View Full Version : Christmas Balls & Baubles by Nandie

11-09-2003, 02:22 AM
This thread has been edited, in order to make the instruction easier to follow. The original, complete thread can be found here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=144778&highlight=WiParticipate). Please add your posts to the original thread, rather than this edited Demo version. The Moderators.

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Quick Reference to the Instructional Posts

Step 1 - post #3
Explaining Highlights - post #4
Step 2 - post #18
Step 3 - post #33
Step 4 - post #43
Step 5 - post #50
Step 6 - post #55
Group Critique - begins with post #69

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A few of you asked me to show you how I paint shiney Christmas baubles and lights. So I've prepared a step-by-step WIP for you to follow along with.

Here's the finished product:

Deck The Halls
9"x11" on Arches, Winsor & Newton paints.


Here's the fun part: I'm not giving an inch more until you get ready to follow along. You can either draw your own picture, or copy the one I used HERE. (http://seatoskyzine.com/deckhalls_template.htm) Just click the link, copy and save the picture, then print it out on a regular 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper. It should be just the right size to fill the piece of paper. (at least, it was when I tried it, lol!) Then trace it out and transfer it to your watercolor paper. I used Arches 140# CP. Make it 10"x12" or something a bit bigger than you need because you'll want to mat and frame your masterpiece when you are finished :) Just transfer the basic lines of the baubles (circles), lights and branches. Don't bother to trace in the foliage (my scribbles) that's just there to give you an idea of how it goes for later.

Then get your brushes. I used a 1" Flat, a 1/2" flat, a #8 round and a #2 script liner.

Paints: I started off with W&N Winsor Yellow, Winsor Red, Winsor Blue, Winsor Violet and Hookers Green. Later on you'll need Burnt Sienna, FUB or others that you choose. Of course you don't have to use the same colors as me for the baubles.... do what you like.

Anyway, go ahead, get yourselves ready.

I'll wait.


11-09-2003, 01:30 PM
Originally posted by Cathie Jones
WAIT! I have a question - - I don't have Winsor Yellow or Winsor Blue - what should I substitute for them? :confused:

Cathie, FUB will substitute nicely for Winsor Blue (it's just for the blue ornament so you could use anything, really.)

For the Winsor Yellow, which is on the yellow ornament, try Winsor Lemon or any other color of your choosing. The ornament doesn't have to be yellow, although it really adds to the brightness to have something yellow on the tree.

It's more important to have a nice soft yellow for the light wall area on the lower right of the painting as well as for the "haloes" around each light. You could try Winsor Lemon or any other very light yellow. If you have no yellow at all, for these areas you could substitute New Gamboge, very diluted Burnt Sienna or maybe Yellow Ochre. What do you have that's a yellow hue?

Glad you are already - I'll post the first step shortly.

JJ, don't worry about the time difference - we're all in different time zones. Just do each step when you see it here, and be sure to post your progress so we can all help each other out.

IDCrisis, all are welcome to join in anytime! :)

11-09-2003, 02:03 PM
Okay, so you should have something that looks like this transferred onto your watercolor paper:


Lights: First, paint a "halo" around each light with light yellow. I used Winsor Yellow, but any soft yellow will do. The halo doesn't have to be perfectly round, but do try to fade the edges so they are soft rather than hard.

Balls: Now wet your #8 Round brush with plain water and paint inside a ball in a circular motion (most brush stokes within a ball should follow the curve of the ball to keep it looking round). Leave some areas in the middle and lower right of the ball dry. Go fast, be a little messy. Careful strokes at this stage will make your ball look overworked. The best reflections sort of create themselves as paint reacts with water. You'll see. Anyway, even though you are going quickly, do stay within the lines.

Now, if you've got a puddle of water in your ball, let it dry until the paper is shiney, which is still very wet. Now pick up your round brush and stroke it across your paint - I use undiluted pigment at this stage - and dab it (also called "dropping in") where you want the most intense color. See where my strongest colors are - in the middle and upper areas where I'd imagine the tree branches would cover the ball? That's where I dropped in the color. Also pay attention to nearby lights - you want white areas left where the ball would reflect these closest lights. Let the paint mingle with the water on the ball, tilt your paper around so it can cover all the wet areas. If it won't do that, your wet areas are too dry. Just drop in a little more water and watch the fun happen.

Just as the paint is getting dry, take your damp brush and gently coax a bit of the color around the edges of the ball that have no paint.

Do this with each ball and you should end up with something like this:


Here's a closeup detail:


See how the areas you left dry are already starting to look like reflections, and how the darkest areas where you dropped in your pigment are adding depth and roundness? You can see especially on the red ball where I coaxed the color around the edges of the white part. See where I've left the lightest areas closest to the lights. Don't worry if you didn't leave light areas everywhere that you wanted them.... we can lift out some high-lights later as well.

11-09-2003, 02:20 PM
Highlights on Christmas tree baubles have both hard and soft edges, depending on what they are reflecting. Nearby lights will often create soft-edged reflections, while reflections from sources further away seem to have hard edges.

You will be creating both soft and hard edged reflections on your baubles. The hard edges are created in these first steps, as you add pigment to the water painted on your bauble and it dries with hard edges. We'll try to preserve as many of these as we can. Some will be sacrificed in subsequent steps but as long as a few remain it will be effective. Soft edged reflections will be added later by lifting out areas of color with a damp brush, mostly where the lights are closest to the ball.

