World Watercolor Group - Day 13 - My Favorite Shell - Nautilus - Doodlewash

Day 13 – My Favorite Shell

Though I’m not sure I’ve ever thought much about my favorite shell, it might truly be a conch shell, but since I’ve painted that recently, I decided on a nautilus shell. These shells are beautiful on the exterior, but it’s the cross section that I find fascinating. It’s often used as an example of the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci spiral, yet it’s not quite a perfect match. Either way, the shape it creates is still a pleasingly balanced one that’s quite similar and something only nature could create. And drawn freehand, this one isn’t quite a perfect spiral, but it gets the general idea across.  Leonardo Da Vinci, who was often inspired by nature, used the Golden Ratio in one of his most famous paintings, the Mona Lisa. This compositional structure can be found in countless drawings, paintings, and architecture throughout history, which I think makes it rather cool. So, even if I can’t quite pick a favorite, when it comes to shells, the nautilus is definitely at the top of the list.

This is the second time I’ve sketched a nautilus shell. The first time was a lesser seen version of the actual living creature. A rather alien looking thing indeed, but also equally intriguing in its own way. I realized that conch shells would probably qualify as my favorite because I’ve sketched three of them. Unfortunately, I don’t actually own a conch shell, and considered buying one (because you can literally find everything you think of on Amazon), but haven’t done so yet. I think the nautilus shell came to mind because I saw one in the window of an awesome shop next to where I work. It’s called Oracle, and is a natural science curiosities shop. I’ve never purchased anything there yet, but it’s such a unique and wonderful little place. It reminds me of when I was a kid and loving going to the natural history museum. My mother would always tell me that no matter where we visited I would turn it into a field trip. I was always curious to learn more about whatever I saw.

These days, not much has changed. It’s a wonder I was able to make this post as I got totally distracted looking up information on the golden ratio. That little kid who was never quite satisfied and always wanting to know more and more is alive and well within me still. It’s nice to know that curiosity hasn’t gone away. I think we should always remain curious and seeking to learn new things. The world is a vast and often confusing place, but filled with so many wonderful things. I know I’ll never been able to learn about everything that’s out there, but I get so excited to learn a little something new each and every day. For me, life will always be a field trip, just like when I was a kid. New things will always distract and excite me and that’s a pretty wonderful feeling. And that shiny thing that catches my eye in that very moment, becomes the most important thing of all. So, for today at least, this is most definitely my favorite shell.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Terra Cotta, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise, Ultramarine Blue, and Payne’s Grey.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
World Watercolor Group - Day 13 - My Favorite Shell - Nautilus - Doodlewash

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36 thoughts on “Day 13 – My Favorite Shell

  1. The painting is gorgeous. You have captured that luminous sheen of the shell perfectly. My Grandad had a wonderful collection of exotic shells and one was a nautilus. He also had a couple of conches and several abalones. The abalones were my favourites.

  2. Oh my, what a wonderful painting, i have always loved shells with irredescence and you painted it perfectly. It’s gorgeous. Your stories are all so good and really so very inspring. The way you end your stories always brings a smile. Thank you Charlie.

  3. Everyplace you visit you turn into a field trip. I love it! You just described me. Curiosity is my middle name and it has served me very well over the years.

    Great nautilus shell. Your art work is full of energy. The accompanying stories always add value. Takes a great deal of discipline to deliver these everyday. I commend you.

    1. Thanks so much, Paulette! 😃💕 Hehe… life is just better as a field trip isn’t it? And thanks! It’s definitely a challenge to paint and make a post every day, but it’s also become a lovely way to unwind and relax as well.

  4. It’s your propensity for turning everything into a history lesson that draws me to your site every day, Charlie – I love learning whatever you’re teaching. And this shell is truly beautiful – pearly on the outside, intricately chambered on the inside, and mathematically intriguing all around. And you captured all of it perfectly. You might need to buy a bigger house, so you can have more wall – er, gallery – space.

    1. Aww thanks, Shari! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, Philippe said this one would look good framed. But I’ve yet to frame any of them and hang them on the wall. 😊 And so happy you like my lessons… they are soooo not what one expects when coming to a watercolor site. But I’m not your usual watercolor guy. hehe

  5. I love how you captured the pearly look of the inner part of the shell.

    My Mom always told me when I was growing up, that any day that did not include learning something new, no matter how small, was a total waste and you might as well have stayed in bed. 🙂

    So keep on exploring and learning, it is a good thing. 🙂

  6. I love the spiral of the nautilus also, but it’s hard to pick a favorite shell. The conch, the oyster…I like especially the iridescence on the edge of this one. And Oracle…who could resist a shop with that name? (K)

  7. I am SO BUMMED I didn’t know about Oracle until now, when I’m far away from the midwest. (We used to make pretty regular treks to KC for my husband’s performances down there, so I’m double-bummed.) Portland has Paxton Gate, which is pretty cool, too, but the pictures of Oracle are making me drool anyway.

    Also, nautiluses. (Nautilii? Nautileese?) Pretty sure you’re right about them being aliens. Centauri Prime, maybe. I’m pretty sure they’re also reading your mind when they look at you.


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