Paint Your Own Christmas Presents - IF YOU DARE!

I decided in 2017 to make paintings for some family members for Christmas. I'd done this before as a kid (a Mew - yes, the PokΓ©mon - painting for my cousin, and a dog for my aunt and uncle), and since someone mentioned the idea of exchanging handmade presents, I thought I'd try it again. I thought, if everyone hates them, then I'm just keeping expectations low, right? So any further presents will seem better, and it's a win-win scenario.

I mostly ended up painting animals - it just came naturally. For my boyfriend, one of his chickens, for his mum and dad - a cat and a dog (a current and former pet, respectively), and also a big bike because his dad loves cycling.

For my mum, a spooky crow (because she's a big goth). I love crows, and I was experimenting with painting them at the time, so I tried using tissue paper for a bit of transparency and texture. I included a few of the crow configurations here, but the final piece that I gave to my mum is the one with the purple foreground you'll find below.

I wanted to give them some elements that tied them together and made them look like part of a set, so I gave most of them some green painted stripes and some black paint puddles on extra tissue paper. Then I added a little bit of text to some of them for a bit more personality. They all ended up having a bit of a light collage-y feel to them, which I think gave them a nice touch.

I also decided to attempt to make my own frames. I didn't take any pictures of them, but I cute approximately A5 sized pieces of cardboard, trimmed each painting so it was a bit smaller than the frame size, leaving a border just shy of an inch thick, and then I - for some reason - gathered some twigs to act as the frame's corners. So each painting was held onto the cardboard with some twigs at the corner. I wanted it to have a kind of homemade kid's painting feel when it came to the frame. I think the twigs looked pretty cute in the end, but I'm not so sure about the cardboard back. I definitely would have liked to try out some alternative frame-making methods to get a slightly neater frame, but it was okay.

I thought about painting some paint blobs on the frames too, but I decided against it in case it was a bit too much. The extra detail might have made the paintings and frames work better together though.

Anyway, either everyone was overly polite and hiding their absolute disdain for my shenanigans, or this wasn't such a bad present idea. I really enjoyed making the presents myself though. I do think it adds a fun element to Christmas (as well as potentially a month long sense of unease and dread - but with enough festive biscuits you can bury that).

Here's a bonus origami chicken I made when I was looking up some frame-making ideas:

It was worth it just for that.


Thank you so much for your comments, especially if they include limericks about skeletons.