In the spring when I was little, the bearded irises in my grandmother’s flower garden were majestic, taller than me. I couldn’t believe these irises in the catalog put on their show in the spring and then again in the fall. I had to have them.
Being the novice flower gardener, when they first arrived last September I was uncertain of their fleshy, segmented bodies and stiff, green crew cuts. Cautiously following the directions, which seemed way too simple. I laid them in the ground and sprinkled fertilizer around them like I was casting fairie dust.
What transpired next was actually, the hardest part.
Watching. And waiting.
Watching. And waiting.
And then, watching and waiting some more.
But, this past spring, nine months after we first met, my iris had their first bloom! They were as grand as I remembered as a child in shades of purple, peach, periwinkle, mauve and gold.
Being the proud parent, I took well over 200 photos. I took photos in the morning; I took photos in the evening, in the sunshine and in the rain.
I know I’m not the first person to stick a camera in a flower’s face, but that didn’t matter. I had been taken in.
Before painting, my passion had been photography. A growing desire to paint from my photos is what led me to watercolor. And today, ten years later, a majority of my paintings continue to be from my photo references. Yet, even I had not planned on this overwhelming pull to paint these irises!
But they had lured me in and whispered their secrets and I felt compelled to somehow express this elusive connection in my art. Maybe Greek mythology is true? Iris was believed to be the personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. Traveling with the speed of the wind she linked the gods to humanity.
Yesterday, I signed Iris No. 12 in the All About Iris Series and I feel like I’m just beginning. You know, that excitement and enthusiasm that fuels all new endeavors? I’ve still got it. It’s that and something more I can’t put into words. A good problem for an artist to have.
Enjoy the journey!
See more beautiful iris painting and more on June’s website.
All About Iris – Intermediate Watercolor with June Rollins
Love bearded iris? Love watercolor? Watch these passions come together as June demonstrates painting irises using the watercolor sculpting method. Practice these techniques with personal guidance using your own iris reference photos or photo kits available from the instructor.
Expand your knowledge of color theory and gain composition tips. Previous watercolor experience is essential, and professional-quality tube paints, brushes, and watercolor paper are required. Register today.