Iris in the Hondo

Today's post continues my celebration of the iris with a recent trip to the Hondo region. I always enjoy the drive there, and it's cooler than Roswell, so it's a good place to escape to when you need to flee the heat for a few hours.

Around the Tinnie area.

There also happens to be an iris farm up in the Hondo region, one that I'd been meaning to visit for some time. I had some free time between studio visits, so I popped into the farm to take a look around.

Due to a late frost, the iris are blooming a bit later than usual, so not everything is fully awake yet. Still, there were plenty of lovely blooms to see, and the environment itself is a calm peaceful one, inviting meandering strolls among verdant flower beds. Here are some of the flowers I saw:

I made a point of bringing my sketchbook with me, so I did some drawing while I was there. Normally I use paint for adding color, but for the sake of convenience, I used colored pencil this time around:

The colors were more saturated in real life, but you get the idea.

I liked the subtle color gradations in this flower.

I personally think that this was the most successful sketch of the group, but that's my opinion.

Another lovely red flower.

The iris is a fun flower to draw. They might seem intimidating with all their various folds and ruffled edges, but I've found the key is to focus on the basic structure of the flower. If you can distill the petals to one stroke each, the other lines will follow. It's a wonderful exercise in synthesizing observation into expressive line.

Admittedly, I generally prefer my sketches over my finished drawings because of their looseness and facile quality. I'm capable of drawing in a tight, meticulous style, but to me these works can become staid in their quest for perfection. When I'm sketching, by contrast, I don't feel compelled to make everything perfect, because I'm creating these works solely for myself. Without that pressure, I find my lines are looser, my compositions have more spontaneity, and everything feels more energetic. Ironically, because I don't feel pressured to get everything right, they also tend to be more accurate too in terms of observation. 

One of my ongoing challenges is to let the freedom I perceive in my sketching penetrate all of my finished work. The compositions may feel less tight, less clean, but I think they're more compelling precisely because they're rougher around the edges. And frankly, I think my viewers do as well.