Fall Kaleidoscope

Updated: Dec 28, 2020


Fall is in the air! The days are beautiful and you can tell that the sun is getting lower in the sky. I love these last days of summer! This year I decided to do several paintings in August in anticipation of fall decorating. It's always fun to have a new focal point above our piano in the living room, so I got to work. [Last year I waited until fall was in full swing to start a fall painting, and it was winter before it was complete! This year I got an early start.]


I wanted to focus on a kaleidoscope of fall color in my background, with textured trees in front to break up the negative space.


After applying gesso to a 24" x 36" x 2" cradled wood panel, I cut out some shapes to test a very simple composition, moving them around and trying different widths until I had a design the was pleasing.


Next I penciled in the outlines of the trees.


I applied color to give myself a general idea of what I'd like to do with my paper brush strokes.


I gathered a pallet of painted papers and I was ready to go!


[To see great tutorials on a process for creating beautiful painted papers—using a gel plate with Golden fluid acrylics—check out Elizabeth St Hilare's Youtube channel.




Of course I always work from back to front, but sometimes a big, empty canvas is intimidating and it can be hard to know where to begin. I always tells myself - ":Just start!" Then I dive in. I tear one piece of paper and use my Golden brand medium gloss gel and a stiff brush. First I apply some gel to the spot where I will apply the paper, then I lace the paper and apply a light goat of gel over the top. [Applying gell over the top of the paper keeps it from wrinkling. I brush it down nice and hard and smooth it out.]


I blocked in some larger shapes of paper, and then used paint to give the trees some dimension. [ Later I decided to tone down the trees] Here's a glimpse of what my kitchen looks like when I'm painting! I love working by our sliding glass doors.


I added a lot more medium shapes of color to give it more of a kaleidoscope effect.


I also decided I wanted more emphasis on my background for this piece, so I softened the sharp, contrasting color on the trees using strips of paper towels. I really loved the added dimension the paper towels added. I'll be doing that again sometime! [I think they were Bounty]


I also applied some light, neutral colored papers to the trees - words, music, etc. to add some subtle texture.

I needed some shading, but I decided not to turn them into stark black and white birch trees. I did not want the sharp contrast of black and white this time around, so I'm not sure what kind of trees they are - "Diane OC originals," I guess!


I continued to add texture and subtle color to the trees, and even added a touch of gold gel pen lines to compliment the gold on some of my papers. Again, I made myself keep it subtle so that the background was the star this time around. [the good news is, if you do something you don't like you can always glue different paper over the top!]


I made sure to go around the edges of my board with my paper - it gives added dimension and interest. And this way I may opt to hang this one without a frame. [ I actually went all around the board with papers as one of my first steps so that I didn't have to remember to do it each time.Then I could just overlap occasionally with another piece]


I signed this in gold and added some gold squiggles on the trees. A little glitz now and then is really fun! I will keep it on the easel for awhile until I'm sure it doen't need anything tweaked. Then I will apply varnish.


[Warning! My gold was water soluble and I should have used a light spray varnish instead of brushing!It dissolved more than I wanted so I reapplied some more paint & paper. And after looking at it sitting on my piano for awhile, I decided I wanted more contrast. I added a deeper wash of Paynes Gray, reapplied gold squiggles on trees, and this time used spray varnished.


Calling it good to go!



I love changing out pillows, throws and seasonal accents to change the look of my rooms!




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