Have fun with the first step. Don't sweat - the instructions are long but the technique really is simple. Have fun watching undiluted pigment react with the water on your paper. You can also use a hair-dryer to speed up the drying process on the balls, infact the blowing air sometimes makes the pigment move around more and create interesting effects.

Ask questions, I'll check in often to see how you are doing.

Post your progress so we can see!

Ant P, stop looking over at what Susan's doing and get to work. (yeeesh what a trouble-maker!):rolleyes:

Cathie Jones
11-09-2003, 03:28 PM
Okay - here's my first progress pic - I can already see one thing I've done wrong - too much dark, not enough "dragging" down - maybe I'll start another one - in spite of the complicated, detailed drawing. LOLOLOLOL :evil: :angel: Besides, it's fun.:D

11-09-2003, 05:04 PM
Originally posted by Cathie Jones
Okay - here's my first progress pic - I can already see one thing I've done wrong - too much dark, not enough "dragging" down - maybe I'll start another one - in spite of the complicated, detailed drawing. LOLOLOLOL :evil: :angel: Besides, it's fun.:D

Hi Cathie,

It's a good first try! But the colors look too even, as if your paper was too wet so the pigment spread out too evenly. Are you working on a horizontal surface? I think I see darker areas at the bottom portions of the red and green balls, as if you had the canvas tilted or even vertical. Make sure you keep your paper flat so the paint stays basically where you put it and is more faded towards the bottom of each ball. Try again with less water on the balls so the color stays concentrated where you drop it in. And like Remy said, your halos could be bigger although the one by the blue ball is perfect. (Remy had just better be practising what she's preaching!) ;):angel:

Ant P, no coffee break for you until you upload your progress pic!

Cathie, you can bring chocolate as long as you share with the teacher, and oh yes, I'll have a Starbucks latte please!

How's everybody else doing?

11-09-2003, 05:23 PM
LOL - don't worry about your haloes being too big - as long as they have soft edges to blend in with the rest of the background which we'll be adding in the next step, you'll be fine!

**yeesh we're going to start a "halo envy" war**

How are the baubles comming along?

Cathie Jones
11-09-2003, 05:51 PM
Okey Dokey! Here's try #2 . . . better baubles - are the halos big enough this time? They might be bigger than the photo shows - they definitely fade at the edges.

11-09-2003, 06:22 PM

(You have to remember to save your pictures as jpeg or gif compatible and yours was a bitmap);)

Anyway, I like your purple one the best! I'd say you are ready for the next step.

And Cathie, yours are looking good, haloes are good too! You are ready for the next step too :) so you ladies reward yourselves to a nice hot cuppa and stay tuned......

11-09-2003, 06:51 PM
phew,..Oh the concentration. Need a sweet coffee now to get rid of my bauble headache.

There is more graduation in value in the baubles especially the yellow one which doesn't show up in the scan.


11-09-2003, 07:08 PM
Here is my first attempt. I forgot to keep the whites for reflections and had to lift out a few lights. Also, I went a little heavy on the pigment. Any suggestions, hints, help? Thanks, Ann


11-09-2003, 07:16 PM
Hey, this is fun! here's my first try:


Don't have chocolate, but have TONS of Twizzler snacks left over from Halloween -- anyone?


11-09-2003, 07:51 PM
Giseladove: Your pictures seems very dark. Is this more like it?


Anyway, it's just fine. I tend to build up my colors gradually in several steps but what you have here is good! Your light blue ball at the top is sort of what we are aiming for, with more tonal variation but don't worry, we will do some lifting later.

Remy, beautiful - it shines already!

Fun2Cook.... hmmmmm.... I'd have to figure out how to use the publisher first..... tried once and gave up in frustration! LOL!:rolleyes:

IDcrisis, your highlights are all soft, but that's fine! My only thought is that you need to do a little more lifting following the lower curve of the balls. The highlights you've lifted from the blue & yellow balls are a bit too straight, making the balls look flat. I like the fact that they are long and narrow though... just make them conform to the round shape of the ball. We will be adding more color later, so don't worry if they aren't "perfect" at this stage! OH! And make your light "haloes" bigger!!!

Ant P, your haloes arent quite big enough either!:angel:

Debra, you've achieved exactly what I meant by letting the pigment swirl around on it's own. Looks great!

You guys are all doing a great job - give yourselves a pat on the back! We're just waiting for a few more to post their progress and then we'll go on to step 2!

Okay..... who's got CHOCOLATE????

11-09-2003, 10:13 PM
Well, Nandie, I tried but certainly doesn't look like the others. Oh well, an experiment. What should I do? It just didn't work the way I thought it would. Any hope or should I start again?


Maddie M.
11-09-2003, 10:57 PM
You all are so speedy! The uploads are looking great. I didn't get as far as the rest of the class, but here's my progress.


It has been fascinating to watch the pigment float around and stay only where the paper is wet. This has been a blast. Any suggestions before I finish those last three baubles?

-- Maddie

11-10-2003, 01:48 AM
Carole, so glad youre joining us. Feel free to post anytime you can!

Hopefulbucky, don't throw away that painting! I think you should just go with it and see it through to completion. I think you have a good start here, and we will be layering on more color later. You may be surprised at how well it turns out in the end!

Maddie, keep going just the way you are, what you have looks terrific! It is fun, isn't it? :)

11-10-2003, 12:02 PM
Susan and Starsprite, those look GREAT!! Starsprite, when you get a spare moment, just get your damp 1/2" flat brush and lift some wonky edges around those baubles and they'll look round again.

Thanks for all the chocolate! (you're right, I prefer chocolate to apples.... apples may be healthier to the body but choc is definitely better for my disposition!)

