I was about to begin one of my mussel shell paintings when I decided it might be interesting to take a few pics of the process. The process begins by hand picking mussel shells from the Tennessee River, choosing the largest and most colorful to paint on. After the shell is cleaned and dry, I come up with a general idea of what the final piece will look like. Since the shells are natural and come from the local waters, I usually go with a nature/wildlife scene. The colors of the water are the first thing to go on, followed by the distant river banks and the foreground. Then details such as trees and grass are added and highlights on the water to compliment them. When the background is pretty well worked out, I start on the main subject, in this case a wild turkey in full plumage. Turkeys are a challenge to paint because of all the feathers and subtle color changes. The final touch is mounting the piece on Tennessee River driftwood and sealing the whole thing with clear-coat. The clear acrylic makes the natural mother-of-pearl colors shine.
These one of a kind works of woks of art make wonderful Christmas gifts for the outdoorsman, nature lover or just about anyone. If interested, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you would like painted. They go for $35 plus actual shipping.