Monday, May 30, 2016

Portrait of a Bearded Iris


Bearded Iris
Sunrise
Oil on canvas, 8 x 10
I inherited my love for iris from my mother. Her garden was always filled with them and I remember looking forward to seeing the majestic flowers every spring. They looked like orchids, their petals were velvety soft, and their colors reminded me of the royal robes worn by kings and queens.  If there had been a variety named "Sunrise," Mom would never have gone to the nursery and purchased it anyway.  There was no money for iris bulbs in her world. You got your flowers by trading with friends and neighbors, or when people had to divide or thin their plants, they might give you some rather than throw them away. Then you would return the favor with some of your plants another time.  As a result, iris were violet or lavender, and occasionally white, or a two-toned gold and purple, but they were still beautiful.  My mother would have been thrilled to see all the colors and varieties of iris available today: black, white and everything in between.

"Sunrise" began life as an acrylic painting but I soon realized that the nature of the flower called for a more direct, impressionistic approach, than the thin layering process I had planned for it.  Most of the time I let the subject, or perhaps the composition, decide the medium,  and in this case, it was good to switch.  The soft blending and subtle colors of the oils were perfect for this beautiful flower.  Less detail, more "soul."  Spending more time with oils lately. It has been like rediscovering an old friend.

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