Turning Trash into Beautiful Art Treasure

During my seashell art phase, and shortly after finishing my mixed media mussel shell piece, “True Colors,” I had an idea while cracking open some pistachio shells. I mentioned in my previous blog entry that I wasn’t fond of painting over the natural beauty of the small scallop shells. So, while I was eating the pistachios and observing their shells, I realized that the size and shape of them were like the seashells but with a few advantages: they had a neutral color which would be easy to paint over and they were lighter in weight than the seashells.

Coming off the dragon concept of “True Colors,” I decided I would use the pistachio shells in a similar vein by creating a lizard-like skin texture with them. I used an almost identical process as I did with “True Colors”:

  • First, I painted the lizard eye in oil paint at the center of the canvas.
  • Next, I applied the acrylic molding paste to the canvas and arranged the pistachio shells around the eye.
  • After that was dry, I painted the shells black with acrylic paint and then over the black with a variety of metallic colors.
  • Once everything was dry, I applied several layers of glossy varnish to give it a wet-looking texture.

I usually name my pieces after they’re finished, and this one was appropriately named “One Eye Open.” I should also mention that it takes A LOT of pistachio shells to create a piece like this, and no, I didn’t eat all those pistachios! My parents have helped quite a bit by being my main suppliers😉 . I’ve since created several other art pieces by using pistachio shells in a variety of ways, which has given me other ideas of how to use discarded objects, aka trash, for artistic purposes (stay tuned!)

You can see the process of how I made this piece by visiting my Instagram or YouTube channels. If you’re interested in purchasing this original piece, please click here or contact me for further information.

"One Eye Open" is a mixed media art piece using oil, acrylic and painted pistachio shells. The piece features a reptilian eye at the center with dozens of multi-colored pistachio shells surrounding it.

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