Some of Sehnaz Bac’s birds.

Art on stone: Sehnaz Back’s intricate creations

With just a few supplies — some of them free! — you can create lovely painted stones that will look great arranged on a shelf or tucked into a planter. Sehnaz provides easy to follow instructions in her latest book, The Art of Stone Painting: 30 Designs to Spark Your Creativity, just published by Dover.

The process begins with instructions on finding the right kind of smooth, flat stones along with suggestions about where to find them. Cleaning and preparation come next. After collecting a few other items, like acrylic paint or paint pens, you are ready to create something special.

Sehnaz’s art makes the stones come alive with colorful birds and fish. Her animals are lively and beautifully rendered, with bright eyes and enchanting colors. Her academic training and career experience sharpened her hand and eye, and a health challenge inspired her to explore her personal artistic potential.

We caught up with Sehnaz and asked her tell us about her art and inspiration. Her training as an archeologist comes into play as well as her artistic sensibility.

Dover Publications: What inspired you to begin painting such intricate designs on stones?

Sehnaz Bac: I love to work with details. Making technical drawings of small finds in archeological excavations as fragments of pottery and ceramics, helped me to improve my skills about observing small details. My curiosity and imagination inspire me to create colorful and detailed artworks.

DP: What your influences are for your artwork and how long you’ve been painting stones?

SB: I draw and paint all my designs with my imagination only. Of course living in different places and cultures helped me to inspire but I like to filter and mix them, and arrive at a result which is totaly from my imagination as how I want to see them exactly. In 2006 I was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma and it blocked my life for almost five years. After two transplantations of stem cells, I finally could return to my normal life. Taking long walks in healing period on Adriatic beaches (I live in a small city on Adriatic coast in Italy) and collecting special stones, shells etc. gave me the idea to paint them. I began to paint sea stones, and then it turned to a passion for me.

DP: I understand that you are a trained archaeologist? What’s your main focus in that field?

SB: I studied archeology at Ege University in İzmir, then I earned a master’s degree on restoration and conservation at the Faculty of Architecture. I worked at many different archeological excavations as an archeologist and draftsman in Turkey with Turkish and foreign excavation teams for almost 23 years. My main subject was ceramics (pottery of ancient Greece), particularly the Orientalizing style, which was the product of cultural ferment in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean of the 8th and 7th centuries BC.

You can see more examples of Sehnaz’s work in her Etsy store I Sassi Dell’Adriatico (Adriatic Stones), on Pinterest, and instructional videos on YouTube.