Owl On A Christmas Tree

How To Paint An Owl On A Christmas Tree


Learn to paint this cute owl on top of a Christmas tree! I used a black canvas for this acrylic painting (actually I painted a white canvas black and you can too!) Do you have a painting you messed up on and want to reuse the canvas? Just paint it over with one or two coats of black paint!  I love how the colors show on the black background almost like chalkboard art.  For the owl, I provide a pre-drawn template that can easily be traced onto the canvas. You’re welcome to come up with your own owl design as well. Enjoy! I can’t wait to see how yours turns out! 


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Acrylic Paint (I used Liquitex Basics for this painting but craft paint works fine too!)

Paint colors: 

  • Cad Red
  • Cad Orange
  • Primary Yellow
  • Light Green
  • Bright Aqua
  • Violet
  • Mars Black
  • Titanium White
  • Primary Blue

Black Canvas (In all honesty…you can paint a white canvas black! I did for this tutorial and it worked out just fine!)

Various Size Paint Brushes

White Chalk

*Owl Template (Click Here to open PDF. Print the owl on standard size paper 8″ x 11″, rub chalk on back of paper and trace owl onto canvas.)

*Note: I don’t usually do traceable templates but did it for this particular painting. You’re welcome to draw your own owl if you don’t like to trace!

Pencil for Tracing Owl Template

Print Owl Template



 I began with a black canvas. You can get a black canvas or paint a white canvas black! Then I transferred my owl template onto the canvas. To do this, I simply rubbed white chalk on the back of the owl. Then I traced the owl with a pencil.


Your transfer won’t be this dark! I traced over the transfer again so the owl will show up for demo purposes! I also drew the Christmas Tree. 


Next I used a 1/8″ flat brush to paint the eyes. I loaded the brush with light green and a tiny bit of white. The white will help the green to be more opaque on the canvas and give the eyes some color variation! Don’t mix the white, just dip it into the white and let the color do it’s “thing” on the canvas. 


Then I painted white circles around the green circle with pure titanium white. Don’t worry if you need to go outside the circle lines on the chalk drawing!


Next I painted the head and body with bright aqua green and a tiny bit of white. Load your brush with the aqua first and then dip in the white without mixing the colors together. I used the same 1/8″ flat brush. To get this “feathery” texture, I made sure my brush was dry (no dipping in water). If you absolutely need to dip in the water a few times to get the paint to flow, you may do so!   


Pay attention to the direction of the paint on each side of the face…

And the belly – the paint strokes are long curves going opposite directions.


The strokes that meet in the middle of the belly go in an oval shape. Note that you will still see black canvas through the owl. That’s what I wanted! It gives this cool “chalkboard” style to the painting.


For the scarf and hat, I painted titanium white on first and then the color. The red would have a hard time showing up on the black if you did not apply a layer of white first. 


Cad red for the scarf. You can definitely customize this! A Harry Potter scarf would be super adorable!


I painted mars black for the pattern. I was going for the “Buffalo Check” pattern that is super cute and trendy right now!


Then I painted the Santa Hat.


I also painted the beak white first and then cad orange with a bit of white highlight.


The Christmas tree was painted using the dry brush method (not adding water to the brush). I used light green and titanium white. I loaded the brush with light green and a tiny bit of white. I started from the bottom of the tree and painted one row at a time. 


Paint one row at a time from the bottom to the top. Dip your brush in light green and a tiny bit of white. Let the color do it’s own mixing on the canvas.


Then I added some strokes of white/green on the tree. You will see in the video how I did this! They are all just one stroke of my brush tip dipped in equal amounts of white and green. 


I painted the Christmas light strings with mars black. Then the lights and ornaments were painted with a layer of titanium white. Use a tiny brush for this step!



While the lights and ornaments dried, I painted the snowflakes and swirls in the background. 


Finally I painted in the lights and ornaments with my chosen colors! 


Finished! Sign your masterpiece and show it off! 

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