Painting palm tree flowers with watercolors and acrylics

This week, i wanted to go back to a technique i love : masking with gouache and acrylics.

I’m using this technique quite often now because it’s an easy way to paint white elements in watercolor. It’s more of a mix-media technique than just watercolor, but as long as you get what you want it’s totally a valid technique ! There is some steps to follow in order to make this masking technique work :

  • Paint the shape you want to mask with white gouache.
  • Let dry.
  • Paint a layer of acrylics (it totally works with watercolor too, but it can result in some lack of intensity in colors and shapes won’t be as crisp as with acrylics). This layer has to be painted quite quickly and with soft and light brush strokes in order to not disturb the gouache underneath too much.
  • Let dry.
  • Rinse the gouache in the sink under running water. You can rub gently the gouache with your fingers but beware ! The more you rub, the more your paper can be damaged. Watercolor paper is very fragile when wet and if the surface is damaged it can result in less sharpness in the next layers.
  • Let dry.
  • Paint details !

This is quite a time consuming technique because of all the drying time between each step. But i’m always amazed how easy it is to get an interesting image with it !

Painting palm tree flowers in video

Peindre des fleurs de palmier à l'aquarelle et l'acrylique

Supplies :
Brushes : Escoda Último 1″ flat, Escoda Último nº18 round, Escoda Último nº8 rigger.
Paper : Canson Héritage hot pressed.
Colors : Prussian blue (Isaro), Indian yellow (Isaro), Perylene red (Isaro) ; Acrylics colors : Indigo (Golden), Sepia (Golden), Yellow ocre (Daler Rawney) ; Granulation medium (Winsor & Newton), Opaque white (Schmincke).

And here you have the finished painting (click to enlarge) :

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