Day 13 – My Favorite Shell

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

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

Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Yvonne Reeder 5 years ago

    This is gorgeous, Charlie! You’ve achieved that luscious glaze and iridescent look of shells – really lovely! ❤️

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Thanks so much, Von!! 😃💕I’m so happy you liked it! This was fun to paint!

  2. Carol Hartmann 5 years ago

    Simply beautiful, Charlie! I enjoy how you captured the iridescence 😍

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Thanks so much, Carol! 😃💕 I was really hoping that managed to come across. It’s always challenging to do!

  3. Laura (PA Pict) 5 years ago

    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.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Thanks so much, Laura! 😃💕 And cool! abalones are beautiful! That colorful iridescence would be fun to paint!

  4. June Hadaway 5 years ago

    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.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Aww thanks so much, June! I’m so happy you enjoy these stories. They’re often the toughest bit of these posts and I’m never sure what I’m going to say! hehe Thrilled you like them! 😃💕

  5. The Red Haired Lass 5 years ago

    So beautiful and I love what you say about the shiny thing in front of you being your favorite… I feel the same way!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 Hehe… and yay! I’m glad you feel the same!

  6. paulette 5 years ago

    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.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      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.

  7. Sharon Nolfi 5 years ago

    I love this one, Charlie! The colors are fabulous.

  8. Lisa Cihlar 5 years ago

    It’s beautiful! And I have been interested in the golden ratio too due to watching a tutorial on art design.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 Yeah, it’s totally a fascinating concept. I need to remember it more when planning my compositions! hehe

  9. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 5 years ago

    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.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      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

  10. Sandra Gilbert 5 years ago

    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. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕 And ohhhh… you mom is awesome! That’s such a perfect lesson to grow up with!

  11. Denise Soden 5 years ago

    Such a gorgeous rendering of the pearlescence, Charlie! I loooove nautiluses and they’d definitely be up there for my favorite. However, for this prompt I might have to go with turtle 😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Thanks so much, Denise! 😃💕 hehe… and great minds! I almost went with a turtle for this one!

  12. Hania 5 years ago

    Beautiful shell and writeup 🙂

  13. memadtwo 5 years ago

    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)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      You would LOVE this shop, Kerfe!! 😃💕 It’s soooo cool!! And yep… all the shells you listed I’ve painted and would consider a favorite! I think the iridescence gets me every time!

      • memadtwo 5 years ago

        I looked at the website. Good thing for my wallet it’s not right down the street from me!

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

          Hehe! Yeah… I think you’d HAVE to come home with a bag of goodies from that place!

  14. Thomas Blanchard 5 years ago

    Beautiful. Love your use of color and shading.

  15. Michelle 5 years ago

    Beautiful! It shines!

  16. Elizabeth Metz 5 years ago

    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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