Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Whelks



I found a number of whelk shells on a beach the other week.  I hadn't seen them in numbers or larger sizes previously. They were near a fish plant so I presumed they were probably part of a test fishery.  I took them home and let them steep in some water with bleach more to get rid of the strong smell than to whiten them.  I guess leaving them in the sun in the greenhouse would have worked too but I wanted to speed up the process.

The white shells are now rather like casts and perfect for drawing.  Examined closely they seem to have the start of coral growing on them, or perhaps its simply a layer of shell that is sloughing off naturally.  Whichever the case, it gives an interesting effect and texture to the shell.


I played around with the blank shell canvas with the idea in my head that these shells could make interesting decorations.  I added watercolour washes of quinacridone gold and red to the shell then touched indigo and turquoise to the edges to enhance the texture.  I like the matte finish but it likely will need to have a coat of varnish of some kind to protect it. 

Potential for Christmas tree ornaments perhaps.  I'll work on a hanging mechanism next then see how it balances. 

This was all done under the watchful gaze of Tripod, so during the news, I sketched him.

10 comments:

RHCarpenter said...

What you've done with the shells is beautiful! Love the colors and it brings out the textures even more. And, of course, Tripod, is so handsome :)

"JeanneG" said...

I've never heard of Whelks. Lovely as models for drawing. Nice colors. And there's my favorite boy. Always good to see him.

Jennifer Rose said...

ooh love the texture of those shells :) hmm wonder how hard it would be to paint a scene on them
tripod looks a little evil in that sketch lol ;)

Jeanette said...

Thanks Rhonda, the shells are fascinating in terms of shape and possibilities. I shall play around with them a bit more I think.
Tripod is a character...

Jeanne, I perhaps whelks are an Atlantic species. Not sure really, but the shells were a good find. They make great drawing, especially the bleached ones.

Your boy says hello :)

Jennifer, its like there is the start of a layer of coral growing on these shells giving it a porous texture. Quite lovely.

I don't know if painting something on them would work as they are so curved. I have other ideas for them too.

Tripod reserves this stare for me. He keeps forgetting who adopted him in the first place...

Billie Crain said...

Love the look of the painted shells. The colors you chose work very well. How big are these whelk shells? You didn't say and I'm curious.

Looks as if Tripod is your biggest critic, Jeanette.;)

Jeanette said...

Thanks Billie. The shells vary in size and this one is perhaps 4 inches long I'd say. It would fit in the palm of your hand nicely.

Tripod has a viewpoint on everything.

sue said...

Awesome! Those are amazing. It must be incredible to see things like that come right ashore where you are, Jeanette. I love finding shells at the beach, but I've never seen one of those in person. Love what you've done, and Tripod is beautiful--great name, by the way!

Olivia said...

Wonderful idea Jeannette. They become precious shells.

Cynthia Schelzig,Cynnie said...

Wonderful shells and isn´t it just wonderful the way our cats love to watch us work....I swear my cat was an artist before in one of his prior nine lives....tripod has a really sweet face....

Lisa said...

Hi, when I lived in Jersey in the Channel Islands I'd find a lot of whelks at the beach. Although sometimes I see them here in Dorset it is rare. They make beautiful subjects for drawings and I can't wait to see what you do with them. - Christmas decorations would be lovely.