1. Frilly bearded iris have been my favorite flower since childhood. I eagerly anticipate the emergence of flower stems from among the flattened sprays of sword-like leaves. The seemingly indestructible leaves and stout stems produce the most delicate blossoms; gossamer petals unfurled from tight, pointed buds. Each bloom might last only two days before it curls inward into a tight fist of brown (think the feet and legs of the wicked witch disappearing under Dorothy's house).
Patterns and color combinations between the standards (upright petals) and falls (downward curling petals) number in the thousands; all named by plant breeders with monikers like those of race horses and paint chips; 'Flying Filly', 'High Stakes', 'Safari Sunset' and 'Peach Frost'.
I rarely start a painting with the background because backgrounds are scary and the nemisis of most artists! This piece is no different and I couldn't wait to start the intricate twists and turns of the petals anyway. A hint of purple is added to the cool blue in the lower right bloom which helps "warm" it and draw the eye. The upper bloom then appears to recede.
2. Those familiar sword-like leaves and stout stems are now in place with a layer of yellowish-green. Buds emerge from papery, brown husks which are characteristic of iris.
Evening Frills - iris watercolor demonstration
5. A hint of pink shows on the petals in the lower iris giving the impression it is curving away from the light source. The darkest shadows in the leaves and ground are finished.
Sky blue and pale purple dominate the background on the right side of the painting which allows the warm yellow added on the left to complete the illlusion that early evening sun is softly illuminating the iris from the left.
Evening Frills was recently accepted into the Allied Arts Association annual juried art show in Richland. It will hang in the Allied Arts gallery throughout the month of April.
If only these small photos could convey the impression of the real painting which measures 20"x 27" framed.
4. Some of the veining details are defined in the leaves and petals. Deeper shadows are created in the leaves.
3. The yellowish "beards" are in place and the leaves have been given several layers of a deeper green. Differences between the lightest and darkest areas are called value contrast. A greater illusion of depth is created by increasing the value contrast; preserving some very light areas and making the shadow areas darker with more layers of paint.
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© 2008 - 2012 by Lisa Hill
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