Paua (Abalone Shell) Mermaid Hand Painted Wood Box Purse


I’m thrilled to have completed my latest mermaid painting, this time I’ve created something new, a hand painted wood purse box – inspired by those swanky 60’s cigar box purses by Enid Collins you often see for sale in vintage shops.

My wonderful father made up some hinged plain wood boxes to my specifications and after a rather oversized prototype (my sense of box size in my head was way too big and heavy in real life!) we settled on a more petite, rectangular shape made of light pine wood.


The outside and inside of the box I painted in black, except for the front of the box, which was left blank so I could trace the mermaid design using graphite paper.  The gold outline of my logo is painted on the inside of the box.


After tracing the outline of my mermaid onto the front I painted the background black.



I started painting her hair first.  I wanted to give it an iridescent mother of pearl shine so I added highlights of blue, green, pink and gold in the shadows of her wavy hair.

Paua Shell

Using this beautiful Paua Shell from New Zealand as my reference I started painting the shell the mermaid is perched upon.


Over several more nights of painting I finished the shell and her translucent flowing tail, using the same colours in the mermaid and the shell to unify the painting.  The whole box was then given several coats of high gloss varnish for lasting protection.




The original wood purse box is now sold but prints of the artwork are available at my Etsy shop:

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