Conch Shells And Ocean Dreams

Conch shells and hearing the sound of the ocean Doodlewash and watercolor sketch

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

Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields
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! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
Published in By Charlie
53 Comments
  1. Susan Feniak 1 year ago

    Wow!! A fantabulous conch shell Charlie! And I totally agree, listening to one is magical and takes one away on a calming ocean dream.

  2. YesterdayAfter 1 year ago

    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! <3 😉

  3. Jill Kuhn 1 year ago

    Beautiful colors in your shell, Charlie! 💕💖🐚 I can almost hear the ocean just by looking at your doodlewash! 😊

    • Author

      Hehe! Thanks Jill!! 😃💕 Then it turned out well if you can hear the sounds! It was fun to doodlewash. I should try it again soon!

  4. 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 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks, Magaret!! 😃💕That’s high praise though if you can actually hear the sounds! Hehe and yeah…I need to vacation my way back to the ocean very soon!!

  5. Jodi 1 year ago

    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!

    • Author

      Awww thank you so much, Jodi! 😃💕I was rushing to get to dinner and wasn’t sure if I could get this one done, but the short time frame actually helped I think!

      • Jodi 1 year ago

        oh there you go again making me crazy with the beauty you create “in a rush!” LOL! 🙂

      • Author

        Hehe… I think “in a rush” works better for me somehow. 😊

  6. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 year ago

    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.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Sharon! 😃💕 Couldn’t agree more….people are far more complex on the inside. Some maddeningly so! Hehe

  7. anotherday2paradise 1 year ago

    This is really beautiful. I have a conch shell packed away in one of my many boxes. Can’t wait to find it again once the house is finished. 🙂

  8. Teresa Robeson 1 year ago

    Science and your beautiful art are far more magical to me than silly old imaginary “magic”! ❤️ I feel like I can touch the screen and feel the roughness of the outer shell. Awesome job on this!

  9. zuzala 1 year ago

    How SEAsonal of you charlie! This
    came out stunning!

  10. memadtwo 1 year ago

    Now that’s a beautiful thought. Magic is everywhere! (K)

  11. Teri C 1 year ago

    It’s just beautiful and brought many memories of the ocean back to me. Thank you

  12. 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!

    • Author

      Thanks Deborah!! 😃💕Thrilled you liked this one!! Yeah, it was strange to be so deprived of an ocean view growing up! Lucky you got the best of all worlds. But yeah…I can drive in the snow like a pro so I guess that’s something at least! 😉lol

      • It’s a HUGE skill driving in the snow! People here crash in the rain! Imagine what we’d be like in the snow! I think I’m normal though; I do slow down when it’s raining. 🙂

  13. Birgit Winter 1 year ago

    You choose such beautiful Colors! Now I want so sit beside the ocean and watch the waves…

  14. 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!

  15. Beautifully drawn, and painted.you 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 😀

    • Author

      Yes! It was so incredible to finally see an ocean…I was certainly deprived as a child! Hehe Thanks so much, Rebecca! Glad you liked this! 😃💕

  16. M. L. Kappa 1 year ago

    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!

  17. Nicola 1 year ago

    Stunning! Beautiful pink and lovely contrast of textures

  18. debiriley 1 year ago

    wonderful. soft pretty and so lovely!! I really do like this; good on ya Charlie 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Debi! 😃💕Can’t believe this was my first shell after all this time. 😊Glad you liked it!

      • debiriley 1 year ago

        you are welcome – you did a delicate and sensitive watercolor of the shell, with the textures so lovely!!

  19. Cathe 1 year ago

    What a beautiful conch shell. It absolutely takes me to the ocean! Thanks for that little break in the daily grind…ocean sounds are the best, straight from the shell.

  20. This is a beautifully done, Charlie! Shells are one of my favorite things. Love the way this one leaped out at me from my reader. I can’t imagine living so far from the ocean, friend. But as you say, the beautiful shells can take you there 💜

    • Author

      Thanks sis!! 😃💕 Glad you liked this…shells are more difficult than I expected. Never tried one before. But yeah…just makes me want to hop on a plane and go to the beach now!! Hehe 😊

  21. Sharon Mann 1 year ago

    Magical Charlie, I want to dip my toes in the ocean!

  22. Jacob 1 year ago

    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 😉

    • Author

      Thanks Jacob! 😃💕 Yeah, you can actually just cup your hand to your ear just right and get the same effect. But for some reason it just isn’t quite the same! Hehe I really need to plan a beach vacation soon though! It’s been too long!

  23. GeorgieMoon 1 year ago

    I love shells, and this conch shell drawing is beautiful. It makes me want to find a shell and have a go, too!

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Georgina!! I’m thrilled… you should definitely have a go! World Watercolor Month is coming up too! You should join the challenge! 😉

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