Acrylic artist Sandrine Pelissier shares a step-by-step for Acrylic Artist and artistsnetwork.com readers. Pelissier’s work spans a variety of genres and media, from watercolor portraits to acrylic and ink florals. In this demonstration we see how she creates her intricate patterns that are a form of meditative practice for the artist.
The winter 2015 issue of Acrylic Artist features 11 additional paintings by Pelissier as well as a Step-by-Step demonstration. Get the issue at NorthLightShop.com and read the feature-length article and see more of her work that finds form in chaos.
Before I start to paint I prepare my fluid acrylic palette that is limited to 5 to 8 colors– more than enough to mix all the colors I will need. For this painting I mixed different shades of green from a warm green basic color (Green Gold from Opus Essential Fluid Acrylic Colours) that is more or less the equivalent of a sap green.
Mounted and primed canvas, 48 x 48 inches
Opus Essential Fluid Acrylic Colours:
Cadmium Red medium • Cadmium Orange • Burnt Umber • Green Gold • Cadmium Yellow medium Speedball ink in Teal Green
Da Vinci masking fluid
Black India ink
Sakura Pigma micron pen
Faber Castell PITT Artist pen
Krylon workable fixative Liquitex Soluvar varnish
I paint the trees trunks using a layering technique, and the foliage using a wet-on-wet painting technique. The trunks are painted with a first layer of light yellow, so I can easily see where they are when I am working on the foliage in between. For the foliage I cover all the areas I want to keep white with masking fluid allowing me to paint freely. Once the masking fluid is dry, I paint wet-into-wet, letting the colors mix on the canvas by painting different colors next to each other.
When the foliage area is dry, I remove the masking fluid. TIP: Form a ball with the dry masking fluid to get a good grip when picking up the rest of the dry masking fluid.
I soften the edges by painting over them with a bit of white acrylic diluted in medium. This creates a “halo” effect that works well to render the effect of the light shining through the foliage. Because I am working with fluid acrylics, I work horizontally on a table most of the time. I painted a few extra layers with yellow fluid acrylic to obtain a bit of variation between the trees as well as gradation from top to bottom.
I painted a few layers of red, keeping some variation from tree to tree and also keeping the colors lighter toward the top of the canvas. I painted the new growth tiny branches a bit brighter and left them orange in the final painting allowing them to bring a nice, bright rhythmic element to the final painting.
The last layer for the tree trunks is a layer of light blue. It neutralizes the orange, moving it more toward a brown color.
The next step is adding patterns to the trees. For this pattern, I used a Sakura Pigma Micron marker. Later in the process I will use a dipping pen and ink.
Working on repetitive patterns is very relaxing and close to some kind of meditation. I collect patterns that I like on flashcards, so I can easily go through my pattern collection when I am working on a painting.
Some patterns are hand drawn and some are based on a grid. If I don’t want the grid to be visible at the end, I will trace it with a ruler using a pencil. I can later erase the pencil lines.
Some patterns, like this one, are reminiscent of motifs I would make in crochet. I use a bigger marker to fill out the spaces in between the motif shapes (Faber Castell PITT Artist pen).
For this pattern, I switched to a dipping pen and black India ink. The grid for the motif was hand drawn with ink because it will be covered in black later.
Each tree on this painting has its own unique pattern. I also add patterns to the ground area, most of them are foliage inspired patterns, and I add a few mushrooms, slugs and a worm.
To avoid any smudging when working with mixed media, I always spray the painting with workable fixative before varnishing. I apply the varnish with a soft brush on the painting resting horizontally on the table.
The finished painting: Sandrine Pelissier Terra Incognita (mixed media on canvas, 48×48)
Want to see more? Sandrine Pelissier shares a second demonstration, here, on the artistsnetwork.com