Every year I send a Christmas letter along with my card. This is the second year I've done original art for the background. The cardinal was done from a photo reference, and the wreath, ribbon and ornament came from my noodle. I'm not entirely happy with the ribbon because it doesn't have the satiny look I was imagining, but I'm quite pleased with the rest.
Created in my large sketchbook using pan watercolors, watercolor pencils, and micron pens. Started with a preliminary pencil sketch of all the elements except the ornament and worked it up from there. The ornament was added as an afterthought to bring in the green.