Painting Method

We were very lucky to have the talented film maker Rupert Ward-Lewis create a short film of Iris. He has captured her spirit and joy while she paints and her innate interest in nature and the English landscape. This gentle, lyrical film begins with a poem read by award winning actress Olivia Colman and then takes you on a journey into the world of little Iris Grace.

Iris and Thula Painting together

June 2014 Painting in the meadowPainting Technique

Many of you have been asking how Iris paints, what involvement do we have ? How much help does she get ?

So I thought I would give an example of a typical Iris art session.

All of her kit, the table she paints on and the equipment is left in the kitchen so she is free to come and go, painting when she wants to.

– Iris indicates she would like to paint by walking up to the sink and pointing at her brush and the mug she uses.

– I go to the cupboard and take out the paint bottles and she indicates which colour she would like to be made up. If the colour isnt there (like purple) she will find an item that is that colour to show me what she wants to be mixed. She also makes up her own colours, dipping brushes from mug to mug and watching the colour change then using it on the paper, sometimes even mixing on the paper itself.

– I then add water and she tests it out, on many occasions she will take it back to the sink if its not the right consistency.

– Iris paints with high flicks, dots, dabs, using fine paintbrushes with a careful attention to detail or large brushes in sweeping motions.  She uses rollers (textured rollers, straight lines are created by those), stamps, and a range of brushes and sponges.

– When she is finsihed for that session she puts her tools down in the mug and leaves the table, waits for the painting to dry and then goes back to it to do some more.

If I notice she isn’t interested anymore in the painting I will ask her if its finished and if there is no response I start to take it off the table and I have somewhere in my office where I store them. She will either stop me doing that if its not finished or let it go. She sometimes does a little jig/dance to indicate she is pleased with it and sometimes she will take a piece back to the table if she feels it needs more.

Who names the Paintings ?
We used to name the paintings as Iris didn’t speak, we made them relevant to what they look like or how she felt while painting them or the music she was listening to at the time. Now Iris is speaking more she is naming them herself.

123 thoughts on “Painting Method

  1. Lisa says:

    Hi, I teach special needs 1-3 year olds in their homes. Some have developmental delays, some have more severe disabilities. Some have received an autism diagnosis. Some will receive it in their future.

    I use crayons, markers and paints in my educational therapy. Your story inspired me to perhaps try watercolors and rollers for the “art” section of our time. I also try to incorporate a little music, a little science,etc into our 45 minute sessions. I have a couple of clients with sleep issues. I hadn’t thought about a potential link to autism until I read your article. I will do some more research on this.

  2. Rosemary says:

    You, Blessed Child have touched my heart and soul! You are lovely lovely lovely! Bless You Precious Iris Grace!

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