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paint flowers from imagination in mixed media

How to mix fluid acrylics, watercolor, ink and oil marker in your paintings: In Barcelona


Mixing media is fun but it is sometimes difficult to know where to start, here is a technique you can use to mix watercolors, ink, acrylics and oil markers on canvas.

You will need

  • Canvas, I used 12 x 12 inches pre-stretched canvas
  • Krylon workable fixative
  • Acrylic paint, I used Pebeo in titanium white and Payne’s grey
  • Prismacolor Art stick in black
  • Sharpie White Oil marker
  • Krylon workable fixative
  • Watercolor paint, I used Yarka watercolors.
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Fluid Acrylic, I used Liquitex Ink in yellow, orange and red
  • Speedball ink in Teal Green
  • Copic white Ink
  • An Ink Pen

Mixed media flower painting

In Barcelona,



Here are the steps you can take to paint with mixed media on canvas

Start by painting an abstract background with fluid acrylic and alcohol


I used a mix of fluid acrylics and ink.

I used a mix of fluid acrylics and ink, but as you can see Speedball Ink is basically the same as fluid acrylic.


Painting an abstract background

Add a few drops of the colors you want on your canvas and spread them loosely with a brush without mixing them too much.

dripping alcohol on the wet fluid acrylic

You can drip alcohol on the wet fluid acrylic to add more texture.


Let the paint dry completely before going to the next steps.

Finding shapes in the abstract background

I am outlining shapes with a nupastel crayon.

Start looking for shapes and outline them either with a Prismacolor Art stix or with a graphite pencil.

You can see a few outlines.

Paint the negative space with white Acrylic paint

Painting the negative space with white Acrylic paint

Then paint all the negative space with white Acrylic or another color of your choice.

Painting the negative space with white Acrylic paint

Your painting will look something like this.

Add contrast and patterns with pen and ink and sharpies oil marker

Painting the vase with yellow fluid Acrylic

You can add more color to selected elements here I am painting over the vase with yellow fluid Acrylic. You can do it also with watercolors, with the possibility of wiping them off if you don’t like the result.

step by step process

Adding designs with pen and red Ink

Then start adding designs with pen and ink. You can look at Zentangle patterns for inspiration.

Adding designs with pen and red Ink

Add touches of color in some places, here I painted red fluid acrylic in the center of the flowers.

Painting with a bit of the diluted Teal Ink

You can dilute your ink or acrylic in a bit o water so they are more translucent and so you can still see a bit of the texture underneath. Here I am painting with a bit of the diluted Teal Ink.

Stripes with pen and ink

Keep adding layers of designs, here stripes with pen and ink

adding designs with pen and Ink

Add details to the elements in your painting.

Painting leaves with watercolour

Painting leaves with watercolor, watercolor on top of acrylic is neat because if you don’t like the result you can wash it off.

Drawing a peony with pen and ink

You can draw elements with pen and ink on top of the white background.

adding designs with white oil sharpie

And add designs with white oil Sharpie on top of darker backgrounds.

Once the ink has dried, you can paint a wash on top of the drawing.

Once the ink has dried, you can paint a wash on top of the drawing.

And create some highlights by lifting off the paint with a tissue paper

And create some highlights by lifting off the paint with a tissue paper

painting and ink wash

If your marker is water resistant, or if you are using water resistant ink, it won’t bleed when painted over.

drawing with pen and ink

Keep adding designs and layers until you are satisfied with the result.


varnishing the finished painting

When everything had time to dry, paint the sides with white acrylic and apply a layer of varnish.

Mixed media flower painting

In Barcelona

Have you tried painting with mixed media? what was the most challenging for you?

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Kate Ryckman March 14, 2017, 7:22 pm

    I love your work. Can I ask what kind of varnish you use? The last image looks beautifully smooth and glossy.

    • Sandrine Pelissier March 14, 2017, 11:47 pm

      Thanks Kate! I like to use either Gamvar by Gamblin or Soluvar varnish. Both are very liquid and easy to apply and will work on water as well as oil based media.

  • Daniela Giles May 25, 2016, 4:25 pm

    Hello Sandrine. I just wanted to say thank you for all this inspiration. I have used this technique on some of my paintings (intuitive painting), but have never painted vases of flowers. I really love small detail painting….though I have been concentrating more of less is more….I am really wanting to get back to the small details, like using my pen and inks. I have started a flower painting from this blog. I am already happy with it and am at the stage of putting in the details. I am hoping one day to do one of your online courses. Thank you again for sharing.

    • Sandrine Pelissier May 25, 2016, 4:36 pm

      Thanks Daniela ! I agree that less is more, I am always split between my love for minimalist and clean designs and my love for elaborate patterns 🙂

  • Marleyne Mauri May 10, 2016, 4:03 pm

    Yes, but I have difficulty finding markers that are water resistant. You mentioned Sharpie Oil marker? As for the Teal coloured ink, is this printmaking ink? I used “normal ” India ink but it also dissolved when I painted on it with acrylics!

    • Sandrine Pelissier May 10, 2016, 5:45 pm

      The teal coloured ink is ink ( the kind used for calligraphy) I recommend you use waterproof ink or fluid acrylic to avoid any problem.

  • CheyAnne April 12, 2016, 6:07 am

    Just love your style so much and one of these days I’m going to give it a try. peace

  • Jackie Herman April 8, 2016, 6:28 am

    Sandrine, You have been so generous with teaching your techniques. I have had so much fun trying them out. Thank you Thank you!! I have one question for you, what type of varnish do you use and does that protect against UV damage if in sun light? Once again thanks so much your work is wonderful.

    • Sandrine Pelissier April 8, 2016, 10:14 am

      Thanks Jackie:)
      Right now I am using gamvar picture varnish by Gamblin, which has a kind of UV protection. I any case I would avoid displaying any painting from direct sunlight.

  • Aino February 25, 2016, 10:57 pm

    So pretty! Thank you for sharing your techniques.

  • Anne Luetkemeyer November 29, 2015, 5:12 pm

    Hi, Thank you for the great tutorial. I teach art in Middle school- High school and I really like this technique. It’s great because the students can see what They see, rather than me dictating what we should paint. I love the layers also, to give them time to really develop their ideas. Thanks again. Great illustrations too!

    • Sandrine Pelissier November 29, 2015, 5:19 pm

      Thanks Anne, yes these techniques are working great with teenagers and children! Let me know how it goes if you try it in class 🙂

  • Tracy Hall September 26, 2015, 4:50 am

    Sandrine – what a great tutorial! Just what this artist needed – have been in a crossroad and you have inspired me.

  • Karen September 1, 2015, 11:32 am

    As a mixed media artist, I love trying new things. It’s rare that I can finish a painting without adding something extra, causing it to be mixed. The biggest problem seems to be that I get bottled up, & can’t think of anything different. Being paralized is a huge problem for me. Thank you for kicking me in the butt. I mix a lot of things, but haven’t mixed them all…..yet. Karen

    • Sandrine Pelissier September 1, 2015, 11:44 am

      Thanks Karen!
      Let me know how it goes 🙂

    • Nancy September 29, 2015, 7:31 am

      Thank you, I too, feel paralyzed. Thanks for the inspiration…I try to paint 7 days a week if possible, and I run out of ideas, but not now…….

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