Tag: zen

Where, Do You Paint?  … my kitchen counters

Where, Do You Paint? … my kitchen counters

I have a studio, with 2 art tables and easels.  I have 2 art tables set up on the patio.  And still,  many, many times I paint on the kitchen counter.

It doesn’t really make sense.

Especially to the someone who has gone above and beyond to assemble said studio, those tables and the gear for this ‘persnickety’ artist.

 

 

 

 

What is it, about the kitchen counter?

What does it have, that the other places…. don’t?

 

I’ve never paused to contemplate this until now.

Til the post of yesterday, “How much do you paint?”

This post,  it made me think, it caused me to question things.  How? Why? Where? When?

 

All great questions, insightful, if we dig our way to the bottom of them.

 

 

 

Where, do I paint?

It does have a little bit to do with Light and yes with space too;  but more than those, its about:  Feeling.  

When I’m in the art studio, I am  in isolation.

beginners watercolours getting started in the art studio debiriley.com
 art studio …. tidied up! 

 

I’m cut off from the other rooms, from whats going on elsewhere.

I’m not part of the rest of the house.

And that sensation fosters a tightening up.

 

 

 

Comfortable

When I’m in the kitchen space, I’m perfectly at ease.

All rooms connect.  I feel Free and in the zone.

 

I paint when no one is home, so there is a feeling of aloneness, but not, loneliness.

That is a huge difference to me as I create.

 

 

 

The kitchen area, its not a big space.

Nor is it infused with an abundance of natural light.

Its not the best lit room of the house.

its adequate.

But it comes down to how I feel, when I’m creating in that space  vs  when I’m in the other spaces.

I will always paint better, create better, when I am comfortable.

At ease.

 

 

Outdoors

I do love to paint and create out on the lawn; sitting near the rose garden.

I feel free and loose and at home there.

There is no sense of being cut off or isolated.

I’m part of the whole.

Thus, painting is easy there.

 

 

I guess, the bottom line is that we just need to paint, create in the space  – wherever  it may be  that makes us the most comfortable.

How many of you, paint at the kitchen table or counter?

 

 

 

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How Much Do You Paint?

How Much Do You Paint?

“No, I don’t really paint, as much as I used to do, ”  was my response the other day.

I wished I’d had a camera to capture all those expressions from my group, right then!   You could see a million things running through their minds.

Shock.  Say it isn’t so. How is that, possible?   But….

 

Paint Time

It is true.  I don’t “paint”  anywhere near the amount like I did 10, 20 years ago.

Or even 5-6 years ago.

I was insanely prolific.

 

watercolors the impressionist approach, painting day, debiriley.com
fun, free, Letting Go painting day:   several “on the go”

I’d get my paints out and think nothing about whacking out 5, 10, 15 images in one sitting.

There could be 100 images in a week.

No,  definitely not all of them worked out.

That’s alright.

 

I learned things.

 

 

 

When I step back after a painting day, I think about the numbers,  the percentages.

What %  of 100  is an acceptable number for me?

I liken it to baseball stats.  Or to  photography stats, or even … to sales. How many times must I do something before I hit a home run?

Why should I think, to hold myself to an even higher standard,  than say,  those big hitters …. Babe Ruth – Hank Aaron – Ken Griffey?

 

It was and is  about the process.

Expressing the moods and emotions,  that which was within,  and externalising it.

 

And if one of those images was presentable, as a whole, I’d smile.  Even if none of them, were fantastic, I’d still smile.

As the process was and is what  drives me.

 

The need to communicate, to externalise,  the primary driver.    (Most of the time.)

I just enjoy paint, color, the physical act of creating.

 

 

Art Definitions

What changed?

Why am I not painting 100 per week now?

 

I have slowly changed my ideas about art, about what ‘art’ means to me.

 

What defines art, to me?

Art now means much more than just a paint brush and paints.

 

 

Art takes so many forms.

And I enjoy art every day. In one form, or another.

 

Sometimes I go into my garden to pause and reflect on the colors, aromas, the sounds that it brings.

creative photography, nature flower abstract photo, debiriley.com
dreams in the garden – just sitting

 

 

Other times I write.  Or photograph, or draw or, doodle.

This. Is art.

 

I’ve come to think of my art classes, the curriculum and lessons as a form of art in itself as well.  It often involves research of new methods and new tools; of the masters that are relevant to the specific group I’m currently teaching.

iphone 5 photos, glass bottles mini minarets, debiriley.com
glass minarets …class subject to paint        “at work”

My work… has become,  in a sense another form of art.

 

 

A Changed Lane

I could, indeed feel bad or guilty about not painting like I used to.

But I am,  still creating.

 

Still Inventing.

Looking around the corners for new shapes, subjects, colors, ideas.

I haven’t stopped, nor has this slowed down one bit.

Not at all.

 

It merely has changed lanes.

I’m Still going in the same direction….

The laneway is slightly different.  Thats all.

 

 

I think we are quick to judge ourselves many times too harshly, without need.

When asked that question about not painting as much now….  at first, I mentally was judging myself.

 

But I like to take the time to discover the  ‘why’  of a thing.

To dig for the answers.

Because I find in most cases, the root truthful answer, is far less troublesome than the surface answer, the one we assume to be the case.

 

 

 

So even though I’m not putting out 20- 50-100 images a week now;  I am still just as active, just as creatively engaged as I have been at any time in the past.

Its good that I took the time to dig.

Finding the answers to nagging ‘background’ questions –  sets us free to Create.

 

Releasing constraints and criticisms, ie  negativity  that would impinge upon our  future creative endeavors.

 

 

 

Art, is funny like that.

Most of us work better, do better, Create better,  in a positive, uplifting, and free environment.

 

 

Fun and Fast  Watercolor  Landscape

A Simple Impressionist Landscape created from a positive and free mindspace.

Done directly upon coming in from my Garden sitting. I felt positive, uplifted,  liberated….

 

True, it was on not nice,  cartridge paper that soaked in the paint and left marks of the brushstrokes visible.

Unliftable. Permanent marks upon the surface.

 

But this made it,  liberating.

It was either going to work or … not.  So why bother to over think it?!

 

I felt free to do what was needed, to put down,  what needed to be expressed.

 

Faint pale hints of sky, then several strokes of blue for hills and mountains.

Ooops…  oh well!     hmmmm   – boo boos there.

 

Next,  went in some gentler  cool browns to serve as a transition area, just dashed in, real quick.

 

And then,

the super fun part.

 

Splattering warm siennas, moss greens, golden umbers across the stark white foreground.

Now, that was fun.

 

mountain landscape easy and fun for beginner painters, watercolor beginner techniques, hills, mountains foreground watercolour, splatter, debiriley.com
blue mt splatter foreground   –   cropped  section

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.