Here is a free art lesson:
I cleaned and sealed this unusually large sand dollar, which was bleached white, before adding color to it. I used very thin glazes of paint to get subtle value changes. I would add color and rub it off, leaving a soft stain behind. This made the flower shape stand out, which is what I wanted.
Next, I tried it in a wooden tray, a shadow box and on a regular canvas. But I wanted some kind of wood support to give it more protection, without it being so deep. This inverted cradled wood really set it off! I liked the way I could use the edges as a frame too. It was the perfect depth to show off the sand dollar and still give it some protection. I primed the wood surface and then created the sandy colors for the beach. I used professional grade acrylic modeling paste (which doesn't crack or loose its hold as easily as student grade) to adhere the sand dollar and build up thick areas of sand at the bottom. (I added some sand color to the modeling paste before using it.) The shells in the sand gave it more balance and interest.
Painting transparent glazes (thinned paint with acrylic matte medium) for the water gave the illusion of the sand dollar being in the water instead of on top of it. Then I used gel medium to adhere beads and create some texture for the splash. (The texture is rendered with a palette knife by tapping gently onto the thick gel medium.)
I used a paint brush and more opaque paint as I moved away from the sand dollar. I love the sandy areas in the water, and put some of those back in when they disappeared. Using small detail brushes for extra shadows under the splash and under some of the shells gives it more depth. Then small liner brushes are nice for extra details and lacey lines of seafoam. Had fun adding some pearlescent paint for extra shimmer in the water (as well as on some of the small shells at the bottom).
I painted the back and then the edges for the frame before using matte gel medium to adhere the shells to the corners. Then I sealed the whole piece with two coats of an acrylic semi-gloss clear medium and varnish.
I use professional grade acrylic colors and mediums also, because they have more intense hues and are thicker in viscosity.
Feel free to email me with questions if you want to try to create a mixed media piece of your own!
About this painting:
Mixed Media on Cradled Wood
10 x 10 x .75 inches
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