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!