Tutorial: How to paint a watercolour iris

Irises are beautiful flowers. Their deep purple tones contrast with the yellow centres and thin leaves. The petals are wonderfully frilly and it’s easy to capture this in watercolour by just wiggling your brush as you paint. 

how-to-paint-a-watercolour-iris

What you will need

  • Watercolour paper
  • Watercolour paints
  • Round brush
  • Water jars
  • Paper towels

Colours

  • Dioxazine Purple
  • Cadmium Yellow
  • Hooker’s Green

How to paint an iris in watercolour – video tutorial

Painting an iris – step by step

  1. Create a really light, watery mix with a hint of purple. Load up a brush and outline the bottom petal with a wiggle stroke. Leave an indent at the top and a wider bottom.
  2. While the area is still wet, load up with a richer purple mix and drop this colour in around the egdes. Make the frills and waves more detailed if needed.
  3. Add a little yellow to the indentation at the top and allow to diffuse.
  4. Take care not to blend with your brush! It works best if you allow the paint to diffuse naturally.
  5. Using a darker purple, pull out the two side petals in thin strokes with wavy, frilly lines.
  6. Create the top petals the same way as the bottom one. Start with the left one which sits in front. Connect it to the other petals and add the darker purple and yellow middle. Fill in the gap with the other top petal to create a balanced shape.
  7. Use a deep green mix to create a stem and long, thin leaves. Use them to frame the flower shape.
  8. Once the flower is dry, use a thin brush to add line details over the top in a medium purple tone.

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