Craig Seyler, of Forest2Frame on Etsy, is a scientist. With an artistic dream. He frames butterflies, moths, exotic bugs, beautiful specimens. But placing them in a shadowbox needed a little more pizazz. Something to catch the eye. I had been making his shadowboxes for a while, but we were going to wade into a new venture.

He had a vision of having backgrounds hand painted to coordinate with the butterflies, dragonflies, critters he was to frame in a shadowbox. He “grows” his own Luna Moths, so we started there. That was an easy vision. They fly at night, they look like they glow in the dark--so a full moon lunar scene was it! He gives me a lot of free rein, creating colors and scenes that would enhance his specimens. Nothing is larger than 12 x 16. And the focus is not on the background, but the bug. The only thing is that every painting is an original and no two are alike. THAT is a big selling point.

I paint acrylic on paper, mounted to a matboard using my mechanical heat press and Fusion 400. I have to keep the depth very small ( 1/16 thickness to a matboard) so Craig can have flexibility for depth to the shadowbox. I don’t really prepare the paper with gesso or anything. Sometimes I use a medium for acrylic to create a smoother surface, which is just my preference. Then I take direction. Craig’s partner, Steve, would send Craig HIS creepy critters, and the process started over. Paint this, paint that, I want this scene, Yes... no... Maybe so…...it got to be stressful fun! Nothing was ever thrown out. If an idea or painting didn't “work” , I would save it for another thought or just paint over it!

What was really hard is that I had NO idea what I was painting for. Craig and Steve knew what they wanted. But I could not see how it was going to come together. I try to show you in the photos of before and after. I had to take specific directions, as we were working remotely---I am in Florida, Craig in PA, Steve in Washington State. Once the displays developed, it made me get even more ideas! Now my paintings had a purpose. After seeing the first few, I knew what we had to do to enhance the critters.

Being an artist to me doesn’t mean I stay small and only paint one thing. When someone asks me “can I do this….?” I sure do give it a try! More really interesting things to come! Stay tuned!

Painted Backgro...
Painted Backgrounds for Shadowboxes
Painted Backgro...
Painted Backgrounds for Shadowboxes
Painted Backgro...
Painted Backgrounds for Shadowboxes
Painted Backgro...
Painted Backgrounds for Shadowboxes