Friday, May 15, 2009

Iris Watercolour & Sketch


Garden Irises

It's been a wonderful year for Irises in our Tuscan garden. They've been popping up in places I've never seen them before. The first year we were here I'd dash out to photograph or sketch each bloom as it appeared. Such is the abundance this year, I've been a bit overwhelmed. I know I should have tried for a big painting but I've always been inhibited by the benchmark set by Van Gogh.

Katherine Tyrrell, (Making a Mark) has put together a wonderful post tracking her inspiration through Hokusai to Van Gogh to produce a beautiful coloured pencil study after Van Gogh.

I was finally forced to attempt a watercolour when Jean gave me a splendid specimen from her garden. I hate picking flowers and cutting their life short but this one had actually fallen over due to the weight of its enormous blooms.



Abandoned Watercolour

I don't often give up entirely on a painting but something about this flower made me put down my brush. Part of the problem was that I didn't pay enough attention to the initial drawing. I cut corners and had no believable structure to guide me. Anyway I gave up and took some photos instead.


Trying to overcome a glum 'can't paint anything' mood, I went 'surfing' the blogs that so often inspire. Casey Klahn (The Colorist) has tracked down a fabulous site featuring the work of Henri Matisse. I started doodling Matisse-style in awe, as always, of the spirited beauty of his line.

So in the end it wasn't Van Gogh or Hokusai who sent me back to the dreaded iris, but Matisse. Armed with an A3 sketchbook and a Tombow brush pen I ignored everything but the spirit of the iris and I was finally happy with the result.


18 comments:

Terry said...

I just love your photo of your garden Irises with the brick wall and steps and would just love to have a go at painting it with your permission of course.

Terry

Robyn said...

Terry - Thank you for asking. You are most welcome to use this garden photo as a reference for your own painting. If you would like a larger version of the photo email me. There's a link in my profile.

Louisette passion retriever, cat, memory Katanga said...

Lovely fotos and painting greeting from Belgium

dominique eichi said...

Oh what a great sketch. I would love to see you have another go at it for a color one. Thank you for visiting my blog.

dominique eichi said...

Could I sketch from the picture and if it's not too much trouble I would love a bigger version ( artbydominique at yahoo dot com) hope you'll come back to ck on it.

Robyn said...

Dominique - I look forward to your sketch.

mARTa said...

ah Matisse, such a good friend of mine as he keeps popping into my studies often. I think you finally succumbed to the spirit of the blossoms and surrendered your pen; and look what magic happened! Will I see a block print next?
Thanks for the good wishes, I'm feeling a bit better today! ciao amica mia!

Joan said...

Robyn - I'm glad you were so persistent. The sketch came out great. I even like the delicate petals of the color one. I'm hoping to get out to paint some irises soon. They're just starting to come up over here. Enjoy!

Jennifer Rose said...

gorgeous flowers :) don't see them around here very often

your final iris is well done, nice simple clean lines to it

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Give my compliments to the gardener - those irises really are magnificent!

Plus you got a jump on me - Matisse was where I was thinking of heading next.

You drawing is really magnificent.

Robyn said...

Marta - Glad to hear you are feeling better. I'm loving your work after the masters.
I've already made an iris woodcut, so I'm not sure I'll go any further with this subject for now.

Joan - Many thanks. I'll look forward to your irises. Yours are just appearing, ours are already over, except for a few yellow ones.

Jennifer - thanks :)

Katherine - I will follow along with your study of Matisse. I can't get him out of my head.

I so glad the drawing works for you. Now I'm thinking I might try for one big, spirited sketch each day and see where that takes me.

Jeanette said...

The irises are indeed stunning. The drawing in detail of flowers in general tends to flummox me so I tend to avoid them. :)

Your persistance pays off and the Matisse inspired drawing is wonderful. There is s such a simplicity in lines which always appeals to me.

Sydney Harper said...

Beautiful irises! Lovely drawing. Matisse is one of my favorites. Actually I like the watercolor too.

Laureline said...

So gorgeous, photos, paintings and all.

caseytoussaint said...

Well, I actually love the abandoned watercolor study just as it is. I think your guardian angel stepped in to make you stop before it was overworked.

africantapestry said...

An exquisite iris Robyn! I can't see anything more being done to it..it is truly beautiful as are those in your Tuscan garden!
Ronell

A Brush with Color said...

OMG, Robyn! Fabulous! I can really see the Matisse influence here, too. I love all of these, and your irises in your garden are amazing. How beautiful!! Really glad you stuck with it all. You are too hard on yourself--the watercolor's wonderful.

Robyn said...

Sue - How lovely after so long, for you to come and look at this post. Now I've put my disappointment behind me, even forgotten the painting I think how wonderful it is to have such loyal friends who can almost convince me it wasn't too bad. I am still intending to use the sketch for a monotype. The first attempt wasn't too good but I'll get there - hopefully. Thank you.

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