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A Delicate Iris in Watercolour with Kay Elliott

On Thursday 18th June, we were joined by lovely Kay Elliott who helped us paint a delicate Iris using watercolour and technical pen. See the pictures sent in, reference picture and materials list below.

See materials list below...

Materials required for this Arty Class:

• Watercolour paper (I will be using Bockingford 250 lb as it is thick)

• Pencil and rubber

• Watercolour Brush - I recommend a large brush (size 12) with a point! (I'll be using Da Vinci Cosmotop Spin Size 14)

• Technical drawing pen, black (I will be using Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen fineliner Black 0.3 nib.)

• Watercolour paints (I will be using Daniel Smith paints)

- A good blue/purple (I will be using Cobalt Blue Violet)

- A dark, dark shadow blue (I will be using Indigo)

- A nice mid-soft green (I will be using Olive Green)

- A good shadow green, darker than Olive (I will be using Undersea Green)

- A splash of shocking pink (I will be using Rose of Ultramarine)


I use transparent or semi-transparent paints – no opaques. For those who struggle with mixing colours, may I recommend ‘Mix your own watercolours’ by John Lidzey ISBN 1-85076-599-5 available on Amazon Books UK. It's a nice little book. Clear, informative and so helpful if you are just starting to mix colours and don’t want mud!

Pictures sent in:

Claire Godrich

Suzanne Wilson

Gill Wilson

Valmai Bowden

Dawn Newman

Elaine Marriott

Elizabeth Ballantine

Nina French

Michelle Wilson x2

Christine Roebuck

Brenda Whiting

Julie Barnett

Debbie Rowley

Jill Exell

Amanda Leavy

Di Hayter

Joy Worrall

Julie Pearce

Julie Knight

Sacha Tewes, age 11

Diana Daniell

Marian Williamson

Pauline Glover

June Covey

Janice Josiah

Molly Eastwood

Marion Pollinger x2

Lu Reeves

Feedback from the artist:

In order of appearance!

Claire Goodrich:- Got the idea definitely. Take the lines from the edge of the petals right to the centre – then you’ll lose the ‘tacking stitch’ look and get more curves too. Well done.

Suzanne Wilson;- Watch out for the size of the petals. The falls are a bit small. Really good though.

Gill Wilson;- Lots of movement. Well done. I know it was difficult with no Iris in front of you.

Valmai Bowden:- Front fall petal a bit large – but well done.

Dawn Newman;- Really well done. Good colours. Nice movement. Keep painting.

Elaine Marriott:- Not tall enough for the width so a bit out of proportion but a really good attempt.

Michelle Wilson;- I really like both of these. You have obviously got your style and good for you. They both work well.

Elizabeth Ballantine;-Nice attempt. Some lines going in the wrong direction but I understand it was hard to see. More pen drawing would help the finished painting.

Nina French;- Nice, bold, strong. Blues a bit sameish though – bud inner would not be that pale.

Christine Roebuck:- Would have liked a bit more colour variation but overall very good. Always take your lines from the edge of the petal to the centre – don’t stop before that.

Brenda Whiting;-Try not to go back over your work. Think a lot, paint once if possible. That will reduce the chance of brush strokes showing. Drawing good.

Julie Barnett;- Looks like a breezy day! Well done. However Iris pollen does not usually fling itself about this much. Oriental poppies, lilies etc yes Iris no.

Debbie Rowley;-Standard petals larger than the falls., but really good attempt. Splatter – toothbrush? – not really making sense. Only do it where/when appropriate.

Jill Exell;- Watch out for the sizes of your petals. Also take your lines from the edge of the petals to the flower centre – don’t just abandon the lines. Also beware of lifting the colour excessively, although the result today is charming – it’s better to not put it on than have to lift it off. So more thinking.

Amanda Leavy;- Watch the size of your petals. Lots of movement. Really good attempt. Drawing good.

Di Hayter;- Delicate, fragile, well drawn. Would have liked more pigment but this is an excellent piece of work. Well done.

Joy Worrall;- I know it was difficult because no flower in front of you. Lovely colours – gorgeous. Well done you!

Julie Pearce;- Pen line very thick in places – would be better finer and consistent. But both paintings really good. Keep at it! Leaves could do with being greener.

Julie Knight;- Very good. Interesting. Good drawing

Sacha Tewes; Did you have a real flower in front of you? It looks like you were looking down on it. Really good attempt. Keep painting Sacha.

Diana Daniell;- A bit heavy looking but I think that might be the lines lack the movement and shape of the petals. Well done though.

Marian Williamson;- Very tall and not wide enough. So proportionally a bit off – but nice attempt. Keep looking ad checking proportions.

Pauline Glover;- Nice colours, good drawing,. Keep painting! Well done.

June Covey;- Love your colours – rich and sumptuous. Keep painting. Good job.

Janice Josiah;- Proportionally a bit all over the place. Looking is fine – observing is everything- so keep practising.

Molly Eastwood;- Colours are okay, not great. Need more shadows in the right places. Lines need to go from edge of petals to the centre – not left high and dry. Really good attempt though.

Marion Pollinger;- First one a touch haphazard – good colours. Yellows don’t make sense in place of shadows. The second one better in many ways except proportions. The falls (lower petals) are way too small. Really look, see and observe – try to do a drawing a day – the subject doesn’t matter. Learn to observe accurately.

Lu Reeves;- Nice attempt. Good colours. Proportions of fall petals too small compared to standards. Bit too many lines has made it heavy. Good attempt though.

Thanks to everyone for taking part. Do hope you enjoyed it and hopefully you might sign on for next Wednesdays 3 hour workshop. Prepare to be impressed with your results!!

Karina Chapman


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