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  • Writer's pictureDiane M Kellogg

Mystical Lights of the Night

by Debby Forshey-Choma

Adding different techniques, however simple or detailed to backgrounds or on top of a finished design, adds interest to the design. The background is a supporting part of the design, but keep it in the background; don’t overdue. In this design, I have applied gesso to the surfaces for texture.


3 – Frame Kit, Scallop Circle (4-1/2” diameter) #SKU: 207-0534 available through


DecoArt® Americana Acrylics:

DA257 Bleached Sand

DA228 Bright Orange

DA402 Gentle Heather

DA168 Golden Straw

DA067 Lamp Black

DA167 Payne’s Grey

DA068 Slate Grey

DA 01 Snow White

DA239 Warm White

DecoArt® Sealers/Finishes:

DuraClear Matte Varnish

Galaxy Glitter – Black Hole

Media Gesso – White

Multi-Purpose Sealer


Royal Langnickel®:

#1360 – sm. & med. Debby’s Texture brushes

#1114 – med. Langnickel stencil brush

#3080 – 1 Oval Wash Combo

#4150 – 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 Majestic shaders

#4160 – 5/8 Majestic angle

#4170 – 12 Majestic Filbert

#4585 – 10/0, 5/0 Majestic liners

#4700 – ¾ Majestic glaze wash

#M770M – ¾ Moderna oval mop

#K-4 – Langnickel palette knife


Baby Wipes / rubbing alcohol

Blue Shop Towels

Drill; 1/8” drill bit

Frog® Tape

Krylon® Matte Spray #1311

Debby’s Texture Brushes, Oval Wash Combo Brush (for varnishing), and Clear Graph Ruler are available through

Quick Grip All-Purpose Permanent Adhesive available through

24” Fun Wire – Licorice (22 gauge) #84342 available through

Batty Background Stencil #SKU: 09-19357 and Circles and Squares Stencil #SKU: 09-19018

available through *or stencils of your choice


Seal the entire ornaments with the Multi-Purpose Sealer; using the glaze wash brush.

Lightly sand; wipe off with a lint-free cloth.

Gesso Application:

Gesso is randomly applied to the surface and backsides of the three back circles.; using the #K-4 palette knife.

Place some Gesso on your palette.

Pick up a small quantity of Gesso with the edge of the palette knife and begin applying it to the surface.

Work with small amounts at a time to give you more control. Your application should be very thin.

Lay the knife flat to apply the medium, then stand it up on the edge to lightly scrape away excess (much like buttering bread).

Apply randomly in small overlapping patches to avoid developing a set pattern.

Randomly allow areas of the wood surface to remain free from the Gesso application; these areas will take

the basecoat color differently and add more interest.

Allow to dry well and then if needed, sand very lightly to remove any sharp or loose pieces.


Basecoat the surfaces of the three back circles with Bleached Sand; using the 12 shader, achieving an opaque coverage.

Basecoat the entire three cobweb cutout frames, the side edges, and the backsides of the three back circles with Payne’s Grey; using the 12 shader.

Re-basecoat to achieve an opaque coverage.

Sunset Background:

Read the directions for the sunset background before painting.

Work quickly, using a damp glaze wash brush and washes of color; floating/blending wet-into-wet.

Apply sky colors one at a time, stroking back and forth horizontally; refer to photo for placement.

If necessary, mop to blend and soften.

Place Golden Straw, Bright Orange, and Gentle Heather on your palette.

Lightly pre-dampen the circle’s surface with clean water; the surface should have an even sheen with no runs or puddles.

Dampen the glaze wash brush with water, then blot.

Begin with thinned Golden Straw across the bottom of the surface, then thinned Bright Orange, then thinned

Gentle Heather.

The first coat will be very transparent, a second or third time will be required.

Allow sufficient drying time in between layers to avoid lifting.

Repeat steps on the remaining two circle surfaces.

Transfer Design:

When dry, transfer the designs to the appropriate surfaces.

Use the graph ruler to aid in the transfer of any straight lines, by dragging a stylus along the ruler’s edge.


For the moon, use the appropriate size circle from the Circles and Squares Stencil, and trace onto the surfaces.

Basecoat the moons with two light coats of Snow White; using the 12 filbert.

When dry, corner load the angle with thinned Golden Straw, and float a light tint on each moon; refer to photo for placement.

