen.

 

 

watercolor skies, cobalt violet, wet in wet techniques, luminosity in watercolor landscapes, debiriley.com
watercolor’s horizons

 

Wet in Wet Technique

WHY I love showing and sharing the Wet in Wet Technique:

 

  • creates soft beautiful edges
  • its great for Depth, and backgrounds
  • helps to teach us about tonal values
  • we learn about color mixing, mud avoidance
  • helps us to loosen up, to lose the tight rigidity
  • fabulous process for creating a series of skies

 

 

Materials Used

 

Paints

Ultramarine Blue

2  Cobalt Violet

Both belong to the Granulating Category; creating sensational moody, atmospheric textures with their dense particles sinking into the deep hollows of the paper fabric.

By holding back, limiting my palette to two colors, I can be more confident that I won’t get mud.

That I will successfully get better tonal value ranges.

That the overall unity will be Great!

 

Paper

Arches Rough 100% cotton rag watercolor paper

Please note, this paper was  ‘pre-used.’

I’d previously painted on it.  However,  I didn’t care for it and so rinsed it off until nearly all color was gone.

You will still see remnants.

Ghost marks upon the page… I don’t mind these so called imperfections. 

 

 

Brush

Rekab #2 320s  squirrel mop brush

 

 

I chose Cobalt Violet to complement Ultramarine. It would soften the sky,  the cloud shadows.

It would create a sense of mood and atmosphere into the water to deepen the feeling of the painting.

It would help me, to communicate … More.

 

I paid particular attention, to making certain that I did not cover up all my white paper.

Especially in the areas that would help to guide the viewer’s eyes Inwards.

 

I jotted notes down to myself, ‘leave whites.’ 

Little post’its on my table, in front of my eyes, as I painted.

 

 

Writing notes,  giving myself  clear, sequential, Basic Instructions…. comes in very handy.

Because,  sometimes as I get to painting  – I get so enthused I forget things in my exuberance.

Perhaps, you do this too?

 

 

My Process of Working….

When I was doing this image, I set about it, like most of my other works.

 

I lined up about 7 -9 sheets of watercolor paper.  They are there, ready.

Waiting.

 

I need, to do this.

Or else I will over work, spend all my exuberant energies on the one image.

That is too much.

Too much color for just one paper.

Too many brush strokes, too much action, too much ‘energy’ for just one image.

It needs spreading out on several.

 

At what point, do I Move On?

When the paint on image #1 is at the ‘cranky’ pants stage (not dry enough, not wet enough)  to successfully accept more paint.

I move onto paper #2 and begin the next Technique.

 

Normally, I will do about 7, but there are times its less or much more.  With varying levels of ‘beauty.’

I save my ‘judging’ for the next day. Its a better idea I’ve learned.

 

 

And what did the other 7 techniques I did, look like?

 

Wretched, I say!!

But, of course, they are “resolvable.”

 

 

So, its alright, I’m good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Softening the edges …art and nature

Softening the edges …art and nature

As many things do…. it held,  Promise.

This old watercolor landscape.

It sat upon the studio table among 20 others, all needing further contemplation, further work.

 

 

 

watercolor techniques for beginners, soften edges watercolour, impressionist landscapes trees, prussian blue mixes watercolour foliage, debiriley.com
Soften the Edges, watercolor basics

 

Watercolor Landscape Painting

How old was it?

How long did I hold it in reserve?

I’m smiling…. it may shock some, but it is about 15 years old.

 

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but its so true;

when   I don’t know precisely how to   use my brush to resolve a thing – I Stop.

Pause.

Put it aside.

And go on to work on the other papers and canvases I’ve laid out for myself.

 

 

I’ve come to realise that there will come a day,

when … it becomes crystal clear, exactly how to resolve the art work.

And then, it is so unbelievably easy!

 

 

Beginners’  Frustrations

I understand the beginner’s frustrations.

 

The urge to shred the result that did not (YET) meet nor yet match the vision within one’s mind.

But,

it is key, to note the word …. “Yet.”

 

It is important to be aware that as Beginners, we can not possibly do it as we wish to, right now.

