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I live in Florida. But I grew up in the Mid-Atlantic, where we were known to have White Christmases, and we sat around blazing fireplaces drinking steaming mugs of hot chocolate in December. So when Christmas time rolls around and it’s still 90 degrees outside, I find myself missing the festive wintery atmosphere of my youth. In an effort to try and make it feel a little more like the holidays, I created this piece of art to capture the joys of a snowy day. Why wait for winter, when you can make your own?

Feel free to turn your Donna Downey Signature Bird Silhouette stencil into any winged creature of your choice. But if you want to create a bird similar to mine, the reference image I used for the Red-bellied Woodpecker can be found here:

Final Image



A Note About Painted Papers

Here’s what I’ve discovered – you can never really have enough painted papers! Sure, you can use store-bought papers in your mixed-media art, but why not create your own?

Making painted papers is a great way to jump-start your creativity when you want to make something, but inspiration is lacking or you don’t have a lot of time. It’s also a fun way to use up extra paint on your palette or make use of projects that didn’t quite work but you don’t want to throw away. Plus it’s a fabulous use of your Gelli plate!

I use everything from junk mail to deli paper (unwaxed paper) to scraps of handmade papers or scrapbooking papers as my starting point. Then I play! I pull out all the stops with texture, mark making, paints, crayons, markers, stencils, and stamps (using permanent inks that won’t reactivate when used in mixed media).

The goal is to get a variety of papers with different background designs, weights, and textures in every value of every shade of the rainbow (plus neutrals).

I store my “stash” of painted papers, sorted by color families, in 1- or 2-gallon zipper-locked plastic bags (in which I punch a few holes to let the air out so they can store flatter). Then I can use the painted pages in torn-paper collage projects or anytime that I need ephemera or a splash of fun color in my artwork.