Tag: soft edges

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Zen Brushstrokes I
Zen Brushstrokes II
Veiled

The Art of More with Less

Three paintings, on the surface they appear simple. Easy.

Maybe without the studied and contrived perfection we’re used to.

They have a type of non conformity that is in direct opposition to what “art is supposed to” look like. Or so, what many of us may have been told.

They are Abstracts.

Blurred, veiled and vague.

With many abstracts, we’re left uncertain as to the precise, exact subject. There is no definitive object… leaving some of us a little bit uncomfortable.

It’s the guessing. The wondering. Being in the dark, that we’re really uncomfortable with.

We like it all spelled out. Clear.

We are perhaps uneasy with the thought of guessing incorrectly.

Nor are we comfortable with the huge margin for error that these nonrepresentational paintings provide.

We are forced to use our intuition. To ‘feel’ the emotions from the painting and from ourselves. Once again, things many aren’t completely at ease with.

A little secret, a painting can be likened to a person. It should emote. You should, be able to sense what the prevailing mood is. It shouldn’t be as if it were a flat empty face/space.

 

Depth and Layers

The first image.

The brush was fully loaded with three colors and brazenly, swiftly, applied. The colors merge together and yet, we see each individual.

Connected, yet their own, individual entity.

I love that philosophy.

The remembered scene, a waterfall on the edges of Mount Rainier National Parks in Washington. The emerald and pine greens with the with frosted froth of the falls…. left an indelible impression.

So even though this painting is an abstract, it’s been distilled from my reality. My depth of experience.

 

Blue Lined Road

This second was such fun! Another acrylic, it had a bright neon orange base. Quite vibrating.

I’d decided to overpaint to neutralise the shocking orange to a low and subtle level. I used a four inch old house paint brush to apply the blue and buff in five brushstrokes.

Ie less is MORE.

I paused, considering colors, tones, and the placement of those five strokes. I wanted to convey depth, texture.

But also the feeling, the sense of “going” somewhere. That there was a path, a direction in which we could follow in our travels in this painting.

I think that was accomplished.

 

Inferred

The third image.

The subtle hints, the mystery of the layerings and veiled coloured edges – is beautiful.

I want to paint More,like this.

 

Looking at this last image Veiled, there really is a lot of movement and texture and topographic work going on.

One might need to look, that is to search into the crevices filled with the gold leaf dust, before the image’s true self starts to reveal itself as : the landscape.

The landscape, Australia.

On the surface, it appears flat.

Empty even. But when you dig deeper, and look closer, you discover it’s immense resources. And beauty.

 

That too is part of the More….. that I’m referring to.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watercolors: from an ember

Watercolors: from an ember

Cobalt teal blue works its magic once more, whispering in the skies as the inferno below scorches the land.

 

watercolor abstract, cobalt teal blue, fires in watercolor, passion in painting, debiriley.com
Watercolor Inferno, from an ember

 

Inspiration: sparks from just an ember

Its simple really.

Being inspired.

 

If you think about it.

 

 

 

 

Burning Drive

How would I explain this term, “inspiration?”

To be inspired  –  filled with a burning drive to express the message compelling me to do so.

 

 

Using moods, colors, events, strolls, people and ideas to create the image.

Then, Infusing each art movement and action with thoughtfull intent and purpose.

 

Stopping.

Way before you begin to imagine being even close,  to done.

Perhaps, about 20 brushstrokes …. before you think you are finished.

 

Yes, still Half done.

 

 

what…?

Its not going anywhere,  is it?

 

 

 

Let go.   Move on.  Return later.

Resolutions, fixing, finishing…. all can be more successful… done later with a fresh, unfrustrated eye and mind.

 

 

Art Ideas that Inspired:

fluidity

powerful

peace

balance

discipline

awareness

economy of movement

 

 

 

 

Ideas to Share

  • Build … an intensity of connectedness between the subject and myself   (the artist)
  • Create…. a strong,  multilayered bridge of depth  – shallowness, defeats inspiration
  • Study ….. Tony Smibert   watercolors  & acrylic paintings –  swift clarity, certainty of intent
  • Listen ….. Marconi Union  ‘Weightless’    a calm, zen,  musical piece lovely to listen to in the studio sipping some jasmine tea….

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Playing around with foliage greens: Watercolor

Playing around with foliage greens: Watercolor

Watercolor Discoveries –  Fun and loose, playing around.

No stress. No schedules. No rules.

Today, it does Not matter –  what happens, as long as the painting time is enjoyable!

