You can get a lovely watercolor look with acrylic paints by thinning them enough. Certain colors are problematic when you add water, because they will separate and the binder breaks down. But to counteract this, I painted them on top of slightly moist gesso. Here's how it worked:
Prepare a selection of acrylic paints, placing a dab into small paper cups and adding water until they are extremely thin. I used these colors:
Hansa yellow medium
Prepare your watercolor paper, 140 lb cold pressed, with white gesso. I use foam brushes for this. You might want to test your thinned paints on a scrap piece of paper with gesso before committing to the full-sized piece, to make sure you are getting the colors you want. Thinned acrylics can be a bit deceiving!
When the gessoed paper is still a bit damp, use pipettes to drip the paints lengthwise along the paper, holding it up vertically. Flip the paper to the side, holding it up horizontally, and allow the paints to drip and mingle. Use a spray bottle if needed to encourage more running.
Allow the piece to dry thoroughly and spray it with clear acrylic fixative.
Spray lightly with water and use a pipette to drip black waterproof India ink for trees. Add "branches" by drawing out some of the ink in the "trunks" with the tip of an empty pipette. Dry thoroughly and spray again with fixative.
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Copyright 2017 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. The tutorial only may be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.