Nanphe & Gnu, happy you've joined us! And it is the season for giving.... :)

Susan, I can ALWAYS be bribed with coffee and chocolate!:D

Maddie, those baubles look terrific! Ready for step 2!

Jaytee.... I am surprised that with all the WIP's done around here that a "follow-along" WIP has never been done before! After all, art lessons are expensive and with all the proficient artists around here, we could certainly be teaching each other - for free!!! I hope others will get the idea and do something similar!:)

11-10-2003, 12:32 PM
Yay - Cathie's brought the coffee, so we are ready to start step 2!

So we will leave the baubles and lights alone for now and start working on our background - we want richness and depth that will really make those balls & lights start to glow!

Here's what we are doing today:

The colors used in this step are Winsor Yellow (or another light, warm yellow if you need to substitute), Burnt Sienna and a bit of FUB (Fr. Ultra Blue) or another blue.

First, get your 1" Flat brush and make a puddle of Yellow on your pallette, and paint the whole lower right-hand area yellow (area indicated below the line) going slightly in around the lower baubles. (don't paint over the baubles!) Take the yellow down past your lower edge, even where you see brown right now. Hopefully the picture gives you an idea of what I'm saying:
The yellow goes in the area below the line.
You want nice, warm color so make your yellow strong enough that you can see it. The idea here is the warm light reflection you would see cast on a wall behind and below the Christmas tree.

Now, mix a puddle of Burnt Sienna, diluted enough so it looks more orange than brown (but not too watery), and beginning with the upper left area, paint everything except the baubles and light-haloes. That's right, bring the color from the edges of the painting, right in amongst the balls and lights. As your work around those haloes, just soften the brown edges before they dry so they fade into the haloes with no hard edges. You can switch to a smaller brush for this area if you like. As you can see, the brown in amongst the baubles is lighter than the brown around the edges. It doesn't have to be that way, but it's okay if it happens that way.
You do want it darkest in the upper left corner, getting gradually lighter as you move to the lower right.

Now, do another layer of darker brown if yours isn't as dark as mine - I added a small dab of FUB to my Burnt Umber to darken it - and go over the upper left area again, and bring it around the edges to the lower right quadrant, just at the very edges - going over the edges of the yellow area. Again, refer to the picture, it's better at explaining this than I am! (more coffee please Cathie!) Make sure in this lower right area that your Burnt Sienna blends nicely into your yellow - just go over any hard edges with a large (1") damp flat brush to smooth it all out. Throw in a little more yellow here if you need to. Go ahead, it's your painting! :)

Hopefully when you've done this step, your lights and baubles will start to look like they are glowing, and you'll have the effect of shadow above and behind the balls, with a nice glow below, fading into shadow again.

Have fun! :)

Maddie M.
11-10-2003, 01:19 PM
I have a question... Are we still working flat at this point, or are we tilting our boards a few inches? Does it matter?

-- Maddie

11-10-2003, 04:55 PM
Quick questions - do we let the yellow wash in the lower part dry before adding the Burnt Sienna - and do we let the first BS wash dry before adding the 2nd BS layer?


11-10-2003, 05:57 PM
Originally posted by Maddie M.
I have a question... Are we still working flat at this point, or are we tilting our boards a few inches? Does it matter?

-- Maddie

Hi Maddie, we are always working FLAT (horizontal) for the whole thing! :)

11-10-2003, 06:13 PM
Everybody - Maddie pointed out to me that I made a typo, in the first sentence of the second to last paragraph - I mentioned adding FUB to Burnt Umber, I meant to say Burnt Sienna! :) Sorry for any confusion!

Okay, commenting in order of sequence....

Ant P, yours looks good - it could actually go a little darker between your lights & baubles if you like. (there, that wasn't too painful, was it?!)

Nanphe, that looks wonderful! I love the purple bauble - now go on to step 2!

Judy, you are so welcome. Glad you are enjoying this.... :)

Cathie, apple pie! Mmmmmmmm......:D

Debra, I didn't wait until the yellow was completely dry - it was still a bit damp when I went over the edges with Burnt Sienna. Just watch for blooms and smooth them out if they occur. Same for the second layer of BS - the first was not completely dry but it worked okay anyway!

Or do as Remy suggested (let it dry) just to be safe! (Thanks for jumping in to help, Remy!) :)

Remy, LOL - every painting I have ever done goes through an "ugly" stage - don't know how to ever avoid that! :rolleyes: Show us what you've got anyway... don't throw it away!

Ant P..... I hear you causing trouble while I'm away.... just simmer down, you!!!

Susan, yes it was a typo - we are NOT using Burnt Umber. I MEANT to say Burnt SIENNA!:o
And yes, my Ant P has always been a bit of a handful for me.... that's why I am the way I am.... patient, long suffering, a saint, really!:angel: :angel:

11-10-2003, 06:21 PM
I am getting so much pleasure out of this..talk about your own personal tutor!!
I am trying to be very careful..
first stage..lights..so far so good...

then the balls..I want them VERY shiny looking, so becuase I don't trust my skill, I have frisketed some areas..
you can see I blew this layer with the yellow ball, so need advice in this..I guess I lift some colour with a wet brush?

thanks in advance for any help....off to browse others' work till mine is dry...(PS I'm NOT going to get precious over this..it's good practice..gotta learn how to repair as well as create!!)

