Watercolor Mixed Media Painting Techniques

About Sandrine Pelissier

I grew up in France but have been living in Canada for the last 12 years, I am currently located in North Vancouver and work from a studio on Pemberton Avenue.

Watercolor is my medium of choice because of the unique way it allows me to render light. The transparency of this medium can make it look like the painting is lit from behind and the light is shining through the paper In my portraits, I like to tell stories about the people around me. I am very interested in childhood fantasy or fairy tales (I wish it would snow Flowers, Hair Balloon, Georgia, the Spanish dress and the Eclectus Parrot). I also like to induce a dialogue with the viewer in some paintings dealing more with introspection and mood (Mixed, In the studio).

Those portraits are not about likeness or knowing the people that are being painted, as I see my models as actors in a movie, they are the faces that will allow me to tell a story or to show emotions. Those faces are a source of endless fascination and I find the subtlety that can be achieved with watercolor well suited to the complexity of the human face.

My technique involves the accumulation of many transparent layers of watercolor. Then I like to incorporate mixed media in the background, work sometimes with some contouring. I also sometimes like to add some drawing on top of the painting or some graphic elements…

Sandrine’s Website

Sandrine’s Blog

Watercolor and mixed media painting tutorial : Playing in the grass

(click images for larger views)


Playing in the grass,
watercolor and mixed media on paper, mounted on board
24 x 24 inches

I really like mounting watercolors on board, I can have the advantages of watercolor, a very fluid way of painting, and then still have a painting that can hang on the wall without frame or glass.

I also quite like the look of varnish on top of watercolor, I think it brings out contrasts and looks very good.

So this is my latest watercolor and mixed media painting on paper, I used traditional watercolors, then a bit of gouache mixed with watercolor and watercolor crayons. Here is a detailed step by step tutorial followed by a time lapse video where you can see the painting process.


I started by making my drawing on the paper and then I mounted that paper on the board.


To mount my paper on the board I followed the process explained in that post: http://paintingdemos.com/2012/10/16/mountin-watercolor-paper-on-board/


Once everything had time to dry, I did preserve a few white areas in the trees and also isolated a few grasses with masking fluid so I could paint a background in that grass section of the painting.


To apply masking fluid I did use a brush soaked in water and rubbed against a soap.


This is the grass background with wet in wet mixes of green, yellow ocher and burnt umber.


I then worked on the trees foliage, leaving space unpainted for the trunks


I painted the trunks with a mix of brown, blue, orange and red, mixing colors on the paper and then once in a while in the painting process would ad a few drips to let the paint move and add interesting textures.


Before removing the masking fluid I sprinkle the painting with water and watercolor paint to add interesting textures.


Then I start taking off the masking fluid.


and painting the grass with a mix of green, yellow, blue, brown


Working on the grass.


The green I used is a mix of Viridian green and either Cadmium lemon or yellow ocher.


Then I want to accentuate the contrast in the grass area by making the background darker and more complex. I scribble on that background with a dark green watercolor crayon being careful not to draw on the grass blades.


Here is a close up of the textures I am building with watercolor crayons.


the last step is to add a few more drips, including some with gouache and then finish removing all the masking fluid in the trees foliage.

Video Demonstration

Below is a video demonstration of the above watercolor tutorial.


  1. says

    I love the way you use bright colors to give you the different colors of green and how you let it drip down you picture. I still don’t have the courage to do that but I love it.

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