We can’t jump into the pilot’s seat and fly the plane, swooping and diving, rolling and performing the aero gymnastics.

 

There will come a day.

When each task, each skill, becomes second nature.

 

 

 

Back to Work…..

So.  I’m back to the old watercolor painting and deep in thought.

 

I consider the outer edges and have realised they’re far too sharp, abrupt.

Those outer bordering edges are too hard.

They need gentled.

 

 

Even though the painting is so old, with watercolor,  I can still soften the edges.

I’m in luck.

 

But, the paper I chose was a smooth hot press type, so it requires a more delicate touch.

Had I used Arches Rough or even Cold Press,  I could have been more vigorous in my approach here.

Knowing your paper, is critical for making those resolutions successful.

 

 

Once the perimeter edges are softened sufficiently to my eye, I rotate the image.

I decide that I’m pleased with it more with the weight being on the right and the bottom.

Rather than Top and left, as before.

 

 

The other change-up I’ve played with is the matting.

I wanted to see how it might look, if it was surrounded in white.

But moved towards the left.  I was ‘curious.’

 

 

 

watercolor impressionist landscape, softening edges for depth, prussian blue foliage greens, patience persistence, not fiddling with watercolors, debiriley.com
Reflecting Soft Edges

 

Promises

 

As many things do,

the painting, held promise.

 

What we do to and with that creation,  what our outlook, our approach is,   determines if the promise is realised or not.

 

I think in this case, at least,  I was able to exercise the “Goldilocks” approach.

Nothing was taken away to destroy the lovely enthusiastic promise the painting had from the beginning.

 

The subtle resolutions  that,  for so long I was blind to,  oblivious to….

Now, came easy.

Yes.  After a long wait.

 

 

When I think about it,   this process in its own way, is ……

softening our ‘own edges’ in a round about way.

 

 

 

Follow Along Posts…….

3 Edges of Watercolor – Softening the Edges

Natures Edges – so soft and gentle   

Prussian Blue mixing  and greens 

Impressionist Landscapes in Watercolor 

Relax,  but  don’t fiddle 

Resolving, altering paintings    –  changing the look of old paintings 

 

 

 

 

There will come a day.

When each task, each skill, ….softening edges …….becomes second nature.

 

 

 

A Simple Pleasure, the flower

A Simple Pleasure, the flower

The taste of a petal upon the morning breeze.

A simple pleasure, really.

 

flower photography, simplicity and minimalism, zen, Singapore Cloud Dome flowers, debiriley.com
Pleasures of the lovely flower ….  strolling Singapore Cloud Dome

 

 

Change of Plans

I’d planned to write up a post on cold wax today; showing you a fantastic book I’ve read.  Plus a few art samples.

My heart just wasn’t there.

 

I needed a zen stroll.  But, I have class and time isn’t in my favor.

However…. the next best thing, is right at my fingertips.

 

I strolled through my garden, of photographs.

Specifically, the pathways I walked while in the Singapore Cloud Dome.

Often, I’m not exactly certain of the precise details of what I’m searching for; but, I know that I will ‘recognise it’ when I see it.

And so it was.

 

The perfect flower was right there…..

 

Flowers speaking, whispering

These flowers, whisper out in soft serenity.

And for just that moment, I am right back there breathing in their delicate fine scent.

Nearly imperceptible.

 

Subtle.

A small note one might have to hunt for,  to realise it is there.

But when it is discovered, its unmistakeable.

Unforgettable.

 

 

You know,  so many things, besides “flowers”  could create a similar response.

Maybe rivers, reflections, snow, the touch of an elderly person as they wave, and say goodbye.

 

 

Loveliness

I simply wanted  ‘something lovely’ today.

Not something Busy, Busy, Busy.

 

Not work.

Not a full 10 point list of do and don’t (s)  or lessons, 15 tips and step by step pointers.

 

 

 

As I was looking at the flower photograph, I thought:

These petals

whisper their silent poetry

and we will only ever hear them –

when we permit

simple pleasures,

an equal measure of time with the complexities.

 

 

Yes.

I enjoyed my change of plans.