20" x 30" / 51cms x 76cms
Oil on canvas
Yellow irises grow prolifically in the wild; so vast blocks of sunshine seem to glow over the dark peat bog. For an artist obsessed with colour; they are irresistible. Not only in gold; but shades of purple or the stunning tiger iris; all drip with fragile intensity. As with poppies; Webb admires the iris equally for its individual detail and dynamic form as for the dramatic impression en masse.
A large head of colour on a slender stalk; the iris moves in exaggerated dance with the wind. Composed almost entirely of elaborate curves; their movements are at once unpredictable and yet; in multitudes; they achieve a harmony that suggests a complex choreography. Moreover; unlike so many of the wildflowers; the irises are clothed in dramatic costumes; so they are the dancing divas of the wildflower world.
Belying their apparent fragility; the iris has the strength and resistance to defy the salt- ridden Atlantic gales; bringing light and colour into the darkness. Webb has encouraged their growth in his own west of Ireland garden; in great variety; and many of his individual studies are taken from these.
Unlike the spontaneous and immediate generation of most of Webb’s landscapes; his flower studies commence in more academic fashion. These are usually preceded with detailed and accurate drawings; a range of pencil or charcoal studies made directly in the field; before working the right balance of flowers to achieve the ’ensemble’ of colour and form; sometimes silhouetted for emphasis.