February Monthly Painting Project: Valentine's

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Christmas / Holiday Cards Project: Instructions

Monoprint Christmas cards
Challenge yourself with this painting project. "Cold Weather Christmas Tree" by Marion Boddy-Evans. Monoprint. Photo © 2009 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

Challenge yourself with this painting project.

Express your love by creating a painting or card for Valentine's Day filled with

love symbolism

.



Read the project instructions, browse through the gallery of completed Valentine's, then get painting! Submissions should be done using

this online form

.

There's nothing like receiving a card in the post to make you feel special, even more so when it's one handmade by a friend featuring their art. It just adds so much more to the meaning of the card. So the challenge of this project is to paint your own Christmas or holiday cards.

The first thing to decide is what paper or board you're going to make your use for your cards. If it's a thickish card, it need be folded in half only, but if it's a sheet of paper it's probably best to fold it twice to ensure it stands up as shown in the photo. (Read full instructions.)

Next you need to decide what you're going to put on the front. If you've got lots of time, or only plan to send out a few cards, then you can paint individual cards, each unique. If you're a bit pressed for time, you might consider a simpler composition, with fewer elements in it. Wax resist is a technique that lends itself to quickly making some cards, and a great option for kids (as is stencilling).

Another alternative would be to opt for a small format, say artist's trading card size. Of course, you could also scan in one of your paintings, or take a digital photo of it, and print the cards. (For further ideas, see Techniques for Making Christmas Cards.)

Don't forget that you'll need envelopes for your cards, so either ensure that your card will fit into a standard envelope that you can buy or make your own. If you're giving out your cards with presents, why not include a frame that the card could be put in for permanent display?

Submissions: Use this online form to submit a photo of your painted cards.

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"Red Poinsettia 2009" by Frances Tanner

Poinsettia paintings
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Cards "Red Poinsettia 2009" by Frances Tanner. Sizes: 5 3/4"x4" and 6 1/4"x4 1/2". Watercolor on paper. Photo © Frances Tanner

From the Artist: This year I painted a dozen cards portraying poinsettias. It is enjoyable to paint in this smaller format. It gives me a chance to try variations in technique and to try new colors. It is always interesting to see how the colors react to each other when dropped in side by side on the wet surface of the paper. I tried glazing colors in several layers, also. A good learning project. My friends are always so happy to get a hand painted card so that makes it even more worthwhile.

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2009: "Cali" by Kathleen Godshall

Cat Christmas card painting in pastels
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Cards "Cali" by Kathleen Godshall. 9x12". Pastel. Photo © Kathleen Godshall

From the Artist: This year I'm sharing two cards that will be going out to my family, friends, and neighbors. The first is Cali, my youngest cat. We've had her just about a year now, and she is a constant source of joy. She can be quite mischievous. I have to work at getting good photos of her; as she is quick to move towards me when I am focusing the camera! My second card features a white deer. Happy Holidays!

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2009: "White Deer" by Kathleen Godshall

White deer watercolor painting
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Cards "White Deer" by Kathleen Godshall. 11x14" watercolor. Painting © Kathleen Godshall

From the Artist: This year I'm sharing two cards that will be going out to my family, friends, and neighbors. The first is of Cali, my youngest cat, and the second painting is of an albino deer. I happened to see a brief news video of these beautiful, rare white deer, photographed by Jeff Richter. I was immediately captivated by his story of being stunned at his first sighting of the white deer. Of course, I purchased his book, White Deer, Ghosts of the Forest, and used his photos as references for my painting.

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2009: "Cozy Fat Bird" by Stacey Zambetti

Fat Bird painting
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card "Cozy Fat Bird" by Stacey Zambetti. 8x10". Oil on canvas. Photo © Stacey Zambetti

From the Artist: This is a painting of just one of my favorite Christmas tree ornaments. I have five different "fat birds" and I thought this one needed painting. I worked on the shadowing of the scarf to try to give it some shape because at first it looked round like an inner tube, LOL.

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2009: "Christmas Cookies" Nan Henke

Christmas card painting
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "Christmas Cookies" Nan Henke. Original painting 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 inch. Watercolor. Photo © Nan Henke

From the Artist: I have really enjoyed all of the Christmas card paintings. Here is mine.

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2009: "St Mary's Church" by Donna Farrell

St Mary's Church Minoa New York watercolor painting
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "St Mary's Church - Minoa, NY" by Donna Farrell. Original painting 7x9". Watercolor. Photo © Donna Farrell

From the Artist: The painting is of the church I've attended for almost 40 years. I painted the back view of the church to include the snow covered trees and the Christmas wreaths in the windows. Church and snow say Christmas to me.

