I blush to confess that I wince at receiving cut flowers, knowing what's to follow. Unwilling witness to their inevitable demise, I simply can't bring myself to trash them until they are demonstrably, horribly, dead and thoroughly smelly.
This bias used to be a big problem. In the process of teaching myself to paint in watercolours, I seized on flowers at first, as do we all: everything else was overwhelming. Now this was before digital photography. If I saw and photographed a beautiful flower, it might be some time still before that print was developed, and patience has never been my strong suit. I didn't feel I could cut it either, so if I wanted to capture that loveliness, I would have to sit down and paint there and then. And paint fast! Some flowers only bloom for a day or two, and shadows are always moving.
Talk about pressure.
At the time I saw this iris, we were living on Galiano Island, sixteen miles from a store, and with no transportation but shank's pony. A lack of options does encourage decisiveness. I hauled my kit outside and started to paint the black bloom: though it reflected deep tones when the light was shining on it, rose and mulberry undertones glowed transparently when the sun shone through it. I didn't begin to do it justice but hope that the painting conveys a bit of that glorious iris and that happy time. Irises are so tough and long-lived that it's even possible it bloomed again this year. I hope so.