I'm working on a collection of small 8X8 iris paintings to group together following my trip to the Argyle Iris farm two days ago. There is so much great material to work with from the photos I took, but I love the blues and purples the most so I started here. One thing I've learned about painting Irises in oils, it really helps to mix in Gamblin Portland Grey Deep and Light to mute the blues in some places. Too much intense hue becomes overwhelming on these bright flowers. (Who was it who said if everyone is shouting, you can't hear the words?)
I just finished watching a DVD workshop on flower painting by Robert Johnson, the master painter. He mentioned that many people are afraid of making flowers very dark, because we think of flowers being light and bright. But he said most flowers do have some intense darks in them, and not to forget to include them. Robert has the same interesting technique that Ann Templeton has, Jean Chambers has, so many of the masters use - thin transparent paints such as oxide reds and viridians for an underpainting, topped with extremely thick opaque highlights with whites mixed in for dramatic impact. If you haven't seen Robert's flower painting video on dahlias, you should rent it from one of the online services. It is great!
Happy painting out there, I hope you are getting our sunshine since we are in day 10 of the 40 day flood here in Texas.