Preparing the Canvas
Well, nature's ocean waves already prepared this canvas technically, but I want to make sure the paint adheres properly. In the picture below, you can see some of the beach rocks (accompanied by some gecko charms...) before they were drilled. I personally look through these beach rocks and decide where the hole should be drilled. Hubby then drills them for me. The rocks are cleaned and let dry a minimum of 24 hours before I paint them.
Making the Clasp - if one is needed
Some necklaces I choose to have an adjustable sliding knot for or another type of clasp. For some of my pendants though, I have personally selected river rocks to create a rustic and organic button clasp. My hubby then drills them into buttons, after which the buttons are washed and allowed to dry. Once the necklaces are later put together, I inspect them to make sure it looks great. The knot for the button clasp as well as the one for the loops is then super glued and the ends are singed to ensure durability.
Creating the Pendant Painting
I many times paint the pendants in one studio time. At times, I will paint the background separately then let them dry over night before finishing the painting. It all depends on what I'm painting and sometimes the paintings change as I create them. Here is a painting of one of my favorite pendant necklaces, "Rising from the Depths."
This painting creates a strong visual ocean feel and the ocean vibe is enhanced by the beach stone. The photo is from before the pendant was varnished. I like to varnish the pendants because although I paint with acrylics, it still helps protect the painting. Usually I leave the beach stone untreated on the back though. I like how the beach stone itself feels and not varnishing the back of it, leaves the texture as is.
Once the pendant is painted and varnished, again it is allowed to dry. The varnish dries pretty quickly but I still allow it to dry for at least several hours before handling, to make sure it is completely dry. For some of them, we use a snake knot to create the bail for the pendants. My hubby helps with creating the snake knot bail and puts the necklace together.
About the artist: Gunilla Wachtel is an animal artist who specializes in animal art. Her creative mission is "Conveying the Beautiful Essence of Animals in Art." Follow her on Twitter @GWachtelArtist.