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Mixing acrylic, oil pastels, India Ink, colored pencil, watercolors and conte to paint a mixed media tree: Making Roots

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Making Roots, mixed media on canvas

This is my latest mixed media on canvas, It is a big 48 x 48 inches painting done with a wide variety of media : Watercolor, Acrylic, oil pastels, colored pencils, collage, India Ink, conte crayon.

Here are the steps I took.

drawing on the canvas

I started with a pencil drawing on the canvas

coloring the sky with blue colored pencil

Then for all the surface I did scribble the sky areas with a blue colored pencil. I didn’t try to be precise.

oil pastel wax resist

Then I am using white and yellow oil pastels that will act as a resist when I will paint the leaves with watercolor.

watercolor painting paletteI am using the following watercolors to paint the leaves : Da Vinci Cadmium Lemon Yellow and Yellow Ochre, Daniel Smith : Payne’s Grey and Burnt Sienna.

painting leaves wet in wetI then paint the leaves using a wet in wet technique, letting the colors mix on the canvas.

dictionary pages collageThe next step for me is to start collaging the pages of an old English dictionary wherever there are branches.

I am ripping little pieces of the pages and fix them on the canvas with acrylic medium. The painting is called “Making Roots” as I am making a parallel with the process of immigrating and learning a new language and the process of making roots.

painting with India inkWhen everything is thoroughly dried, I paint over my paper collage with India Ink.

working on the whole canvas

original art on sale

I keep painting the branches, on the whole canvas.

painting the sky with watercolors

Then, I stop for a while and try to access what I like or not in the painting. The first thing I want to modify is the sky, the colored pencils scribblings are nice but the color of the sky is too light, so I am going over these areas with a mix of watercolors: Prussian Blue and Turquoise blue. I have to work horizontally on a table when painting with watercolors.

painting

This is how the painting looks like at that point.

adding liquid acrylic

I find the tree trunk to be too dark and with not enough variations so I paint a bit of liquid acrylic on the trunk.

The acrylic is mixing with the India ink that is not waterproof, so I get shades of grey.

splashing with water

I lay the painting flat on the ground and am splashing it with lots of water so I get a bit of the ink and the watercolor running and making interesting textures. I like this technique as it is allowing me to achieve a looser style, leaving the paint move freely on the canvas.

drips of white acrylic

I am also splattering with liquid white acrylic diluted with a bit of water. I find my tree trunk is too light now but I want to try something else than Ink, so I decide to work on it with a white oil pastel and a black conte crayon.

black conte crayon

The black conte crayon  as well as the Ink and the watercolor will need to be fixed before I can varnish the painting, for that I will be using Krylon workable fixative, one of my favorite products when working with mixed media.

defining the tree branches

I am working with both the oil pastel and the conte crayon to add more dimension to the trunk and the branches. When I am done, I fix the painting with  workable fixative, paint the sides in white and varnish it.

 the finished painting

The finished painting: Making Roots, mixed media on canvas, 48 x 48 inches.

detail

In certain areas, the print from the dictionary pages is still visible.

splatter close up

Splatters  close up.

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{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Judy January 1, 2014, 4:33 pm

    Just another question if I may… Just looking at another tutorial on your mixed media painting and you clearly did say to spray fixative prior to spraying varnish on watercolour on canvas. I have missed that step in 2 other projects, just sprayed the varnish and have had no problems yet. Will I have problems later on for these paintings? And if so, what would happen? Thanks in advance for your reply.

    • Sandrine Pelissier January 1, 2014, 5:08 pm

      If you spray varnish you should not have problems, I spray fixative before when I am brushing on the varnish.

      • Judy January 1, 2014, 5:21 pm

        Thank you for your quick reply, and that answers my question!

  • Carol December 25, 2013, 6:02 am

    Hi Sandrene,
    Just wanted to say I love what you do and am hoping you can inspire me to do some mixed media. I have a thing about not mixing mediums, and need to get over it, because I see work like yours, and wish I could just turn loose and do some of the things I see you doing. Thanks for sharing your techniques……..

  • Penny B December 23, 2013, 6:54 am

    Hi, Sandrine. You have used such interesting, and daring techniques for this beautiful and touching painting. The combination of techniques and media has worked really well. You’ve given this piece your own very special touch. Thanks so much for sharing the process.

  • mercedes December 20, 2013, 9:07 am

    Very interesting. Thankyou

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