Two Spring Irises
Pastel on sanded paper
It's taken me almost a week, maybe more than a week to do this painting in three sessions. I sketched it loosely in Holbein pastels, mostly with side strokes. Some spotting on the paper meant I did have to layer heavily or I might have added last details to the first loose light expressive rendering. I liked it a lot. But my second layer developing it became tight and dull, it lacked texture and the flowers lost their graceful shape.
Took me days of sketching other things and staring at it on the wall to figure out what to do next. That even involved erasing a bunch of leaves and a stem, working over what I had with softer pastels and adding both lighter and darker tones to the flowers because I had those tones in the larger Great American set of 60 half sticks. I had the right greens in the softer set including a dark olive. It worked once I used the right pastels.
I might have made it work with the Holbeins and their limited palette but only if I'd really erased out everything and been willing to settle for some hue substitutions I didn't like.