More Iris Paintings

May 1, 2016

'Jessie's Song' irises from Kitty's garden on Samish Island

‘Jessie’s Song’ irises from Kitty’s garden on Samish Island

I like the way the tall irises stand tall in a row.  The repetition is pleasing to my eye.

Part one of my watercolor painting of irises in a row

Part one of my watercolor painting of irises in a row

My finished painting

My finished painting


Kitty's iris garden on Samish Island

Kitty’s iris garden on Samish Island

This iris is called 'Moonlit Water'

This iris is called ‘Moonlit Water’

We picked a cool day for our trip up north to Samish Island to paint in our friend Kitty’s iris garden.  Her irises are just starting to bloom.  It was rather nice, actually, to have fewer irises to gaze at.  In another week or two, there will be so many colors and varieties vying for our attention.

This is such an inspiring place, lovingly tended, overlooking the Sound.  I am loving painting irises this year.

More photos from Kitty's and Steve's garden

More photos from Kitty’s and Steve’s garden






Painted in the garden

Painted in the garden

From Kitty's porch during a rain shower

From Kitty’s porch during a rain shower



Watercolor sketch of Iris from Kitty's garden

Watercolor sketch of Iris from Kitty’s garden using Maryam’s paper from France (Moulin a Papier de Provence)

I was in a receptive frame of mind to hear the lessons Frederick Franck presents in his book, The Awakened Eye:  A Companion Volume to The Zen of Seeing (1979).  He advocates for a contemplative way of seeing and of practicing drawing as meditation.  He says:

“I have this life —
of which most is gone —
to spend . . .  or to waste . . . ”

Kitty's iris garden on Samish Island

Kitty’s iris garden on Samish Island



“These drawings were done
for one reason only:
to SEE before I die . . .”  — Frederick Franck

“The meaning of life is to see.”  — Hui Neng

Oh, yes.

“Well. Then we had the irises, rising beautiful and cool on their tall stalks, like blown glass, like pastel water momentarily frozen in a splash, light blue, light mauve, and the darker ones, velvet and purple, black cat’s ears in the sun, indigo shadow, and the bleeding hearts, so female in shape it was a surprise they’d not long since been rooted out. There is something subversive about this garden of Serena’s, a sense of buried things bursting upwards, wordlessly, into the light, as if to point, to say: Whatever is silenced will clamor to be heard, though silently.”      ―Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale



I’ve been watching these irises from buds to blooms: