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  • Writer's pictureDiane M Kellogg

Shades of Autumn

by Debby Forshey-Choma

Adding different techniques, however simple or detailed to backgrounds, adds interest to the design.

Surface Source

Plaque, w/3 coasters (8-1/2” x 19” back board; 4-1/2” x 4-1/2” squares) #SKU: 20-11652 available through

DecoArt Americana Acrylics available through

Avocado DA052

Light Avocado DA106

Soft Black DA155

Baby Blue DA042

Marigold DA194

Tomato Red DA169

Black Plum DA172

Raw Sienna DA093

Warm Sunset DA385

Bleached Sand DA257

Raw Umber DA130

Warm White DA23

Heritage Brick DA219

Slate Grey DA068

Yellow Ochre DA08

DecoArt Sealers/Finishes

Americana Acrylic Sealer/Finisher Spray – Matte DAS13 Media Gesso – White DMM18

DuraClear Matte Varnish DS60 Multi-Purpose Sealer DS17

Royal Brushes available through

#1360 – sm, med Debby Forshey's Texture brushes #4160 – 5/8 Majestic angular

#1114 – lg. Royal stencil brush #4170 – 8 Majestic filbert

#1400 – ½ SG White Blending mop #4585 – 5/0, 0 Majestic liners

#2935 – ½ Aqualon Wisp #4700 – 1 Majestic glaze wash

#3080 – 1 Oval Wash Combo #K-4 – Langnickel palette knife

#4150 – 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 Majestic shaders #R-2020 – Wool Sponge

Miscellaneous Supplies

Blue Shop Towel

Cosmetic Wedges

Spattering Tool

Baby Wipes or Rubbing Alcohol

Drawer Knob of choice

Tapered Candle

C-Thru Graph Ruler

Frog Tape

Glass, Metal & More Permanent Glue and Quick-Grip Permanent Adhesive available through

Americana Classic Stencil – Jacobean Floral #ASC08 available through

Cling Rubber Stamps – Cling Grunge Script #CRS5109 and Cling Vintage Note #CRP249 available through

-OR- use stencil and stamps of choice.


I am frequently asked how I maintain the straight lines on my lighthouse and structure designs. First I trace my line drawings with a

graph ruler and then I use the graph ruler to aid in the transfer of any straight lines, by dragging the stylus along the ruler’s edge.


Apply one coat of Multi-Purpose Sealer over the entire backboard and squares; using the glaze wash brush.

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

Gesso Application

Randomly apply Gesso to the surface of the backboard; using the 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, paper-thin. Lay the knife flat to apply the medium, then stand it up on the edge to lightly scrape away excess.

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 sand very lightly to remove any sharp or loose pieces.

Basecoating Backboard

Basecoat the entire backboard with Raw Umber; using the glaze wash brush. Two coats are efficient. See the left side of the photo below.

Candle Wax Distressing

Randomly rub candle wax over the entire backboard that you want the Raw Umber or original wood to show through the topcoat…..corners, edges, sides, etc. See the right side of the photo above. Apply a coat of Everlasting Chalky Finish over the entire backboard; using the 1” glaze wash brush. When dry, sand over the entire backboard. For further distressing, re-sand the areas that the candle wax was applied to. Continue until you have achieved the desired effect. Wipe off with a lint-free cloth. For topcoat see the left side of the photo below. For distressing see the right side of the photo below.

Background Sponging

Dampen the wool sponge with water, squeeze out excess water, then sponge over the surface of the lid. Then pick-up thinned Yellow Ochre on the dampened sponge, dance-off on your palette, and then dance over the surface of the backboard; be sure the sponging lightly fades off before the surface edges. This is a gradual building of color, allow the surface to thoroughly dry, and repeat the sponging step. See the photo below.

Background Stenciling

With the Jacobean Floral Stencil (or stencil of choice), Raw Sienna, and the large stencil brush, randomly stencil over the surface of the backboard. Position the stencil on the surface; refer to the photo below for placement. Secure with the Frog Tape or hold with your fingers. Load the large stencil brush with a bit of Raw Sienna, 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 stencil.

