Winter Berries on Canvas

By Kate Riley December 8, 2010

I took a painting class years ago and it taught me one truth: I have very limited skills when it comes to recreating an image with paint on a canvas.   Grrrr, how I struggled with my first (and only) still life.  (Never never never again will I torture myself with a still life!!!)  Ugh.  One thing the art class did do for this left brain lawyer was kick the right side of my brain in gear and it forced me to get creative on canvas!   As a result, now and then I find it therapeutic to create little pieces of art for my home.  

Last year, I made this little winter berries canvas, and never posted any sort of ‘how to’, mostly because I didn’t think it was so great.  After bringing it out again this year, I realized I really do love it!  I was a fun and simple painting, and the little berries popping off the canvas are a fun backdrop to a holiday vignette. 

 cg berries on canvas


After some gentle prodding by several readers (and actually finding those darn pictures from last year) I’m offering up the quick play by play.   As with any non paint-by-numbers art project, you need to go with how you feel, what looks right to you because the beauty of art is its subjective nature.  That said, this is the technique that worked for me! 


The first thing I did was grab a faux berries swag from my local craft store plus a small white canvas, a few bottles of craft paint (sky blue, silver, burnt umber and black) and some brushes.



Next came two coats of simple sky blue paint.

sky blue paint


A mixture of burnt umber and black together formed the color of the branches.  I painted them free hand in an asymmetric design, then glazed some silver paint over the canvas for a subtle sheen.

silvery paint then branches


I added ‘snow’ by dabbing a few lines of tacky glue across the branches, then dusting them with white glitter. 

glue and glitter


Then I snipped a few red berries off that faux branch, and attached them with more tacky glue . . .

snipped glued berries


Finally,  I dusted the berries with a few more dabs of glue topped off with glitter . . . 


berries on canvas collage


It changes throughout the day, blue in daylight, gray in softer light, I like that. 


cg winter berries on canvas


You can see the ‘bluer’ side of it behind our manzanita advent tree from last year.

 truffle box


I’m getting excited for Sarah’s Christmas Tree link party tomorrow as we finish up the rounds of Holiday Home parties, also hosted by Rhoda and Layla last week. 

Also a very big holiday Ho Ho Ho thank you to all who participated in the (still ongoing!) Christmas Craft Link Party!!!  There are over 500 inspirational links there, be sure to check them out!  You peeps are just so creative, I love it!

See you tomorrow with (hopefully) decent shots of our tree . . . and just so you know, I did something kinda crazy this year, something I’ve never done before.  I actually bought a flocked tree.  Aaaaaaahhhh!!!!   If Elaine Benes were here, she’d push me down and holla “GET OUT!”  

Seriously, there’s a flocked tree in my house.  Who would have thought?   

See you tomorrow! 




  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I’ve admired this piece (and also the leaves one) for sometime now. I’m not sure if I will attempt another painting or not, the first one was a disaster, but I am teetering on the edge after seeing your tutorial so maybe…

    Thanks for all the wealth of creativity and knowledge. I thoroughly enjoy popping on to Centsational Girl to see what you are doing next. :)

  2. That is a great project. Loving the 3D aspect of it!
    I HAVE to ask- how did you get it to snow on your site??! :) that is so awesome!

  3. What a great idea! I think it is very artistic! Can’t wait to see pics of your flocked tree. If you post about your holiday card, be sure to link up to my post! hugs, Cathy

  4. Super Cute Craft!!! Cant wait for the tree party!!! I did 14 days of Christmas trees…WHEW! I LOOOOOOOOVE my flocked tree!!! WAIT…REWIND…Whats wrong with a flocked tree? LOL! Cuuuuuz, its MESSY?
    Beyond ADORE your blog!
    Wouls LOOOOVE for you to visit my 14 days of Christmas trees :0)

  5. I’d say that you are really talented. Much more so than me. Years ago I did a craft project and my mom said that they should have paid for me to have lessons- sad part- I did have lessons. Urg.

  6. I think it’s fantastic. Art is meant to be an expression, not perfection. Hey, I think I’ll quote myself on that!! I think it’s beautiful and I’m inspired to do one myself (i’m not a painter, either).

  7. I LOVE it! I love that the berries are 3-D! I think you are very talented indeed! Great job! Makes me wantt to make one. Love your blog!

  8. I love your artwork and I’m glad you gave us the step by step. Looking forward to seeing your tree tomorrow.

  9. say what you will…I love it..and I just found some pearl berries hanging around and I keep canvases in a closet so I think that will be an easy peasy weekend project…will link you back!

  10. Love that painting. I am an artist in oils but this is so cute the way you used the berries and the made the snow…thanks for sharing. Great job

  11. I really love it. I am dangerous with a paintbrush in my hand. I wouldn’t be able to do the branches. I know my limitations and I have quickly learned that arts and crafts that require fine motor skills are on the “no” list for me.

  12. how come when you put a bunch of cute stuff together it looks cute…when i do it looks like a bunch of clutter?!!!!

  13. Beautiful painting, Kate and so festive! You do have the magic touch! Along with being incredibly talented and creative!

  14. What a cool idea! Love the idea of using 3-d pieces on a flat canvas. I am definitely no artist, but I’ve pained a few canvases with various patterns and hung them around my apartment. Isn’t it so fun??

  15. I haven’t been following you long, but if I was last year…totally would have copied this canvas. ;o) Thank you for sharing. Great idea and looks fab! This could work for anyone & I see it being done in a lot of ways. Paint or not, you have talent.

  16. Wonderful idea and pretty too! I think I, a nonartist, might be able to paint this.

  17. Ooh! Oooh! I love it! Just returned from the craft store with the supplies for this project. I’m gonna get crafty this afternoon. Thank you for the tutorial.

  18. I’m sharing a link and photo of your project in a blog post this afternoon in a post about my favorite Christmas projects from around the blogosphere. It will clearly state that the photo is yours, but if you’d like me to remove it just let me know! :)

  19. Love it!! I did something similar with a sea coral and glued seashells on gives me a break once in a while from the numbers world…which is my daily bread :-)

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