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Zentangle trees : Rainforest Imagery

Zentangles and watercolor are working well together, especially on a large scale forest painting,  see what steps you can take to paint and draw some beautiful zentangle trees.

Start by painting the foliage behind the zentangle trees with watercolor wet into wet:

make a rough outline of the trees and preserve some whites with masking fluid

I did mount my paper on board before starting to draw and paint as the paper would be too big to manage by itself.

You might also be interested in: Mounting watercolor paper on board

After I made a rough outline of the trees on the paper I did start to paint the background foliage.

I did preserve a few whites with masking fluid before starting to paint the foliage wet in wet, letting the colors mix on the paper.

painting around the trees without masking fluid or tape

I am painting around the trunks, as their edges are pretty straight, I didn’t need to mask them all with masking fluid. Besides, I like the effect of  a sometimes uneven edge on the trees trunks.

painting wet into wet with watercolor letting color mix on the paper

To paint wet into wet with watercolor, I am just painting one color next to the previous one while they are still wet and let them mix on the paper.

painting foliage wet into wet with watercolors around the trees

At the end of this stage, the painting looks like this.

Painting the trees trunks and the foreground with watercolor wet into wet:

you can paint at an angle to let watercolor move down and mix wet into wet

The next step for me is painting the trunks and the foreground. To paint the trunks I lay the painting on my easel in the most horizontal position my easels allows me to have.

getting ready to paint on the watercolor at an angle

I am setting up the materials next to the easel.

beautiful watercolor textures on the tree trunks

Painting at an angle allows the paint to run, mix wet into wet and makes really beautiful textures on the tree trunks.

watercolor forest painting before adding zentangles

This is what the painting looks like after all the surface has been painted

taking of the masking fluid once the watercolor had time to dry

The I am taking off the masking fluid, either by pulling on it,

you can use a regular eraser to take off masking fluid

or by using an eraser. You can also buy a masking fluid pick up tool but I like better using a regular eraser.

You might also be interested in : 6 masking fluid tips

Softening hard edges left by the masking fluid

watercolor hard edges after taking off masking fluid

When removing masking fluid, the transitions between the painted paper and the white paper are very defined and unnatural looking, this is what is called hard edges.watercolor soft edges

I am softening them with a stiff brush and water, now I have more natural looking edges that are soft.

Drawing the zentangle trees

zentangles over a watercolor tree

The next step is to add designs with markers, I free hand draw some of the designs, overlapping the zentangles and the trunk watercolor washes.

grid based zentangle tree patterns

And for the more complex ones, I am drawing a grid with pencil that I will erase when the design has been completed.

zentangle trees painting by North Vancouver artist Sandrine Pelissier

The finished painting: Rainforest Imagery

buy zentangle trees paintings by North Vancouver artist Sandrine PelissierOriginal sold, prints available here on Fine Art America

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  • nancy

    Sandrine, Love this! But the link to mounting paper to board does not work.

    • Thank you so much for letting me know Nancy, I just fixed the link 🙂

  • Devon

    I love your integration of Zentangle and watercolour! It was actually your blog that introduced me to Zentangle, and for that alone I’ll be forever grateful. I’m such a Zentangle addict now! Your art has also inspired me to combine the two in my own work, though I’ll admit I haven’t been brave enough to try it yet, though I don’t know why. I think it’s because I’m one of those terrible artists who hates to mess up and waste paper, but I’m working on that. I have learned a lot from your blog and look forward to (and enjoy)your newsletters. And your art is beautiful and fantastic! Keep up the great work! Blessings!

    • Thanks Devon, I was very happy to read your comment 🙂
      I feel the same and often I fear that I am going to ruin a piece if I add something more but also that fear is part of what keeps painting exciting for me !

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  • I love most of your work, and enjoy the demos. The end result in this piece, however, gives me the shivers! It reminds me of snakes in the jungle! This is just my reaction! Others may have a different reaction.