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2009: "Another Christmas in the Legion" by Adin Olteanu

Christmas card mixed media
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "Another Christmas in the Legion" by Adin Olteanu. 15x15cm. Mixed media. Photo © Adin Olteanu

From the Artist: How do I feel about my painting? Primo, it’s more an illustration. The final product is meant to be used in some of about 600 copies for Christmas cards for the French Foreign Legion (it's complicated).

I started with a number of pencil sketches. Once I was happy with the composition, I scanned the drawing and reworked it in Painter and Photoshop. It was the first time I could actually follow my work all the way over to the finished product. The starting idea was that at Christmas, a soldier can become a general just because the falling snow on his shoulders looks like stars. For me it's funny, I’m a soldier too.

Thanks for the tips and Joyeux noël!

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2009: "A Winter's Night" by Kathleen Duffy

Winter's night linocut Christmas card
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "A Winter's Night" by Kathleen Duffy. 4x6". Linocut. Photo © Kathleen Duffy

From the Artist: This is a linocut -- my first try. Although I enjoyed it, I did find it a bit frustrating trying to get the ink the same all over. I managed to print about six that were good enough to send before throwing in the towel!

From the Painting Guide: That makes a limited edition of six then. Lucky recipients!

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2009: "Christmas Cactus" by John Quinlan

Christmas cactus
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "Christmas Cactus" by John Quinlan. 4 1/2 x 6 inches. Acrylic on Acrylic Paper. Photo © John Quinlan

From the Artist: Being in the Southwestern part of the USA, I thought a cactus would be a good Christmas subject. I folded a 9x12" paper as per the instructions for card making, taped it to a larger piece of paper to hold it securely and painted. I think it came out better than I thought it would. I think I will try to paint some of my cards in the future as this was lots of fun and looks pretty good.

From the Painting Guide: I love this idea for a Christmas card! Far more apt for your location than a pine tree. Glad to hear you had fun painting it, and that you intend to do some more.

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2009 Christmas Cards: By Wilton Nelson

Christmas card painting project 2009
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards 24x30" acrylic painting with added elements. Photo © Wilton Nelson

From the Artist: This is a 24x30" acrylic painting that has become a multimedia style for the Christmas holidays by adding the ornaments with double-sided sticky tape. The picture was then copied photographically and used as the face page on some Christmas cards.

The tree was originally painted as an abstract pair; one with leaves and one without leaves. The About.com painting project to make some Christmas cards resulted in the illustrated version.

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2009 Christmas Cards: "In the Spirit of Christmas" by Alix Orton

Spirit of Christmas painting
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "In the Spirit of Christmas" by Alix Orton. 9x12". Acrylic. Photo © Alix Orton

From the Artist: I have lived in the desert of Arizona for almost 20 years, but still miss the east coast, especially during the holidays. This painting is therapeutic for me.

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2009 Christmas Cards: "Christmas Snow" by Rachel Parker

Christmas snow painting
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "Christmas Snow" by Rachel Parker. Watercolor. Photo © 2009 Rachel Parker

From the Artist: This is a print of a watercolor painting I did. I paint for the Siamese Rescue Center every year so they can sell Christmas cards for their fund raisers. This is one I will use for my own 2009 Christmas cards. I painted it from a picture of one of the cats they rescued.

Tip: Make sure that the dimensions of the original painting match the dimensions of the card you will eventually make for it, unless you plan to crop it.

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2008 Christmas Cards: "My Little Christmas Robin" by Anne Chaffer

Robin Christmas card painting
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "My Little Christmas Robin" by Anne Chaffer. 20x23cm. Watercolor on watercolor paper. Photo © Anne Chaffer

From the Artist: We do not have many birds where I live now but every winter back in the UK we used to have a little robin who fearlessly perched on the bird table, I´m sure it was the same one every year! I miss the little thing and at the last minute decided to remember him by incorporating him in this Christmas card with an imaginary background. If I had more time I would have worked on it by possibly incorporating some suitable festive wording but I wanted to send it for the gallery so that I could wish all who use the About.com Painting site, a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

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2008 Christmas Cards: "Max's First Christmas" by Monica L McDonnell

Painting Christmas cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Cards "Max's First Christmas" by Monica L McDonnell. 16x20". Acrylics. Photo © Monica L McDonnell

From the Artist: I took a painting that I had done of a Christmas scene and converted it to a painting for my newest grandson, Max. This is the depiction of the the things that I imagine that little boys would like. It will be the first of I hope many paintings that I do to give to him. I sent it to the Christmas Card gallery because I feel the painting is good enough that it could be printed out as a card to send that way.

