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  • Writer's pictureDiane M Kellogg

Sea Horse Canvas

A Mixed Media Project By Gigi Shattler


8”x10” white gessoed canvas

Masterson’s Sta-Wet palette (important to keep paints moist during the painting process)

Leafy Blossoms mold (Décor Molds by Re-design)

Hearty Modeling Clay (light weight and dries quickly- found at Hobby Lobby® Craft store)

Grey graphite paper

Seahorse stencil (Americana® Décor Seahorse Stencil #201612)

Small shells (yours from a seashore or hobby store)

Craft glue (I used Elmer’s® glue)

Alcohol in spray bottle



DA046 Sea Aqua (or Sea Breeze)

DA133 Hauser Dark Green

DA132 Hauser Medium Green

DA134 Yellow Green

DA257 Bleached Sand

DA092 Mink Tan

DA062 Terra Cotta

DA077 Desert Sand

DA155 Soft Black

DA239 Warm White

Dura Clear®Satin Varnish


Royal Aqualon Brushes:

Series R2150 – No. 12 FLAT

Series R2250 – No. 10

Series R2595 – No. 1 Liner

Series R2700-- No. ¾” Wash/Glaze

D-15 Double-Ended Stylus (plus other various sized dotting tools)

R2211 Funky Pouncer -No. 3/8”

Sponge end Dotting tool (for bubbles)


First, make your mold of the seaweed leaves. Sprinkle a bit of powder in the mold to be used and then add the HEARTY modeling clay to fit every space of the mold. Release the mold and let the leaves dry on a flat surface. Later this will be glued to the canvas.

Set up the Masterson’s Sta-Wet palette for your paint puddles. This should keep paints moist while all painting is done.

Place pattern for seahorse on the upper-right part of the canvas and lightly trace the lines onto the canvas using grey graphite and stylus.

Paint all Seahorse lines using the #1 Liner brush and ORANGE TWIST. Dry well. Dots are done later. This will create a barrier for the next step.

With the #12 FLAT brush, using very watery SEA AQUA paint, apply to the entire background in small areas (avoid painting inside the seahorse lines). Then lightly spray this small area with alcohol to create a mottling effect. Continue to paint and spray the background until all is complete. Dry.

Using the #10 Round brush with a watery ORANGE TWIST, paint the inside of the seahorse. Deepen the color on the chest area, back of the head, and back fin.

Using the same process and brush, apply very watery MINK TAN to the face around the eye and backside of the seahorse body. Using the #1 Liner, place a bit of MINK TAN to the nose.

With the #3/8” Funky Pouncer, lightly paint sand on the bottom of the canvas using (in order) TERRA COTTA, MINK TAN, DESERT SAND, and BLEACHED SAND. Use a tiny amount of paint on this brush. Much of this will be covered up with the actual seashells but keep it a light touch.

When Leafy mold is dry, use the ½” Angular brush to apply the blended color of HAUSER MEDIUM GREEN to the entire mold, then blend in HAUSER DARK GREEN on the stem and lower parts of leaves. Finally, blend YELLOW GREEN on tip areas.

Glue seaweed to canvas. Then, apply Hauser Medium green to the canvas between the leaves. This will give it some depth on the canvas.

Eye on Seahorse is first, a large dot of ORANGE TWIST. Dry. Then place a smaller dot of SOFT BLACK. Dry. Then with the liner brush place tiny lines around the eye on top of the large orange dot using MINK TAN. Finally, place a very small dot towards the top of the eye with WARM WHITE.

Using the large end of the Double-Ended Stylus begin dotting the Seahorse with ORANGE TWIST. Keep in mind that every line of the pattern is dotted. I started towards the top and worked downward. Also, keep in mind that each time you place a dot, there is less paint on the tool for the next dots. You may need to pick up paint frequently to keep the dots consistent.

Finally, there are lighter colored dots of first BLEACHED SAND then WARM WHITE, on top of the head, top of the chest, lower back fin, and tail tip.

The air bubbles in front of the nose are larger dots of WARM WHITE trailing upward. If you have a soft end tool, press on the tool to create the center clearance. If this becomes a problem, you can use a cotton swab while the paint is wet to gently lift the center.


Hopefully, your seashells are of various sizes. I used some of them to blend orange tints at the edges. I used TERRA COTTA and ORANGE TWIST. A tint is watery. Your call. When these shells are dry, glue them to the bottom at different angles to cover the base of the mold.

The entire canvas is washed with the ¾” WASH brush and DURA CLEAR SATIN VARNISH.

I found a nice woody and already painted frame at HOBBY LOBBY. Your call on the framing.




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