Work in Progress: Irises

{an in progress painting and the setup beyond}

This year as I continue working on this series, Bountiful Observations, I still have the goal to post a new painting every Monday, however I have also decided to allow myself time to absorb and slow down if the composition I am working on seems it would benefit from extra time to contemplate and dive deeper into the ideas that are informing the process.

With this painting of irises, I was drawn into the idea of creating a painting that bridged two schools of thought, that of the impressionistic bravado of Sergeant and that of the scientific and deliberate realism of Dutch still life. I am grappling with this idea on this painting, should I develop some areas while leaving other areas more sketched in and untouched and to what level of refinement to I achieve overall.

All of the objects in this painting are specially selected, and play a crucial part in how this painting is being developed. First the palette is based around the complementary colors of purple and yellow. The pewter plate and lemon is in homage to the Dutch artist, Pieter Claesz, the books support in color as well as in the ideas of the different schools of art. The top two books are volumes 1 & 2 of Sir Charles Lock Eastlake’s Methods and Materials of Painting of the Great Schools and Masters, and the bottom book is Albert C. Barnes book on The Art of Henri Matisse.

These ideas informed my decisions on what to include in this painting.  However, it is the love of what I see that has kept me captivated on this subject and continues to draw me in, the beautiful nuanced notes of light, how the window is reflected in the glass vase, how light gets refracted onto the wall beyond, how shapes within the painting overlap and interact with each other.  All details that keep my senses activated and energized, and inspires me to keep painting.

On sunny days in January, I am also learning that there is a brilliancy of golden notes in the light that is not present any other time of year. This may be influenced by all the brown notes in the landscape outside, lack of green foliage in the trees, and also a lack of humidity in the air.

I am not sure, but I am discovering it this is a special time of year.


This painting was completed last year at the same time and was the first time I really began to notice and appreciate the special quality of light on a sunny day in January.

I cannot help but ask after sharing my thoughts on this time of year.   Is there something you think is particularly special about January?