Americana Flag and Rooster Calendar

By  Cinda Mann Vitale 

  • Americana Flag and Rooster Calendar
  • Painting Technique


  • Arched Top Calendar with insert (#62125) available through The Artists Club
  • Plaid FolkArt Acrylics: Barnyard Red, Blue Ribbon, Burnt Carmine, Burnt Umber, Buttercup, Clay Bisque, Green Umber, Hauser Green Light, Light Gray, Light Red Oxide, Medium Gray, Navy Blue, Pure Black, Raw Sienna, Red Light, Sawgrass, Sterling Blue, Tangerine, Teal, Van Dyke Brown, Warm White
  • Royal & Langnickel Aqualon brushes: Round, Series R2250, #2, #5, #8; Liner, Series R2595, #1; Glaze Wash, Series R2700, 3/4”


  • Plaid FolkArt: Waterbase Varnish, Matte; Clearcote Spray Acrylic Sealer, Matte; Antiquing Wood ’n Bucket, Brown
  • Black permanent ink pen, #00

Pattern - Americana Flag and Rooster Calendar
Pattern - Americana Flag and Rooster Sentiment

  • Preparation
  • 1. Sand surface and wipe dust. Print out pattern.
  • 2. Base entire frame and cross piece Pure Black allowing wood grain to show through. Transfer lettering onto cross piece; base Clay Bisque and shade Pure Black.
  • 3. Before transferring design onto insert, place insert in calendar. Use pencil to lightly draw around edges of cut out. This will help determine what area will show; merely centering pattern on insert will not guarantee design will be centered. Transfer basic outline for flag, rooster, daisies, crock, and checker board table cloth onto insert; omit flag hole, rooster eye, crock cracks, and wallpaper polka dots at this time. (Transfer details as needed.)
  • Artist's Tips
  • 1. I paint on unsealed wood. I like the way the natural wood grain and imperfections show through my designs. Dilute basecoats with water to approximately 50:50. The first basecoat serves as a sealer, of sorts; let dry to see how wood will react. Pine boards or open grain woods that are extremely dry will soak up a great deal first coat; gauge how much, if any, you will need to adjust your paint and water ratio for next coat.
  • 2. I use a great deal of water in my shading as well. Use it as an overall fix or just in an isolated area, as long as paint is dry.
  • 3. A difficult result in painting on unsealed wood, can be the bleed out. I have learned to live with this. Simply use a brush filled with water to clear away any over flow from another area. To help control bleed out, apply base in center of area to contain paint. If you find bleed out is just too difficult to control, then seal with a very thin application of a matte water based varnish. This should allow for same effect, but give you a little more control. Use caution not to apply too much sealer to avoid painting over a slick and shiny surface.
  • 4. Artist's Technique for Basecoating and Shading:
  • 5. Use diluted paint applications, approximately 50:50 water to paint ratio, unless otherwise noted. Each color will require a different ratio, which you will learn to gauge as you paint. This is how a soft watercolor effect is achieved. Maintain wood grain effect, but create a strong enough base to maintain integrity of color and to support shading process.
  • 6. You may need to increase ratio of paint to water, or apply more than one application to build up basecoat if your shading looks weak or you can see too much wood grain when dry. A weak base color will allow antiquing to grab wood grain and dominate final effect or detract from shading effect. The results can be muddy and too brown. To duplicate my results, you'll need to create a balance of base color and shading, then using antiquing as a final step to tone down paint.
  • 7. Shading is not a one step application, it requires two, up to as many as five, applications of paint/water mixture to build to desired finished effect. This whole process goes very quickly once you have mastered it, because you don't have to blend paint in brush before going to surface. The only requirement is to tap out excess water from your brush.
  • 8. Use round brushes for most basecoating and for all shading process. Fill only tip of a damp round brush with paint/water mixture. Using side of brush, not tip, float color over surface by moving brush back and forth, moving in toward center of area away from edges so brush empties and color fades as you move away from edge line. Using sides, and not tip of brush, is what creates soft washes of color, so shading fades softly into base color, with no harsh lines, stripes, or streaks.
  • 9. Shading with this method will cause brush to become splayed at end, but that is the result you'll need. Splayed ends give more brush surface to create a soft watercolor effect; use liners for fine detailing and glaze/wash brush for varnishing and antiquing.
  • Wallpaper Background
  • 1. Base Clay Bisque; shade Van Dyke Brown. Use tip of liner and wash mix of Pure Black (90% water/10% paint) to freehand polka dots.
  • Diamond Checkerboard
  • 1. Base white areas Warm White; shade Van Dyke Brown. Base red areas Barnyard Red; shade Burnt Carmine.
  • Flag
  • 1. Base star field Sterling Blue; shade Navy Blue. Base white stripes Warm White; shade Burnt Umber. Base red stripes Barnyard Red; shade Burnt Carmine. Base flag pole and star Buttercup; shade Raw Sienna.
  • 2. Transfer or freehand hole; base Clay Bisque and shade around part of hole Burnt Umber.
  • Crock
  • 1. Base Lt. Gray; shade Med. Gray and float a little Burnt Umber in some areas for aged effect. Transfer or freehand cracks; line with diluted Pure Black, then add a little Burnt Umber around edges. Paint stripe Blue Ribbon; shade Navy Blue. Add a vertical Warm White highlight shine on crock. Use Van Dyke Brown to darken area under crock and under rooster's feet.
  • Daisies
  • 1. Base centers Buttercup; shade Raw Sienna. Base flower petals Warm White; use Pure Black to shade and outline petals. (Note: Ratio should be 95% water/5% paint. Or use Medium Gray if you find it difficult to work with black over white.) Shade Hauser Green Lt. around outside edge of daisy center. (Note: Since this is such a small area, it may be easier to simply pat a light application of diluted paint around daisy center.) Base stems Sawgrass; shade Green Umber.
  • Rooster
  • 1. Note: Work in order given. Shading applications of Pure Black should be a ratio of 90% water/10% paint. If still too dark, add more water to mixture; test on another surface if necessary. Use very little of mixture in your application, especially to start. You can always apply additional layers, to deepen.
  • 2. Feet and Legs: Base Buttercup; shade Raw Sienna.
  • 3. Thigh areas: Base Med. Gray; shade Pure Black.
  • 4. Wing area: There are two different types of feathers. For two feathers closest to tail, painted Pure Black and highlight tips Teal. Other wing has two sections; base upper portion Teal and shade Pure Black, and base lower section Buttercup and shade Lt. Red Oxide.
  • 5. Back Cape (center back): Base Tangerine and shade Lt. Red Oxide.
  • 6. Tail Feathers: To allow for contrast, some are done with gray and black, others have hues of green, and some have blue highlights. Refer to worksheet for step-by-step process. For black feathers, base Med. Gray and shade Pure Black. For green feathers, base lower portion Med. Gray and top section Teal; shade Pure Black. (Note: Allow base colors to show through for a good contrast and highlight.) Basecoat fluff at base of tail Warm White; shade Pure Black.

