Iris Painting in Progress

It might be fun, for a change, to share a painting in progress. I chose to paint these irises  because I am in love with the light captured in the photo and purple is one of my favorite colors to work with. I had spent a few hours the day the photo was taken enjoying all of the flowers in my country garden. The fresh air, warm sunshine and the peace and quiet on that late spring day was quite lovely. This is a nice way to remember a magical moment.

This first photo is actually at the second stage of the painting process on this piece. Here, I am beginning to work on it outdoors at the St. Albert ArtWalk in front of St. Albert Place.

A Few Technical Details

The canvas was sanded, prepared with 2 layers of GAC 100 before hand. It was then coated with a thin layer of quinacridone magenta mixed with gloss glazing medium. After allowing it to dry for a few hours, I drew the shapes on the canvas fairly accurately with a watercolor pencil. This worked well because corrections can be made easily with a moistened cloth. At the ArtWalk event, I began to block in the background so that I could view the overall design more easily.

painting in progress, pink background, loose shapes

Here we are at approximately the third stage.

Blocking In

This is one of the easy stages and the image progresses quite quickly. After this initial block-in, I began to focus on creating some of the background colors and shapes. Later, I tackled blocking in some of the highlights and shadows in the flowers themselves. It was also helpful to introduce some of the more intense purple color to help me compare the strength of the other colors.

purple and white irises, flowers, painting in progress

Quite a bit has been filled in since the previous photo.

Coming Together

The quality of the iris painting in progress still appears pretty rough to me and will need several more layers. It does look like it’s coming together quite nicely already. The most fun will be refining all of the details, especially the subtleties of color that will make these irises interesting to look at.  Deciding which areas of the image to emphasize and which to push back is part of my thought process.

purple and white flowers, close up iris flowers, realistic painting

This seems to be really coming along nicely. Handling the lines in the petals takes a bit more focus to get the patterns right.

Concentrated Effort

Having had very little painting time this summer and fall means that it takes a bit more energy to focus on the intricacies of this iris painting. Sometimes the details in the grey tones and the stripes on the petals took more concentration than they would had I painted more often. Stay tuned as more photos are posted during the journey to completion.

painting of white and purple iris flower

Here we are at about 85% complete!

The Home Stretch

Since the weather has become wintry and a few other tasks in the house and office have been taken care of, I feel there is more room and energy available for me to re- focus on this painting in progress. It seems to take a while to switch gears sometimes and re-arrange my routine to paint more during the day instead of just after supper. Making the refinements at this stage is pretty satisfying. The next question is what should be done with the background?

three white and purple irises painted realistically

This is pretty close to complete.

Painting in Progress Nearly Complete

There was a lot of back and forth as I worked on the background. Adding shapes, then taking them out; rearranging shapes and colors, pushing them back again. The stripes on the purple petals took a bit more concentration in order to get the patterns right and were so much fun to paint! These hues are achieved not through mixing paint colors, but by a careful layering process. At this stage, it feels as though the painting is complete or very near. I will let it rest for a few days, maybe turn it to the wall and re-examine it later to see if anything needs to be adjusted.

4 thoughts on “Iris Painting in Progress

  1. Gail Fournier

    Judy, how fascinating to see the step-by-step sequence of how your iris painting progresses! You are a magician when it comes to light play on your subject, so, it’s wonderful to see how you create that!

    1. Judy Schafers Post author

      Hello Gail, Thanks so much for your glowing words! As the painting progresses, I will add more photos to this blog entry until it is completed. You can check back every week or 2. With the snow on the ground and farming wrapped up, I expect to be spending more time in the studio! Take care and enjoy creating as well 🙂

  2. Jill

    Hi Judy , I just love watching your process and progress with this irus painting. It is sooo beautiful! How big is the canvass? Is it for sale?
    Enjoy your day Judy.

    1. Judy Schafers Post author

      Hello Jill,
      So great to hear from you! I hope you and all of yours are well! Getting together with you has been on my mind, but it seems all of the extra study on regenerative farming has taken up most of my time and energy. It took me 6 months to finish this painting!!
      I am so glad that you got something out of watching the painting progress 🙂
      The canvas is 32″ x 14″. I have the frame on order. Someone else has told me that they are interested in purchasing it once I have the frame mounted. If that doesn’t work out for them, I can let you know and then we’ll see how it goes from there.
      Are you taking any creative workshops lately? Lots of trips to BC?
      Take care, Enjoy a Warm and Wonderful Christmas Season


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