This,  is one of the best painting mottos I have.

 

 

Watercolors

A few parameters, not rules.

 

The Parameters: watercolors, greens, not working from photos.

Just using my zen stroll inspirations.

Memory of places I’ve been to.

That, should keep things…. light and easy.

Free and loose.

 

 

Techniques to try out

I planned to explore some different ways with foliage greens.

Painting direct, fast. Right onto dry paper.

Not watercolor paper, its cartridge paper.

Its pretty unforgiving.

So every brush stroke must be considered in advance, then executed boldly.

Meaningfully.

 

And,  then the challenge

to leave it ALONE.

A ‘must’ with cartridge paper with watercolor.

 

It absolutely will not, put up with a fiddler.

This, is a beautiful lesson and exercise for all of us.

Beginners, to advanced.

We all will reap rewards.

 

watercolor greens, mixing foliage greens watercolours, debiriley.com
greens on cartridge paper

 

Plastic wrap with watercolors

The next technique to explore, is to play with glad wrap.

 

Trying out the perfect, timing of when to pull the plastic off, for the edges to be …. medium firm.

With watercolors, the timing is critical.  For many different aspects and techniques.

Success hinges on learning how to time the stages of watercolor, down to the minute.

It comes.

With Time!

 

What I wanted in this experiment, was a medium watercolor edge.

Not a hard, crisp edge.

Nor merging all over the place, utterly undefined.

I needed to take the wrap off, just before, it went Dry.

 

 

 

watercolor foliage greens, creative watercolor techniques for foliage, debiriley.com
Foliage, inspired by nature

 

Burnt sienna, terracotta, the shadowed indigo, lime yellows, with pale buff titanium here and there…….  my zen stroll from a few months back.

The glorious tendrils of light red transitioning to gold in the sunlight, captured my eye then – and remained in my memory banks.

 

I didn’t want to duplicate the subject.

I just wanted to reenact the Colors and how they made me feel.

zen strolls in nature, foliage green to paint watercolors, debiriley.com
zen stroll inspirations

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Monet Morning: I want the unobtainable

A Monet Morning: I want the unobtainable

Morning arises, the early light so gentle, so soft with an  otherworldly kind of glow that captivates.

My post dawn zen stroll  was magnificent  –  A Monet Morning.

 

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Monet Morning .. photograph

 

Claude Monet

I want the unobtainable.

Other artists paint a bridge, a house, a boat, and that’s the end.

They are finished.

I want to paint the air which surrounds the bridge, the house, the boat,

the beauty of the air in which these objects are located, and that is nothing short of impossible.

 

 

Claude,  you say what I feel.

And This Morning…. the beauty was in the air.

How. To capture that?

How. To express that?

Like you say,  it is nothing short of impossible.

Still, with paints or with camera ….. it is the destination.

 

 

At The Edge of Summer

Right on the cusp of summer there is still time yet for a beautiful,  freshness in the morning.

A hint of warmth carries with it the scent of newly opening blooms: roses, agapanthas, jacarandas.

They fill the air with promise and mystery and love.

 

 

I paused, along the banks of the little creek.

Just to breathe.

To fill in my lungs with the aroma of the morning.

Just to Be.

Just to see.

Just to feel.

To immerse myself in all the things,  around.

 

 

 

Claude Monet  said,

the  Critic asks:   ‘And what, sir, is the subject matter of  that painting?’

– “The subject matter,  my dear good fellow,  is  the light.”

 

 

 

Morning Observations

Over to my right, open fields with long tall spent grass.

Golden, no longer a spring green.

But I can see the burnt umber, the  burnt sienna,   Daniel Smith…Naples yellow,  buff titanium,  indian yellow all making an appearance there in the field.

 

To the left a thicket, dense and tangled with branches and vines that were weaving upwards.

Spiralling just a bit,  like a spider’s web.  I didn’t enter.

 

Further to the left, a grove of pretty patterned trees leaned in towards each other.

I wondered what they might be speaking of this early morning.

 

Shifting, but still in place,  to the opposite side houses with their pretty little flower gardens.

Lures.

The aromas of the morning blooms, teasing my nose as I inhaled deep.

And again for more.  How lovely.

 

 

 

More like ….  Monet

And this is why, I go for zen strolls.

Why I don’t go for a power walk;

no… not going for speed, nor for quantity either.

 

A Zen Stroll savors each breath.

The very air I breathe.

 

It reminds me,  to be  more like Monet.

 

 

 

 

Monet … Guggenheim 

Monet … Musee d’Orsay