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2008 Christmas Cards: Poinsettia Christmas Card by Sherri Jones

Painting Christmas Cards Poinsettia
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card Poinsettia Christmas Card by Sherri Jones. 4x6". Watercolor. Photo © Sherri Jones

From the Artist: I kind of like the abstract effect of the negative space painting, and it was fun to do.

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2008 Christmas Cards: Holly Christmas Card by Sherri Jones

Painting Christmas Cards Holly
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card Holly Christmas Card by Sherri Jones. 4x6". Watercolor. © Sherri Jones

From the Artist: I'm trying to achieve a life-like image of a holly easily reproduced for original watercolor cards.

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"All I want for Christmas" by Shrl/Papaya

Painting Christmas cards
December Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "All I want for Christmas" by Shrl/Papaya. Oils on oil painting paper. Photo © Shrl/Papaya

From the Artist: My inspiration for my painting came when I salvaged a little Christmas sleigh that once held little Christmas packages or goodies. I put some of my painting supplies in it and thought it would make a special Christmas painting. The dark background is not very Christmasy, but I wanted the center of interest to hold the eye.

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"It's a Busy Day at Christmas Tree House" by Josie G.

Painting Christmas Card
December Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "It's a Busy Day at Christmas Tree House" by Josie G. 10x15cm. Pencil on Paper. Card © Josie G

From the Artist: I made this card especially for the project and, with my Mum's permission, would like to put it in the gallery.

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"Christmas 2008" by Kathleen Godshall

Christmas card painting
December Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "Christmas 2008" by Kathleen Godshall. Approx 11x14". Watercolor. Photo © Kathleen Godshall

From the Artist: This is the fourth year that I've made my Christmas cards. The spectacular polar bear being one of my favorite animals, as well as the fact that these glorious creatures are in danger, seemed to be a good reason to choose them as my subject matter. Since I have not as yet been able to see them in their natural habitat; I've had to rely on various photo references.

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Christmas Card by Jon Otterson

Watercolor Christmas Card
December Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards Christmas Card by Jon Otterson (aka Madlilviking). 3 1/2" x 5". Watercolor. Photo © Jon Otterson

From the Artist: I wanted to capture the feeling of the night of Christ's birth in an abstract yet traditional style. I used mainly chromatic black in various shades for the background and shadows. There is a hint of stars in the sky using sea salt sprinkled on the wet background, although it is difficult to see in this reduced reproduction. The original was intentionally small to make it useful as an actual card.

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"Christmas Things" by Maddy Buckman

Christmas card painting
December Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "Christmas Things" by Maddy Buckman. 5x7". Acrylic on canvas board. Photo © Maddy Buckman

From the Artist: I set myself a challenge with this project to paint glass and reflections. I set up a still life using a box made of gold foil, a red candle in a clear glass holder, two ornaments and a sprig of holly. Mixing colours to paint gold and make the box appear shiny presented a problem for me but I did the best I could.

The reflections were complex and required me to really observe closely and make many adjustments to my work. I tried to work with only the candlelight, but it wasn't enough to see by, so I had to use an overhead light as well which created more highlights.

The composition might have been better if I had turned the box for a three-quarters view of the front and side -- something to think about for next time. I feel that I learned much from this little project and quite enjoyed working out all the difficulties.

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"Gus with Santa Claus" by Jeff Watts

Painting Santa
December Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "Gus with Santa Claus" by Jeff Watts. 16x20". Oil on canvas. Photo © Jeff Watts

From the Artist: I always send out a Christmas card with Gus (my dog) on it. They were always photos with him in a Santa hat. This is the second year I’ve done a painting instead of a photo, and no hat on the dog this time, I gave him Santa instead.

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"Christmas Star" by Claudia Bear

Painting a Christmas Star for a card
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "Christmas Star" by Claudia Bear. 8x11" (20x28cm). Acrylic paint and oil pastel on acrylic linen canvas paper. Photo © Claudia Bear

From the Artist: I wanted to capture the feeling of a meteor blazing out of the sky on a very dark night out in the country. The pine trees are a subtle reference to the Christmas season. The idea came from experimenting with my very first set of oil pastels and trying to find out what happens when you use them on canvas.

