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Painting flowers in mixed media from imagination, step by step demo by Sandrine Pelissier

How to paint flowers on board with Acrylic and Pen and Ink: In Glasgow

Painting on board with mixed media is a bit different than painting on canvas, if you want to start on a white surface you will have to apply either gesso or acrylic on the board. I find it easier to start from an abstract background when painting from imagination so after the first layer of gesso I did paint an abstract background with ink and fluid acrylic.

Here is how you can paint mixed media flowers on a board.

You will need:

  • A cradled panel board, I used a 12 x 12 inches Gotrick’s panel
  • Gesso, I used the Liquitex basics brand
  • White Acrylic, I used the Opus brand
  • Fluid Acrylics, I used a selection of FW brand
  • Ink, I used Speedball in Teal green
  • A selection of brushes
  • Pen
  • Graphite pencil
  • Varnish to finish

How to prepare the wood surface before painting

Apply a generous layer of gesso with a large brush on the wood and leave to dry.

Texture from your brushstrokes will show on the gesso, it doesn’t bother me as I like it to be part of the painting texture.

Gesso is a bit more absorbent than canvas or yupo paper so you have to work a bit faster so the paint doesn’t dry before you are done. Here I added a few drops of fluid acrylic and Ink.

and did spread them with a brush on the surface, often I will also use my fingers at that stage.

Sprinkling a few drops of alcohol will add blooming textures to your background.

Here is how it looks wet.

And here is how it looks dry, the texture became more subtle.

I want a bit more of a reddish color to start so I will paint a red wash of fluid acrylic.

I am also adding a few drips of alcohol on that layer.

The panel now looks like that, now I want a bit more light.

so I am adding a bit of white ink with alight wash.

This is how the abstract background looks when dry, it is going to be the basis for painting the flowers from imagination.

Painting mixed media flowers from imagination.

The first step is looking at the abstract shapes and trying to see shapes that you like, then outline those shapes with a graphite pencil or nupastel.

They don’t have to look perfect, as it is even better if they look a bit wonky.

Then select a few brushes to paint the negative space,that is everything around the shapes you outlines. You want a smaller brush for details and a bigger brush for larger areas.

Paint everything except the shapes you want to keep. I am using white but you could select a different color.

This is how the painting looks like after the negative space has been painted.

Then you can paint over some areas with fluid acrylic, ink or watercolor.

Here I am painting over the vase.

It is good sometimes to stop and change your mind. Here I decide to go for a greener shade on the vase.

Then you can start adding designs with the pen dipped in fluid acrylic or ink, you could also use markers.

Board is not the best surface to use the pen as the texture gets a bit in the way but it is still manageable.

You can switch colors, I usually use the same colors I used to paint my background.

At that point I decide to re-work a bit the background.

So I am preparing a very  light wash with my orange fluid acrylic.

and am painting over the white acrylic on the background.

Then another layer of white.

Keep on adding designs until you are satisfied with the result.

The when you are done, finish with a layer of varnish.

In Glasgow

Mixed media on board


Original has sold, prints are available here

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Isabelle

    Great tutorial, thanks so much! Merci beaucoup! I like the idea of painting the negative space, it takes me out of my comfort zone, and I like it!


  • Jennifer Emerson

    Your work is beautiful! I am learning so much. What kind of pen are you using to dip in the liquid acrylic?

    • I am using Speedball dipping pen, they are selling some set for sketching.

  • Hi Sandrine,
    Thank you so much for sharing your technique. I have learned so much and find your style very appealing. I am trying to learn to ‘go with the flow’ and not be such a control freak 😉

  • Sarah

    Hi. I’m enjoying your tutorials so much. Thanks! Wondering what type of varnish you use?

    • Thanks Sarah! For varnishing I recommend Liquitex Soluvar Varnish or Gamblin GamVar Premixed Picture Varnish. Both can work with water based and oil based media.

  • I’m popping over from Pinterest – thank you for such a gorgeous tutorial – your flowers are amazing – LOVE the inky patterns you drew!