Fill in some of the design fully and leave other areas incomplete. When completed, this application should have a slightly distressed appearance. Carefully remove the stencil by holding one end with your fingers and lifting the opposite end. Clean stencil and brush immediately; using baby wipes or rubbing alcohol.

Background Stamping

The background of the surface has been randomly stamped; using the Grunge Script and Vintage Note stamps (or stamps of choice) When using paint on stamps it is important that you do not overload the image. Pounce the wedge sponge into Soft Black and then dance-off on a clean area of the palette. When you look at the bottom of the sponge it should be covered in paint, but you should still be able to see the texture of the sponge.

Now quickly pounce the loaded sponge over the entire image and stamp it on the surface.

Repeat steps, randomly stamping over the surface; refer to photo for placement.

When stamping is completed, clean the stamp with a baby wipe or rubbing alcohol.

See the photo below.

TIP: When dry, lightly mist with matte, for easier clean-up.

You can lock down acrylic paint with matte acrylic spray at any time during the painting process, to preserve previous work. This allows for fearless painting of the next steps, as any unwanted results may be wiped off without harming the underlying work.

Relief Stenciling Technique on Squares

With Gesso and the Jacobean Floral stencil (or stencil of choice), apply to the top surface areas of the squares; using the Relief Stenciling technique. Refer to the photo below for placement. Position the stencil on the surface, secure with Frog Tape.

With light pressure, apply a thin layer of Gesso over the stencil; using the palette knife.

To remove the stencil, hold down one end with fingers, while gently and slowly lifting the opposite end. Immediately clean palette knife and stencil.

Basecoating Squares

Basecoat the entire squares with two coats of Bleached Sand; using the glaze wash brush.

When dry, transfer the horizon and landlines to the surfaces.

Basecoating Land Areas

Use the appropriate shaders, to basecoat – Yellow Ochre – yellow land areas Light Green Mix (Light Avocado + Bleached Sand 1/1) – green land areas.

Sky Areas

Corner load the angle with Marigold, lightly float a wide tint along the horizons, floating into the sky areas; mop to soften. Then corner load with Baby Blue, float a wide shade across the top of the sky areas; mop to soften.

Yellow Ochre Land Areas

With the 0 liner and Raw Sienna, pull the crop row lines on square #2.

Corner load the Raw Sienna, float a wide shade across the top yellow land areas; mop to soften. Then randomly chisel float* Raw Sienna over the land areas on squares #1 & #3.

*chisel float by corner loading the angle, blend off on your palette, lay the bristles of the brush flat on the surface, chisel edge up. Push the paint on the bristles from left to right in a scratching motion, allowing the bristles to pull a broken line that is slightly floated.

Light Green Mix Land Areas

With the 0 liner and Light Avocado, pull the crop row lines on square #1.

Pre-dampen the land area with clean water on square #2, with the Aqualon Wisp and Light Avocado, randomly pull strokes over the area. Repeat steps on square #3.

Corner load the angle with Avocado, float a wide shade across the top of all three green land areas; mop to soften. See the photo below.

Transfer Design

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

Background Pines

With a pencil transfer the centerline for each pine. Work only on a couple of pines at a time.

Slightly pre-dampen the surface area with clean water. This will help the paint bleed; giving the boughs a softer effect and place them in the distance. Use the 8 filbert loaded with the Avocado across the chisel edge. Up on the chisel edge, slightly pull the top of the pine.

Tapping 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 Avocado, randomly taping on a few boughs; to deepen. When dry, repeat the same steps with Light Green Mix; for highlight.

Horizon Shrubs

With the sm Texture brush and following colors, dance in the horizon shrubs – Avocado Heritage Brick Warm Sunset. Randomly repeat step; to deepen.

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, 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 and you don’t end up with a globby or muddy look.

Background Shrubs

With the med Texture brush and following colors, dance in the background shrubs and then randomly dance a highlight across top- Warm Sunset with Marigold highlight.

Marigold with Warm Sunset highlight. Heritage Brick with Marigold highlight.

Basecoating Barn Settings

With the appropriate size shaders, basecoat the structures – Warm White – silo walls, white section of barn wall on square #3 Tomato Red – barn walls, Soft Black – roofs.