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"Renaisssance Angel Musician" by Sharron Boxenbaum

Painting Christmas cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "Renaisssance Angel Musician" by Sharron Boxenbaum. Acrylic on 5x7" oval canvas. Photo © Sharron Boxenbaum

From the Artist: Every year for the past 20 years, I have made a Christmas ornament for my college roommate who moved far away. This is my way of staying connected with her. This painting was inspired by the Renaissance painting Angel Musician by Melozzo de Forli. I have a bad habit of making overly large ornaments, so she knows she will always need a big tree! I am pleased with the way this turned out and plan to make color copies for my holiday cards too (photographed on a red silk tapestry).

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Card 1 by Heather MacDonald (Yohaku)

Painting Christmas cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards. Photo © Heather MacDonald (Yohaku)

From the Artist: I make my cards every year and every year they are completely different, although I've noticed there are some recurring themes in my cards, such as pine trees, snow or snowflakes, and always a special message besides the usual "Season's Greetings", which I really dislike. I belong to a group which exchanges handmade cards every year and it's truly inspiring to see how creative folks are in their approaches, no matter what their ethnic/religious/cultural background and what artistic skills they have. I wouldn't miss it for anything, even when time is at a crunch!

These cards were painted using watercolors, Chinese ink for the letters and a Japanese brush for the tree graphic and "snow". I had them copied on a good quality colour printer, then I have to fold them up & add some additional touches by hand. Inevitably, nothing comes out perfectly - the heat from the fancy printer caused my silver acrylic snow dots to melt and spread into blobs! The colours for the most part are quite good, but not as rich as the original.

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Card 1 by Heather MacDonald (Yohaku)

Painting Christmas cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards. Photo © Heather MacDonald (Yohaku)

From the Artist: I make my cards every year and every year they are completely different, although I've noticed there are some recurring themes in my cards, such as pine trees, snow or snowflakes, and always a special message besides the usual "Season's Greetings", which I really dislike. I belong to a group which exchanges handmade cards every year and it's truly inspiring to see how creative folks are in their approaches, no matter what their ethnic/religious/cultural background and what artistic skills they have. I wouldn't miss it for anything, even when time is at a crunch!

These cards were painted using watercolors, Chinese ink for the letters and a Japanese brush for the tree graphic and "snow". I had them copied on a good quality colour printer, then I have to fold them up & add some additional touches by hand. Inevitably, nothing comes out perfectly - the heat from the fancy printer caused my silver acrylic snow dots to melt and spread into blobs! The colours for the most part are quite good, but not as rich as the original.

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"Chilly Reflections" by Eric M Bienstock

Painting Christmas cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "Chilly Reflections" by Eric M Bienstock. 11x15". Watercolor on paper. Photo © Eric M Bienstock

From the Artist: For years I've mailed to my business clients holiday cards that I purchased from a catalogue or store. Finally I've decided to share my passion for painting by using one of my own original creations. This may seem somewhat unorthodox, considering we provide computer database services -- an area as far removed from watercolor painting as can be!

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"Warm Up Santa" by Stacey Zambetti

Painting Santa
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "Warm Up Santa" by Stacey Zambetti. 8x10" (20x25cm). Oil on canvas. Photo © Stacey Zambetti

From the Artist: This was a fun, whimsical painting to do, and I will be using it as my Christmas card this year. I have always loved Santa's boots and I knew I wanted to include "the North Pole". Then the idea of poor Santa taking a short break in this busy season came to me.

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"Quincy Market at Christmas Time" by Charisse K

Watercolor Christmas Card
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "Quincy Market at Christmas Time" by Charisse K. 10x7" (25x18cm). Watercolor. Photo © Charisse K

From the Artist: Quincy market, a famous landmark in Boston, MA looks especially nice when decorated during the holiday season with all of lights everywhere.

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"Blessed Mother with a Child" by Emilia Misiura

Painting Christmas cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards "Blessed Mother with a Child" by Emilia Misiura. Watercolor on folded Stathmore card. Image © Emilia Misiura

From the Artist: A Merry Christmas to everyone here. Happy and Healthy New Year.

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Backyard Snow by Rosa Vera

Painting Christmas cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Cards "Backyard Snow" by Rosa Vera. 9x10" (23x25cm). Acrylic. Photo © Rosa Vera

From the Artist: I wanted to do a painting with snow for this year's Christmas card. Somehow all the snow paintings I painted didn't work either because they were ugly or looked like something for a condolence card. In the interim it snowed and this is a painting of my backyard with the sun rising.

From the Painting Guide: This is a glorious painting, conveying the beauty and color of the light when it's snowed. It's definitely not ugly, nor a condolence card.

