1.  Photoshop was a great help when planning the size and shape of the puzzle pieces and their placement. The underlying image of the iris must have a good artistic composition, but the arrangement of scattered, missing, and interlocking puzzle pieces should have a visually interesting layout, too. 

The stems and foliage are established with green, and the yellowish orange will give a warm glow to the centers of the flowers.
2.  Only a few of the puzzle pieces are recognizable at this stage. A soft pink is glazed on the upright petals (the standards) of the three iris blooms.
Puzzled Iris - purple iris watercolor demonstration

5.  Most of the puzzle pieces are now defined along edges that are not interlocked with another piece.
Multiple glazes of pink, purple and blue give the petals a rich jewel tone.

The warm orange glow at the center of the blooms makes each appear to be lit from within.
6.  By carefully outlining each piece with dark purple, they are all distinct. Even though puzzle pieces are nearly flat, they are three-dimensional.

In the close-up shot below, you can see the shadows and highlights on each piece. Your mind is fooled into thinking that they are about 1/8th inch thick. This is especially noticeable where shadows are cast on the white backdrop in the space left by the missing piece.

Check out my other puzzling watercolors Lost Edges
and Puzzled Peppers.
4.  More glazes of pink, purple and blue are applied to the petals. The illusion of very bright light almost washes out the color on the surface of some petals. 

A wide variety of greens gives more depth to the background foliage. Flowers and unopened buds have emerged from creased, wafer-thin coverings.

3.  Rich, bright blue establishes the shapes of the downward flowing petals (the falls).

Watercolor Demo
Puzzled Iris
I have always been intrigued by puzzles of all kinds, and jigsaw puzzles have been a favorite since childhood. Finding hidden objects in a picture was fun, too, like a scavenger hunt. I came up with a way to give some punch to my art by combining elements of realism (my favorite) with abstraction (my stumbling block) in the form of a painted jigsaw puzzle.
Puzzled Iris
32" x 40" framed 
$1200     ©2010
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© 2008 - 2018 by Lisa Hill
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