Detailing Barn Settings

Silos - with the 5/0 liner and Slate Grey, pull wall lines on the silos and white section of the barn wall on square #3. Corner load the angle with Slate Grey, float shading down the left and right sides of each silo wall; to create a rounding effect. Then float a shade down the left side of the white section on the barn wall.

Barns - with the 5/0 liner and Black Plum, pull all barn wall lines. On square #1, wash over the left two walls with Black Plum, for shade; using the 4 shader. Corner load the angle with Black Plum, float shading across the tops of the remaining barn walls.

Roofs – corner load the angle with Warm White, float a highlight across the top of the Soft Black roofs. With the 5/0 liner and Soft Black, pull the side roof lines, silo roof lines and lightning rod. Then with the 5/0 liner and Warm White, pull the roof trim lines.

Windows and doors – with the appropriate size shader, pull with – Warm White – doors Soft Black – windows. Corner load the angle with Slate Grey, float a shade across the top of the doors. With the 5/0 liner and Soft Black, pull the door handles, knobs, and door arches.

With the 5/0 liner and Warm White, outline the windows. See the photo below.

Pumpkin Patches

Basecoat the pumpkins with Warm Sunset; using the 0 shader. With the 5/0 liner and Black Plum, pull the section lines on each pumpkin. Corner load the angle with Black Plum, float shading across the bottom of each pumpkin. Then corner load the Raw Sienna, chisel float* shading under each pumpkin.

Ground Foliage

With the small Texture brush and Avocado, dance ground foliage under the barns, silos, and pumpkins; refer to photo for placement. With Light Green Mix, randomly repeat across the top of foliage; for highlight. Then with the 5/0 liner and Avocado, pull stems and tendrils on the pumpkins.

Stamping Squares

With the Flourishes stamp from the Grunge Stamp set and Soft Black, randomly stamp on the squares to tie the designs on the squares to the backboard; refer to photo for placement.


With the Spattering Tool and thinned Soft Black, lightly and randomly spatter over a few areas on the squares and backboard, to also tie the designs on the squares to the backboard; refer to photo for placement.


To protect your painted pieces, varnish the entire pieces with the DuraClear matte varnish; using the Oval Wash Combo. This brush doesn't leave any visible brushstroke marks when the varnish has dried.

Finishing Touches

Use the Glass, Metal & More adhesive, to glue the drawer knob into the hole at the top of the backboard. Then use the Quick-Grip adhesive, to glue the squares to the backboard.




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

Read Debby's Copyright Statement below...

Copyright 2021, Debby Forshey-Choma. All rights reserved under Pan American and international copyright conventions. Photocopying or any type of mechanical electronic reproduction of any part of this pattern packet or the designs herein are prohibited, except purchaser may mechanically electronically enlarge or reduce patterns for their personal use. If this pattern packet is purchased as an e-Pattern or CD, you may not re-sell the pdf file, nor make copies of the pdf files for re-sale or to give away. The projects created from the patterns in this pattern packet may be personally painted by purchaser for fun or for sale (i.e., at local craft shows, on internet auctions such as eBay, and on their own websites or photo sites), although if shown on the internet I do ask that you please give me credit for the design in your description. The designs cannot be used to create web graphics. The product created from or any derivative product made from the designs in this pattern packet cannot be mass produced in any form without a licensing agreement from Debby Forshey-Choma. Note to Teachers/Shop Owners…You may not teach this design or your adaptation of it unless a pattern is purchased for each student. I will be happy to sell patterns (print or digital) for each student at a wholesale discount so they can be included with the class supplies at a nominal cost. Disclaimer: The information in this pattern packet is presented to you in good faith. Since the author/designer has no control over the physical conditions surrounding the application of information presented, I cannot guarantee results, nor will I be liable for any charges against the user for claims of copyright or patent infringement. Please note that with printing differences it is difficult to match the images in this pattern packet to the original pieces, although every effort has been made to do so. Therefore, your finished project may look a little different in color than the images in this pattern packet. The colors used in the project instructions are the ones used by me to paint the finished projects.

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