Window Painter – Santa’s Elf With A Paint Brush

window painting of Santa being given a hair cut by an elf on a ladder.

Santa in the barber chair – North Pole Division

I have often associated the role of being  a window painter to that of  Santa’s Elf with a paint brush.


Although The elves generally work in the north pole toy shop, some of Santa’s helpers may  be found among the population spreading cheer and holiday tidings.

I am often approached as I paint by folks curious about my project. They stop to dish a bit about the technique or just pause for general chit chat. I have to be polite and very aware. It happens more times than not, that people want to talk to me about the painting I am doing or just stand by and observe. Often as I peer through the window pane, the whole office is mesmerized watching me work. It’s funny, you know. I want to peek in the door and tell them all to quit gawking and get back to work but I want to stay focused. I have learned to block them out but I still can’t help but smile. It is a unique perspective, painting art for holiday and spending time in paint mode.

Over the spring and summer I may have opportunities to paint occasionally, but unless it is my personal art I am not out doing windows. I am planning for the next season in my wait. The beginning of September has me making phone calls and reminder visits that my services are available for the season and lining up my calendar. I like to start as early as possible to make room for new clients and to fulfill the decorating wishes of my clients. I am down to only a few at this time because I work full time and my job takes up a majority of my time. It never fails. I plan to paint two projects a day on my off days and hit as many businesses as I can, but there is always a change in the schedule.

My favorite paintings will be accompanied by Christmas Carols along with the brush strokes. Why not be a great painter and full source of entertainment while the painting evolves bit by bit on the window pane. I offer a complete package with this holiday decor method. Why not be as conspicuous as possible while you are casually creating a wonderful mess!

In a world so colored with chaos and madness it is my privilege to stand in this unique place in holiday tradition. To cast my signature pieces in temporary form on window glass and leave behind me a trail of holiday spirit. We so need bright spots in our travels and I love participating in a decorating effort that leaves behind it, a view of holiday wonder, hope, and good tidings.

That’s Santa’s elf over there. The paint brushes are touched with Yuletide magic. If you linger long enough you may sense Santa’s presence and the wonder of the Season that it is blessed with… For the Christians it is a tribute to His birth and the celebrations that go with this day. Hang on to hope and faith and be of good cheer. You too, can be a part of the enchantment!

Halloween Windows – Kick Off Your Season – Painters!

Painting pumpkins is a lot of fun for Halloween decorations and they can get really creative. There is one in the corner of this Halloween window painting. I wish I could show you the details on the cat face and the fuzzy furry effect, but this was a long time ago. The painting below is from 1989 before the digital camera was popular so I have to make do with what I have to share.

Halloween Greeting And Black Cat

I recently submitted an article about Halloween Paintings to an online magazine and it was picked up and featured. I am sure it will be viewed a few times. It has an old design in it that is one of my signature images and I will be posting the paper sketch of it soon.

When I get the opportunity to paint for this event I will be sure to add it to the blog here. I really enjoy my ghosties and goblin paintings. The variety of designs that go with Halloween are frightfully fun and can be done in good humor. Take the time to sketch them out so the image comes out just like you want it and go to town with all the details. Halloween isn’t as popular for window paint decorations, but its tons of fun.

Happy trick or treating!

For more information on Halloween  and more Window Paintings see the following links:

So, You Want To Paint Holiday Windows?

How To Do Halloween Art For Windows

New Blog – Holiday Window Painting

holiday window painter poinsettia image

This day marks the arrival of holiday window painting to WordPress!

I should say up front that I have been a holiday window painter for over 30 years. It is from this experience as an artist that I catalog the following information.

The new blog is a way of preserving a temporary art technique that unless they are recorded on film images or sketch, these designs would be lost forever like a sunset or a sandcastle. Preserving this work is important to me.

I am approaching a time in my life that will bring about my retirement eventually.

