Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Some Husbands Bring Their Wives Flowers . . . .

. . . . or some special item from their trip out of town. My husband brought me dead snail shells from his recent trip! Wasn't that sweet of him?!!

Florida Apple Snails Watercolor sketch

Yes, you read that right - dead snail shells. They're actually Florida Apple Snail shells from Lake Ockeechobee (pronounced Oak-uh-cho-bee). They may be Channeled Apple Snails. He picked them up along the bank of a canal leading into the lake. Most likely they died a premature death caused by the rooting of wild boar in the area. Chris said there were 1000s of these shells, most of them crushed, damaged or bleached white from the sun.

These look deceptively easy to draw and paint. Very deceptive if you ask me. It was quite easy to get caught up in the whorls and lose my place - even with the shell sitting in front of me. The biggest shell is a little over 2" tall and about 3" at its widest point. The other one is much smaller - maybe half the size of the first one. The bigger one suffered some type of trauma as there is a distinctive ridge and a change in the shell pattern. To learn more about Florida Apple Snails please click here.

As to the dead snail bells, Chris knows me well enough to know that I'd much rather have the snails than flowers. Flowers are easy. Snails? Not so much! Especially unusual ones (to me anyway) like these. I'm not sure where the term "snail bells" came from, but I have a memory of it and it came bubbling up when I was painting these. A grandmother's comment perhaps? Not sure. Maybe as I continue to draw and paint these the answer will reveal itself too.

11 comments:

  1. A man after my own heart! Give me a new field guide, or a new paintbrush and I'm one happy wife.

    I wonder if the snail kite, a highly endangered bird of prey, is found in and around Lake Ockeechobee - their diet consists of apple snails.

    Cool painting! I love the cast shadows.

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  2. These are beautiful! Love the repetition and the purplish shadows against the yellow ochre-ish shell.

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  3. The perfect gift. Anyone can bring flowers...but snails. Such large snails. Snail Kites primarily eat Apple Snails which is one reason why they are endangered. Funny, I was sitting in the Casa this week and painted snails too. Only they were the common garden variety. It is difficult to follow the swirl.

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  4. What a great gift and you have painted them very well.

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  5. Awww...what a sweet guy! His choice of gift shows he "gets" you, and wants to contribute to your artist's journey!

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  6. Your hubby sounds like a real keeper - very sweet of him. And I love your painting.

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  7. Ya! he gets you! I'm glad. artists see better because we look and appreciate. great painting Laure

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  8. I love them! I bring Joe little rocks I find on the road--the TSA must wonder what the heck I'm doing when my bag has all these interesting little stones in it. I know Joe enjoys seeing them, and I always have my eyes on the ground, seeking out interesting stones to pick up! Great painting of these, Laure. They need to go up on a shelf, all lined up in a row--they're wonderful.

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  9. ahhhh....your husband is so romantic! It's so nice he saw something and knew you'd love to paint it! I like the sound of Snail Bells...sounds like something my grandma would say. I hope the answer comes to you. (Those are really big snails--and they are beautiful.)

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  10. Oh, I'd love snails too! Yes, and they and most shells are so hard to draw! So many whorls and whirls - lovely illustration you've made though!!

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  11. Lovely details in the snails, Laure. Your husband is so sweet, too, for giving you things to paint. Nice, small objects too. My husband would instead buy old rusty cars and pick-up trucks for me, claiming it was for me when really he just wanted a new toy to place with.

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