Tag: zen

Florals for May Day

Florals for May Day

The first day of May  always brings a smile to my face!

As a kid, in the green but rainy Pacific NW, that was the day that heralded …. Spring.

 

 

Florals

May 1…..  It was my non-official day to get outside and find Spring flowers around the gardens.

I’d dash out in between the rain showers to pick a bouquet for my mom and grandmother.

Well, and a couple of nice neighbor ladies as well.

It was fun.

 

purple flower macro, floral photography, May day blooms, debiriley.com
May Day floral

Colors of May

Lilacs, iris, violets, hydrangea, azalea, were my usual Spring favorites.

I always thought the flowers seemed to lean to lavenders early in Spring.

 

 

hydrangea macro photography in spring, florals in lavender, spring in the pacific northwest, debiriley.com
Hydrangea Spring

 

 

But Sometimes, in a pinch, I had to resort to a gorgeous summery golden yellow blossom…. the lowly dandelion.

 

But, I’d tell myself that it adds more color and a nice warm brightness.

I wasn’t going to it call it just a weed.

I had an obstacle with the lack of flowers in our storm damaged gardens.

‘Golden dandelions,’  were my Plan B solution.  I’m kind of a fan of Plan B. Backup plans for those times  “just in case something goes awry.”

 

May Day, still decades later,  makes me smile.

 

vibrant spring blooms, macro flower photography, debiriley.com
vibrant blooms in Spring 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gardens in Color!

Gardens in Color!

Gorgeous rich ruby red stalks splaying out in verticals and diagonals.

The reds, a perfect foil to the citrine green foliage.

Delightful Colors found in the garden.

 

delicious garden colors, ruby red, citrine yellow green palette, colors in the garden, debiriley.com
Garden Colors, ruby and citrine green

 

Illustrations….

This photograph, is one of the few, I would use as a direct source to paint from.

It would (and will)  make a lovely illustration,  for my Society 6  and Redbubble shops.

 

Generally, I’m not so keen to use one photo as a painting source.

But,  there’s always exceptions.

 

This I think would be brilliant on pure white hot pressed paper with no background whatsoever.

Or,  it might make a very strong design as a linoprint. 

 

 

Zen Strolls

Strolling about,  does, have plenty of rewards.

Had I been ‘power walking’ I’d have missed out on this beauty.

 

 

Design

The composition is especially interesting, with the verticals and diagonals.

The textural patterns within the leaf foliage, create added interest.

Leaves and stalks going gently out of the picture frame assist the design.

Making it seem less ‘crammed in.’

More open, more …. real.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Landscape in Blue

Landscape in Blue

Landscape in Blue.

Lone tree rising,  somber.  Where, is the foliage?

 

landscapes in blue monochrome, mountain and tree in the landscape, somber and quiet mood in art, printmaking styles for beginners, debiriley.com
A Lone Tree, rising against the stark blue bluff

 

Monoprinting in Blue

While this is not really a recent work,  the  monoprint was done in the past 24 months.

 

 

Our class topic at the time was on using color and line, format, and subject placement to create a ‘feeling’ that would be clear and evident for viewers to identify.

I created,  a somber nearly desolate feeling in this landscape.

 

While working the process that day I finished quite a  number of monoprints.

Some were florals, some animals & people –  which you have seen.

And then this one,  which  you haven’t seen.

 

 

Blue Ink

I chose to use only the blue ink and hand printing on a pale creamy paper.

The paper wasn’t pure white.

I thought, I might temper the starkness… just a little.

 

 

The solitary tree rising, carries with it a feeling of not just aloneness,  but also the sense of barrenness.

There is no foliage in sight.

 

Where, did all the foliage go we wonder?

Where are the other trees?

 

And,  then,  the next thought our minds consider,  might be:

“Is this tree still alive?  Still struggling?  Or is it finished?”

 

 

 

The prints you have previously seen:

arabian horse print indigo debiriley.com
Lines in Indigo Blue  monoprint…..     debiriley.com  (c)

 

 

Dream Horse in Blue, mono print debiriley.com
Dream Horse in Blue – Monoprint debiriley.com (c)

 

 

 

monotype, indigo fields, debiriley.com
Evening… Indigo Fields  –  debiriley.com

 

 

monotype painting, woman, calmness, debiriley.com
just for a  Moment – Close your eyes……..

 

 

 

 

Other Posts and articles

monoprints

monoprints  and monotypes 

trees in the landscape  Best 15 Trees 

moods and feelings in art 

paintings in blue    

blue power of blue painting 

 

 

floral rose monotype, simplicity, zen minimalism, red white and blue palette, debiriley.com
Red Roses, Blue Vase  – monoprint process    debiriley.com (c)

 

 

 

Watercolor Paper: gorgeous

Watercolor Paper: gorgeous

Paper Love, or  shall I say “paper-philia?”

Printmaking, Asian papers, watercolor, pastel and handmade papers… I do love good paper.

 

Gorgeous Papers

Watercolor Loose and Easy  began its first session yesterday at Atwell Gallery, Perth.

It was fabulous.

Discussing watercolor basic materials,

and the many types of Watercolor papers,  those most beneficial to beginners, was a priority.

 

watercolor papers, Saunders cold press textures, Daniel Smith greens, zoisite, impressionist watercolour landscapes mountains, debiriley.com
Saunders 100% cotton Watercolor paper;   in detail,  close up

 

Selecting 100% Cotton paper

With pure cotton, your results are smooth.  Lovely transitions and merging of beautiful colors.

The added bonus: 100%  cotton papers are a dream when you make a mistake and need to rinse/lift it off.

Student grade papers

(made from cellulose ingredients not cotton)  are very difficult, not beginner friendly in this regard.

 

Yes, they are cheaper!

But, I’d rather not pull my hair out in frustration with that cheap paper.

 

 

I’ve recommended Saunders Cold Press 100 % Cotton Rag.

With the proviso, if they so chose to go the luxury route, Arches CP or Rough was a very, very good paper. 

 

Arches cold press debiriley.com
Arches watercolour paper Cold Press debiriley.com

 

 

I’m also personally fond of using: Masa, Fabriano Soft Press, Fabriano Rough, Fabriano Esportarzione,  Twinrocker Feather Deckle and Yupo.

Usually, it is anything that is going to provide lots of texture with a lovely soft cotton ‘feel’ to it.

 

Winters Glow, watercolor landscape, reflections, debiriley.com
Winter’s Glow  amethyst on Masa… debi

 

Though the Yupo is quite slick and plastic like in its feel and handling.

But, I like it and so do many of my students!

 

yupo watercolors abstract blue orange debiriley.com
yupo  creativity workshop with watercolour –  Victoria

 

 

 

Close up of Saunders

When you look at this watercolor study close up,  you can see the exquisite textures within the Saunders paper.

 

I’d like to point out, for beginners, that it is the combination of:

  • Plenty ie  surplus…. of Water and
  • the good paper  and
  • the granulating paint pigment
  • that will allow this perfection of textural effects to shine through.

 

 

I have used  Daniel Smith (green)  watercolors in this impressionist mountain study:

zoisite,   green apatite and serpentine.

 

Zen.   They blend harmoniously.

And the textural qualities these pigments lend to the painting are sensational.

 

zoisite, zoisite gemstones, Daniel Smith watercolor primatek paints, paintings inspired by gems, debiriley.com
Zoisite the gemstone

 

Zoisite, the gemstone

Its so lovely to get to see, what the pigment originally was.

Before it was ground fine as dust, mixed with gum arabic and squeezed into a paint tube.