Take a break from the holiday treats and gift shopping to relax and let your creativity loose with a joyful painting tutorial. Below is an excerpt from Intuitive Painting Workshop by Alena Hennessy so you can learn how to create lush evergreen trees filled with twinkling lights.
A Painting Perfect for the Holidays, Step-by-Step
With the year now coming to a close, what a perfect way to celebrate by making a painting just in time for the holidays. Sparkle, reds, greens, animals or trees representative of a seasonal expression are all part of the inspiration for this demo.
Let this lesson be a way for you to celebrate the holidays in joyful merriment of painting and creativity. And also, let this year come to a close in sweet reflection, for all that you have gained.
For this demonstration, it’s really up to you as to how you would like to execute it. You can follow as I have done below in the step-by-step photos, or you can try your own favorite techniques but just making your composition holiday-themed.
The point of this tutorial is to celebrate the season and create a painting that is inspired by it. Let’s get started!
What you will need:
- Acrylic Paints (colors that feel festive)
- Clear spray varnish
- Inks (acrylic ink or India ink)
- Paintbrushes for acrylics (soft round/mop, flat and angled)
- Preferred surface (canvas board, wood panel, gessoed board or Aquabord)
Drop it Like its Hot
Begin by painting your background with rich jewel tones, or use greens and blue inks (analogous colors) as I have done here on the Aquabord.
Drop the inks all over the surface and let them naturally feather. Allow drips to naturally occur by tapping your surface up vertically. Just make sure a lot of water is applied to be able to pull off this effect.
Swirl them around with a mop brush or other thick round brush.
I like having a loose inky feel, one that is translucent for the background overlaid with opaque subject matter.
Continue to work with rich holiday colors for your background. I love magenta, red and green jewel tones.
Define a horizon line of some sort. Here I drew in white trees with paint pen. I also drew a moon with my wax crayon.
Layer, Layer and Layer
Next, I add white acrylic paint over the moon.
You also want to paint a foreground for your work. This is a very simple painting in which I am drawing two Christmas trees. The images for your foreground may be totally different; it’s really up to you and how you celebrate the holiday season.
To create trees saturated with color, I decided to use several different green inks.
I also apply green matte acrylics once the inks are mostly dry. I want the trees to feel solid on my painting and hold stature. Layering can help to accomplish this.
Add the De-lightful Details
Take your painting a bit further with more detail, as I am doing here by painting ornaments on the tree. I picked out more bright colors to express the celebratory mood of the holidays. I am using a small round brush to execute these ornaments.
Continue to draw in lovely details, as I have done here with my white ornamental dots around the moon and on the tree. These dots help to create a sense of movement and show up sweetly against a sweeping sky.
Now It’s Time For the Big Reveal
This demonstration would be fun to do on smaller surfaces, and then give each to a family member, or to do with your family as a holiday activity. Spray or apply liquid varnish to seal the painting, and you’re finished!
Do you do any festive art projects for the holidays? Share your favorite techniques to use in the comments.
Here’s to a happy holiday season and a joyous New Year!