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.

Blue Monday: Colored pencils in a range of blues

Harlequin checks in shades of blue, purple and green, drawn with colored pencil.

A checkered grid ranging from deep navy blue to electric purple and teal.

Harlequin diamonds and cool blues, greens and purples on a deep violet background make for a colorful Blue Monday! Sometimes it’s fun to take some of the materials from a project and make an abstract color study.

A mix of blue, green and purple colored pencils displayed on a color wheel made of swatches from each pencil.

I used a mix of Faber-Castell’s Polychromos pencils and Caran D’Ache’s Supracolor Soft Aquarelle pencils for the Polyphemus moth project.

These are the pencils I used to create the blue tones in the drawing Polyphemus Moth on a Japanese Brocade. Clockwise from the top: Faber-Castell Polychromos Sky Blue 9201-146; F-C Prussian Blue 9201-246; Caran D’Ache Supracolor 3888-111; F-C Ultramarine 9201-120; F-C Cobalt Green 9201-156; F-C Delft Blue 9201-141; F-C Light Ultramarine 9201-140; F-C Cobalt Turquoise 9201-153; C-D’A 3888-131; F-C Indianthrene Blue 9201-247.

Hope your Monday is a cheerful shade of blue!


Portrait of a pear: Introducing my Society 6 shop


A botanical art watercolor of a Bartlett pear.

“Portrait of a Pear,” 8.5″ x 11″ watercolor on hot-press Fabriano Artistico paper, by Wren M. Allen

I’m so excited and proud to announce that my first print is now available at Society6! Here’s the story behind this simple portrait of a pear:

Last week I spied the first pears of the season at the grocery store. I sat down this weekend and painted this Bartlett pear on Saturday morning. The angled stem and dried leaves added to the character of the petite fruit.

To increase the challenge, I restricted my palette to three colors: cadmium yellow lemon, cobalt blue and alizarin crimson. Instead of stippling, I stamped the tips of a mostly dry flat brush onto the paper to add the freckled texture of the pear’s skin.

Purples, blues, greens and browns mixed from just red yellow and blue watercolor paint.

All these colors were achieved using only cadmium lemon, cobalt blue and alizarin crimson!

Please let me know what you think in the comments!

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