12 Days of Christmas Watercolor Painting Challenge!

12 days of christmas painting challenge

Do you want to get your creative juices flowing over Christmas?

This year I’m sharing a series of painting lessons based on the theme “The 12 days of Christmas”.

Have you got the song running through your head yet? Sorry about that… You’ll probably be singing it all day long!

This will be a fun and simple to follow collection of painting exercises. In fact, every painting can be completed in just 4 steps. Each new project will be released on a daily basis. Every day will include a prompt and a description of the painting process. You’ll get a list of the colors I used, and I’ll describe the techniques employed for each watercolor. A downloadable worksheet is available for every lesson.

I hesitate to call it a “challenge” because the whole point is for this to be a relaxing and fun exercise and not something to be seen as a chore or a burden. But some folks like the idea of an imposed schedule to keep them motivated ! 

The first day of the challenge begins today! 

Fancy participating? I’d love to have you follow along 🙂

You’ll find a link for painting number 1 below.

A quick note for the sticklers 🙂 Ok… Officially, the twelve days of Christmas begin on the 25th of December. But I figure everybody has something more important to do on that particular day! So I’m starting the challenge early. I know… it’s cheating! But why put off the fun!

To follow this challenge you only need to come back to the blog to find the latest painting prompt. I don’t want to bug everybody with emails on a daily basis. But if you DO want an email reminder, you can sign up for my special email list below. This will send you an automated email with a link to each day’s project in the correct order. Even if you’re coming to the party late, you can sign up to the email list and you’ll be able to follow along with the fun! (This is completely free).

Oh, and don’t forget to smile when you’re painting ! It IS Christmas after all!

What’s the challenge about – who’s it for? 

This challenge is accessible whether you’re a total beginner or a more experienced artist. Each watercolor painting should only take between 15 and 20 minutes

It’s just a bit of artistic fun!

But if you’re completely new to watercolors you can use this as a way to become familiar with this amazing medium. The paintings themselves are very simple, but each tutorial includes a variety of watercolor techniques, and provides insight about how watercolors work.

To sum up, the challenge includes:

  • A Loose illustrative painting style (easy to reproduce)
  • Only a handful of colors needed for each painting.
  • These easy to follow paintings can be done in just 4 simple steps.
  • You can paint these even if you’re an absolute beginner!
  • A printable drawing outline and lesson worksheet can be downloaded for each project.

You’ll find a series of 12 daily prompts for each of the subjects below:

  • A partridge in a pear tree
  • Two turtle doves
  • Three French hens
  • Four calling birds
  • Five golden rings
  • Six geese a-laying
  • Seven swans a-swimming
  • Eight maids a-milking
  • Nine ladies dancing
  • Ten lords a-leaping
  • Eleven pipers piping
  • Twelve drummers drumming

What you’ll need

In the spirit of keeping things simple, each watercolor only needs a smattering of paint colors. I’ll tell you which paints I used but there is no obligation to use these precise paints. It’s possible that you prefer a different brand than me, so use whatever you have available. And feel free to shake things up and use whichever color palette you fancy!

I do recommend you use watercolor paper. Thin papers that aren’t adapted to water-based mediums won’t work well. However, you can choose either student grade paper or professional watercolor paper – both are fine.

You’ll also need a small round brush, and possibly a very small brush for some of the details. The subjects are not big in size – that’s part of the idea of making them quick and easy! So some of the details can be fiddly. Make sure your brush forms a good pointed tip when wet.

How to get started

The first painting is the Partridge in a Pear Tree lesson. Follow the link to begin the challenge.

Next, come back to the site each day to find a new painting for the subsequent lesson prompt. 

I’ll also create a special category for these tutorials which you can view here. This will provide an overview of the whole challenge.

Finally if you want to receive the daily projects in the correct order, delivered to your inbox you can sign up for the email list above.

Whatever you’re doing this Christmas, I wish you and your family a wonderful time, and I hope these daily painting practices go some way to boosting your creativity!

Have lots of fun 🙂

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  1. Hi Anthony,

    I love painting the twelve days of Christmas but I am quite behind. Will I still have access to these drawings after the twelve days are up and if so, for how long? I just started painting and this is a fun exercise. I feel uncomfortable downloading your files with One Launch (or whatever the name of this app is). Do you offer other alternatives for downloading? Thank you and wishing you the very best for 2024!

    1. Hi Elaine
      These tutorials are free and will always be available – you can come back to them whenever you fancy 🙂
      So there’s no rush to download the files…

  2. Dear Anthony
    I’m recovering from surgery to remove cancer and taking part in the 12 days of Christmas has helped me during my recovery. I’ve looked forward to painting each day, relaxing and pleased to have achieved something.
    Happy New Year.

  3. Hi Anthony,
    Thank you for giving us the 12 days of Christmas challenge! Just what I need right now. I have Covid and these lovely little paintings are keeping me from thinking about my aches and pains lol! I have now finished 3 and look forward to doing another tomorrow! Happy Christmas and New Year, Kathryn

  4. I’m loving this challenge and the tutorials are so cute, thank you very very much for this present and
    have yourself a water-color Christmas!

  5. Dear Anthony, your generosity is so very much welcomed these days! Have an unforgettable Christmas!⭐ You are one of the people that really deserve it. Thank you for this amazing 🖌️year, wishing you all the best for 2023!

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