Background Pines:

With a pencil and the graph ruler, lightly transfer the top line for each pine.

Work on only a couple of pines at a time.

Now slightly dampen the surface with clean water where the pine will be pulled.

The dampened surface will allow the pines to softly bleed; giving the illusion of the pines in the distance.

Load the 12 filbert with Lamp Black across the chisel edge.

Up on the chisel edge, vertically pull the very top of the pine.

Horizontally tap from left to right for the boughs, slowly and slightly widening as you work towards the base of the pine.

Allow a bit of the background to show through; so the pine doesn’t look like a triangle.

Repeat steps with Lamp Black, randomly tapping on a few boughs, to deepen.

Repeat steps with Golden Straw, randomly tapping on a few boughs, to highlight.

Background Shrubs:

With the appropriate size Texture brush, dance in the shrubs with Lamp Black.

Repeat the step with Lamp Black, randomly dancing to deepen a few areas of the shrubs.

Repeat the step with Golden Straw, randomly dancing on shrubs, for highlight and separation.

For the proper use of the Texture brush, use the following method.

Dampen the bristles with water to start the separation of bristles. Tap bristles into the paint on your palette, hold it perpendicular to your palette, and pounce it up and down to get some of the paint off – keeping the paint sparse on the brush.

Note – this brush can be used on the whole foot or just the toe.

Tap lightly on the surface, dance with the brush up and down, rolling the brush in different directions in between your fingers when it is up in the air (like dancing the twist, light on your feet). Allow some drying time in between dances so the paint sets up, preventing a globby or muddy look.

Lighthouse #1:

Basecoat with the appropriate size shaders –

Warm White – watch room, tower, when dry transfer section lines

Payne’s Grey – roof, every other section, windows

Golden Straw – lens

Lighthouse #2:

Basecoat with the appropriate size shaders –

Warm White – tower, roof

Payne’s Grey – windows

Golden Straw - lens

Lighthouse #3:

Basecoat with the appropriate size shaders –

Warm White – tower, when dry transfer section lines

Payne’s Grey – roof, watch room, every other section, windows

Golden Straw – lens

Detailing Lighthouses:

Corner load the angle with Payne’s Grey, float shading down the left and right sides of each lighthouse tower, the left and right sides of the watch room on lighthouse #1, and across the top of the roof on

lighthouse #2. This will create a rounding effect.

With the 10/0 liner and Payne’s Grey, pull the lens room panes, walkway bases, rails, and supports.

With the 10/0 liner and Slate Grey, pull broken highlight strokes on the second walkway rail and supports on lighthouse #3.

With the 10/0 liner and Slate Grey, outline the windows and pull window panes.

Place a Payne’s Grey dip dot at the top of each lighthouse roof, for ventilator balls.

With the 10/0 liner and Payne’s Grey, pull a line up from the ball, for the lightning rods.

Evening Shadow Application:

To achieve the evening shadow over the lighthouses, wash over the towers of the lighthouses, watch room on lighthouse #1 and roof on lighthouse #3 with Payne’s Grey; using the glaze wash brush.

Stenciling Bats:

With the Batty Background Stencil or stencil of choice, Payne’s Grey and med stencil brush, stencil three bats on each surface.

Position the stencil on the surface; refer to the photo for placement.

Secure it with the Frog Tape or hold it with your fingers.

Load the med stencil brush with a bit of Payne’s Grey, and swirl the brush on a blue shop towel, to remove excess.

Apply color in a circular motion in one direction and then in a circular motion in the other direction (changing directions frequently) over the diamond area of the stencil.

Carefully remove the stencil by holding one end with your fingers and lifting the opposite end.

Clean the stencil and brush immediately; using a baby wipe.


To protect your painted pieces, varnish the entire ornaments with the DuraClear Matte Varnish; using the Oval Wash Combo.

This brush doesn't leave any visible brushstroke marks after the varnish has dried.

Apply the Galaxy Glitter, Black Hole over the cobweb cutout frames.

When dry, glue the frames to the circle backs with the Quick Grip Adhesive.

Cut the Fun Wire into 3 – 8” pieces, pull the wire through the top holes from the backside of each ornament to the front, and bend the wire over.

Download Original WORD File Here.

Download Line Drawing Here.

For questions concerning this design, you can contact Debby at or visit her website, on Facebook or Instagram.

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