Watercolor of a tulip, loose and free

A watercolor sketch of a fading tulip by Wren M. Allen

Observational art doesn’t have to be tight and detailed! This loose, gestural watercolor sketch offers a strong impression of a dying tulip flower.

I painted this rough sketch of a fading tulip on Tuesday in Lisa Coddington’s class at Santa Fe Community College.

Loose, gestural painting is fun and relaxing, a nice break from the tight and tiny markmaking common to botanical illustration style.

I selected a limited palette for this watercolor: Winsor-Newton’s Permanent Magenta and Rose; Ultramarine Blue (W-N and Daniel Smith), Daniel Smith’s Hansa Yellow Light, and a few touches of Holbein’s Opera and Alizarin Crimson.

Fortunately, I took a few snaps on my phone, so I can have the option to work with this faded beauty in a more detailed fashion at a later date.

Groovy Links of the Month: Ideas for field sketching kits

A pencil and a sketchbook are the bare minimum supplies for a travelling artist!

Truly, this is all you need to enjoy sketching nature outdoors!

This year, for some reason, I have felt compelled to switch up my ordinary travel sketching kit. In February, I took pastels to the Grand Canyon. In August, I took a variety of materials to the Grand Canyon and Zion, but ended up using my tried and tested watercolor and ink pen method the most. For the Bosque del Apache birdwatching trip, I used just my favorite mechanical pencil and a cold-press, mixed-media paper sketchbook that was part of the equipment list from a workshop at the ASBA conference.

I love to see the field-sketching kits used by other outdoor and nature artists. Every artist who works outdoors on a regular basis develops a preference for some materials and gear over others. Below are some ingenious ideas for ways to make drawing and painting on location more comfortable and practical.

Hope you enjoy taking a peek at these ingenious set-ups, and maybe get some ideas for your next outdoor painting foray. If you have an interesting tip or idea for traveling with a sketchbook, please share it in the comments!

Wildflower Wednesday: Maybe an orchid?

Colored pencil sketch of a red-stalked, leafless wildflower with round seed capsules, found at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Could this be a coral root orchid? Enquiring minds want to know!

This unusual looking plant was growing by the side of the Bridle Trail in the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. It’s just under a foot tall, and is leafless with a dark red, subtly striped stalk.

Arizona wildflower, leafless, with a red stalk and round seed capsules.

I can hardly wait to find out what it is!

I immediately thought it might be a coral root orchid. Unfortunately, the seed capsules are roundish, and the two coral roots in Arizona have ovalish seed capsules. I sent in a photo to one of the rangers, who had said she would pass the information on to one of the botany specialists on staff.

If you have an inkling as to which species this might be, please drop me a line in the comment box! 🙂

Wouldn’t it be so exciting if it were an orchid?

Welcome Wildflower Wednesday link-partiers! The Wildflower Wednesday link party is the brainchild of Gail Eichelberger of Clay and Limestone blog. Go take a look at some of the exciting late-summer wildflower images people are sharing from their gardens and hikes. Enjoy!

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