I wasn’t immediately certain which flower I might consider my favorite. I’ve never really considered it before. So, I just sketched the first one that came to mind, which was a purple iris. I just remember this flower being one of my mother’s favorites growing up, so I guess I can adopt it as mine. Also, years ago, long before I ever started painting I loved macro nature photography and this was one of my favorite subjects to shoot. The transparency of the petals and the beautiful stripes and colors that were hiding inside them amazed me. I guess it’s no wonder, since this little flower takes it’s name from the Greek goddess of the rainbow. Over the years, these flowers have captivated painters and even found their way into Bombay Sapphire gin.
When it comes to sketching and painting, though, flowers are not my preferred subject. They’re so rare for me, that I can tell you this is only the 9th flower I’ve ever attempted to draw in my life. What’s wrong with him, you ask yourself? Who doesn’t like to paint flowers? Well, me, apparently, so I decided I would take a run at this subject once more. That’s when I realized this was my favorite flower. I actually enjoyed painting it because of the memories it evoked. Every animal reminds me of the zoo, for example, as it was my favorite place on earth as a child, and so I love painting them. And that’s when I realized that as random as all my subject matter has been over the past year of doodlewashing, there was actually something in common the whole time. Memories.
I don’t enjoy painting flowers because they don’t evoke any particular special memory for me. They’re lovely to be sure, but I often find myself finding more beauty in things that make me remember childhood. Perhaps if flowers had played a larger or more pivotal role in my childhood I might feel differently. In the case of this purple iris, I do. I remember wanting to cut some from the neighbor’s house in order to bring them back to my mother. Though, doing this once was met with a severe reprimand, it’s still a beautiful memory of growing up. A simple and meaningful connection to my past, found in the delicate form of a fragile purple iris.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham Watercolors: Dioxazine Purple, Gamboge, Permanent Green Pale, and Ultramarine Blue. Sennelier L’Aquarelle Watercolours: Opera Rose. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon sepia ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal.
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Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!