≡ Menu
Painting a forest with watercolors and mixed media on ARTiful, painting demos by Sandrine Pelissier

Painting a forest with watercolors and mixed media

Painting a complex scene like a forest scene with watercolor can seem like a daunting task.

With a bit of planning and a lot of patience, you can easily do it too


Here are pictures of the step I took, there is also a video at the end of the post where you can see the whole process in a time lapse video.

Mounting watercolor paper on board

You can see a more detailed post about mounting watercolor paper on board here:  Mounting watercolor paper on board

Some artists will paint their painting on paper before mounting it, I prefer mounting the paper before painting as it will stretch the paper at the same time.


foliage painting palette

Here is the palette I am using on the foliage, various mixes of :Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Green, Russian Blue, Cadmium Orange, Raw Umber (not on the picture).

I then paint all the foliage with the various mixes of green

Start by painting all the foliage with the various mixes of green, letting the colors mix wet into wet and painting around the tree trunks.

palette for painting the trees trunks

When you are done painting the leaves, you can start working on the trunks,  using the same colors with the addition of Permanent Red violet and Burnt Umber.

painting the tree trunks

Let the colors mix on the paper instead of mixing them on your palette, you will get nice variations of color on your painting.

Painting the trees trunks

You can also layer a few colors for nice effects, like I did here on some of the bigger trees.

Painting the tree trunks

I recommend you paint the trunks moving through the picture from left to right, that way you won’t smudge an area you just painted with your arm.

painting a forest in watercolor

Once the paint had time to dry on the tree trunks, you can paint additional layers to add texture, here I added some textures with a darker tone of Burnt umber.

adding white gouache

If you want to add a few highlights here and there, you could use white gouache.


splashing water on a finished watercolor painting

If you like a bit of a “messier” look, you can add drips and splatters by adding random drips of water, diluted watercolor paint and diluted gouache paint, over the finished painting

I let the paint move and make some adjustments by taking off some paint with a tissue paper

If you don’t like some of the splatters, you can always take them off with a tissue paper.

finishing a watercolor painting with wax

If you like a more natural look, you can try applying a layer of wax, instead of varnishing the painting.

Read more about this technique here


watercolor and mixed media on paper mounted on board

The finished painting:Seeing the Forest through the Trees
Watercolor and Mixed media on paper mounted on board
wax finish, 30 x 30 inches



Click on image to buy original or print

Click on image to buy print, original is sold




Painting a forest with watercolors and mixed media
Rate this post