Iris Grace is one incredible 3-year-old. Well, technically she’s three and a half. It’s difficult for her to interact with others because she has autism, which keeps her from speaking, but she’s able to express herself through art and movement. One of her favorite things to do is paint, and the works she creates could fit right in at a gallery featuring interpretations of Monet’s Water Lilies.
Sometimes her colors get chaotic, but in every painting there’s always an overwhelming sense of balance and calm. Bright colors in watercolor and acrylic splash to fill up each canvas, and even though the works would technically be considered abstract, each feels more like a landscape, or rather a place – an abstract place where things are simple, beautiful and bright.
Her mother writes:
“Iris loves nature, water, flowers, trees, wind, books, pictures, dancing on tip toes and always carries something in her left hand.”
Iris’ parents have been sharing her paintings online, raising awareness for autism and the National Autistic Society and the Autism Research Trust. Now Iris’ talent has been featured in every major UK newspaper, along with most online news resources in the US. They’ve also begun selling Iris’ originals and prints to raise funds for her treatment. From August 18th – August 29th they’ll be auctioning off her piece, “Follow the Fleet,” by email bids.
Even though everyday things are more difficult, Iris has a lasting attention span when it comes to painting, spending around two hours on each piece. When she’s in the mood to paint, she lets her parents know by pointing at her mug and brush sitting near the sink. She points to the colors she wants to use from the paints in the cupboard, and they mix the paints with water for her. She tests them out, taking them back for remixing if they’re not the right consistency. She’s even starting making her own colors, dipping her brush in multiple mugs before bringing the color to the paper.
Iris flicks and dabs the paint, using different rollers, sponges and brushes to get the effects she’s looking for. Since she can’t speak, her parents name the paintings for her, using their content or Iris’ mood as a guide.
“She used to be consumed by books, eye contact was a rare occurrence, she didn’t want to or know how to play with us, showed obsessive behaviours, got desperately distressed when we took her near any other children and her sleep patterns were all over the place,” her mom Arabella writes on her website, “She now rides on my back in fits of laughter, squealing with delight, plays, communicates by creating her own signs and her sleeping is much better.”
All images and information from Iris’ website.
For more from Iris, find her on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.