23 May 2009

bearded irises

watercolor on Arches CP 300gsm, 14" x 10.

jan's garden has come into full bloom so i spent a few days photographing and selecting some flowers for painting.

i justified cutting these irises because a heat snap would have cooked them dry. they are an almost black violet with gleams of red. i used ultramarine violet darkened and warmed with cadmium scarlet, and quinacridone magenta for the highlights.

this is just a recreational painting: freehand drawing, quick blocking in of color, little attention to detail or composition. the vase has a water glass shape but is actually a foot tall. the blossoms were about 13cm wide.

the stalks ended in a single blossom. after i posed and drew the flowers and started the painting, the stalks went through the death process and the central blossom opened, then the other buds opened after the two large flowers shriveled up. the plant exposed as much of its pollen as possible before the flowers were gone. it was sad to watch, but also inspiring.

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