Blog Archive

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Painting irises, step by step

I have just completed a new painting of purple irises. It has lots of detail and has taken me quite awhile to paint it. I photographed the whole procedure, for this blog, and for my own interest as to how a painting changes. I will show you how I did it...

 Here goes....!  The first step putting some background colours on the canvas. I used acrylic paint here.

I changed my mind straight away about the background colours, as you can see!!  I then painted some very rough, sketchy irises in to get a "feel" of the painting. The idea was to possibly keep some of these in as background.  

I drew a rough outline of an iris, copied from one of my photos, and painted it white. When the paint was dry I then drew in all the inner details.

I painted some preliminary detail on my first iris, and repeated the outline drawing and white paint stage with two other ones.

I have drawn in the detail on my 2 new irises .I added another iris on the left hand side, painted pale orange, instead of white, so I could see which was which. I have now covered up quite a lot of the background flowers.

I am now building up layers of detail on all the iris flowers. I have started to experiment with background pattern at the top right. I have changed paint from acrylic to Chromacolour, which I will use for the rest of the painting. I am now working with much smaller brushes.

The painting is now getting a bit more complicated and detailed. These 2 stages show how I have added an additional iris at the front.This is just about to burst into flower. I have also added some buds. One at the bottom got removed fairly quickly though!  I have removed some of the original background flowers.

I have now removed all the background flowers as I thought they were a distraction. I am experimenting with ways to fill up the background, plus still adding detail to the main irises. I am painting all the foliage with lots of stripes of different greens.

I have added some new leaves on the left, some new buds at the bottom, plus played around with the background a bit.  However, it is still not quite right!!

I removed  some of the new buds at the bottom, plus removed a few leaves.Then I changed the background again, concentrating on vertical bands of changing blues. I brightened it all up a bit. At last this is finished!!

Here is a bigger version of the finished work.....

I will put this one up for sale soon. I have entered it in to a competition, so will see how that goes first. I have already started two other paintings in a similar style. These will be featured on another blog post in the future.

Comments always appreciated...


  1. This is very beautiful. Thank you for sharing your painting.

    1. Thank you for your kind comment on my painting. I put a lot of time in to that painting, and have not yet put it up for sale. I am not ready to part with it yet, I think !!!! I should get it printed up as greetings cards,and prints for framing, so lots of people can share it.