Did you know that the word iris means rainbow?
What a perfect analogy. The iris displays in Denver Botanic gardens are spectacular in the spring and they have always been one of my favorite subjects. First I did a small version of this painting on location in the gardens and then used it for a reference to complete this large painting in my studio. It is part of my large floral series and it measures 40X60 inches. When a plein air painting leads to a larger studio painting it is truly a rewarding experience. Here I used different shades and temperatures in the green leaves to off set the richer colors in the flowers. Showing the iris in different stages of life is interesting and the twisted flower in the upper right corner presented lines and patterns that added an abstract element to the composition.
Allowing colors to mix and bleed together right on the paper is an essential part of my painting style and you can see examples of this in the floppy petals. In watercolor the paint, water, and paper will do some of the work for you if you pull your brush back and simply watch. This technique is one of the wonderful mysteries of watercolor and allowing it to happen takes restraint but the results are worth it. Many of the soft edges in this painting are created by close values that allow parts to fade in and out and relate to each other so that each area has it own level of importance.
When an artist looks at a subject like this and sees colors, values, shapes, and edges as well as beautiful flowers, painting becomes more fun and progress is inevitable.
My first summer weekend workshop in Denver Botanic Gardens is coming up fast and the dates are May 3, 4, & 5. You can sign up for 1, 2, or all 3 days so plan on joining me to paint the rainbow of colors that the gardens present in abundance.
More information can be found on on my Classes and Workshops page.
If you want to join us or if you have any questions send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Painting! Dennis