    tail feathers
  • 7. Hackle (area from top of head down to chest area): Base Buttercup. Working from the top down, begin shading with Tangerine, fading at ends for light contrast.
  • 8. Comb and Wattle: Base Red Lt. and shade Burnt Carmine.
  • 9. Beak: Base Buttercup and shade Raw Sienna.
  • 10. Eye: Freehand or transfer eye. Base eye Buttercup; shade Burnt Carmine around eye. Use tip of liner to add Pure Black dot in center of eye.
  • Varnishing and Antiquing
  • 1. Varnishing: Apply a thin even coat of the diluted waterbase varnish, working until brush is empty. Let dry. Apply second coat to ensure surface is well sealed. Let dry.
  • 2. Antiquing: Apply antiquing mixture, working to stretch mixture out as far as possible, until brush is empty. Begin at edges of surface, brushing in toward the center so focal points don't become too dark. (Note: More antiquing can always be added after first application has dried for a darker effect, but it's hard to remove excess.) Let dry.
  • 3. Dilute waterbase varnish and antiquing approximately 50:50 with water. This is done to dull varnish shine and to lighten effect for antiquing. Do not pre-mix, but mix as you work: dip wash/glaze brush into water, tap out excess drips on paper towel, go to edge of varnish puddle or antiquing, and work a small amount into the brush tips, then apply straight to surface. For antiquing, test amount on brush before going to surface to make sure you don't have too much.
  • Finishing
  • 1. Use ink pen to add all line work detailing and outlines. Spatter entire surface Pure Black.
  • 2. Apply spray sealer over entire surface.