Painting Ideas for December

Christmas is coming! I love, love, love Christmas BUT it is hard to find the time to spend time creating. While it’s true that we set aside the time for the things we prioritize, there are so many things to prioritize this month! How to find time for a little bit of painting?

I won’t diminish how challenging it is to find time to create.  This is how I find/make/intentionally set aside the time. I keep my projects simple (think the #15minutecreativity sessions), keep it light and set up times in my calendar.

Organzing the time in my calendar sounds a little dull, but it does help! I’ll look at my calendar and write down a few times this month when I’ll sketch and paint. For me it’s going to be the early morning this month. Look at your calendar and see if a weekend evening, an early morning or midday that might work.

Also…I know that spending time doing something creative for a few simple sessions will help me slow down mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. That slow down time is life to me during the holiday season.

December is not the time for big, creative projects. Instead, it’s all about the small wins. Writing in the journal a few times. Completing a few loose and festive holiday watercolors. Making up homemade cards to send to loved ones.

Another alternative is to use the creative time to make gifts. This can be very fulfilling, both for yourself and the recipients of your lovely gifts. I’ll devote a post to this next week. You can also find several crafty DIY ideas in my book Creating a Simply Joyous Christmas: Ideas & Inspiration to Celebrate the Season with What You Have. (The ebook is on sale for 0.99 for the next few weeks if you’d like to pick up a copy).

For this month, let’s make a deal with ourselves: we’ll intentionally set aside a few quiet times for creativity and in exchange, we’ll stay away from big, in-depth creative pieces.

It’s all about simple and light, festive and energizing.

Here are your sketching and painting ideas for December.

Trees Painting Christmas trees is so much fun. It starts to feel like icing a cake. You know that rhythmic feeling of swishing the frosting around the sides of the cake, over and over? That’s the way it can feel as you start painting Christmas trees.

Dab your paint, start swishing color on the paper. Add in more paint (or a blue or sap green) for depth and shadows. Add some branches. Do it all over again.

You don’t need to sketch out the trees. These are fun to simply start painting.

If you’d like decorate your painted trees with ornaments, garland, lights or strings of cranberries. There are so many options.

I’ll take out a large piece of watercolor paper for this and fill it with eight or twelve trees. Then, I’ll cut them out and use them for another project or for gift tags or card decorations.

These are a Few of My Favorite Things In your watercolor sketchbook or on a piece of watercolor paper (at least a 9×12 size works best) sketch out some of your favorite things about December. These things may or may not be holiday related. Think of favorite clothes, movies, food and drink, annual trips, the different things you see on walks, changes in nature, etc.

I like this project because I can work on it bit by bit over the course of several sessions without feeling as if I’m not sure where to start.

Paint Your Dessert The shapes and colors of food can be a fun challenge to recreate in a watercolor scene. If you feel the colors of the dish aren’t vivid enough, you can add energy by adding a complementary color to the background.

Paint the Front of Your Home I promised nothing too hard this month, so I didn’t include any big people projects (those are coming next month)! This may be challenging, depending on the shape and details of your home, but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming.

First of all, if it’s absolutely freezing in your neck of the woods, take a picture of your home and sketch from that in the warmth of your home!

This is a project that could be done in three to six sessions. First sketch it out, then paint from back to front. Depending on how loose you want it to look will affect how fast the painting portion will go.

Finally, add in the detail with pen and ink to create a lovely ‘portrait’ of your home.

Paint Your Tree If you have a tree this Christmas, sketch it out and paint it. Be sure to sign and date it. When you take down your décor to pack up after the holidays, tuck in the watercolor with your décor (perhaps between books or some other flat thing- protect those edges!) so you can take it out and enjoy it next year.

Another idea is to frame it. For ease of framing, choose a watercolor size paper that will be easy to find a matte and/or frame for 4×6, 5×7, 8×10, etc.

Another idea is to paint wreaths. These are similar to the traditional tree associated with Christmas: silver tips, firs, etc. If you want to go for the winter feel that lasts through January and February, leave out the festive bows and ornmaments OR go for a more evergreen color such as blue.

Paint a Room from Your Favorite Instagram Account There are so many pretty pictures popping up on Instagram. There always are, but there is something about those decorated holiday rooms that tickles me so much!

Not sure if my rooms will ever look as pretty as the rooms on Instagram, but that’s fine with me! I thoroughly enjoy honing my perspective skills by painting the rooms (and not having to clean them).

Paint a Girl with Wreath &  Boots Several years ago, I took a watercolor course from Christy Tomlinson called ‘Boot Girls.’ It was just that: girls and women in boots. One of my favorite sketches was from an image found on Pinterest of a woman wearing red rain boots and carrying a wreath. Every year since I recreate that image. I’ll change up the details and the style to make it my own. I’ve long since misplaced my first Christmas red boot painting, but I love making a new one each year.

You can find a few ideas on my ‘boot girls’ page on Pinterest here. Faces and hands are quite challenging, but we don’t have those in this painting. The hands just barely stick out. Use festive, bold colors to create a strong Christmas vibe or tone it down with wintry colors and enjoy this painting for all the winter months.

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