11-10-2003, 06:31 PM
Hi Gill,

Looking fine - yes you can lift some areas later on that yellow ball. In fact, if you want to try right now, you can lift most of your yellow, let it dry, and then do another layer of yellow color using the method I described in step 1. Don't cover the whole ball with this new layer of color, just where you want more intense color. You really do need some light yellow areas there for tonal variation, so go ahead and try that if you like!

I tried doing baubles once before using frisket and ended up not liking the result, which is why I'm not doing that here, but maybe it will work for you. Anyway, carry on with this, and we'll see, maybe you'll be showing us all how to do this with frisket! :)

11-10-2003, 07:08 PM
Ok, after much fiddling, here it is. Could it be that I'm rather heavy handed with the colour??

11-10-2003, 08:38 PM
Hey, everybody's progress is looking good!

Remy, GORGEOUS color!!! Maybe a BIT heavy-handed, we'll see when we carry on - just leave it, I like it!

Joann, good job on step 1! Yes, you could make those haloes a bit bigger before going on to step 2.

Cathie, looks good too. Carry that brown color a little further down in amongst the lights towards the green bauble, then bring some brown (Sienna) around the outer edges of the yellow - refer back to my picture to see what I mean. Good job!

11-10-2003, 10:16 PM
Here's my Step Two.... paint still wet and taken with digital cam with flash so kind of brighter than in real life. How is it teach...I have no idea?? We are going to brighten up the baubles later on arent' we? If not...mine are pretty sad. :crying: I had to use Cotman burnt sienna too... as I didnt have any artist grade. Oh well! Pass the chocolates!


11-10-2003, 11:31 PM
Uggggh! Not sure I like this!


11-11-2003, 12:44 AM
Hey everyone..Here's my step 2. this is fun, cant wait for more instructions..


It looks brighter IRL.


11-11-2003, 01:06 AM
have you noticed how different they all are? and I don't mean good or bad..but different...
it will be sooo interesting to see everyone's end result...
I think they are all looking fine...(OK so we all have little bits that aren't perfect..but we're having fun aren't we? and boy I'm learning too...

11-11-2003, 03:29 AM
Hey, you gals have been busy!! Lookin' good... I'll comment in order of appearance:

Ann, your is definitely glowing! Love it! Ready for step 3 :)

JJ, take your time, hope all went well at the Dentist.

Gnu, it's just fine. You can fix the wobbly edges of your balls with a damp, 1/2" flat brush... just go around those edges and lift where you need to and add a bit of color where you need to.... then your ready for the next step too :)

Patty, looking good too. That cotman color reallly is orange, isn't it? Do you have a brown color you can glaze over the orange just in the upper left area? The idea is to have shadow in the upper left and glowing light in the lower right. If you have no brown, try a glaze of dark blue, as blue and orange together create a neutral dark. Do you feel comfortable trying that? And yes, we will be working more on the baubles, so yours are just fine for this stage of the game! :)

Debra, don't worry, what you have is just right! Be patient - you'll see how it all ties together as the steps progress!

JoAnn, good for you! Ready for step 3 :)

I'm going to finish this post by quoting Gnu, because she hit the nail right on the head with the spirit of this whole exercise:

have you noticed how different they all are? and I don't mean good or bad..but different...
it will be sooo interesting to see everyone's end result...
I think they are all looking fine...(OK so we all have little bits that aren't perfect..but we're having fun aren't we?) and boy I'm learning too...

Couldn't have said it better myself! :)

11-11-2003, 04:16 AM


11-11-2003, 04:56 PM
Make those baubles shine!

Now that you've done your background, we'll go back to work on those baubles. We are going to do exactly the same thing we did in step 1 (wet the area with plain water, drop in undiluted pigment, let it swirl around). We'll do this a couple of times, letting each layer dry thoroughly before doing another. We will wet areas on the baubles previously left white in some cases (except where you absolutely want white for the brightest reflections), still concentrating most of the color in the upper & middle areas of each ball. I'm going to show you how I did this in just two more steps. Some of you will perhaps need to only do this once, others may need to do it in 3 or 4 steps. It all depends on how light or dark your baubles were to begin with, and when you are happy with the result.

So to refresh your memory, here is how my baubles looked in the last step:

Here's how they looked after repeating step 1 again:


You can see on the purple ball where I lifted a bit of color closest to the lights.

And here's how it looked after repeating step 1, one more time:


You can see on the red ball how I lifted out some circular hilights, using a damp 1/2" flat brush. I did the same thing with the green ball.

Do you see how the areas I left white are sharp-edged reflections, while the light-tone areas and lifted areas create interesting soft-edged hilights? And do you see how the layers of color overlap each other? It's all done by repeating that basic step 1, overlaping the colors and letting everything dry thoroughly between steps. The end result should be baubles that have lots of tonal values, ranging from white to very rich color. Those tiny bits of white are what really makes them sparkle, especially if the white areas are right beside an area of intense color!

11-11-2003, 05:31 PM
Originally posted by Maddie M.
Andrea, on the detail images for this step, it looks like your little light bulbs have an outline of color around the inside of the bulbs. Do we paint that now as well?

-- Maddie

**makes a mental note to promote Maddie to subsitute teacher during next absence**

YES YES YES!!! Thank you for catching that. Just a bit of color around the outside of each bulb, leaving the centres and very tips white. I used a fine-liner brush for this - go easy on the color, not too dark.

**whew** I don't think I missed anything else!:o :o

Cathie Jones
11-11-2003, 05:39 PM
Maddie, I just want ONE to turn out right . . LOL. Only 2 are full size (9"x12"), the others are on 5"x7" cards. So far, none are very good. But I know all about the ugly stage, so I know they'll get better.

Although I did just try something that worked better. I was having a awful time with hard edges - the paint dries before I can get there to soften it. DUH!! I live in the desert - even though it's cloudy today, the humidity is about 15%. Therefore, it worked better for me to dampen the paper first. Don't know why I didn't think of that before . . .

Ok - now on to Step 3 . . . this is so much fun!!!!:clap:

Bubba's Mama
11-11-2003, 05:52 PM
Finally! Been one loooooooooooooooooooong day, folks. But have the pix ready to upload - so here goes (god willing and the crick don't rise!!):

This is step two of the watercolor version - a little darker than in real life, but you get the idea!


And, just for fun, I decided to do the same thing in acrylics - just a learning experience on how the two mediums differ!!:D


Having a ball here folks. Too much fun for one old woman, Nandie, she says, handing over latte and cinnyraisin cookies to teacher type lady.


11-11-2003, 07:58 PM
OK next stage done, just got to add colour to the little lights..
if this is the last stage for the balls, I'll take the frisket off and see what happens...

11-11-2003, 08:26 PM

11-11-2003, 08:43 PM
Here's my Step Three...... I fixed the white areas by some of the halos that I didnt notice until I saw the pic on here! LOL I hope my brown at the top isnt too dark...we shall see! :D

By the way..everyone is doing great!! :clap: :clap: :clap:


11-11-2003, 08:53 PM
Everybody's baubles look soooo shiney!!! This WIP is obviously way too easy for all of you.... Ant P will surely have something much harder for you whiz-bangs to try...:evil:

Ann, all I'm wishing for on your painting is a bit more deep, intense color in a few spots on your baubles. I think that will fix the problem, you don't need to lift any more color. Just add some, perhaps in these areas (roughly) with undiluted pigment, let dry with hard edges and see what you get:


Gnu, JJ & ant P, yours are all fine, nice intense color with various tones all the way to white. They really shine!

11-11-2003, 10:55 PM
Finally,... here is my step three,..had a good excuse teach for why I am slow at posting today,.....was waiting for my sick monitor to arrive back from Puter Hospital :(.

Ok lifted a few soft highlights, added some weak colour back into some white space and added pure pigment into a few areas, plus a little colour in the globes. Hope I got it right.

11-11-2003, 11:18 PM
Originally posted by Remy
Finally,... here is my step three,..had a good excuse teach for why I am slow at posting today,.....was waiting for my sick monitor to arrive back from Puter Hospital :(.

Ok lifted a few soft highlights, added some weak colour back into some white space and added pure pigment into a few areas, plus a little colour in the globes. Hope I got it right.

P E R F E C T ! ! ! !

**really bad excuse accepted!** ;)

11-12-2003, 02:33 AM
I'm posting step 4 now, even though many of you probably aren't quite finished with step 3 yet. I'm going into Vancouver tomorrow morning and will be gone all day, so I don't want to leave you with nothing to do!:rolleyes:

Sooo..... if you are happy with your baubles, and you've done a bit of outlining on your little light bulbs, you can carry on with step 4: FOLIAGE!!!

Here's what you'll be doing today:

Get out your green (I used Hooker's Green. If you don't have it, choose a nice earthy green that's not too blue-ish) and your script liner brush. You can use a small detail brush for this, but a script liner works way better and holds more paint.

Use fairly strong color (lots of pigment, not too watery) and your script liner to draw in your branches. Try to do each in one fluid motion - I get my elbow off the table and use my whole arm - you get a much smoother line that way.

Once youve done that, mix some yellow into your green to get a nice, pale green. Use this and the script liner again to begin painting pine needles coming off the branches, around the lights only. Look at the detail here to see how they should look:

These light-colored needles go in and around your halo areas where the branches come close to them. These are the needles that would be reflecting the light, and will help to give your tree that "inner glow" when you add the darker needles later. Make your needles curvey, not straight. Again, a "whole arm" movement helps in creating fluid shapes here. Make sure you show ends of needles peeking out from behind the lights too, as shown.

This is really easy stuff, so have fun with it. I'll check in sometime tomorrow, later in the day - so behave yourselves while the teacher's away, alright? Ant P, do you hear me?!?????

11-12-2003, 08:38 AM
Yaaaaaaaaaaaaawnn it is after 11.30pm.. See my dedication ;)


My Hookers Green (M.Graham) looked almost black on the paper, so I used sap green, which isn't much lighter :( Yours looks more like phthalo green ?.........


11-12-2003, 12:27 PM
Here is my Step 4.



Alan Cross
11-12-2003, 01:15 PM
Andrea My show opens tommorow so I couldn't wait for you...here is my finshed one....thanks it was fun this is 11X 15
Alan :)


11-12-2003, 03:30 PM
added my light needles..(look more like feathers to me!!:D:D)
forgot to soften the bulb colours..oh well..
Alan..that's a great idea adding this one to your show...
I christened my sythetic script brush for this(I want to use it for acrylics too)..it works great..size 0 ....
PST. Maddie..if you want to spatter or soemthing when you're all done..you could always add some 'artificial snow' to the branches etc :D:D:D ;).

11-12-2003, 06:19 PM
Thank goodness we're coming out of the 'uglies',...everyone's paintings are really coming together now an all look great.

Well,..I had no Hookers Green so I used Sap Green with a touch of neutral tint for the branches. Sap Greeen and Lemon Yellow for the needles (all Daler~Rowney,....waiting for my M.Grahams to arrive any day now :D).

I also added slightly more colour (varied), to the little light bulbs and eh hemmm,...added the light bulb and glow under the blue bauble *smacking forehead*.

Oh,..*raising sucking up to teacher hand* Teach,...Alan is naughty isn't he? He should be punished shouldn't he? I think a WIPalong from him is needed for being so bad.

11-12-2003, 08:42 PM
Here's my Step four..... looking like nobody elses! I sure do have a "style" all my own I must say! LOL :D :eek: I ran out of Hooker's Green so used MaimeriBlu Permanent Deep Green. I added some of the Winsor Yellow to it for the little feathery branches in the halos but hard to tell. I dunno...I just dunno if there's hope for mine. LOL TEACHER!! Help!!


11-13-2003, 02:01 PM
Here's where we really start to tie it all together! All you do now is add more needles! Use the same dark green you used for your stems. Using your script liner, begin in the upper left corner and start adding needles to each branch. Use long, curvey motions, in all directions beginning at the stem. When you reach a light that you put light green needles around, make your new needles a bit sparse there, so the light shows through.

Have a closer look:

See how some of my darker needles do overlap the light ones but mostly let the light show through? Be sure to have a few dark needles comming out from behind too. Look how the dark needles overlap the top of the red bauble and some of the others as well. And look at how the needles are coming out from all directions (but still pointing down and to the right) from the stem. You have to remember that they don't just stick out the sides of the branch, they stick out in all directions, including towards you.

Once you've done this step, the shadows you painted in behind should receed to the background and make a nice support for your branches, adding warmth and contributing to the effect of glow from the lights and baubles.

11-13-2003, 09:03 PM
Well, how's everybody doing???

Carola, welcome! Don't worry about not having a yellow ball, this is YOUR picture!! I love that green bauble, how you've got those nice, rich areas... can you do the same thing with the others? Your haloes are perfect, by the way! Now that I see your background, can you make the upper left area a bit more brown rather than reddish as it is now? The idea is to have shadow there, so it should be a nice, deep brown. Add a hint of FUB ( or some other dark blue) to your Burnt Sienna to tone it down and try that! :)

Granny, your baubles are much better, but I think you need to add one more layer of rich color, roughly in these areas (shown below) using the same technique again as described in step 1.... and don't worry about the whites you lost, your light areas are fine:


Lauren welcome, jump right in when you can!

You too Margie, glad you've joined us!

Pat, welcome to the project! Your baubles look fine, can you try lifting just a few hilights here and there? And as someone else suggested, perhaps make your branches a bit fuller. Glad you've joined us!

Remy Remy Remy..... your painting glows! Well done!

Ant P.... your scanner has been hiccuping? What's it been drinking????:eek: Your painting is gorgeous! Love the glow around the yellow bauble.

Jaytee, yes, this class has been a riot!!!:rolleyes: :D

DJ, never too late to join in.... :)

11-13-2003, 09:41 PM
Here's my completed baubles Christmas tree painting! I'm pretty happy with it..it sure has come far from the "ugly" first couple of stages. Looks better in real life though....the digital camera kinda washed out the colors of the baubles a bit.

Thanks for the lessons Nandie!! This was lots of fun and I learned a lot from it..... you have the patience of a saint!

I think I deserve a big piece of chocolate covered cheesecake now! YUM!! :D :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:


Cathie Jones
11-13-2003, 11:14 PM
Talk about good luck . . . went out to the car to go to class tonight . . . the car said "KLUNK" and refused to start. Don was out conducting an AA meeting, so I had no choice but to come back in side and paint!! :angel: :rolleyes: So, WIPmates, here's my Step 5. Not sure how it'll come across - had to photograph it under tons of fluorescent light -


Do I need more branches, or maybe more "needles" on the existing branches?

Maddie M.
11-14-2003, 11:06 AM
Originally posted by Alan Cross
.....girls are so good at following instructions.....
Alan :)

Oooh, now that sounded like a challenge if ever I've heard one, so I am blaming Alan for the mess I'm in :p. My curved needle practice sheet looked like kelp instead of pine branches, so I went with straight needles. Too many of them, as it turns out, and I'm going cross-eyed.


Only one little sprig in the upper left is finished and flocked. It's getting overworked.


Drawing needles one by one, maybe I'll complete this painting in time for Christmas.
Christmas 2004, that is.

-- Maddie

11-14-2003, 01:47 PM
Before I describe step 6, I'll show you why I thought it was necessary.

Here's how the last step, (step 5) looked:

To me, it lacked depth. The lights were all just fine, the baubles were fine, the bright areas on the wall below were fine, but it lacked oomph. So, after everthing was thoroughly dry, I took a deep breath, dipped my 1" flat brush into a darker mixture of Burnt Sienna and FUB, and went over all the dark areas in the upper left area, in amongst the branches, and even a bit at the outer perimiter of the lower right area, so I got this:


See the difference? The darker areas provide contrast for the lights and really make it all glow.

Now some of you have saved yourselves this step by going fairly dark to begin with, so not all of you will elect to do this. If you do decide to do this, bear in mind a couple of things:

If you used colors that lift easily, you do risk some smearing of your previous layers. The solution is to use a VERY LIGHT TOUCH when you add this final wash. Some smearing may still happen, but don't despair, after it dries you can go over your pine needles again with your script liner and green paint. You won't be painting this last wash over the baubles or light haloes, so you don't have to worry about them.

