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DecoArt Mixed Media Blog

Abstract Christmas Art

by: Brenda Brown
December 21, 2017

Abstract Christmas Art

I worked in oils when I was at college (many, many moons ago) and now mostly work with acrylics and mediums (the DecoArt Media line of course) and create layered backgrounds for my shabby, vintage, timeworn projects. It occurred to me earlier in the year that some of the backgrounds I create could be enlarged and might look like abstract art pieces. So this is one of my experiments in trialing and experimenting to see how it would work. Between each layer of medium and paint, I make sure the canvas is dry unless stated differently in the instructions below.

Items needed :

  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Burnt Umber
  • Traditions Artist Acrylics 3oz - Raw Umber
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Quinacridone Magenta
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Quinacridone Red
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Pyrrole Red
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Quinacridone Violet
  • Americana Acrylics 2oz - Cadmium Red
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Titanium White
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Payne's Grey
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Gesso - White
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Modeling Paste - White
  • Americana Spray Sealers/Finishes 12oz - Americana Matte Spray
  • 30 x 30cm Canvas
  • Assorted Brushes
  • Tissue Paper
  • Cheesecloth

Instructions :

We are going to seal the canvas with a coat of gesso and at the same time use the gesso as 'glue' and paste down a wide strip of crumpled tissue paper and a couple of pieces of fine cheesecloth.

Mix gesso and modeling paste together and add stenciled patterns randomly across the canvas leaving an unpatterned narrower gap at the top and an unpatterned wider gap to the bottom.

Mix white gesso with burnt umber fluid acrylic to create a soft beige colour.

Scrape over textured areas to create more depth of texture – try to keep the stencilled areas from being covered up.

Use a paintbrush and a wet wipe to paint watery washes of pinks over the canvas. 

Make a strong watery wash of pink and add some perfect pearls heirloom gold for a shimmery effect and with a fine brush drop colour onto textured areas and spritz with water so that it creeps into the crevices and lays in pools. 

Repeat the colour step above with the brush and spritzer using reds and magenta straight from the bottles. Tip the canvas and let the colours run over the sides.

Make your own mister of watery brown fluid acrylic and spray randomly over the flat canvas so that it again pools and collects in crevices. Repeat layers to your own liking.

Dry brush white gesso over the textured areas and around the edges of the canvas. 

At this point I decided I needed some more contrast and added some deeper colours by dabbing them on and spritzing them with water again. 

I then repeated the dry brushing with the white gesso over the stenciled pattern.

Flicking some of the deeper colours and a little payne's grey adds further depth and interest.

Once finished of course you should seal it and I gave it a spray of Americana matte varnish and you could leave it as it is OR you could use it as a background and add a photo collage, flowers and embellishments etc. It’s yours make it into what suits you.

As it’s December and Christmas being one of my favourite times of year I decided to add some festive embellishments.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas


Hugs Brenda xxx

Be sure to visit Bumblebees and Butterflies for more projects and to learn more about Brenda Brown.


GORGEOUS before the ornaments and even more SPECIAL after you added the lovelies. Thank you for the super tutorial too. MERRY and PEACEFUL CHRISTMAS Brenda. Xj.


December 22, 2017

Brenda, it is beautiful as a Christmas embellished canvas, the background is just wonderful and the baubles and star look perfect atop! Anne xx

Anne R

December 23, 2017

Brenda, this is wonderful in the pinks! Love the gorgeous textures you created, and the hanging ornaments are the icing on the cake! May you have a merry season! Maura


December 29, 2017

As much as I love the embellishments, I adore the background as a finished canvas. Not a huge fan of pink usually, this pink/beige combination takes my breath away! Stunning! Thank you for a fabulous tutorial!

Sara Emily Barker

January 1, 2018

I LOVE that background, Brenda! Amazing texture!!! And the choice of colours is just perfect! It even makes pink a colour I could start to love using in my projects too. lol Happy 2018! Claudia xxx

Claudia Neubacher

January 3, 2018

Very neat project, Brenda. Love your Christmas embellishments on the top of your gorgeous layered background. Great tutorial!

Candy Colwell

January 30, 2018

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