So a couple years ago, when I was feeling drawn to tree imagery, I'd repainted my room.
At the same time, I was working on refinishing an old desk (which had been my mother's ... I love that legacy stuff :) ).
I left it a little distressed on top, because I didn't want to erase its whole past, but I smoothed out the major scratching on the surface, and of course added some blue flair to the edges and legs.
I also (to my knowledge) invented for the First Time Ever the Most Gloriously Cool Technique for a Reverse Stencil Art on a Wood Surface!
Here's what I did.
First I stripped the top of the desk, and sanded it to my heart's content but did NOT finish it yet (how-to posted here.)
Then I made two tree stencils. I just sketched the trees onto the backs of old cereal boxes, and cut them out with my trusty Exacto knife.
I placed the stencils where I wanted them, and then with the foam brush I painted the varnish on within the stencil.
Once the stenciled varnish dried, I poured some regular acrylic paint onto the varnished part, and then using a dry cloth rubbed it over the varnished surface - the paint stays on the raw wood, but wipes off of the varnish easily, creating a halo effect that illuminates the tree shapes!
After that had dried, I finished varnishing the surface as I normally would, sealing in the trees at the same time!
(Sorry the photos aren't very clear ... it's hard to get the light paint color to show up properly)