I use MDF board or hard wood, one can also use concrete board as well. I clean and prep the wood, then paint it if that is necessary, for the actual art surface. I plan the design in my art design book, then I draw it again on the actual wood making any necessary changes. I then show this to the client to be sure they like what I have designed.
In this process I decide colors, depths and shadows, plus any other objects that I may decide to use on the piece, such as this one, The Big Breezy, which has coral, shells, drift wood, etc. This piece was commissioned by a couple for their Beach house, “The Big Breezy” in Texas! The entire process took me about 4 weeks.
I start with the actual design, and the intricate details and then build around that with the other pieces. Since this piece was to be hung on the outside of the beach house, I had to use the proper process so the piece could withstand the elements. After grouting, and letting it set for 48 hours, I coated the grout so it will withstand the elements as well. This must set for 72 hours before placing outside.
I framed this piece with a heavily coated wood. This family will have an art piece to enjoy for years to come but will have to take it down about once every 2 years and lightly sand, re-coat the wood and grout so it will be able to continue to last for years given the sea salt and air.
I hope you enjoy! Visit me anytime at my Etsy store!