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Embroidered Forest, Watercolor, Acrylics and zentangles painting tutorial

Embroidered Forest Watercolor, acrylic and markers on canvas. 24 x 72 inches

Embroidered Forest
Watercolor, acrylic and markers on canvas.
24 x 72 inches

The triptych in the studio

The triptych “Embroidered Forest” in the studio


I have been incorporating patterns and designs into my paintings for some time now and this is a direction I am continuing to explore. I wanted to paint a quite large forest triptych while integrating some patterns that would be visible from close but less obvious from a distance as too not overpower the general design of the picture.

Here are the steps I took:

masking fluid on canvas

I started by a rough outline of the tree shapes with pencil on canvas.. Masking fluid works well on canvas but will lift off any watercolor that was previously painted. As I want most of my highlights white, this is not an issue in this case.


background with watercolor wet in wet

I start by painting the background with watercolors. wet in wet, letting the different shades of yellow and green mix on the canvas.


yellow liquid acrylic layer

For the trees trunks, I want to achieve rich and broken colors by layering primaries. This is difficult to do with watercolors on canvas as they will lift off easily, so I switch to liquid acrylics. My first layer is a lemon yellow.


red liquid acrylic layer

The next layer is red, still painted with liquid acrylics. Depending on the final shade I want on the trunk, I paint a different number of layers to make it darker.


blue liquid acrylic layer

The next layer I am painting is blue.


layering liquid acrylic

I keep on adding layers until I am satisfied with the resulting color.


lightening some areas

Making a very light glaze with white acrylic and medium, I am lightening some of the trees in the background to have them recede . The mix is whiter when wet and just applied than when dried.


drawing design on the canvas

When everything has dried, I start drawing designs on the canvas, I am drawing a different design for each tree.


drawing with sharpie on top of acrylic paint

I am using sharpie markers and copic markers.
When the background color is light I choose a light design.


Copic markers on top of acrylic paint

When the background color is darker I am choosing a design with more black.


I am using a variety of designs.

I am drawing a variety of designs.


designs on tree trunks



Embroidered Forest Watercolor, acrylic and markers on canvas. 24 x 72 inches

Embroidered Forest
Watercolor, acrylic and markers on canvas.
24 x 72 inches

Here is a stop motion video showing the painting process:













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{ 8 comments… add one }

  • lavsullivan98691400 July 1, 2015, 9:43 pm

    Hi Sandrine, I am just discovering your work and am in love with the combination of painting and pen and ink. I bought your Painting Flowers Class and I have just purchased a pen with a few nibs and am ready to start practicing. I also purchased your Fearless Watercolor book and signed up for your class for that book but had a migraine that day and missed the class. Is there somewhere I can access that class?

    • Sandrine Pelissier July 2, 2015, 9:45 am

      Thanks lavsullivan98691400 :)
      I am sure you will enjoy working with a combination of painting and drawing.
      The webinar should be available very soon on the Artists Network YouTube channel. I will post a link here as soon as it is published.

  • Shelley Whiting January 11, 2014, 3:40 pm

    I really love the simplistic and the playful details within the piece. A very beautiful and calming painting.

  • Janice Schafir October 22, 2013, 6:54 pm

    Does your paperback book include the lessons of the entangles in the figures as well as the landscapes?

  • Janice Schafir October 22, 2013, 7:52 am

    Sandrine, I love your creativity, I am referring you to the publisher of Mixed Media Art Magazine, Who I know will enjoy your work as well. Jan Schafir

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