Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Painting Irises, in acrylics, step by step

This is how I painted a detailed picture of irises.

This article appeared first on my other blog, artycraftythings. It is one of the most popular posts, so I thought I would recreate it on here too! 

I will show you the finished painting  first, and then take you through the stages of the painting.

Firstly I painted some stripes of  blues , greens and purples. I rarely work directly on a white canvas, I needed something to break it up!! These are the sorts of colours I had in mind for my final piece. I knew the design would be based around vertical lines.  I am using acrylic paint.

I then painted some freehand flowers. These are very crude and simplistic, but gave me a rough idea of the look I was after. You can see I have already changed the colour of the stripes!

Next I sketched on a more detailed iris over the top. I painted it white, so I could just see my drawing through it. I then drew the detail back in again over the top!  This may seem like a fussy way of working, but I find it effective and it enables me to build my painting up in layers,

I then did this again with some other irises. You can see I have started to add detail to the first one I put on. The initial freehand irises are becoming background features!  On the second photo you can see I painted one of the irises orange instead of white. This was simply so I could see it clearly against the one it was in front of.

After this I worked in to some of the flowers, and have experimented a bit with an area of background.  I am also adding a few more greens to the leaves. I have painted out some of the initial background irises.

Next, I decided to add another layer of irises. Rather than full flowers I added mainly buds. I thought this gave contrast, and made it more naturalistic. You rarely get perfect flowers all in the same place at the same time! Also the buds were interesting to paint!

Following this I then concentrated on adding detail to all the flowers.

Now I am working in to the background. I love the negative shapes between the flowers. In all my paintings the background is important. I never paint a flat plain background!!  I enjoy all the swirls and dabs of paint that tie the whole composition together.

Next  I added some more buds in the right hand corner. I thought this space looked too empty. As you can see I played around with this idea for a while, but removed some of  it, as it did not work out!!   You can also see how I changed the background quite a lot. I wanted a high contrast in the background , with light and dark areas, created from small dabs of paint. I have also continued to detail up my flowers.

Finally the painting is finished. I have adjusted some of the colours a bit, and tidied it up here and there!

This painting will eventually be sold. I like it, so I am hanging on to it for a while longer!!

I shall  produce it as greetings cards and prints first. When these become available I shall update this blog post with the details here....

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