Oysters are beautiful, graceful, and smooth on the inside. Their exteriors, of course, are another story. Full of barnacles and crustiness, they look like a concrete job gone wrong. When my brothers and our families took my Mom to Destin this January to celebrate her 70th birthday, my little brother suggested that we throw some oysters on the grill. The Lomonacos are all about our seafood! My mom confessed that she had never tried an oyster because of their perceived sliminess. We convinced her to give it a try. After all, we reasoned, it couldn't be much worse than her beloved calamari, could it?
Her response, "Not that bad!" The weekend was so special that I decided to scrub out all of the oyster shells and save them to make something. Oh, my poor husband : )
All of those cleaned up shells sitting around were begging to be painted. I've seen some wonderful oyster art at shows and online, so I felt compelled to try creating some of my own to commemorate the vacation.
A lot of what I paint are commissioned projects, but this one was a special memory with my mom and brothers that I had to make time for. I selfishly turned it into a project for my advanced art class. They are good sports and are used to me using our wonderful group for learning and experimentation. We joke about my inclination to work painting food into our lessons whenever I can! We studied and painted oyster shells that week. Some of the artists painted one loan oyster, while others painted a pile of them. All of us were so impressed with how colorful and reflective they actually are on the inside. We also discussed the wonderful story of how the pearl is created and the life lessons that can be gleaned from it. You can read a short poem about the pearl here.
We experimented with paint colors and discussed what we found. There were surprisingly many warm browns and yellow tones, as well as cool purples, grays and blues!
We used our fabulous mix charts to match the purples and even pulled out some iridescent watercolors that I have to imitate the pearly quality of the shells.
Nothing I could paint could capture their true beauty and intricacies, but I loved trying. I know there will be more up on my desk at some point soon!
A close up to see the details ...
Creating art from travel or fun experiences is so very satisfying! Such a great way to document life's special moments for family and friends. If you like to draw or paint, remember it doesn't have to be a masterpiece, just have fun playing and experimenting with the colors and shapes. If you'd rather hire someone to do it for you, then I'm your girl : )
For the oyster lovers among you, this print is available now on my etsy store here: Caryn's etsy shop
Whether I am working with a client on their brand identity, teaching students or creating a custom watercolor piece, I hope to refresh and inspire others with my work. Read more ...