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From Our House to Yours by Donna Farrell

Painting Christmas cards.
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Cards "From Our House to Yours" by Donna Farrell. Original painting 9x12" (23x30.5cm). Watercolor. Photo © Donna Farrell

From the Artist: The inspiration for this painting was my new bay window. About a year ago our house was hit by a car and the front windows had to be replaced. We chose to replace them with a beautiful bay window which I appreciate and enjoy everyday, especially when there is a Christmas tree in front of it.

From the Painting Guide: House windows taken out by a car...? This is definitely a personal Christmas card with a story behind it!

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Christmas Cardinal by Betty-Ann Price

Painting Christmas cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Cards "Christmas Cardinal" by Betty-Ann Price. Watercolour. Photo © Betty-Ann Price

From the Artist: This Christmas Card was painted in watercolor. I then scanned it into my computer, used a card program to put a gold border around it, then printed this card for family and friends for Christmas 2007.

From the Painting Guide: It's a fabulous Christmas card -- striking design and colors. Your family and friends are in for a wonderful treat when they open the envelope.

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Chickadee on Winter Branch by Frances Tanner

Painting Christmas cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Cards "Chickadee on Winter Branch" by Frances Tanner. 9.5x7.5" (24x19cm). Watercolor on paper. Photo © Frances Tanner

From the Artist: The branch in the painting I found in the parking lot at work, blown down by the wind. I love the colors and shapes of lichen and it seemed a good subject. The chickadee and snow I added and thought it made a good picture for our Christmas cards this year.

From the Painting Guide: I think it's a perfect Christmas scene -- and it's got an entertaining story behind it if someone asks. Just what did your colleagues think when you carted off the branch, I wonder.

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Christmas Serenity by Joan Farnstrom

Christmas card painting project - Poinsettia painting
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card "Christmas Serenity" by Joan Farnstrom. 16x20" (40.6x50.8cm). Oils. Image: © Joan Farnstrom

From the Artist: This was painted in a class for the Bob Ross technique. The light above the candle is the camera glare in the glitter dust.

From the Painting Guide: The reds of the candle, cloth, and poinsettia make a gloriously saturated surround to the Bible. The poinsettia of course also adds to the symbolism, being a plant many associated with Christmas.

The legend behind why poinsettia became a Christmas symbol is of how a child in Mexico didn't have a gift to give at church for the Christ Child on Holy Night and so picked a bouquet of poinsetta leaves, which were miraculously transformed into the red leaves in the church.

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Calligraphic Design Card by Sherryl Huseonica

Christmas card painting project
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card "Calligraphic Design Card" by Sherryl Huseonica. Photo © Sherryl Huseonica.

From the Artist: I'm a calligrapher, and scanned in my lettering, then manipulated it to create the snowflake design and added some interesting background. I use inks, gouache or watercolor to do my lettering or artwork; I will sometimes use other mediums for backgrounds. I do a different card each year, and now my family and friends expect to see a new card each year!

From the Painting Guide: When I first glanced at the photo I thought it was a 'normal' painted snowflake, it's only on second glance that I saw the beautiful calligraphy. I think this is a lovely, really creative Christmas card. I'm not surprised your family and friends wait in eager anticipation to see what your card is going to be!

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The First Snowman of Winter by Janeice Neans

Christmas card painting project
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card "The First Snowman of Winter" by Janeice Neans. Original painting 12x16" (30.5x40.6cm). Acrylic. Photo © Janeice Neans

From the Artist: The painting was my inspiration brought on by the holiday season. It reminded me of my grandchildren. They were born in South Texas and moved to Colorado this past year and were awed by the snow and their first wish was to build a giant snowman.

From the Painting Guide: This is a fabulous card, particularly with the story behind it. I still remember with joy the first time I was in enough snow to make a snowman; it was even more fun than I'd imagined.

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Christmas 2007 by Kathleen Godshall

Christmas card painting project
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card "Christmas 2007" by Kathleen Godshall. Photo © Kathleen Godshall

From the Artist: This is the third year that I have made my own Christmas cards, and hope to do so for a long time. I chose one of my photos of the strong, yet elegantly beautiful Lipizan horses for the project. I used pastels on blue Canson paper. For completion I decided the simple addition of the holly would be just enough to create the mood of the season

From the Painting Guide: I agree, the little sprig of holly immediately sets the season, without overwhelming the subject of the card. I hope your friends and family have the sense to be collecting your beautiful cards from one year to the next!

