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Miniature Oil Painting Earrings

After I finished yesterday's epic pair of earrings, I dove right in and started a new pair. I've been eager to create miniature oil paintings and turn them into jewelry.


I tested out this project some months ago, but then got swept up in other projects and hadn't returned until yesterday. Here's a photo of my first attempt with miniature oil painting:

I had been playing with this idea of incorporating oil painting somehow and did research on how other professional painters used wood in their work.


I knew I needed a wood that had a tight grain and was very hard, and after speaking with one of my woodworking friends, he advised me to use walnut.


Once I got my little one inch walnut canvas, I coated the top surface with an acrylic gesso and let it dry for two days. This was to add a waterproofing layer between the paints and the wood for extra security and to have a nice smooth surface. I sanded the gesso down to make it even and from there I was able to paint on it.


I then started to do more research to see how I could 'preserve' my painting after it's been completed. I didn't want to use a varnish because it could distort the colors, sometimes they give off a strong smell, and I was also worried that if you hit the painting, it might damage the work.


I began doing more research and then came up with the idea of using epoxy resin to cover the oil painting. Resin is commonly in jewelry, it doesn't distort color, is extremely durable, is waterproof, you name it. I gave it a go on the miniature above and it worked. I did create a minor flaw in the resin with the piece above, but I managed to figure out the best methodology to incorporate the paintings and the best part is that these little paintings are lightweight. In other words, I can turn them into earrings!


I've always been inspired by the jewelry in old paintings, and before I used to want to recreate those jewelry pieces. After doing several recreations, I'm like, "is it just me, or do I just want to physically wear the artworks?" And that's how this idea came about..


I have saved tons of painting details on my Pinterest page of close-ups of medieval hands wearing rings, gaudy earrings, decadent necklaces and collars. I do have a deep love for painting details and I figured I'd try this out for now.


The oil paintings themselves will take roughly a month to dry before I can cover them with the resin. I can do a miniature painting in a day and then let it sit for the next month. I have no idea where this will take me, but it's a fun experiment for now.


Here's a peek at what I worked on yesterday. Thanks so much for reading and take care,

Caitlin