On first impression, this illustrative watercolor lemon will seem like a really different approach to the realistic watercolour painting style that I’m better known for.


But, although the result is much looser looking, the painting process we follow is actually very similar.  So if you’re familiar with the painting process that I use for realistic watercolour, you’ll notice just how similar the technique is for painting loose watercolor too. 


With the addition of ink in the final stages, the added element of line transforms your loose painting into a piece of illustrative art.


This relaxed and spontaneous watercolour lemon is a lesson in letting go of perfectionism and welcoming imperfection. It’s seriously liberating!


If you’ve ever struggled with loose watercolor painting before, don’t be put off. Because as you’re about to see, once you’ve got an understanding of my layering method, you can apply it to other styles of watercolour painting too.

So, why not paint your own illustrative watercolor lemon?


If you’re feeling inspired to try it but can’t right now, then take a moment to schedule your next painting session in your calendar. You’ll thank yourself later.


And if you’re feeling a little unsure because you’re more into realistic watercolour, I’d like to encourage you to still have a play with this looser style. Just as it’s possible to learn more than one language or play more than one musical instrument, it’s perfectly possible to turn your hand to a looser approach sometimes without abandoning your realistic style.


I’d love to hear how you get on, so let me know how it goes in the comments below. And do also drop me a comment if you enjoyed the video. I love reading them!


Happy painting,

  1. Neil Booker 2 years ago

    Lovely. I have enjoyed painting in a realist style but feel it is not really my thing. This lemon is puch more “me” and I think that if it were possible to follow lessons in this style, particularly for painting buildings and landscapes, boats anbd seascapes then that would be perfect. Thank you Anna.

  2. Dale 2 years ago

    I am 2 hours into your pear class and absolutely loving it. I am new to watercolors and am learning so much from you already. The details in the process are wonderful (which brush and why, how to mix colors, the order of the process, everything). I am planning to subscribe as well as buy a subscription for my mother who is also starting her journey into watercolors.

    I am currently using the W&N Cotman pan set and understand you recommend professional paints over student. What brand do you recommend and do you prefer pan or tube? Thanks so much.

    Looking forward to many hours of your classes.

  3. Olga 2 years ago

    Thank you so much, Anna. I love it that you are trying different techniques.

  4. Nathalie Chetcuti 2 years ago

    I thoroughly enjoyed painting the lemon. I like loose painting more than realistic although I like it too.. I think with painting the lemon I might have found the road in between and I am more inclined to believe that this is the style that I (ave been looking for. I will definitely consider taking up a monthly subscription soon.. Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. Gina 2 years ago

    Thanks Anna, but I don’t like this style much , I like the more realistic style.

  6. Kathy Howard 2 years ago

    Oh, this is much more in my comfort zone as I don’t have the patience or coordination for the detailed realistic art. Alas, I need to get some paints. Nice paints would be great great luxury now, but I would even settle for the children’s paint box I was using and used up. I turn my art into digital images, so long lasting quality in the paint isn’t really needed.

  7. Hilda Barone 2 years ago

    Thank you so much Anna for this video. Love the way you build up the colour xxx

  8. Elena Jiva 2 years ago

    Love you work! It’s so beautiful !

  9. Beth Carroll 2 years ago

    What fun! What fun! This loose style is very relaxing and warms one up for something more tight.
    Great job as usual.

  10. Leesa Carlisle-Brown 2 years ago

    Hi Anna,
    That was super interesting, the way you explained the relationship between the two styles. Personally I love to paint details but I like to look at looser work, maybe my style will become looser as I understand what I can leave out 🙂

    • Author
      Anna Mason 2 years ago

      Interesting way of thinking about it Leesa – I think you might be right – but you’ll probably get to know that at a subconscious/right brain level without having to consciously think about it if that makes sense.

  11. Hellen 2 years ago

    Yes it looks easy. it would be good to paint this style on holidays. quick and simple.

  12. Gregoria 2 years ago

    Thank you – I will definitely give this a go – painting loosely is a real challenge for me but I love the result. I am loving your videos. They have inspired me to make time to paint again.

  13. Annie JMathew 2 years ago

    That was super Anna. .As a beginner i feel comfortable with ink and loose watercolor painting.Waiting for more of this kind.

  14. Susan 2 years ago

    Enjoyed your video as always. I have not attempted it as of yet.

  15. Evelyn Kerlin 2 years ago

    I’ve just completed the free pear class. I’m new to painting in general and I’m so happy with the result. I couldn’t find the hashtag again to share on instagram. Thank you so much for this class. I will definitely look into classes down the track.

    • Author
      Anna Mason 2 years ago

      Thanks for the feedback Evelyn! It’s #annamasonpear to share the pear – look forward to seeing yours.

  16. Lily 2 years ago

    Dear Anna, Since I’ve finished my 1year subscription in your brilliant school,I’ve noticed I can’t really do loosely based paintings .My sister is encouraging me to try it, but now my observation skills are so much more “refined”,I always have to include every little detail .I will definitely try a more loosely based style after watching your lovely video. Thank you ❤.

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