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Holiday Greetings by Papaya

Christmas card painting
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card 5x7" (13x18cm). Oil on canvas. Photo © Papaya

From the Artist: Made this one up as I went along, trying to get into the holiday spirit in a sunny spot. My beach umbrella takes the place of a Christmas tree with the gifts underneath it. For me there is no substitute for a White Christmas but you have to make the best of it if you have sand and sun. No matter how long you've lived without snow at Christmas one never gets used to the idea of a snowless Christmas.

From the Painting Guide: I agree about it feeling more Christmasy if there's a chance of snow. I wonder if it's because the cold weather makes one feel more inclined to be indoors, and so it feels more natural to be sat around a table sharing a meal, tea, and presents?

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Five Painted Cards by Gerald Dextraze

Painting Christmas cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. Photo © Gerald Dextraze

From the Artist: I painted five real quick wishcards inspired from two paintings by [forum member] DP .... the postal stamps will cost me more than the personalized cards.

From the Painting Guide: Postage can add up really quickly, but I think it's lovely to hold something that the person who made the card also held just a little while earlier.

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Mr and Mrs Frosty by Sandra Cutrer

Christmas Card Painting Project
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. Photo © Sandra Cutrer

From the Artist: Boy, did I have fun with this one! My husband and I are short, and well, always dieting. What a chance to paint us as Mr and Mrs Frosty! This was done on an 8x10" (20x25.4cm) canvas board, using acrylics. I went to a local print store and had them printed four to a sheet, and inserted in some really cute cards.

From the Painting Guide: I always think you can see when someone's had fun creating a painting; it's just got an edge to it that's hard to put into words. This is a wonderfully cheerful Christmas card.

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Let it Snow by Teresa Majerus

Christmas card painting project
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card "Let it Snow" by Teresa Majerus. Original painting 30x30cm (12x12""). Acrylic on canvas. Photo © Teresa Majerus

From the Artist: Aachen is little, cheerful city in west Germany, famous for its carnival time, Christmas market and of course Charlemagne. Friends and I used to live there. There is not a lot of snow, but when it falls the city looks so beautiful. I painted this winter landscape of Aachen for a friend. Afterwards, I took a photo of it and added text in Photoshop. Et voilà, my card turned out to be ready.

From the Painting Guide: I really love Christmas cards that are personal like this one, that have a story behind the painting on the front. To me it emphasizes the spirit of the season, part of which is to remember friends and the shared memories we have.

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Christmas Morning by Manjiri Kanvinde

Christmas Card Painting Project
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. Photo © Manjiri Kanvinde

From the Painting Guide: Even though I grew up in a part of the world where it's summer in December, it somehow seems more Christmasy to be somewhere there's a chance of snow. And if the sun comes out after a snowfall, the light is incredibly crisp and bright, the world looks magical, just like in this card.

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Christmas Card #1 by Marie Francis

December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. Photo © Marie Francis

From the Artist: This card was painted in bleach on to water-soluble ink using a dip pen and/or very thin brush, and a cotton bud for larger areas. I thought this would be unusual as you get different colours depending on the colour of the ink.

From the Painting Guide: I've not used bleach on ink before, but I have with fabric, using it to remove dye. As you say, the result depends on the color you're bleaching, and I found wasn't always what I expected. (Obviously as it involves bleach this is a technique where you need to work sensibly and safely. And definitely wear old clothes!)

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Christmas Card #2 by Marie Francis

Painting Christmas Cards Project
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. Photo © Marie Francis

From the Artist: This was painted in the brightest, most garish, colours you can find in gouache paint. I left it to to dry for about an hour, then covered the painting in permanent ink and left it for about three hours to dry again. When it was totally dry, I gently washed off the ink with a soft sponge and the colours gradually started to show through. (With this technique, do not press hard, or your colour will be wiped away as well as the ink.) This left a painting with a kind of antique look.

From the Painting Guide: Don't forget to sign your cards before you send them out as each is a unique piece of art!

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Christmas Card by Ruby Canody

Christmas card painting project
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. Photo © Ruby Canody

From the Artist: This painting was done on an oval in watercolor. For the past three years I have been painting my own Christmas card and receive numerous calls and comments from people who receive them. They are impressed that I would take the time to do this. The photo shows the front of my Christmas card, which is a top fold done on a half sheet of paper.

From the Painting Guide: I think hand-made Christmas cards are mini-gifts in themselves. They do take time to make, and with the busy lives we lead, time is increasingly valuable.