I have gathered some of my best images from years past and assembled my portfolio. It is an organized collection of art that would never be seen unless the casual observer passed by the paintings when they were live on the windows.

In my wish to find an apprentice and share my experience I have created various tutorials and guides for successfully managing this unique decorating method. I know there are people with artistic talent that might benefit from this information.

You will find posts about the tools, medium,  and materials needed, the techniques used. Enjoy window painting as a hobby for personal decorating or use it to set up a side business. If you are a like-minded soul or just an interested reader, these tips should help you understand what it takes to create this wonderful art.

Paint at home or go pro!

holly and berries painted on glass in vivid colors

Holly Painted On Interior Of Restaurant

As this is just the first of many posts, I would like to thank you for your visit and invite and encourage you to follow this blog. I will not be posting more than once a week or so as my time is minimal for blogging.

When I do post, I promise to be as relevant as can in sharing the next tip or observance on holiday window painting. I will be sharing personal stories about my experiences on successful ventures and the occasional failures as I record my years of painting. I have pulled down those boxes of pictures throughout my artist history and will be sharing the personal reflections on the paintings in specific images and why I created them and what inspired the designs.

Please, share any questions you may have on this art form and feel free to leave them in the comment box below. I am interested very much in what you have to say.

Spam comments will promptly dropped in the the waste basket so save your efforts. {wink}

Happy holidays window greeting painted on lower window panes

Painted Holiday greetings

May the wonder of the holidays stay in your heart year round and bring you full circle to the joy that they do bring, the hope they instill, and the cheer that lies within them.

In the meantime, please, enjoy the following article also by this author and artist:

 So, you want to paint holiday windows?

Thanks for visiting! =)

Much, much more soon!

There are pages here that are imports from my blog elsewhere and they are in rough draft status, but they do offer many useful tips.

Browse them or come back after I have fine tuned them to fit this format. Thank you for your patience!

All images are property of M Burgess – all rights reserved. Please, do not copy, thank you!


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Cleaning Off Tempera Window Paint

Cleaning off Tempera window paint is a simple process.

It can be messy business if you do not follow some simple advice.

paint being scraped from window

Scraping paint is tedious but it is by far the cleanest way to remove painted decorations.

You will need the right tools for cleaning off window paintings – among them a razor blade scraper. Make sure you have plenty of paper towels and aren’t afraid to get your hands a little wet. In cold climates this may be uncomfortable but it is a necessary part of the job.

If you would rather not do this task, find someone who will. And make sure they won’t ruin your business in the process. I have had some lazy window cleaners shaft me out of a long time client because they left a pile of paint on the sidewalks and angered my client. Because of this issue I make it a point to let them know I will be stopping back to remove the painting. I do not do this for free however and I will be charging them for that service when I do the job, not before hand. I have heard stories of painter who charge up front for cleaning and never return. That is another issue that will hurt your business.

The business of window cleaning treats a store front to a shiny, new feel.

In removing your paint, do wipe down the edges, the frames, and check the walkways in front of the office or store for drops of paint that you may have missed while you were having fun with your artwork. Removing the spots is easy.

I have an old plastic bristle broom that I soak down in soapy water and scrub the area down until the spots fade and disappear  This leaves a nice, tidy impression not only on your client, but their customers. If you leave paint behind after the season has ended and are generally a sloppy painter chances are high you will not be welcome back next time around so protect your interests and do the job right.

Cleaning off paintings used to break my heart. I stood in front of the image and slowly removed it by spraying the area with a misting bottle. If there was a character there I would respectfully take it down, leaving the face for last. I really hated destroying my art but …alas it is a temporary thing. Like an ice sculpture, nothing last forever. I did get used to this in time and I have found the methods demonstrated in the video the easiest way to carry out this chore. See these in action in the following video.

How To Video: Cleaning Off Window Paint

Read more:
So, You Want To SELL Holiday Window Painting?

My First Day Painting Holiday Windows

It is an interesting hobby, this window painting.

