A few days ago I had an idea for this picture – I wanted to include all my family’s irises in a kind of gene pool painting. I set about gathering photos to work from, and once I had them, worked out which order they should be in. This was harder than it sounds.
Anyway, decision made, I jumped right in with the watercolours. I used quite a lot of water and flooded the colours in, taking the irises one at a time, lightest colours first, working down to the darks. I admit that I was hoping for some of the effects where paint and water has bled – others were just happy accident (as always). Some of the runs are quite extraordinary, others only worked partially as the surface was either too wet, or not wet enough. So be it.
I’m least happy with the brown eye (my Dad’s), which sadly has lost its luminous quality. I was trying to get his rich, dark brown with amber lights, but I think I overdid it. Also, there should be more green in at least a couple of the irises, but I struggled to make the right colours (and the photo is definitely biased even further to blue than green).
I worked on this painting over the space of three days, which meant that I could be sure that each part was properly dry before jumping in with the next. I spent quite a bit of time trying to decide whether to add in the pupils or not – in the end I made a template to hold over to see how it would look, which helped me to make the decision. I’d originally thought that the spiky shape inside of the ring of irises would be painted dark. Now I’m not at all sure – I think it’s finished, but will give it a couple of days to check!