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Johnson Park by John A Toth

Christmas card painting project
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card "Johnson Park" by John A Toth. Original painting 16x20" (40.6x50.8cm). Oils. Image: © John A Toth

From the Artist: This was painted from a photo I took in New Jersey where I used to live and spent a great deal of time all year round. The name of the park and the picture are the same ...

From the Painting Guide: I bet the park didn't look like this all year round! To me there's something very beautiful about living in landscape with strong seasonal changes, rather than a climate that's the same most of the year.

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Christmas Cards 2007 by Tina Jones

Christmas card painting project
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. Photo © Tina Jones

From the Artist: I used nearly the same idea as the pear card (see Painting Cards: Pear Diamonds Design), but did it on an 8.5x11" (21x28cm) piece of watercolor paper and drew a freehand overlapping squiggle to paint in. I cut 24 rectangles out of it, glued each rectangle to a slightly larger piece of construction paper, then glued that to a blank off white card. Lastly, I signed each card.

Now I've made my cards, let's see if they make it to the mail box...

From the Painting Guide: I think signing is important -- each card is like a mini-gift. And, who knows, if one day you're a famous artist, those people who've kept your cards will be smiling very broadly indeed!

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Christmas Tree by M & A

Digital painting Christmas cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. Image: ©2007 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc

I made this Christmas card by taking a digital photo of a pen drawing my five-year-old nephew had done after he got hold of my pocket Moleskine sketchbook and a waterproof black pen. (I did have a few moments' worry about him getting the decidedly waterproof ink on his clothes, but fortunately he didn't.)

I then filled it in with 'digital paint'. (See How to Make Christmas Cards for a bit more how-to info.) He's very into the way things work, which is why the Christmas tree lights have the wires between them drawn, but he did ask his Mum to draw the star on top of the tree.

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Christmas Card by Bonny Racca

Christmas card painting project
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card Christmas card by Bonny Racca. Original painting 12x9" (30.5x23cm). Watercolor on Arches 140 lb, CP paper. Photo © Bonny Racca 2007

From the Artist: Recently I did a watercolour in my painting class. I made lots of mistakes but it was a true learning piece. Still, I like the way it turned out. My husband really liked it, too and urged me to have our holiday cards printed up from my painting.

From the Painting Guide: I think you should indeed be pleased with the way this painting turned out, and it makes a lovely Christmas card. It's a nice way to share a small part of your year with friends and family too.

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Christmas Decorations by Liz Duffy

Christmas card painting project
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card Original painting 16x20" (40.6x50.8cm). Acrylics on canvas. Photo © Liz Duffy

From the Artist: I actually painted five different cards this year, but this one is my favorite. It will probably hurt everyone else's eyes. It's sort of how I feel when you open the closet and all the decorations come piling out...

From the Painting Guide: I can totally relate... we've got a box of Christmas decorations which has never been swapped for a bigger one even though it's a family tradition to buy one new decoration a year. One person holds the lid of the box down while another tapes it closed with parcel tape. When you open it the next Christmas, things seem to jump out, eager to be put on the tree!

This Christmas card certainly is busy, but it's got a lovely feeling of festivity to it. Part of me expects to see a little Waldo figure dressed as Santa hiding somewhere.

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Christmas Tree by Liz Duffy

Christmas card painting project
Photo © Liz Duffy

From the Artist: This is one of the five cards I painted for 2007.

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Holiday Cactus by Liz Duffy

Photo © Liz Duffy
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. Photo © Liz Duffy

From the Artist: This is one of the five cards I painted for 2007.

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Christmas Card by Keri Ippolito

Painting Christmas Cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. © 2006 Keri Ippolito

I have made my own Christmas cards for years now, but this year I tried doing a collage on a 6x6" canvas which I painted in acrylics first and then added old wrapping tissue, rice paper and then cut up old Christmas cards and used some of the graphics.

When I was finished I scanned it into Photoshop and made some changes and finally printed them in Word. The finished card is 5x5. There is a Christmas quote inside and wishes for a Happy New Year.

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Christmas Card by Bernard Victor

Christmas card painting project
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. © Bernard Victor

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"Into the Mist" by Donna Elio

Christmas Card Painting Project
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card "Into the Mist" by Donna Elio. 4x5.5", watercolor. © 2006 Donna Elio

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Christmas Card by Lee Alice Pierce

Make Your Own Christmas Cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. © Lee Alice Pierce 2003, watercolor on Lana 140lb CP

From the Artist: "We seldom get snow so I had to have some on the cards. I am intrigued by lighthouses, to me it's like a candle in the window to welcome guests so I picked through all my lighthouse photos and took the liberty of decorating it for the holidays and adding some snow. The light house was reproduced in white cardstock via PC and edged in gold leaf and mounted on red or green cardstock to complete the card. This was a fun project but I want to start earlier next year, I wouldn't mind having more originals to mail out. The lighthouse is 5x7" and framed to hang with the rest of my collection."

