It’s a hot day today, which made me think of the ocean, which made me think of listening to the sound of the ocean in seashells as a kid. Also, I’ve seen others bringing shells on our #NatureDoodlewash hike and realized I’ve never actually attempted to doodlewash one before myself. I had high hopes of drawing a set of different shells, but lack of time landed me with this single conch shell. I’m fine with that as this was always the best shell to place against your ear and hear those magical ocean sounds. Since I didn’t see an ocean until my 20’s, holding one up to my ear as a kid instantly transported me to a place I’d only seen on television.

Living in the very middle of the United States, you have to travel quite a long distance to get to an ocean. When I was a kid, my family opted for road trips that took us into various mountain ranges, so I was quite familiar with those, but the ocean was always a strange mystery to me. When, as an adult, I was finally able to stand on a beach and look across the ocean for the first time, it was one of the most amazing experiences I can remember. Weirdly, it felt like I was being transported inside a conch shell as that’s the only previous reference I’d ever had of that soothing sound. I felt small enough to fit inside a shell next to that mighty ocean, but also felt a sense of peace I’d struggled to find for years.

Of course, as with everything magical, there’s always a scientific explanation lurking in the background. Scientists, who also claim there’s no Santa Claus, say it’s not really the ocean one hears in a conch shell, but an echo of the ambient noise around you. But in a way, that makes it even more magical, doesn’t it? No matter where you are or what crazy stressful environment you find yourself in, listen to a conch shell, and all of that horrible noise around you always comes together to form a peaceful seaside sound. Mysteriously transforming chaos back into a peace only found with the echoing waves of a beautiful ocean dream.

Join me throughout the month of June on a virtual nature hike! Show everyone what you love most in nature with a watercolor sketch or painting and tag your images #NatureDoodlewash so we can all enjoy it with you! I’ll create a featured artist gallery of our global hike at the end of the month! 

World Watercolor Month is coming in July! Click here to learn more!

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Gamboge, Burnt Sienna, and Cobalt Teal. Sennelier: Opera Rose. Lamy Safari Al Star pens with Platinum Carbon sepia ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

53 replies on “Conch Shells And Ocean Dreams

  1. Ohhh this is lovely Charlie! I love anything that comes from the ocean and seashells are one of my elements in my jewelry designs. I love the way you painted the colors on the shell and the brown ink! Beautiful!❤😉

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  2. Beautiful shell Charlie! So…..funny I was just going to write “I can almost hear the ocean by looking at your shell”….Jill beat me to it but I am saying ditto to that! I adore the ocean and my favorite place to vacation is on the north coast🙂

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  3. I don’t know how you do it, Charlie, but you amaze me every day with your beautiful doodlewashes. Such a gorgeous conch shell! Almost more beautiful than the real thing!

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  4. Charlie, I love your explanation about shells sounds and why they bring us such peace. Your painting is magical as well. You caught the sheen of that turned out lip (no idea if that’s it’s actual name) and the complex texture, colors, and shape of the exterior. Kinda like people, though I think we’re reversed – simple on the outside, complex on the inside.

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  5. It’s gorgeous! I love all the nuances of color. I want to put it up to my ear and listen to the sea!
    I just can’t imagine being an adult before standing on the beach in front of the ocean! I am so thankful for parents who loved both the mountains, and the sea! They exposed me to both often alternating between the two my whole childhood.
    I don’t think I’d be a happy camper not being within 4 hours drive of either the mountains or the sea today. Being landlocked would be like living without the sun to me. I’d wither I think. BTW. I have no idea how to live in the snow. I’m wimp and can’t drive in it. There are strengths you have I do not!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Your doodle bring back memories, 43 years ago when I was eleven my grandmother took me on vacation to spain. I saw there the biggest shell I ever saw, and she bought it for me! and it almost looks like this one. I still have it Great Doodle Charlie! Thanks!

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  7. Beautifully drawn, and have created the soft shiny irridecence of the inside so well that I want to grab it right now. So pleased to hear you got to experience the sea for real and not rely on the conch for the rest of your life, amazing as it is, it’s the smell of the ocean, the breeze, the expanse that makes a real visit special….oh and finding these shells 😀

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  8. You really got that conch, Charlie! Love the pink hue. For someone surrounded by sea ( and mountains – Greece is tiny) I can’t imagine the awe you must have felt when seeing the ocean for the first time. It must have been amazing!

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  9. What a fabulous find – never have I found one with such wonderful colour and texture!

    My eyes opened pretty wide there for a moment when you said you’d never been to the ocean until your twenties… growing up in a seaside town, this is something quite hard to fathom! I often forget the US is about nine million times the size of our country. I can’t imagine how amazing it must have been – I bet Little Charlie came out well and truly! It’s a wonderful thing; I could listen to the waves all day long.

    Yes – I spoilt it for myself rather when I found, somehow, that holding a cup to the ear has pretty much the same effect. It doesn’t quite have the same pull, though, does it😉

    Liked by 1 person

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