Whether or not you do that last deepening wash, many of you still have to do this next, final step of darkening some of your pine needles. All you do is mix a darker green than you used previously (just add some red to your green) and add a few dark needles where you would imagine they would be shaded from the lights, and close to the middle of the branches. Look at my examples below for placement:




This gives depth and dimension to your branches and needles.

And that's it, unless you are going to add snow, and I've elected Maddie to show you how that's done! Oh yes, don't forget to sign your masterpiece, then it's really finished! :D

11-14-2003, 08:25 PM

11-14-2003, 11:57 PM
Wow, you have all done such a great job!!!! I'm thrilled how well they've all turned out, after going through such an ugly stage there for a while. Well done everyone :clap: :clap: :clap:

Here's mine,...and I can't wait for the next WIPalong,..this was so much fun doing a painting with great company,..thanks teach for doing this for us, I've enjoyed it immensely and know the others have too,..and thanks fellow students for all the great banter, great food and coffee, spitball tossing, and naughty behaviour while teach wasn't looking :evil:. I was good but I thought about being naughty, does that count.

Sad it's finished actually :crying:

11-15-2003, 01:17 AM
How's it going everybody? Managing to put on the finishing touches?

Carola, your straight needles are just fine! Keep going.....

Cathie, don't be afraid.... **extending cyber-hand to hold**

Maddie, lol.... some day I'll get even, but I'd never destroy a painting to do it! :eek: :rolleyes:

Grannie, wonderful finish!!!:clap: :clap:

DJ, this thread will always be here, please participate whenever you are able!

JJ, I would have just added another branch and more pine needles, but your solution works very well too! Great job!:clap: :clap:

Remy, gorgeous job!!!:clap: :clap:

This is so exciting seeing the final products roll in!!!

Tomorrow I won't be on here until evening, I am attending an all-day watercolor workshop Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. But I will check in after those hours to see how you all did!

I am so proud of each of you!!:clap: :clap:

11-15-2003, 03:19 AM
my last step. but I think it needs darkening too...the crop will be something like this...
the lights are darker than the BG in some places..:D:D
I love the others posted so far too...
I had to add a branch as there were needles behind a light and no branch in sight..was funny!!

11-15-2003, 11:40 AM
:( well here is my finished baubles. :(

Yes Remy this has been such fun. and of course such a great '' teach '' . ( of course I am biased ) , a tad strict tho.

JJ I hope you are in bed sleeping .

Finally I think I have figured out (with good advice fr. Pampe) how to use the uploader monster. so here goes.keep fingers crossed one and all.
Aunt Phttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2003/28847-Xmas.jpg

11-15-2003, 01:41 PM
I've got this urge of adding snow on the branches, don't know if I will, maybe I'll consider that tomorrow........ Should I add more branches, what else could I do to improve it?? I think the haloes don't show enough ????

Anyway I REALLY ENJOYED doing this and it was very well explained, especially for beginners like me, the hints and directions were absolutely a big help.
I enjoyed also the fact that you could see everybody's different steps and the variety of results!!

This was a great idea Nandie, looking out for more WIPalongs...............................:clap: :clap:


11-15-2003, 03:01 PM
Whew! Work and school sure can get in the way of a project, but I've finally caught up. Everyone's work is so impressive!

So here I am at the next to final stage. Nandie, do you think it needs that final wash or any other tweaking?

By the way, do we have your permission to use our paintings for Christmas cards to family and friends?



11-15-2003, 04:58 PM
Thanks for thr lesson, here is mine, pitiful as it is,


11-15-2003, 05:00 PM
Wow!! These all look great!!! I added some more dark and light needles to mine and I think I'm finished now... is still on the board so if you see anything that needs touching up... let me know. I really like the looks of all of these!!! Makes me in the Christmas spirit already! Thanks for all the help Andrea....great lesson!

:clap: :clap: :clap:


Maddie M.
11-15-2003, 05:00 PM
It has been so much fun to watch the final uploads. Everyone has done such a fantastic job. Andrea, thank you again for coming up with this concept and for all the time you've volunteered for us. I have learned so much on this single project.

Here's mine finished.


-- Maddie

Cathie Jones
11-15-2003, 05:44 PM
I almost hate to post the finish of this wonderful WIP. It's been so much fun, it's hard to let go! But - here goes - my final (unless there are any suggestions for improvement :D )


I cropped a bit of the bottom and outside, otherwise it's as painted.

Thanks a million, Andrea. You've been wonderfully patient with your Nervous Nellies, and we really appreciate it. This has been the most fun I've had on this web site, and that's saying a lot!! I'm looking forward to Aunt P's WIPalong next . . .

11-15-2003, 06:12 PM
I gave my branches some Rogaine (:D ) - I may still try to fiddle with the background a bit, but unless someone sees something glaring, I'm declaring this done...

11-15-2003, 08:11 PM
Talk about limping in almost last:( :o :rolleyes:

Here is my effort.


I can see the balls are not that shiny. I like my green one, the yellow one doesn't seem to stand out and I think I can pick out where I need to lift some color to get more shiny.

Please help.

All in all I am pleased. This was certainly a wonderful exercise and helped me learn a lot of things.

Thank you so much Nandie for doing this. Any more WIPs coming up. This is a great way for a newbie to learn new things and it is so much fun, food is good, company is good, what more can one ask?

11-15-2003, 09:54 PM
Now, in the spirit of a true workshop I'd like YOU to critique one another and answer each other's questions and offer your suggestions of how to finish things off if needed. That way you'll learn more yourselves.

So go ahead and jump in and critique each other.... I'm going to sit back and listen for a while.

