How To Paint A Wood Bowl

How To Paint A Wood Bowl

hammerhead, dragonfly, turtle bowls
Hammerhead, dragonfly, turtle bowls

I thought you might be interested to learn more about the process I go through to paint the monkeypod bowls, and it really shows you that there is SO much more to the art than just “painting”. 90% of the artistic process is gathering and preparation of the materials! It’s an involved process to complete a single bowl, so I usually work on them in groups, doing each step to a group of bowls to save time. Each piece needs to go through all of the steps, so even a tiny bowls take hours to complete. That means $25 – 35 for one of the smaller pieces is quite a bargain for the amount of time spent on them.

    1. Hunt for and purchase the bowls, which takes gas, time, money, emails, and sometimes shipping fees. I have a couple of people out of the area – one out of state – who also hunt for these monkeypod pieces in the wild for me since they rarely pop up in our area. When they’ve gathered a dozen or so, then those folks send me a box full at once.
    2. Scrape off price tags and sand each bowl, degrease them in case of oils, scrub them with a powdered cleanser.
    3. Coming up with the designs is a curious step:
      Flamingo bowls, stingrays, turtle bowls
      Flamingo, stingray, turtle bowls

      I usually grab a handful of bowls which seem interesting to me and let them sit on my desk for a few days. Eventually, I get a flash of inspiration by turning and rotating a bowl this way and that until I “see” something (or a client asks for a specific idea), and that gets me rolling. I then paint backgrounds on those that need it, and then I draw a few loose guidelines. I do not do detailed drawings, as I tend to let the artwork develop itself as I am painting. That is part of the magic of these colorful pieces!

    4. Paint: I prefer the painting process to be meditative, so I work with minimal guidelines. I generally pick two main colors, and one accent color pop to work with. I like the shapes to stand out. Less color allows this. As I’m working, I can “see” what else needs to be added, whether it is another shape, or a bit of line work, or dots. After airbrushing highly-detailed work on motorcycles, this type of painting is relaxing and freeing! It’s like floating in water to me.
    5. Clean up: before clear coating, I make sure any guidelines are removed, I clean up any funky line work, and sand any “oops” paint off the edges. I then use a tack rag to clean the bowls.
    6. I name and number the bowls, writing the info on the back of each piece.
    7. Clear coat: first I spray the back of the piece, then set it on my “nail board” backside down (board looks like a bed of nails, and allows me to do both sides of the bowls in one spraying session), and then clear the front.
    8. Use fine sandpaper on the piece if it needs it.
    9. Inventory the piece (measuring, noting shape, colors, subject, size, price, name)
    10. Take photos, edit the photos.
    11. Upload photos to my etsy shop and my shop, add descriptions, share on social media.
    12. Sell it, ship it, do bookkeeping (inventory, taxes, etc).
    13. Order more materials if needed.
    14. Repeat! I try to have one batch in the paint process and one in the clear coat stage.

The bowls are art (not food safe), but they can be used as trinket trays, jewelry trays, key holders, office supply holders, wall art, a pop of color on an end table…and they make great housewarming gifts, unique wedding gifts (and YES, we can personalize them), or a birthday gift for the person who has everything!

monstera, red lotus, snake labyrinth, alien art
monstera, red lotus, snake labyrinth, aliens

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I hope you enjoyed hearing about the process to create these colorful pieces, and of course, seeing a few of the pieces. If there’s anything special YOU’D like to see painted on one of the bowls, let me know! We’d love to hear from you!

Eclectic Dawn

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