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Mary Michael Shelley

Folk Art Americana Painted Wood Carvings

One of a kind and original art work.

Here's a link to my BLOG where I show other carved and painted pictures being made.

Below is a work in progress:


This is the first sketch I did, of a piece that I will eventually call: "Stacia's Horse Barn, Burdett, NY". I did this sketch after going on a driving trip on a nice sunny day, looking for good barns to carve.  After I finished it I decided I wanted to feature the horses more so i changed to sketch to the one below.


It was hard to choose between the two sketches, but this is the final one. Next I trace the design onto a piece of wood and start to carve (see below).


Here's the carving in its infant stages. Some carving done, most of the drawing still visible on the surface. Note my perpetually messy work bench.



Here's a close up of the picture above. A bit out of focus, but you get the idea.


 A view of the finished carving. Note my signature stamp in the lower right corner.




Before I begin,  I  use shellac to seal the knots or places in the carving where there is sap. This will keep the sap from bleeding through once I've painted the carving.



Here it is, all ready to paint. About to leave my workbench and go to my easle.



This is the first layer of paint. The shapes start to stand out, but nothing to write home about.



By now I've gotten a bit further on, have contrast figured out, but still trying to get the right colors.




Oops, I know this color is too strong, but it's getting closer to the way I want it to look. I'm still getting it into focus by increasing the darks and lightening the lights. It always looks better to me when I have painted the eyes.



I keep edging in on the final look. I go by feeling my way.  Each layer adds to the look. See how you can see the red under the blues of this version of the piece. The horses are better but the inner frame is still not right.



It's nearly there. Too much green, or too bright a green. I'll give it one more try.



At last I've got it. I've signed my name and gold leafed the inner frame. It's got a glow and a movement. I'll stop here. Now I just have to put screw eyes and a hanging wire on the back. I'm all done.

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