The Iris, oil pastel

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Benjamin Franklin

When I started painting, the medium I choose was oil pastels and I was lucky to have found Wetcanvas.   The online artist community has an oil pastel forum that was run by Pat Isaac, an incredible artist, teacher, and who for years tirelessly gave of herself to many of us trying to learn the medium and get better as artists.  Not only did she devote countless hours to the site, but also was co-founder of the international Oil Pastel Society.

Pat recently passed away, I lost a mentor and someone whom I held in the highest esteem – a friend who will be missed.  Pat had enough confidence in my ability, as a young artist, to ask me to become a guide to others on the Oil Pastel Forum (Wetcanvas) – the quote from Benjamin Franklin seemed fitting here.

The Iris, an oil pastel (10×8) was done on cream tinted Mi-Tientes pastel paper using mainly Senneliers and Holbeins oil pastel brands.

I was very fortunate to have had Pat visit my blog a couple weeks ago, knowing that I was struggling she left an encouraging comment – I like to think a beautiful gift.  Here’s to Pat – thank you my friend  .  .  .  click onto the image for a larger view.

The Iris



About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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75 Responses to The Iris, oil pastel

  1. Very nice! Great form in this one. ~Rita

  2. Louise says:

    A favourite flower of mine Mary … you’ve imparted a lovely sense of restrained and serene composure with your oil pastels. Beautiful tribute to your fine mentor x

  3. Beautiful.
    She left a wonderful legacy in her students.

  4. I absolutely love this. It is to me incredible how you get such realism and intensity from oil pastels. The composition is beautifully ingenious.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much Robert for your generous comment – I’m glad you enjoyed the painting. Oil Pastels are a great medium for many different painting styles – offering rich and intensive color choices (it can produce mud if mixed too much). Two things I always wish for with this medium: that the painted OPs would dry and to be able to glaze. It’s a great medium though. Thanks again – your comments means a lot.

  5. Jess says:

    Sorry for your loss Mary. I’m sure Pat would love the iris. it’s beautiful. Iris is such a delicate flower and you captured all its little folds and colors perfectly.

    • Mary says:

      So kind Jess, thank you. Iris’ have interesting structures, your words described perfectly why I loved painting this one with oil pastels.

  6. So lovely. I love the way the background enhanced the picture.

  7. I love the “frills” of iris petals. You’ve captured their beauty.

  8. I’m sorry to hear the news about your mentor. 😦 It’s a big loss to lose someone like that.

    As for the iris: it is beautiful. I always think irises are messy flowers – they’re not as neat and tidy as a daisy – but they are no less stunning. You’ve really captured their elegance.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Ruth, that means a lot to me. I’ve been more than intimidated to try my hand at an Iris, finally I thought this particular one would be appropriate for Pat and gave it a go. Really appreciate your thoughts.

  9. I’m always amazed at your talent, but this one blows me away. 🙂

  10. Heartafire says:

    this is beyond words beautiful. Fine job Mary!

    • Mary says:

      Thank you for your beautiful thoughts Holly.

      • Heartafire says:

        you are more than welcome and so deserving

        • Mary says:

          Thanks Holly. I’ve been away from blogging because of a bad shoulder, slowly I’m just starting back – no art of late either. Hopefully in the next few days I can visit some of your blog postings that I’ve missed – your writings is something that I really look forward too.

          • Heartafire says:

            Thank you Mary, I am so sorry to hear this, please make a speedy recovery. ❤

            • Mary says:

              Thanks Holly. It’s been two weeks and am finally starting to see some improvement.

              • Heartafire says:

                That’s good Mary. I had a frozen shoulder a couple of years ago…not good so I sympathize with your pain!

              • Mary says:

                Thanks. I hope this doesn’t take too long to heal – doing a lot of exercises with it. How long did yours take to heal?

              • Heartafire says:

                When they told me I had a frozen shoulder they said there was really nothing to be done but wait, they told me about a year, and sure enough it took a year, but I was not incapacitated but couldn’t lift my arm more than half way…bummer 🙂

              • Mary says:

                I don’t have the patience of a year – wow. The exercises that I’m doing are beginning to work, so the progress has me really hopeful it won’t be a long recovery period.

              • Heartafire says:

                Physical therapy is an excellent idea! Thumbs up!

  11. cmartzloff says:

    Wow! This has to be one of my new favorites. So beautifully done. I love the delicacy of it!

  12. I love your work, Mary, and this Iris is truly amazing!

  13. jvandervlugt says:

    Mary, I am very sorry to hear of the passing of your mentor. This Iris is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. A great tribute to Pat.

    My life has been a little chaotic lately and I’m catching up on my blog reading.

    I love your flowers and I have been sharing them to my Facebook page.

