Monday, March 5, 2012

Hi Calypso

Hello all, Jill K. Berry here. This month we are drawing flowers, and I am particularly interested in the Iris. You many not know that the Iris grows in more environments across the globe than any other flower, and has more variations in color than most of its relatives. Iris is also the goddess of messages between the gods and humanity, and is the personification of the rainbow.

Here in Boulder, Colorado, we have a place called Long's Gardens, which in late spring is bursting with unusual colors of bearded Iris that they develop there. One of the irises that I bought at Long's to commemorate the birth of my daughter who was "developed" the same year, is the Hi Calypso. It is a party in a flower, a burst of wild color that is an unexpected riot in my garden, even 13 years later. Seems I have a knack with irises, since I planted this one it has taken over a huge space under my maple tree. Every spring I take my journal out and draw these blooms, before I pick a few and haul them inside.

The bearded iris is complicated. I have drawn it's "standards" (upward petals) "falls" (downward petals) and "beards" (the fuzzy part on the base of the fall) many times. The lines are sinuous, the textures varied and they never get dull to look at. In my journal I drew them in pencil, then used watercolor crayons to lay color over the top, going over the final with pencil again. I scanned in a few of them, and got rid of the background.

These irises I drew were used in two projects. One was in an ATC. The compass rose spins, and if you pull the little fish, the ship moves across the card.

The other project is in my book, Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Mapmaking. It is a collaged map of my heart. I put the Iris in the center of my heart because it was a transitional time in my life, when many messages were being sent between the heavens and the earth, via the tender lives of my friends.

It is a dark grey and dull day here in Boulder, and I have enjoyed my journal gardens while writing this post. Enjoy your garden today, wherever they are!


  1. Beautiful drawings. I love these big irises but they don't like the conditions my garden offers so I can't grow them.

  2. I, too love irises and love drawing, painting, quilting and growing them! These drawings are glorious. Really lovely and the colours are stunning too!

  3. beautiful irises! and oh my, "you pull the fish and the boat moves" is fabulous on that ATC card!

  4. beautiful sketches/drawings of the irisis and that ATC is too much fun~!!~


  5. I love Iris, they are my favourite flower cant seem to grow them though they always die on my. Beautiful paintings, thank you for sharing

  6. Your iris is father had award winning Iris gardens that people came from all over to visit. They are a majestic flower and you really personified them!!!


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