This is a very easy painting that can be customized with different colors and words on the ornament! It reminds me of the “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree”, although I wasn’t think about it when I was designing this tutorial! And those “blurry lights” are soooo addicting to paint! I am not a photographer so I didn’t know this until a week after I released this tutorial, but the actual term for those out of focus lights is “Bokeh” pronounced “BOH-Kay”! Painting them on canvas is very easy and adds a nice, unique touch to a simple painting. I did two different versions of this painting, one with warm white lights with a gray background and the other with color lights and a black background. It was certainly a lot harder to create the effect with the color lights. Any how, I can’t wait to see what you come up with and if you decide on a different color/word design – do share! Happy painting and enjoy!
I Definitely like the Gray background and Yellow/ White lights better! I think what makes this painting so effective is the red against that gray!
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- Neutral Gray (or any shade of gray that you have handy!)
- Titanium White
- Cad Yellow Light (or any shade of yellow that you have handy!)
- Cad Red (Your choice of color for the ornament)
- Mars Black
- Burnt Umber (Dark Brown)
- Sap Green (Dark green)
- Navy Blue
Paper plate for tracing circle (smaller circle if you’re using a smaller canvas). I used a 9″ plate.
Optional Paint Pen (These are great to use if you don’t have a steady hand when painting letters with a tiny brush!)
Various size brushes (including two different size filbert brushes.)
First I traced a standard size paper plate on my canvas LIGHTLY with a pencil. This is only a reference for now because I want to leave most of this area white. Of course if you’re using a smaller canvas, use a smaller circle.
Then I painted my entire canvas with a “wash” of gray using only up and down strokes. A wash is water mixed with the paint. I wanted some color inconsistency in the background as well. Also, don’t worry about keeping that circle perfect! The gray inside the circle is to our advantage when it comes time to “shade” the ornament.
*Note: For the color lights – use black instead of gray!
Whoa! Don’t freak out just yet! Those “Bokeh” lights are very easy to paint! Simply use a filbert brush, yellow and white paint. Add various shades of the yellow and white to the brush. Press the filbert brush down and turn to form a circle. The more water you have on the brush, the blurrier the lights and visa versa. P.S. there’s a video right below for more explanation!
*Note: for the color lights use: red, orange, yellow, green and blue!
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Then I traced that circle again with chalk!
I used “cad red” to paint the entire ornament. Any color works for this!!! To “cut in”, I used an angle brush.
Make sure your brush strokes stay in a circle.
View the video below to see how I painted the pine needles. Use a small flat brush and dip in dark green and white.
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Paint the pine needles all the way from the left of the brush going to the end of the canvas. If you want it to look more like a “Charlie Brown” tree, paint just a cluster at the tip of the branch and leave the rest bare.
Then I painted the string that goes around the branch using a flat brush. I added some highlight with white paint.
Next I used navy blue paint to start the “shading” of the ornament.
Next I painted a white highlight on the right. I started with one line and then some “zig-zags”. There is another highlight in the lower left as well!
I added one more dark area in the lower right with navy blue.
Finally the lettering! If you’re not into calligraphy (I certainly need practice) then practice on a separate sheet of paper. Find a font you like and a word or phrase you want. After practicing on paper, draw your word or phrase with chalk onto the ornament.
Then use black or another color to paint over the chalk. Wait for the word to dry before erasing the chalk!
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