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Christmas Card by Lee Alice Pierce

Make Your Own Christmas Cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. © Lee Alice Pierce 2003, watercolor on Lana 140lb CP, 4x6" mounted on 5x7" note card

From the Artist: "I did two different cards this year: the lighthouse one and this one of a pinecone which came out of a series of paintings of fallen things commissioned in the autumn. You can't really see in the photo but the border is copper and there are touches of copper on the ends of the pinecone.

"I have been aching to put some metallic touches in my watercolors and finally found a product I could use. Jacquard Pearl-Ex Pigments are available in a variety of wonderful colors and are mixable with gum arabic and some distilled water to eventually end up with something similar to a pan of pigment. I have mixed gold and now copper and a blue/green to use with my watercolors. Absolutely love the results. I previously mixed Winsor Newton iridescent medium with paint and used it alone but really prefer the homemade 'pans' .

"The downside is the pinecone was the only 'original' I sent. This was a fun project but I want to start earlier next year, I wouldn't mind having more originals to mail out."

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Christmas Card by Peg Lattinville

Make Your Own Christmas Cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. © Peg Lattinville 2003, 11x14", watercolour

From the Artist: "This is my 2003 Christmas card. It is an 11x14 watercolor that I will reduce and print out on some card stock for this year. This is the third year I have made my own Christmas cards. It is my husband and I standing in front of one of the restored 'three sisters' lighthouses at the Cape Cod National seashore. The other two do not have lights. I can remember them as cottages when I was a child."

From the Painting Guide: To me this card symbolizes what Christmas should be about – very personal and having special meaning. Peg's friends who receive the card may not know of her childhood memories of the lighthouses and perhaps not even recognize the two figures as her and her husband, but they will know that Peg painted the picture herself and made the time to create the cards specially. It's far too easy to get caught up in the frenetic pace and consumerism of this time of year and forget that (religion aside) it's about how important family and friends are.

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Christmas Card by Peg Lattinville

Make Your Own Christmas Cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. © Peg Lattinville 2001, 11 x 15", watercolor

From the Artist: I used this for a Christmas card in 2001, the year of the September 11th attacks.

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Happy Holidays by Lila May Guptill

Make Your Own Christmas Cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. © Lila May Guptill 2003, 11x14", 60lb drawing paper

From the Artist: "I wonder whether I should have had a background?"

From the Painting Guide: I don't think it needs a background. The image itself is so colorful that a background would detract from this. By keeping the background white, the bright reds and greens, plus the splash of yellow, dominate the card. Using the seasonal colors so strongly means one recognizes the card as a seasonal greeting immediately; they also complement and reinforce the subject of your card – an angel – as a seasonal greeting.

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Christmas Card by Lynn Moore

Painting Project to Make Your Own Christmas Cards
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. © Lynn Moore 2003, 18x24", oils

From the Artist: "Here is my Christmas card for 2003. It is an original oil 18"x24" scanned on a drum scanner and printed."

From the Painting Guide: Brrr, looking at this I can really feel the chill of the snow. The painting beautifully conveys that crisp air and intense light you often get after a snowfall, where it's so wonderful to go walking outside (well wrapped up!), your feet crunching through the fresh snow.

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Christmas Ferret by Bonny McAlister

Ferret Christmas card
December Monthly Painting Project: Make Your Own Christmas Card. Photo © Bonny McAlister

From the Artist: This piece was composed entirely through Paint Shop Pro 7 using a Wacom tablet for the fine details. The images depict my ferret, Tiki. I have a passion for ferrets and find they make the most entertaining subjects. I used a lot of airbrush and paintbrush techniques to achieve the effects you see.

The idea for Christmas Ferret came from a little experimenting with the camera and some Christmas decorations. Due to a ferret's curious and playful nature, drawing from life is practically impossible, therefore dozens of photos later and a confused ferret, I found a pose I felt would be perfect!

From the Painting Guide: To me something like this makes a truly personal Christmas image -- it's got something in it that fits the season and something that's specific to the maker.

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2008 Christmas Cards: "Christmas Robin" by Gayle Kirton

December Painting Project: Make Your Own Cards.

From the Artist: This is from one of my own photographs of a robin on a gravestone. I didn't really plan it well or I would have allowed for the snow, as it is I added it with pastel.