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Irises, 15" x 18", by Lisa Argentieri

Expressive Freedom with Watercolor! by Lisa Argentieri
Technique with DANIEL SMITH Extra Fine Watercolor Paints

Inspired by Irises!

When I saw these beautiful irises, so graceful and lush, I had to paint them!
I am often asked how I achieve such “emotionally spirited” watercolors paintings, and the truth
is it comes from within! Every brushstroke is highly charged with enthusiastic confidence as I
paint intuitively from my gut!


My approach to this, and all of my watercolor paintings is to be loose, spontaneous and full of expression. With my color choices, composition and brush movements I can passionately paint and express what I feel and what I see. The irises in this case, served only as a reference as I painted them with expressive freedom. I do not draw beforehand, but dive right in with DANIEL SMITH Watercolors on dry, unstretched 300 lb. Fabriano paper and Escoda watercolor brushes.

Utilizing hard and soft edges, and a variety of DANIEL SMITH pigments, I can show the drama and delicacy of a simple bunch of irises. The fluidity of the fragile petals entangled with deep green stems comes thru in the final painting.

I paint from life - never from a photograph. I believe this lends to a more emotionally charged painting.

I started this painting laying down the feel of the composition, with an emphasis on the diagonal form of the front stem. I used Olive Green, Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue .

I also started to indicate the placement of the irises, letting Quinacridone Purple and Cerulean Blue fuse on the paper. I dropped Quinacridone Gold in some wet areas and let the colors flow into each other.

In this painting there was a lot of pushing and pulling of darks and lights, varying the blues and greens and suggesting, without telling all, what I saw and more importantly what I felt when I looked at these flowers. I am very inspired by the Master Impressionists.

After I let the painting dry, I went back into it with more defining shapes and forms. Olive green mixed well with the Ultramarine Blue in defining the dark stems. I really wanted to show off the blues, so I went in heavy with Cerulean Blue, Quinacridone Purple and Cobalt Blue Violet. I utilized Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue and Quinacridone Gold to indicate iris centers and suggest background.

As I prefer watercolor painting to express myself, I need a product that I can depend on. Watercolors by DANIEL SMITH never let me down, they mix together terrifically, there’s a huge choice of vibrant and original colors and they are lightfast.

Since I do not premix colors on my palette, I like knowing how they will perform on the paper.

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Lisa Argentieri is an internationally recognized, award winning artist from NY, USA. Her paintings have been selected into major juried art shows, and she has won numerous art competitions and contests. Lisa has been featured in many magazines and newspapers. She is an artist member of the prestigious Salmagundi Art Club, NYC and several local art leagues. Lisa earned her B.F.A. degree at the School of Visual Art, NYC. Her work is held in private collections throughout the country. To see more of her work please see her website: www.lawatercolor.com