Big Reveal - Van Gogh Inspired Irises

Well, it’s Monday, and as promised, here it is! The Big Reveal – Van Gogh inspired Irises, that I was working on last week. I think it’s done! Before I share my version of this iconic work, let’s talk about THE painting, done by Vincent Van Gogh.

IRISES – Van Gogh, 1889

Big Reveal - Van Gogh Inspired Irises

This work is instantly known as having been done by Van Gogh. It has his signature style and colours. It’s such a stunning piece, that I had to look up it’s history. And with all good art, we should share! So this is what I found out, from the web page.

  • ‘Irises’ is thought to be the first work Van Gogh completed, after entering the Saint-Paulde-Marsole, an asylum at Saint-Remy. The flowers were growing in a garden, there.
  • It’s believed (unconfirmed) that Van Gogh saw himself as the single white iris; separate & different from the rest.  This painting is one of nearly 130 completed during his stays at the asylum.
  • “Irises” was exhibited only once before Van Gogh’s death, in the 1889 Salon des Indepenents exhibition in Paris. It was his brother, Theo, who had submitted it.
  • To see the original “Irises” painting, you’ll have to travel to the J. Paul Getty Museum, in California, where it is permanently housed.  To read more about this wonderful painting, you can click on the link above.


If you look at the upper right hand corner of the original painting, you’ll see the portion that is included in the piece I did. I used a reference picture taken from a tutorial in the Alcohol Ink Art Society – and of course, it was cropped from a copy of the original.

Big Reveal - Van Gogh Inspired Irises

Now, I worked on this piece, off & on, over 4 days. My piece measures 9″ x 12″. I don’t know the actual measurements of Van Gogh’s original “Irises”, but I can’t imagine how long it took him to paint! Of course, I’m certainly not comparing my alcohol ink art to his masterpiece in oil!


I shared a ‘sneak peek’ of this work last week, when I was almost half-way done. You can see it HERE. At that point, it looked like a bad paint-by-numbers! The starting point is the background; get that established before moving on. After the background, start work on the petals. Work from top to bottom, so that you don’t accidentally smear any ink that may still be wet. With the main colours in the petals done, the next step is adding the flower ‘beards’ (these are ‘bearded iris’). Finally, add details like the black shadows, highlights, and any touching up.

The Ranger alcohol inks I use are Limeade, Sunshine Yellow, Botanical, and Cobalt. I also used Pinata brand Sapphire ink. The other tools you’ll need are a palette, brushes of different sizes, Alcohol Blending Solution, an Alcohol Blending Pen, and some small q-tips or micro-dental applicators.


As I like to do, I lay a black mat over my finished piece, for this next photo.

Big Reveal - Van Gogh Inspired Irises

Well, what do you think? Is it finished? Do I need to ‘tweak’ any details?  I haven’t sealed the painting yet, so I can still make changes if I need to. Once I spray seal it with Kamar varnish, to seal & protect the ink, that’s it – I’m committed!

I’m pretty happy with myself, for doing this big piece. After having done the smaller iris HERE the week before, I only followed the tutorial for this big piece for reference on what to do first, as well as colour mixing for the leaves.


I can’t share the tutorial with you, as it’s a paid tutorial, in the Alcohol Ink Art Society. I can however share the supplies used, so that you can try this fun & fabulous Iris piece, yourself. If you do – I want to see pictures!

By the way – I have added the smaller Iris piece, plus several of my other art pieces, to my new shop in Redbubble! You can now have my art pieces on wearable and functional pieces, such as mugs, pillows, totes, phone cases & much more! I’ll probably be adding this piece there, too. Be sure to CLICK HERE, to check out what’s available!

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Written by 

I've always liked to create things, but I'm not a great artist, or sculptor, or any type of 'traditional' artist - but I love to create! I love the satisfaction of a completed project. Whether a card, painting or other project - as long as it can create a smile, evoke a feeling, or some type of reaction in the recipient. I hope you will enjoy sharing my creations, and occasional ramblings; I'd enjoy having you create with me! :)

7 thoughts on “Big Reveal – Van Gogh Inspired Irises

  1. WOW, what a wonderful, ambitious piece of art. This is wonderful. You’ve really captured the Van Gogh technique and look. amazing

      1. Wow, Deb! What a fabulous painting! Your colors are fantastic! You did a fabulous job, my friend. You don’t need to change a thing. 😊

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