When creating the prompt for today of simply “shells,” I specifically made it less descriptive in case anyone felt like drawing more eggs, another snail or even a lovely turtle. I actually considered a turtle, but I love conch shells so decided to take the opportunity to make another one for today. Next, that age old tongue twister of “she sells seashells by the seashore” starting to thump through my head. It’s an insidious phrase meant to help teach diction in young children, but when said several times fast my someone of any age it quickly becomes a blur of confusion. When I was a kid, just before entering kindergarten, I was quite vocal, but nothing I said could be understood by anyone who wasn’t an immediate family member. I had trouble saying “r’s” and “s’s” mostly, but the combination of any vowels and syllables came out in a big old mess. My mind moved far faster than my mouth and I didn’t have the patience to wait for the two to catch up. Thanks to a lovely speech therapist, I started school with little trace of the problem, and today, I can easily say most tongue twisters without an issue. A skill that nobody really needs, but a fun one to have nonetheless.

I don’t have precise memories of that time in my life. Like most memories at such a tender age they’re only bits of ephemera mixed with retold family lore I’ve heard over the years. But weirdly, I do remember the little flash cards I was given as part of my study since they had fun little pictures on them. I also remember that the word “several” was my nemesis and finally saying it properly was the defining moment of my early education. It was as though only one simple thing stood between me and success. Had I simply calmed down a bit and focused, I would have probably not had a problem at all. But I was bouncing all over the place, and not keen on pausing long enough to learn things properly. That behavior has continued with me into adulthood. I tend to lunge at new ideas and try things without taking the time to study them at all. That’s why I’ve adored my watercolor journey as the break I take each day forces me to stay in the moment. To truly study and explore something that often seems so incredibly mundane and simple.

That’s why you’ll still find me today, just sketching stuff. Bits of life without much context, that I hope will leave room for you to fill in the gaps with your own personal memories and reflections.  For me today, this little shell brought back memories of a time when I struggled with trying to speak properly. A surprising memory that I myself didn’t expect. It’s funny how a simple image of an object can evoke thoughts of things we thought we’d all but forgotten. Perhaps that’s why I still remember those little flash cards with little images that saved my life back in the day. They transformed me from a kid who could barely speak properly into a bright young boy ready to take on the world. The world is a complex and crazy place, but when you take it one thing at a time, it becomes much more manageable. I’ve done a lot of things since I was that little bumbling child trying to communicate with the rest of the world. And today, I’m still trying, each and every day, sketch by sketch, finding myself suddenly delighted by the silliest and simplest things of all. Smiling to myself with pride that I can now properly say “seashells by the seashore. ”

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Opus (Vivid Pink), Terra Cotta, Cobalt Turquoise, and Cobalt Blue.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
 #WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 23 - Seashells By The Seashore - Conch Shell - Doodlewash


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36 thoughts on “Seashells By The Seashore

  1. Your conch shell is marvelous. I can almost hear the ocean roaring! I was born with a cleft palette so I emphasize with the speech therapy. I was fortunate – in one way because an experimental surgery worked on me where it didn’t on most, and the problem was mostly fixed by the time I was nine. As a kid, I barely knew it was a problem-other kids had no trouble understanding me – only stupid adults and who cared about them, lol. Also, in order to have me speak words, I was taught to read by the time I was three. It’s made me seem far more intelligent than I am, so I’ve enjoyed many benefits from it – a win-win as far as I’m concerned.

    1. Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 Oh wow… that’s an amazing story. I’d definitely say it was a win-win in the end. It’s so true… other kids seems to know exactly what I was saying… it was the other adults that had trouble comprehending. I think that says much about our adult brains.

  2. Despite your early troubles, you’ve grown to be an extraordinary communicator! The stories you publish every day reach people all around the world who delight in reading them. Your art is an added bonus to those of us who follow your daily posts.

  3. The shape! The colors! I love everything about this shell.
    BTW, my son was diagnosed with verbal apraxia at age 2.5 and we went through a lot of emotional “stuff” between getting diagnosed and setting up a plan for treatment – 2.5 years’ worth. He was one of the lucky ones: speech problems resolved, just left with a teensy behavioral issue. Now he is 19 and in college…how the years fly by! I am always reminded of this part of our lives with him when I come across an article such as yours.

  4. I’ve just been reading about a kid flying an old-fashioned kite, and seeing your words reminds me about the obsessions of youth. Mine was whistling. I could never do the fingers in the mouth job, but did after years of tuneless practice become quite good. To the extent that I became known as the whisting paper boy. To an extent the dogged determination I applied to whistling is now being applied to painting, and I am improving!. I was delighted when visited by my wife’s great nephew yesterday, and he admired my camel, and he was really chuffed when I gave it to him. Getting there!

    1. Yay! I love that story, Rod!! 😃💕 I think dogged determination is the only way to approach painting. (was it the man kissing a camel? I remember that one… it’s awesome!) And as for whistling, I’m impressed. I’ve never been able to do it! hehe

  5. Loved the colours in your shell. Brings back memories for me too. My parents brought back one of the conch shells from Florida back in the 60s for my grandma back. One with the little plastic plants and pink flamingos. She always had it on when we visited and if was a new world for me. Good memories of my visits. I found one at a yard sale last year and just had to have it. I never thought of painting it till now. Thanks for sharing your memories. My young grandkids that are having speech challenges are having therapy. Good to know it works.

  6. another winner Charlie….some nights when it’s quiet and our windows are open I actually can hear the ocean from our open windows facing East. My late sister and I used to take a girl’s getaway vacation to Sanibel Island every year to go shelling.and always came home a with empty conch shells..

  7. sea shells are true treasures…as is your painting..

    I always identify with what you write.
    My first puppy was a black and white spotted terrier with a white tail that had a black ring around the end of it.
    I wanted to name him Ring, but could only say Wing so we named him Tip instead. I outgrew that impediment
    as well as the th sound I gave to all esses. For years my family lovingly called me Thara.

  8. Such a wonderful childhood story about being the little kid out ahead of the rest of the world, impatiently waiting for everyone else to catch up to your inquisitive nature and sense of adventure. Still there, of course, which is a very good thing.

  9. Your conch shell brought back childhood memories for me also. The wonder of picking up a shell to see if you really could hear the sounds of ocean in it was always fun! We did not take very many vacations when I grew up, so when we did we held onto our memories! Going to the ocean for a week was one of those cherished memories! Thanks for your wonderful story!

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