With my shoulders and legs sore from rototilling the garden, I headed for the studio at the end of last week to paint some of the fabulous purple lupines that grow wild around our house. I also wanted to capture the beauty of some masses of Siberian Iris that my friend Pamela gave me from among the hundreds that grow in her flower gardens.
Iris represent to me my late mother and grandmother. They both grew iris and I brought some of their original rhizomes to plant here in Nova Scotia when we moved. I always think of their love of flowers when I see iris and each year for many years I’ve tried to paint their luscious shapes and colours in the short window of opportunity, for they don’t bloom for long.
I wanted my painting to reproduce the feeling of being outside (but without the very active black flies) so I pulled out all my vases and water jars at the studio so that I could create a garden on my table!
First I worked with watercolour in order to loosen myself up. I also love the way colour and water flow into each other and I wanted to ‘play’ with that.
This is one of my favorite iris paintings that I’ve ever done with watercolour.
I approached the acrylic like a wet-in-wet watercolour and tried to keep it very loose.
I’ve been inspired over the last year by reading artists’ blogs and online communities. There is so much creative work and exchange happening out there and it’s exciting to be able to see artwork online and to develop connections and correspondence with fellow artists all over the world, especially because I live in a tiny community that is a great distance from major galleries.
I subscribe to artist and writer Carol Wiebe’s blog called Silverspring Studio. I like Carol’s blog because it is a perfect mix of good writing and interesting articles. She writes about her own (beautiful) work as well as other artists. I have been introduced to many creative artists and websites through her descriptions. Carol recently set up her own online community called Cracked Paper Quilts and posted an online tutorial about her use of photo software, Adobe Elements, to digitally alter and enhance her artwork. I was very inspired by the mandela-like images she developed and I tried it myself with the paintings that I’m working on as well as this photo of lupines growing here with our new house as a backdrop.
I altered the colours in the photograph and experimented with some of the filters in Photoshop. To see more detail, click on the image.
I photographed a section of the acrylic canvas that I’m working on. I adore the colours.
First I altered the image with filters found in Adobe Photoshop. I liked that pen and ink look shown here.
Then I quadrupled the image and flipped and/or turned the image upside down to create the kind of image I might get when looking through a kaleidoscope.
I am thinking of ways to use the resulting works. I get it that altering images can be endless and addictive! It’s fun to see how colour changes can totally alter the feel of a piece.
This detail of the iris with watercolour was next on my list.
I changed the colours and applied a filter in Adobe Photoshop.
You can view the whole set here
I wish I wasn’t so consumed right now with gardening, moving, packing, sawdust vaccuming etc because I just want to paint these gorgeous flowers while they are still in bloom.
In another month or less we’ll be moved in and then there will be another wave of blooms to do. Still, I am promising myself to clear the decks for at least 2 weeks next year during iris time.
The beauty of Adobe Photoshop is that it’s as portable as your laptop and is something to ‘play’ with after a long day of mowing lawns and pulling weeds and turning up more sod by hand. Especially when your partner is sitting beside you on the couch watching the Stanley Cup final playoff game. That’s h-o-c-k-e-y for those of you living in an alternative universe. 😉