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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Iris" Transformation of a Painting (nude)

It was an ok painting that did of some "Irises" years ago, hence the title.  At the time, there were a few television artists showing how to paint blended strokes. Usually, this is done by double loading a flat brush. One corner is dipped into one color of paint, and the other corner is dipped in another color. The brush is taken to the palette, and brushed back and forth until it leaves a mark transitioning smoothly from one color to the next. The brush is then taken to canvas to make the same kind of mark.

Inspired by a photograph of a model I took a handful of years back, and the interest in Van Gogh's "Irises" paintings, and the love of skeletal and muscle structure,  I set out to recreate what I'd created. I was fascinated by the foreground leg, so that's where I began.

 The original completely covered, I began sculpting the form. I added a bench for her to sit on. To remain true to my original painting and the idea of Irises, I put scumbles loosely in the back ground, and tightened up some forms to resemble the flower vaguely. A sheer drapery was added over the bench to reflect the flower petal's shape in hopes that the figure would become part of the flower. The thought led me to look up paintings by Georgia O'keefe for inspiration.

With the form set solidly, I began focus on light and shadow then added color. This is Yellow Ocre over Ivory Black and Titanium White. In the end, more white and black were added to enhance tonality and shift small muscles and bone within the form to make it come forward or recede, reach to light or fade to darkness. The sheer drapery was trimmed leaving only the remaining petal shapes on the bench. These were highlighted and shaded as well, becoming a carving there.

Though there are many Irises in the final work, I felt the focus should be only one.... her, the timeless lady iris, who sits, supple stone in remembrance of a simple work done long ago.

Acrylic on Canvas

Is she finished? I don't know. Perhaps she will call again one day. smiles
tina jones

P.S. Read Critique Comments on this work at Painting:

5/25/2011: "Iris" Has now been featured in Psychology Today magazine!


  1. Wow...what a transformation. I tried to see the nude in the irises, but couldn't find her.

  2. Lokelani,
    Thankyou. You are so kind.
    I'm smiling, because the nude isn't in the irises. She *is* the iris.
    The marks on the bench are the three lower petals of the iris, and her thighs are the two upper petals.
    I guess one could say, "The Iris is hidden in the nude. smiles.
    Thankyou so much,

  3. Love the painting and love your blog. I'm a beginning painter. Can you recommend a good book or website on technique? I'm especially interested in glazing but right now everything has to be pretty detailed for me since I'm just starting out. Keep up the great writing. And thanks for the tips on women. Someday I hope to meet one I can actually try this stuff out on. :-)
    -- gar

  4. Gar, Hi. I love a new painter! Goodness Yes. hehe. I know a place online. I'm host of's painting forum. It's a teaching forum, full of encouragement, and we have all levels of experience from newcommer to old hats like me. We'd love to have you.
    Here is a section full of information for beginners.
    Glazing, though an Old Master Technique that is very simple was no where to be found in books or the internet when I started using the technique. I'd found one very loose mention of it in Joseph Sheppard's "How to Paint Like the Old Masters." but that was it. I ran into someone who is now a wonderful friend who'd been practicing the technique as well. He'd written an article for, and then I was no longer alone. smiles. Since then, we've both done demonstrations and taught untold numbers about glazing, including the "John" videos you see in the video bar on this page. Glazing is now everywhere! and I am thrilled!

    Here's a link to with more information.
    I'd encourage you to visit our forum by clicking "Discuss in my forum" near the upper right of that page, just under the box where you can sign up for a free newsletter as well.
    Personally, I couldn't love a group of people more.
    I may do another glazing demo here or in a video soon. Meanwhile, thanks for your note, and happy painting!

  5. The "someone" I mentioned was Gerald Dextraze, and here is the article of his on glazing.

  6. Here's a link to my free youtube videos. There are five in the series "Tina Jones Oil Portrait Painting John Demo" Five are there. These contail a lot of glazing.
    I've a few others as well. I hope you enjoy.

    tina jones

  7. Thank you so much Tina. I'm loving it. I got new brushes in today! Windsor & Newton. They are almost too beautiful to dip in paint. I almost want to frame them as a work of art. I won't know what to do with these. I've been using cheapo's from Wal-Mart. :-)

  8. Gar, So exciting about your new brushes! What to do? Get 'em wet! hehe.
    I have all kinds of brushes, and all ranges of prices, but I use whatever works. A person could paint with a shoe string if they wanted to, but it's certainly easier with a brush. Among my favorites on the inexpensive side are synthetic brushes. They hold their shape well and are soft enough to apply color without brushmarks, if that's what a person is looking for.
    These can be found by Golden Taklon, and they can be found sooo inexpensive in (ready?) children's craft painting supplies. I have many of the following, by Royal and Langnickel.

    I use sables, hog bristle and other brushes, but these are my work horses.

  9. Thanks for the story of "Iris"...I enjoyed your conversation here about glazes also. It seems like a lot of newer painters have missed 'discovery' techniques - see, read, study and experience. Glazes are one of the best experiences to have discovered. They are the mysterious 'life' in the oils I love best. K

  10. Thanks so much, Kathleen! Very true! Glazing gives a painting the kind of glow that cannot be achieved with mixed colors.

  11. Hi ya!! thanks so much for posting the 'Iris' story!! Very interesting!!!
    A question since I don,t remember if you've been asked this before or not: have you ever glazed while using acrylics??

  12. jbf, Yes, I've glazed using acrylics. This one was a combination of glazing, dabbing and straight painting. I've only tried a few products in acrylic for glazing, being Daler Rowney's glazing medium, and this time I tried something totally different. I used an interior paint glaze for walls by Valspar. I wouldn't recommend it's use in painting, as it doesn't lend much more open time to canvas painting, but I'm sure it's wonderful on walls. (I have to try everything...can't help myself. hehe)
    There is a great article at By Brian Rice.
    His work with acrylics is amazing. Here's Brian's blog site with demo.

  13. Wow It took me six months to think of that,LOL-Not really I finally joined Yeah!!!!I love this you know how fond of Impressionism I am. Right?

  14. Ter,Yes, and I'm glad you joined. I think you'd make a great blogger. You're a wonderful story teller! just an idea...