My business started over 30 years ago and it is still a large part of my life even though I don’t paint as often.

Over the past couple of years I have worked on getting my portfolio organized and resetting my themes and images so I can go tackle Christmas and other holidays with my paintings. The economy has hampered my business tremendously but I hope to call on more clients in the near future.

In a story I wrote you will read about how I got started window painting. My First day painting windows was when I was 14. The details are in this lens on Squidoo. It was a great day for me as you will find out why:

A Day In The Life Of A Holiday Window Painter

Image: M Burgess

Candy Canes And Reindeer Holiday Designs

candy cane reindeer flag Image Amazon
Candy Cane Reindeer Flag – Amazon

Candy Canes and Reindeer combine beautifully in this Holiday design. 

In Holiday window decorating certain elements can be used together for your original paintings and style.

I love the dark background on this design. It brings out the red in the candy cane stripes and the reindeer’s nose quite nicely. Holiday designs like this one incorporate several ideas into a personal signature for an artist. Adapt your style using several elements that traditionally represent the holiday you are decorating for.

In creating panel designs for awkward windows, a solid color layered with a really cute image may be just the thing for decorating. I wouldn’t use this on a main storefront. Shop keepers and clerks need to keep an eye on pedestrians coming and out of a business. I would use this style for the lower portion of a door. Use a design like this to tie in your whole scheme.

I love this little reindeer’s smug smile. It is like he knows what Santa is bringing you and it is a gift you will totally love! The accents of candy cane stripping is very creative.  It demonstrates several patterns that can be useful when you design your striped candy borders or touches. These colors blend very well together.

Taping this design off would be your best course of action. Start with the large rectangular back ground then add a tape guide to the candy cane stripe border. In this method you would be able to paint straight lines easily. Pull the tape off afterwards and you have smooth lines in your image.

I would begin painting with a white base where I wanted the reindeer then fill the rectangle in with black. It might be helpful to set a blotch of white where the stars are but in a window design you can scrape a small shape into the paint when it dries and allow the interior light to shine through it.

For more info on holiday window painting see: So, You Want To Paint Holiday Windows? on Squidoo

What other elements do you see in this Holiday design that may be adapted and used for window painting?


Traditional Holiday Art Designs And Fluorescent Tempera

Poinsettia Designs 2007 ~ Image: M Burgess

Create A Collection Of Holiday Art Designs!

When the Holiday season rolls up on us in full force, my fellow artists and the curious, do you have a collection of drawings or photos to pull design ideas from for window decorating? 

Create a sampler book using the traditional shapes and images from the holiday designs that are so dear to our hearts.

My standard design theme over the past few seasons has been poinsettias and candles. These evolve year after year into wonderful adaptations. I am an artist with styles that are cartoon-like to semi realistic. I haven’t been properly schooled in the art terms, but I paint what I paint. 
There are moments I have scheduled my paint box for an appointment and I am not sure what it is I will be painting. Thankfully I have my standard design images. Created long ago when I started learning how to do these art projects I sat down and did dozens of pencil sketches. The window will inspire me to pull in and arrange these delightful images. When the design comes around and I am ready to sketch in the elements, there is usually a nice giggle involved with it. Sometimes there is an inside joke. Mostly they are a testimony of how beautiful this time of year is.

Christmas Art- Poinsettia In Fluorescent

Holiday Window Designs 2012 ~ Image: M Burgess
My 2012  Christmas Poinsettias are shown here.
I chose fluorescent tempera paints  to create a vivid image with the flower petals of this poinsettia. The brush strokes add the touches I needed to give it shape and form. With this design there is no need to do anything more but outline it.
Fluorescent colors can add some very nice touches for highlighting and blending in images that are round in contour. Use them to outline, too.
Keeping in the tradition of the Holidays, try to stay as close to the basic colors as possible but be creative!
Happy Holidays!


For More See: So, You Want To Be A Holiday Window Painter?

What is your favorite holiday decoration design?