Iris step by step

I painted this iris ages ago and took photos of the stages.  Thought you might like to see the progress of the painting.  It’s quite small…about A4 size.

I love depicting these flowers with their delicious folds and frills!

The challenge was to bring out the iris against a dark background.  The white edges at the top were important in making the flower stand out and not be lost in the background.  I like putting in a background as I don’t want to produce a botanical study but to try and catch the spirit of the flower growing in its natural environment.  I like the stroked in leaves at the bottom giving a bit of depth and context.

My drawing from my own photo. I’ve masked out the sparkly white areas with masking fluid.
First wash.  I wet the whole paper and then dropped in colours to reflect the flower and a natural background. Yellows dropped into the centre of the flower wet in wet. (See colours used below)
Here I’ve started to lay in colours round the edge of the petals, wetting the whole petal first and then dropping in colour right on the edge and letting it spread.  some shadow work within the white areas
More background laid in.  Darker tones around the top and some dark greens stroked in wet in wet at the bottom to give the impression of more leaves. Then the masking was removed.
Hard edged shadows worked in round the edges of the top petals.  This brings out the white sparkles making it look sunlit.  I’ve painted negatively behind the main leaves with darker tones to bring them out against the background.


The Final Painting


Colours used:

Cobalt blue, Ultramarine blue, cobalt violet, Winsor violet, quinacridone gold, aureolin, permanent rose, Indian yellow

Winsor blue, quinacridone gold, aureolin to make the GREENS

Cobalt blue,cobalt violet, touch of permanent rose for the FLOWER SHADOWS

Indian yellow for the CENTRE

2 thoughts on “Iris step by step”

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