September 18, 2014

Arabella and Iris, photo credit Iris Grace Painting
Arabella and Iris, photo credit Iris Grace Painting


Iris Grace – is a 4 year old little girl who is preverbal and has autism. She has an extraordinary talent; she paints and she expresses herself through her paintings.

The website Iris Grace Painting indeed uses the tagline, ‘Imagine Create Inspire’ and this is exactly what this little girl does.

Below are some of her stunning paintings.


underwater frog Iris Grace Paintings

Music at Sunrise, reproduced with permission. All rights Iris Grace Paintings


Rolling Balls, reproduced with permission. All rights Iris Grace Paintings

All paintings are named by the family, as Iris doesn’t speak. On the website, Iris Grace Painting, it states that, ‘we try and make them relevant to what they look like or how she felt while painting them.’

Iris Painting
photo credit Iris Grace Painting

Arabella Carter-Johnson; Iris’s mother, describes how Iris paints. She says on the website that all of her kit, the table she paints on and the equipment that she uses are left in the kitchen so that she is free to come and go, painting when she wants to. Iris indicates that she would like to paint by walking up to the sink and pointing at her brush and the mug that 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 isn’t there (like purple) she will find an item that is that colour to show me what she wants to be mixed. She has also started to make up her own colours, dipping brushes from mug to mug and watching the colour change then using it on the paper.
– I then add water and she tests it out, on many occasions she will take it back to the sink if it’s not the right consistency.
– Iris paints with high flicks, dots, dabs, uses rollers (textured rollers, straight lines are created by those), stamps, and a range of brushes and sponges.
– When she is finished 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 in the afternoon.’

We were lucky enough to interview Arabella Carter-Johnson, and asked her a few questions about her wonderfully creative little girl.

photo credit Iris Grace Painting
photo credit Iris Grace Painting

After viewing Iris’s paintings we asked Arabella how she started to paint and how many hours she paints a day.

“She started to paint because it was one of the activities that I wanted to cover as she was no longer in a preschool setting, at first it didn’t go well, I had an easel and she hated the way the paint dribbled down and then I taped the paper onto a coffee table that she normally draws on and that worked wonders. She painted right away for about an hour and was very happy.”

Arabella told us that she noticed straight away that Iris was painting in a very different way and style for a child of her age. She therefore decided to leave the table out the next day with all of the paints and brushes and once she again she loved it.

“She used to paint for hours but now it’s more sporadic. The table is always out for her in the kitchen and she is free to use it when she wants to.”

Iris Grace Paintings can be followed on Facebook

Iris Grace Painting website can be found here

Part 2 of our interview with Arabella Carter-Johnson can be read here

About the author 

Jo Worgan

Jo Worgan is a published author, writer and blogger. She has a degree in English Literature. She writes about life with her youngest son who is on the autistic spectrum. Jo tweets (@mummyworgan) and is also a freelance columnist for the Lancaster Guardian. ‘My Life with Tom, Living With Autism‘ is her second book and a culmination of her blog posts, and available on Kindle now, along with her first book, Life on the Spectrum. The Preschool years.

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