In mid-2014 I painted this gorgeous little bracelet of a young girl mermaid and her seahorse friend. Based on an old unfinished digital painting from a few years ago – I had the layout and the colours already decided.
I purchased several plain wood bracelets from a craft supplier on Etsy based in Ireland. These bracelets are made from wood in Poland which is sustainably produced. They are a lovely light-weight type of wood so when you wear it on your wrist it’s very comfortable and not heavy at all.
After transferring the outline in graphite pencil to the outside of the bracelet I started by painting the inside and the background a beautiful aqua colour with non-toxic acrylic paint.
I really felt I need to tackle her long blonde/brown hair next and I used a variety of browns, oranges, reds, yellows and gold to give the highlights in the strands of hair.
Next I painted the seahorse and her mermaid tail. The seahorse came together very quickly and I was pleased with the depth achieved by using the dark and light highlights in the greens, yellows and black. The mermaid tail was a bit more difficult, I had to repaint it about 3 times because I wasn’t happy with the blue colour and the pattern of the scales. It was also difficult to paint the translucent “skirt” of fins at her waist, because the painting is so miniature it’s difficult to get the level of detail if the paint is not flowing wetly enough and the brush is not pointy enough!
As a background I painted some water ripples and water shadows using a photograph of a swimming pool as a reference. This was quite experimental for me and I was surprised how well it came out. It looked even better when the high gloss lacquer was applied, this tends to give the painting a lot more depth and the colours also seem to blend together more and look stronger.
I finished up by painting some corals and sea grasses around her, a fish, and also some sparkly stars around her and the seahorse, to show the special magic friendship they share. I gave this piece about 10 layers of high gloss lacquer so it would have a lovely shiny hardwearing surface.
This bracelet has been sold but if you’re looking for more of my artwork please visit my Etsy shop: