Summer Art Series

Jun 4, 2021 | Blog, Create

Every summer for the past few years I have challenged myself to create a focused art series and this year is no different. The fourth issue of The Turquoise Iris Journal (debuting in mid-July!!) immediately conjured up thoughts of tropical vacations and, with that in mind, I set out on a tropical adventure in both the forthcoming issue and my summer art series.

Summer In The Tropics Canvas Series No. 1 – 9

The Turquoise Iris Coral Reef of Saint Thomas 2021 PaintingCoral Reef of Saint Thomas,  2021

For this series, I wanted to try painting over all-black backgrounds because it’s something I’ve never done before. I think that one of the best ways to grow in your art practice is to challenge yourself to try new things. Sometimes the most unexpected and unique pieces of art come from the times we box ourselves in. 

Turquoise Iris Journal Calla Lily The Turquoise Iris Journal - Indian Summer Calla Lily 2021 Painting
Calla lily reference photo from Tractor Supply; Indian Summer Calla Lily,  2021

My palette knives played a key role in applying the paint and creating a rhythm with the paint. Each piece took several days of building layers of intense colors.

The Turquoise Iris Journal Tahitian Passion Flower 2021 PaintingTahitian Passion Flower,  2021


I’m obsessed with flowers and craving a canopy of bright energetic colors. This series included me playing loud music that made me sway, pick up my feet and shake my hips!!! 

The Turquoise Iris Journal Dionne with Hibiscus Honey 2021 Painting The Turquoise Iris Journal Iris of the Island 2021 Painting Staged
Hibiscus Honey,  2021; Iris of the Island,  2021

Smiles were abundant, as you can see! I’ve enjoyed these works so much that I’m still riding the creative flow. 

The Turquoise Iris Journal Brazilian Summer 2021 Painting StagedThe Turquoise Iris Journal Feelin' Good 2021 Painting Staged
Brazilian Summer, 2021; Feelin’ Good, 2021

Our own flower garden has also been transformed into a colorful medley during this time, too! We have planted red and pink impatiens, hot pink vinca, soft pink periwinkles, and a ton of hosta plants. 

The red hibiscus steals the show, though. It’s already beaming from the 26″ cobalt planters!!! 

It makes me so happy to sit out back and watch the sunset from my tropical paradise… right here in Oklahoma! 

You can get a full house and studio tour in past issues of the Journal!

Start YOUR Summer Art Series 

The Turquoise Iris Journal Summer Art Series Studio Canvas

Because I’ve been doing a summer series for a few years now, I already knew that I wanted to paint bright, tropical flowers to celebrate the journal. I also knew that I was painting over a black background as an added challenge because it’s something I’ve never tried… and that’s what the whole thing is about!

Your Challenge

I challenge you to start your own summer series. Not sure where to begin? Here’s a list to get you started! 

Want to recreate this series for yourself?

Start by choosing a flat black background. I used acrylics for this series but you can use any medium that sounds fun! 

I used Cadmium red, Cadmium yellow, Fluorescent pink, and red —  these are the colors you see popping off the black background — for this series. If you decide to give it a try I’d love to see what you create! Be sure to tag me in your work online (I’m @TheTurquoiseIrisJournal on Facebook and Instagram) or use the #IrisJournal hashtag because we love to see what everyone makes!

Oh, and because you might be featured in an upcoming issue of the Journal!

What will you try this summer?

We are looking for submissions for paint, craft, home, or lifestyle tutorials!