How to Paint Irises Decoratively: Acrylic Art Lessons & Ideas

Art lesson №31: How to draw the iris flowers using the acrylic paints and the decorative techniques

Hello, my dear friends!

Now everything is blooming and it is a wonderful time for those who like to draw the flowers!
Last week I brought a beautiful bunch of flowers from my mother’s flower garden – you can see it in the beginning of the video clip.

The irises are either simple or difficult flowers. You will begin to consider them simple when you have losely and carefully examined them and understood the formation of these amazing flowers.

I think that in order to paint this picture well following this art lesson — you should take a single branch and choose one main flower on it. It will be a bit difficult to draw the big bunch of irises with their different species.

I am intensely keen on the yellow color – certainly that is why I have chosen the branch of yellow irises.

Still, I think, it will be easier for many of you to draw the classical purple or two-tone irises.

If the irises are still blooming in your garden — cut off one twig and settle down to work on the new painting with flowers.

You will need acrylic paints (I want to turn your attention to the fact that this art lesson is intended exactly for the acrylics).

Prepare a set of paints:

  • White;
  • Neapolitan Yellow;
  • Cadmium Yellow;
  • Cochineal Red;
  • Vandyke Brown;
  • Sap Green;
  • Prussian Blue
  • decorative paints:
  • Bamboo Sprout;
  • Gold;


  • air brush;
  • masking tape;
  • a piece of cellophane;
  • graphite pencil
  • brushes

Let’s set to work:

1. Make the sketch with a pencil on the canvas. Dispose the flowers so that they look harmonious. I have highlighted one big flower, placing it in the center. And I have added two small and unexpressive flowers to the background of the picture.

2. Fill the background of the canvas with the wet «Bamboo Sprout» paint. If you cannot find this paint, you can make the similar paint by yourself. Mix the decorative «Chameleon» or «Pearl» paint with the white and a little green.

3. In order to make the background more interesting, cover it with the liquid mixture of gold+brown+white. Dunk the piece of the crumpled cellophane into the paint and make the brush strokes over the canvas background. (this stage can be missed).


4. Mix the different shades of yellow in order to draw the irises:

  • Cadmium Yellow + White
  • Cadmium Yellow + White + Brown
  • Cadmium Yellow + White + Red
  • Cadmium Yellow + White+ green

Almost the same combinations should be done with the Neapolitan Yellow.

The purpose of this procedure is to get a large number of different shades of yellow (shadowy, bright, saturated and pale…) to draw the yellow flowers.

5. Painting the flowers. First, paint with the big brush (chisel brush №10) and mark the shadow and the light on the petals. Then improve them with the thinner brush.

6. The green leafs and stems should be painted with the green mixed with the yellow paint, and the more shaded areas – with the green mixed with the blue paint.

7. Create the translucent decorative frame. In order to mark it smoothly, you should use the masking tape. (do it when the background paint has already dried) Make the space from the edge of the canvas equal approximately to 3 cm and tape across the whole canvas. Then take the white diluted with water and cover the canvas from the edge to the masking tape. Remove the masking tape.

acrylic painting lessons
acrylic painting lessons

8. Make the decorative volumetric strokes. For this purpose wrap a small amount of paint into the square piece of thin transparent poly bag. Then make the small hole with a pin in this tightly wrapped polyethylene.

The next stage: press the gibbous and accurate strokes out of this weird device. I discovered this technique owing to Oleg Buyko – an artist who also takes the interesting videos for those who are keen on painting.

Here we have considered the basic stages for creating the decorative painting with irises.

I wish you new success in your creative work!

Write comments and send photos of your works.