Tag: sleeping beauty turquoise

Daniel Smith Watercolors: Gemstone Paints

Daniel Smith Watercolors: Gemstone Paints

Daniel Smith watercolors… they make it so difficult not to play!  And I’ve been playing and discovering new things with D.S. paints for over 25 years now.

Whilst teaching my experimental Daniel Smith watercolor demos and workshops at their Seattle and Bellevue stores, a friend who was on staff there, chuckled abit at my out of the box “testing” methods.

Giving me the nickname,  the “Professor.” And I guess thats true in a way.

I do love to test, to experiment. To find out what is going to happen if….   Its by combining the random, the odd sox, the unlikely that I have come up with some really fascinating techniques and color mixes that to me are breathtaking. Unique.



watercolour landscape debiriley.com
Salt Pan Lake – Daniel Smith watercolors debiriley.com


Salt Pan Lake

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is a translucent blue green creating the atmospheric feeling of distance surrounding this empty, isolated, dry Salt Pan Lake.

It has a loneliness and emptiness to  it that is relieved only by the 2 hematites I’ve chosen to use – plain Hematite that is a cooler chocolate  and the warmer Hematite Burnt Scarlet.




I tried jade paint on impasto, lapis and hematite on moulding paste getting a lot of textural effect.

Zoisite on masa paper  was lovely,  then I mixed sodalite with rhodonite.  That was a lovely surprise. I was having a lot of fun painting and creating from these jewels of the earth.

They seem to come alive with their textures and colours; and for me, so useful painting watercolour landscapes.





Winter watercolor landscape has several blues and greys blended in, including: sodalite, lapis, cobalt, tourmaline, amethyst.

There was a cool wintery  feeling conveyed through my color choices.




winter watercolour landscape debiriley.com
Winter watercolour landscape debiriley.com



Watercolour Landscapes Trees was done using just one colour – Zoisite green grey.

I chose Masa printing paper, its quite thin, but robust and I know this paper well. I’m used to it and I enjoy its texture and character.

Dampening the paper except for a thin strip, I painted the sky a light pale wash, then the far trees bait darker, near trees much darker. Making sure I didn’t let this dry, I ‘snuck’ up and let the damp brush touch the foliage greenery to allow it to flow down into ‘reflections.’

The first one did not work very well… so, you do not get to see it!



Tree Reflections watercolour landscapes
Watercolor Landscapes Trees debiriley.com


Serpentine Bark collage was a previous art work done using Serpentine, Amazonite, Tiger’s Eye, Green Apatite, Hematite.

The torn Arches and Saunders 100% cotton papers, leaving the white edge to show,  helps to convey bark stripping and peeling away from the trunk.


watercolour collage in green paints debiriley.com
Serpentine Bark collage debiriley.co



If you’re wondering how these paints are made….

Gemstone paints are made by crushing and grinding these stones into a very fine powder pigment.

Then adding gum arabic, mixing, and putting into the tubes.




Lapis lazuli gemstone and paints
Lapis gemstone   debiriley.com


zoisite-watercolour source
zoisite  source for watercolor paint debiriley.com


amethyst stones to watercolour paints
amethyst debiriley.com







amethyst and sodalite watercolour reflections by debiriley.com
Reflections in Amethyst debiriley.com



Reflections in Amethyst  was Sold, on its first outing.

I used Sodalite,  a deep intense blue grey that dilutes out to a soft grey with Amethyst.

By dampening  the Arches 100% paper, except for that tiny strip of white you see,  I was able to get a lot of nice blending and softer edges than if I was working on  dry paper.

This image was done on one of my Daniel Smith watercolor ‘experimentation’ play days. Days where I paint a lot.

A few,  turn out nicely.

Most don’t. But more importantly is I’ve enjoyed the creative time and I learn new things... every time!






Even when I ‘play’  I like to use 100% cotton paper;  the results are always better.     And,  you never know, that little experiment just may get sold!


Its always a great selling point that you have used 100% cotton paper, Archival paper,  materials that won’t yellow, warp, fade, or otherwise  cause your client future distress.



watercolour turquoise seascape debiriley.com
Watercolour Seascape Amazonite Turquoise waters debiriley.com


The Lapis and Hematite Burnt Scarlet were applied over top dried textured, moulding paste. Wow. Loved the textures and colours, great for rocks, escarpments – even tree bark.

lapis hematite watercolours
Lapis and Hematite burnt scarlet, watercolours debiriley.com





Creative  and  Imaginative   “What If” Watercolours

Creative and Imaginative “What If” Watercolours

A couple of months ago I purchased a new Daniel Smith paint, a lovely green Serpentine.

I already have a few (ok ok, quite a few)  but this one is sourced from Australia and I thought it would come in handy with my on location paintings.

So I bought it!

Daniel Smith Watercolours, Lapis Lazuli, Zoisite, Indigo, Amethyst, debiriley.com
Daniel Smith watercolours


Several weeks ago, I went to make a quick run to the shops.

When I pulled into the local grocery store parking lot my eyes immediately went to a gorgeous tree with bark peeling & stripping away.

Underneath the old bark was a lovely serpentine yellow green and the upper half had muted browns and blues.

So rather than going in and doing my shopping straight away,  I retrieved my camera to shoot several photos of the tree while the light was just right.

It took half an hour walking back and forth, around the tree. I pottered about doing some close ups and touching the tree, thinking of what colours I might use to paint it.



I’ve wanted to ‘do something’  with this image but nothing had really grabbed me. Until today.

serpentine new bark
serpentine new bark

Today I  got out my Daniel Smith paints  with the idea of exploring a few new colour combinations.


One of my favourite things to do is to simply ask  “What If…?”   and then  take a risk and try it out.


After a few warm ups, I got down to some serious play. I usually seem to produce better quality images when I’m free, loose, experimenting – rather than  on a time line, with a tight rigid idea of what I have to produce.


I chose Daniel Smith  Serpentine first, as it a natural pigment actually sourced from Australia.

Next came Hematite Violet, Sleeping Beauty Turquoise and Sodalite.

I’ve not used these 4 in combination previously, so it would be a surprise.   I painted on Arches rough watercolour paper, painting each colour in strips.

Some connecting, merging and some strips left strong & harder edged.  I let this dry, while I took photos of a variety of watercolour papers (upcoming post!)


Returning to the image of serpentine, hematite, sodalite, sleeping beauty turquoise layerings – I wasn’t enjoying the image quite yet.

Tearing the edges near strips’ centres in a vertical tear, created lovely torn, bright white deckled edges for contrast.


Using a Shizen handmade 100% cotton paper as a backing, I next attached the vertical strips in an arrangement that works for me.

The vertical strips being loosely attached create the feeling of bark that is just starting to strip and peel off.


daniel smith watercolours, debiriley.com
Serpentine Bark debiriley.com


I quite like the bush feel and sensitivity of the piece.

Open to individual interpretation.

Creating  a hint of mystery and intrigue that would be missing – if it was all spelled out and ‘just like the photograph.’  Thats why I don’t generally “dot all my I s    nor  cross all my T s”  when I’m working a painting.


Its different than what my mind originally thought it was setting out to do  –    but I think with experience I’ve learned to go with what the image wants to be  rather than obstinately trying to force my will upon it with disastrous and disheartening  results.


Get your paints out,  take a risk and experiment.  Its only …paper.

I hope you enjoyed your visit and  Thank you for stopping by!