    Beautiful iris. 👏👏

    • Mary says:

      Hi Joanna, thanks very much for your thoughts and nice comment, truly appreciate it and for sharing my paintings. Pat was a wonderful artist, teacher and mentor to so many – she’ll be missed. Understand about your being busy, especially with your new role – I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ve been up to. Have a great week ahead.

  14. Gallivanta says:

    Beautiful. Our mentors are wonderful people; the magic is they keep mentoring us even after they are long gone.

    • Mary says:

      I just love your response to this post Gallivanta! Yes, Pat will stay with me through all my future paintings, her artistic advice was always short to the point and spot-on. Thank you so much for visiting, lovely to see you again.

  15. tedgiffin says:

    Beautiful! Vibrant! Fearless!

  16. ladyfi says:

    So sorry to hear about Pat. That’s a lovely iris.

  17. restlessjo says:

    Sad to lose a mentor and a friend, Mary. Your work is so beautiful and you are without doubt a credit to her. Sending hugs!

  18. That is so beautiful Mary. The colours and form – you have managed to convey the delicate nature of the petals but yet the majesty of the Iris showing it’s glory !

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Rebecca – I’ve not painted an Iris before, so I really appreciate your artistic response to the painting. You reading of the flower is what I was hoping to convey.

  19. A beautiful tribute, Mary. It’s amazing what we can learn from some of our internet friends as we become involved, and what real—not virtual—gifts they sometimes give us. Pat would likely be very proud of whatever little part she had in the making of your lovely iris.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks so much Cynthia, I’ve been very lucky to have had overwhelmingly positive experiences with the internet. Pat was a bright star, who touched so many along the way – I was very fortunate to have known her. Yes, somehow I have a feeling that Pat took the Iris ride with me.

  20. Resa says:

    OMG, and I thought your roses were the most gorgeous! My head is spinning. What a treat it was to blow that piece of art up.

    • Mary says:

      You make me laugh Resa, but I love your reaction to the painting. This was a pleasure to work out in oil pastels, the medium made the purple leaves like velvet – which I love. Thank you so much for always being present.

  21. dorannrule says:

    Your talent is amazing. I love the softness in this one.

  22. Susan Feniak says:

    Your Iris is so lovely Mary. Such a wonderful quote I will have to write it down and remember it. 🙂 Your oil pastel flowers are evolving right in front of us. A joy to watch.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Susan for your kind comment and compliment – you know they mean a lot to me. Flowers were an intimidating subject for a long time, I finally got the nerve to just have at it. Thank you always and yeah, that was a great quote ~

      • Susan Feniak says:

        Agreed, flowers are an intimidating subject. Its hard to give them curves the proper dimension, scope, and depth. Mine seem to turn out flat. But one should persevere. Have at it!! More, more, keep them coming.

  23. Truly beautiful! Just amazing.

  24. Mary, your floral paintings have a touch of the divine. The light and colours of the iris, the impressionist feel of the roses… beautiful. Congrats! It’s really interesting to watch your art as it evolves. Thank you.

    • Mary says:

      You know how to really touch me Cynthia, thank you so much. When I first started to paint one of my goals was to learn how to paint flowers, so your thoughtful comments mean a lot to me. It’s been a great learning curve, so happy that you been on the journey with me.

  25. Your beautiful Iris and words are a fitting tribute to Pat. She sounds like she was a kind and very dedicated woman. I love the quote, Mary.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you Sylvia for your thoughtful response to the painting and quote. I was fortunate and grateful to have learned so much from this talented woman.

  26. Mary, my dear, you’ve got my favorite flower with my favorite colors all in the perfect frame! So beautiful! 🙂

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much Marina – never thought I’d be painting an Iris, but found that it worked well with the oil pastels. Glad you enjoyed the painting – hope you have a wonderful Wednesday.

  27. I’m sorry for your loss, Mary. No doubt she’s smiling at your beautiful oil pastel…it’s lovely.

  28. I’m sorry for your loss, Mary. She sounds amazing. This painting may be one of your best. Such luxurious deep hues and amazing contrast. Not an easy subject, the iris. Really beautiful.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much Laura – she was an incredibly talented woman, whom I learned much from. Appreciate your noticing the details of the painting, this Iris was amazing to work out in oil pastels.

  29. Beautifully atmospheric

  30. Good morning Mary….I love the quote and then when I read about your friend Pat passing – I loved it even more. I am so sorry to hear about your loss, but so happy for you that you connected with such a woman and someone who has clearly been an inspiration, teacher and mentor for you….We all need people like that in our lives. Through your work, you will continue to pay homage to her.
    Another beautiful image….Janet:)

    • Mary says:

      Thank you so much Janet. Ours was a virtual relationship I was very fortunate to have met her early on in my desire to learn about the art of creating. Without her guidance I may not have stuck it out with oil pastels, she was really the best in this medium.

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