All About Iris

Iris No. 11 Deep Into Purple, Watercolor, 8x20, by June Rollins

All About Iris is the name of the current series I’ve been working on the past several months.  Even after completing Iris No. 11 & 12 (shown left & below), these bearded beauties continue to captivate me.

Iris No. 12 Bashful Beauty, Watercolor, 7x10.5, By June Rollins

All About Iris

I didn’t plan on falling in love with Iris. It all started last summer, while looking through the White Flower Farm Catalog (

Each spring when I was little, the bearded irises in my grandmother’s flower garden were majestic, taller than me. I couldn’t believe these White Flower Farm iris put on their show in the spring and then again in the fall. I had to have them.

I was uncertain of their fleshy, segmented bodies and stiff, green crew cuts when they arrived last September. Cautiously following the directions, which seemed way too simple. I laid them in the ground and sprinkled fertilizer around them like I was casting fairie dust.

What transpired next was actually, the hardest part.

Watching. And waiting.

Watching. And waiting.

And then, watching and waiting some more.

But, this past spring, nine months after we first met, my iris had their first bloom! They were as grand as I remembered as a child in shades of purple, peach, periwinkle, mauve and gold.

Being the proud parent, I took well over 200 photos. I took photos in the morning; I took photos in the evening, in the sunshine and in the rain.

I know I’m not the first person to stick a camera in a flower’s face, but that didn’t matter. I had been taken in.

Before painting, my passion was photography. A growing desire to paint from my photos is what led me to watercolor. And today, ten years later, a majority of my paintings continue to be from my photo references. Yet, even I had not planned on this overwhelming pull to paint these irises!

But they had lured me in and whispered their secrets and I felt compelled to somehow express this elusive connection in my art. Maybe Greek mythology is true? Iris was believed to be the personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. Traveling with the speed of the wind she linked the gods to humanity.

All I know is, I was experiencing an iris, as I never had before. Could I show you an iris in my paintings like you had never seen before?

This isn’t the first time I’ve been smitten with a subject.

I’ll be enthralled with, you name it. But it doesn’t last. After three or four renderings of apples or oceans, I’m ready to move on. The consummate “subject hopper.”

Maybe, this time will be different.

Yesterday, I signed Iris No. 12 in the All About Iris Series and I feel like I’m just beginning. You know, that excitement and enthusiasm that fuels all new endeavors? I’ve still got it. It’s that and something more I can’t put into words. A good problem for an artist to have. Enjoy the journey!

If I could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint. –Edward Hopper

6 thoughts on “All About Iris

  1. Beautiful June, I just finished an Acrylic “Iris in Blue”..I need to send you a jpeg.

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