Barbara Allen, RUA, is well known for her watercolours of doors, shop fronts and more recently sea life and landscapes. Barbara's talent lies in her ability to simplify her subjects in the Jean Cocteau's style. More recently she has taken up life drawing in charcoal, again treating the subject to simple bare lines.
Barbara Allen was born in Belfast in 1959, attended Glengormley High School and studied Visual Communications at the University of Ulster, graduating in 1982 with a BA Honours Degree in 1982 and an Advanced Diploma in 1984.
Barbara Allen’s work has been shown in Northern Ireland as well as in international exhibitions in Paxos, Paris, Washington, Bergen to name a few.
She has been five time winner of the Watercolour Prize at the Royal Ulster Academy, obtained the travel Awards from An Chomhairle, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and The National Trust in 1992, was Artist in residence at the Florence Trust, Islington 1991, spent three years with the Project24 Collective in Bangor County Down 2014-2016 and is a regular visitor to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre 1983-1993.
Barbara has exhibited annually with the Royal Ulster Academy as an Associate member since 1995 and elevated to Academician in 2018 and is currently a Council member of the RUA.
Her work has been selected for many collections including the White House in Washington DC.
Best known for her unique, untutored watercolour technique in rendering Georgian doors, corner shops and quirky gate lodges, a move to Donegal has since inspired Barbara to paint her immediate environment in the Malin shipping area. We love Barbara’s watercolours for their simplicity and yet effectiveness in depicting her subjects. A more recent development of her work includes lino print coloured in watercolour.
“My approach to watercolour painting is that less is more and I enjoy the instantaneous results when you let the paint take its own path.
I thrive on solitude to create, however my time spent with other artists at Project24 in Bangor stimulated my vision for future artworks and rekindled an interest in techniques long forgotten such as linocuts and drawing skills.
Today in my portfolio you will find collages and large scale pencil drawings of unlikely objects - spades, lawnmowers, toy boats, hairy dogs, ancient hand saws and Angle poise lamps.”