(Edited from the original post, for instructional purposes. The Moderators.)

11-16-2003, 09:34 AM
Andrea, I want to tell you what I learned from this wipercise....

leave more highlights on the baubles and consider the direction (roundness) of the highlights

pay attention to the highlights and then add lights near the direction of the highlights

consider where my branches go, so my baubles & lights have a place to "hang" from, and not float on them :D

fade the glow around the lights better, they don't have to be perfectly round...

it's easier to get your background right first before the needles are on :D

you can go back in and add more needles and add more length to them (I was reminded of Murphy's Law on this part. If I tried to go over a very fine thin line in another painting, I couldn't do it, but when I wanted to add more needles inbetween the others, my brush went over the previous lines perfectly - not what I wanted this time :eek: :D)


a good teacher is worth her weight in gold

I had lots of fun !! :D

Thanks so much.... I'm already planning the next one :D

Maddie M.
11-17-2003, 11:53 AM
Originally posted by Nandie
So go ahead and jump in and critique each other.... I'm going to sit back and listen for a while.

Okay, Andrea, here are my comments. Iíll try to link screen names with their final paintings to avoid reloading all these images in the thread.

idcrisis55 (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Nov-2003/15669-Baubles_5Wip.jpg), I sincerely like your painterly style. Seeing your approach helped my background.

Granny R (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/attachment.php?s=&postid=1745573), your lights are well diffused. The quality of the paint on the baubles still looks transparent like watercolor rather than solid like acrylic.

laudesan (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Nov-2003/22284-Nandies_card_wip_6_opt.jpg), you made me laugh with your multiple ďfinishedĒ uploads. (I know the feeling.) That was an innovative idea to add that half bauble. The next time Iím up against a composition dilemma, Iím going to ask myself, ďHow would Judy-Joy solve it?Ē

Remy (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Nov-2003/18344-deckthehalls6.jpg) and Nacre (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2003/28847-Xmas.jpg), as far as Iím concerned, youíve both graduated with honors and earned your teaching credentials. I canít wait for Aunt P to start her WIP lesson, and I hope youíll think about teaching one, too, Kristin.

Gnu (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2003/7242-IMG_0629baubles.jpg), cropping it close like that really concentrates the attention on the baubles. Iím glad youíve left the brushstrokes visible in them.

Aquarius (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2003/26747-kerstbalfinished.jpg), that reversed white branch in your background looks totally neat. How did you do that?

Dspinks (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2003/7933-debrabaubles.jpg), your lights glow nicely amid your needles. This will make a lovely card.

Djdedman (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2003/4868-tutarial.jpg), you said, ďÖhere is mine, pitiful as it is.Ē Sorry, I have to give you grief about that line. There is nothing pitiful about it. Anyone who has done the lesson and uploaded the result is a WINNER in my book. Besides, you have a couple of good things going here. Youíve got a good value range, from pale lights to rich darks. And stringing your lights together on a cord has made an alternate path for the eye to travel through the composition.

Starsprite (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2003/6385-baubblescompleted.jpg), youíre the only one Iíve noticed who has varied the sizes of the baubles. Youíve also got something interesting happening in the upper right corner of your background.

Faafil (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2003/3876-balls3.jpg), your lights are so well integrated with your branches. It looks like youíve attached them at their bases so that they arenít floating in space. Your branches glow around the lights and taper nicely at the tips. And I loved your Rogaine comment.

Hopefulbucky (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2003/21041-balls.jpg), it was a good decision to switch your red and yellow bauble positions. That separated the red from the burnt sienna background, and separated the yellow from the bottom glow. I also like the amount of color in your lightbulbs.

Europa (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Nov-2003/29499-christmas_baubles.JPG), good job reworking the baubles. They appear rounded and there is a good range from light to dark, especially the red and blue ones.

Susan, take care of yourself. Hope youíre feeling 100% better soon.

-- Maddie

Maddie M.
11-17-2003, 06:51 PM
Originally posted by Cathie Jones
** Um, Maddie? ** :rolleyes: :(

Cathie Jones (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Nov-2003/23460-Baubles.jpg), oops. You were immediately after my own upload and I scrolled right past you. Your branches look three-dimensional instead of flat. They seem like they could support the weight of the baubles. The baubles as well as the lights are not stuck on top but rather integrated among the branches. They "read" correctly.

Toyam (http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Nov-2003/23516-pointset.psd.jpg), your colors are balanced in intensity with each other. In other words, no single bauble overpowers the others. The overall feeling is warm and festive.

If I've missed anyone else, it either means I've commented on your work previously or I missed your final upload. I didn't mean to intentionally leave anyone out. We are now at 380 replies in this thread, and counting.

-- Maddie

10-19-2005, 03:44 PM
Thanks for the comment Andrea!
I study this for a long time and decided you were right and changed the red ball to purple. Finished up the branches also.

Ready for Christmas now!


12-04-2005, 12:23 AM
Hey ladies, I thought I'd compare the two paintings for a little teaching opportunity. See how you've each handled the hilights differently on your Baubles? Laurie's are softer, while Lois's are very white with hard edges. This makes the glass surface texture appear different for each of you. Laurie's baubles appear like they have a satin coating, while Lois's are definitely hard glass.


Just an observation, nothing right or wrong with either approach, I just thought it would be interesting to learn from it...... small white areas with hard edges give the appearance of very hard, shiny glass, while a softer approach with soft edges gives the appearance of a more satin-type finish.

Bravo to both of you. :clap: :clap: