Mixed media

Liz Seward

This demonstration by Liz Seward uses one of her favorite combinations, that of acrylic inks together with water soluble wax pastels (FW Acrylic Artists Inks by Daler Rowney, and Caran D'ache Neocolour II crayons). For this demonstration she used a good quality 100% cotton, mould made, acid free watercolour paper such as Langton 'Prestige'. This was fixed vertically for the demonstration although she normally works with the paper horizontal. Interestingly, the paper was only fixed to the backing board along the top edge. Despite being worked largely wet into wet there was hardly any buckling of the paper.

For this demonstration, Liz had chosen a scene featuring orange poppies against a natural background and used a photgraph as a guide rather than a strict reference. The composition had been loosely drawn on the paper in pencil prior to the start of the demonstration.


Firstly she wet the paper all over with clean water, then dropped bright yellow ink into the area ocupied by the poppies. She then suggested the background foliage using bold strokes of process cyan ink at varying dilutions. This was followed by some process magenta on the left to provide a darker colour.

Next Liz added some orange ink to the poppies themselves. All this was carried out quite quickly, wet into wet, using a flat brush about 20 mm wide.


At this stage, the painting was dried using a hair dryer to prevent further wet into wet effects. Darker green was added next to the poppies to bring the flowers forward. In some areas the dark green was feathered to suggest leaves. Some dark greens were also added as negative shapes to suggest poppy seed heads and flower stems. While working at this stage Liz commented that she does not put in solid blocks of background colour- by leaving edges and untouched areas the painting takes on a less boring and more natural atmosphere.


This is the stage where Liz began to use the water soluble wax crayons. Colour can be applied directly like a normal crayon, or like a watercolour by using a damp brush. Here Liz developed the poppy leaves by adding different shades to the petals as well as adding highlights and darks at the flower centres. Some judicious darks were added to the background to bring forward the central poppies, and a few lines were used to emphasize the form of some poppy heads.

Liz Sewel with her finished demonstration.