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Painting a forest in acrylic with patterns : Discovery Walk

How to add patterns to a forest painting by Sandrine Pelissier
Forest Paintings / Inspiration / Mixed media / Painting / Painting technique / Step by step demonstrations

Painting a forest in acrylic with patterns : Discovery Walk

I like to add patterns to most of my paintings: to my flower paintings, figures but also landscapes and forest paintings.

Recently I did paint this forest scene with lots of added patterns.

Here are some pictures of the steps I took to paint Discovery Walk.

acrylic forest painting with patterns

Discovery Walk, acrylic and mixed media on canvas

This painting will be exhibited at the Ferry building gallery for the Harmony showcase exhibition: July 29-August 14

Before adding patterns to any painting, you need to paint an image that will be visible underneath the patterns. I like to do so with fluid paint, either watercolors or fluid acrylics. Here because I am working on canvas, I chose fluid acrylic.

The first step is to make a drawing on your canvas. To do this I like to use a grid technique.

You might also be interested in: Drawing with a grid

mixing acrylic inks in containers

I mixed a selection of colors with fluid acrylics and prepared them ready to be used in little containers. Then I am working with the canvas flat on a table so I can mix colors wet into wet.

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.


Daler-Rowney FW Acrylic Water-Resistant Artists Ink

FW Artists Ink is an acrylic-based, pigmented, water-resistant ink in a range of 38 colors, all of which have either a three-star or four-star rating for permanence. FW Artists Inks work well with airbrushes, dip pens, technical pens and brushes. – Primary Colors Set

abstract acrylic background

I am not trying to be too precise at this stage, just to establish a background color with textures.

graphite drawing on canvas
acrylic forest painting

Working by painting successive layers, I start to add more colors to the tree trunks.

layering acrylic inks
hoe to paint a forest with acrylic
acrylic paint mixing wet into wet

Still working wet into wet, I am also adding a bit of red and brown acrylic to the ground part of the painting to introduce a bit of contrast to the predominant green colors of the painting.

not too many hard edges

Working wet into wet allows for interesting textures to form on the canvas without too many hard edges.

fluid acrylic on canvas
paint trees with acrylic

I start to differentiate the trees in the front by painting them a bit darker. I will later choose patterns that keep those trees in front darker that the ones in the background.

patterned trees

Then the fun begins! Using Sakura Pigma micron markers I start adding patterns to the tree trunks.

drawing patterns with acrylic and  ink
using markers to draw patterns on top of acrylic paint

I am a Blick Art Materials affiliate and I receive a small compensation for sales. That does not effect in any way the cost of the purchaser’s order but it helps me keeping the content of this blog free.

Sakura Pigma Micron Pen

Pigma Micron pens are acid-free and archival, making them ideal for any application requiring precision and permanance. Pigma ink is derived from a single pigment to ensure color consistency, and is fadeproof against sunlight or UV light. – Set of 6, Black

zentangle forest patterns
pattern with a grid base

Some are drawn free handed and for some I will draw a grid before.

patterned trees forest painting

I keep on working until all of the trees trunks and the ground are covered.

On the ground part, I am having fun adding ferns, mushrooms,pine cones etc…

mushroom patterns
forest patterns doodles
zentangle leaves
zentangle fern
zentangle forest painting

Discovery walk

5/5 - (1 vote)

Comments (9)

  1. Julie Mandell

    I absolutely love your work! Your tutorials are fantastic as well!

  2. […] You might also like: Painting a forest in acrylic with patterns : Discovery Walk […]

  3. khoo hooi bin (esther)

    Thank you for show the drawing. Amazing drawing new art. I like it. God Bless You. Amen.

    1. Thanks Esther 🙂

  4. baba3boys03904100

    Wow, Sandrine! I LOVE this. I may try one myself. Not sure I know enough fill patterns!

  5. Rupa

    Your demos and instructions are always wonderful and easy to follow. It’s refreshing to see wonderful artists like you share your techniques so generously, that is a rare quality indeed 🙂 Thanks as always!

    1. Thanks Rupa, it is always a pleasure to read positive comments like yours 🙂

  6. Eddi Reid

    You clearly had a lot of fun with this, Sandrine. The process pictures are very helpful for those of us struggling as new artists. I love all the patterns and little whimsical, sketched in objects on the earth beneath the patterned trees. The colors are beautiful, too.
    Thank you for showing so many wonderful techniques and ideas. Because you do so I am finding much to excite and reboost my imagination. Time constraints make my work agonizingly, painstakingly slow, but I love every part of it all.

    1. Thanks Eddi for your nice comment. Keep painting, that is great, as long as you are having fun and are enjoying the process, you will keep learning 🙂

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