Merry and Bright

Welcome to my Christmas blog. In our house, this year Christmas is going to be a quiet affair with lots of hand-made gifts and decorations with lots of wholesome activities to get us in the festive mood. I have plenty of activities to keep you creative at home this festive season with ideas on homemade cards and inspiration for gift wrapping. And if you’d like an interactive Christmas session, I have my last Zoom Sunday Art Session on the 6th December 11-12noon. We’ll be illustrating cards and artwork for bespoke gifts for family and friends. And so excited to welcome my guest writer this month, Josie McDonnell who writes about the different styles of painting – well done Josie. I’m also super proud as she is my god daughter and is turning into such a talented, individual and kind young girl.

I’m also selling £10 Art Packs this year to keep you busy and creative at home or they make an ideal gift or stocking fillers. I have a Christmas present pack (x3 sheets of brown paper, X3 pack of blank cards and envelopes, festive decoration bunting, 15 page sketchbook and cotton canvas tote bag), ‘Create and Grow’ pack (White plant pot and tray to illustrate, pack of sunflower seeds, x4 sharpies – red, blue, green, black and 15 page sketchbook) and a coaster pack (x4 wooden coaster pack to customize and decorate, x4 sharpies – red, blue, green, black and 15 page sketchbook). And if you’re a fan of collage, I have a brilliant lucky dip collage pack of 25 different papers for only £5! Free delivery / pickup in Formby.

It’s safe to say, this has been an unpredictable and surreal year. I never thought I’d get use to creating video tutorials and Zoom art sessions and its been a big learning curve for all of us. I’ve really enjoyed it and its opened up new avenues I would never have explored otherwise. It has made me realise how important creativity is both in my own life and how it has helped others. I genuinely love my Art Club for Adults on a Monday and feel it’s a good way to start the week. It’s also led me to setting up a CIC (Community Interest Company) which will focus on Art and Wellbeing for children and adults through resources and workshops. Working with my mentor Jo at the Women’s Organisation, I’m in the process of setting it up alongside my talented my Art Ambassadors. They are such a talented bunch and we want to create a Zine to contribute to Art Education for primary aged children and I’m hoping to get funding to have it printed and digital for schools and organisations in the Liverpool and Sefton areas. If this is of interest to you, I would love to hear from you – my number is 07706 115436 or email

Finally, I like to say a huge thanks to everyone who has supported me and Outline Arts this year. From bookings, orders, likes and shares, each one has meant a lot to me and kept me going. Together, we have adapted to the changing situation and it hasn’t stop the creativity, just created art in different ways. And a special thank you to all my students – its been a pleasure teaching you and I’ve loved seeing your ideas unfold on the screen. The best part is definitely the ‘reveal’ on Zoom at the end!

Christmas Art Activity

Designing your own wrapping paper and cards is a great activity to do at home, feel festive and create personalised, unique gifts.

Art Materials list

  • A4 paper (ideally cartridge paper) to fold for cards OR blank cards

  • Paper for wrapping paper – brown parcel paper or lining paper

  • Pencils (graphite and colour)

  • Anything to add colour – Paints, posca pens, watercolour

  • Paintbrushes +/ water brushes

  • Water to clean brushes and cloth / kitchen roll to dry them

1. Select a Christmas theme for your artwork

  • Winter Wonderland

  • Collection of Objects related to Christmas – bobble hats, ginger bread men, hot chocolate, candy canes, snowmen.

  • Favorite Christmas story / book

  • Favorite Christmas film – the Grinch, Santa Claus the movie, Arthur Christmas, Elf.

You can gather visual inspiration from Pinterest, books and online.

2. Doodle drawings inspired by your chosen theme / inspiration

From your inspiration, doodle some drawings in pencil on a sample sheet. This is a great way to get your ideas from your head, to your hand to paper. This is a place to create, make mistakes, make decisions, and develop ideas. Don’t forget you can add text, quotes and phrases to your artwork too.

3. Create designs for your cards and wrapping paper

From your sample page, select the best 2-3 drawings and start designing your card/s and wrapping paper. Make sure they all compliment each other by following the same theme and you can draw the shape of the card and size of the paper etc. and design it to scale. You can do different versions of the same drawing i.e bobble hats, Christmas trees etc. Decide on a colour palette (nice, bright festive colours) too and practice the colours on an extra sheet of paper before applying them to your cards and wrapping paper.

4. Enjoy designing your cards, wrapping paper and artwork!

Now its time to apply your designs to your products and enjoy being creative and giving individual gifts – they are priceless.


by Josie McDonnell, aged 10 ½


I love the arts and have a passion for drama and dancing. I enjoy being creative – it’s great for the mind and soul. I especially love painting because you can do it on anything : paper, a canvas, shoes and toys. You can also paint whatever you want and you don’t feel under pressure to have to do it right - just grab a paintbrush, some paper, paint and let your hand and imagination go wild!

Techniques of painting

There are so many different techniques of painting it’s hard to keep track of them! But it’s good to know if you are trying to paint for instance, a person or flowers, here are a few painting techniques to help:

Action painting


Dry brushing






Aerial perspective




Famous painters

Famous painters are idols to many people and they inspire so many to start a painting career. My top three favourite painters are: Claude Monet, Henri Matisse and Frida Kahlo.

Something I have learned through exploring the works of famous painters is that although there are many great and celebrated painters from the early 20th Century, there aren’t many recognized female painters. Sadly in this era women were not allowed to express themselves as much as we can today. Later into the 20th Century and today in the 21st Century, there are many incredible female artists and their work is recognized and given the credibility it deserves.

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) was a famous French painter whose work gave a name to the art movement Impressionism, which was all about capturing light and natural forms. He loved nature and he said: “The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration.”

Henri Matisse (1869 -1954) was a revolutionary and influential artist of the early 20th century. He was best known for the expressive colour and form of his Fauvist style.

Some of my favourite paintings by Henri Matisse are below:

Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954) was a Mexican painter known for her many portraits, self-portraits, and works inspired by the nature and artifacts of Mexico. She began painting mostly self-portraits after she was severely injured in a bus accident.

Some of my favourite self-portraits of Frida Kahlo are below: