Crabby Friends

9:40 AM

Florida Stone Crab Claw
Watercolor and Gouache
3.5 x 2 inches
Chris and I recently went over to a friend's house to pick a roll-top desk she had left for him when she passed away. While we were there, her son asked if we'd be interested in going through her art supplies as she had been a lifelong art teacher. 

We stepped out into her garage where it was hotter than Hades and started to look around. I figured it was going to be a short hunt due to the heat, but it was a bit like a treasure hunt. Even though many of the boxes, crates, bins and bags were labeled, you never knew what you'd find inside. 

Oddly enough, one of the very first bins I opened was filled to the top with seashells, starfish, and pieces of coral. (The label suggested watercolor supplies.) With an upcoming workshop taking place at the beach, I knew immediately that the bin of shells would be going home with me. Replacing the lid, I set the bin aside to keep looking. 

It wasn't until I was home that I started to wonder at the serendipity of discovering a box of seashells—a grand plan by the Universe or just lucky happenstance? Digging around in the treasure trove, I discovered the crab claw you see above. There was also a plastic seahorse(?) as well as shells that had been sliced so that you could see the chambers within. 

Because of the claw's faded colors, I couldn't decide if it had been cooked or was natural, so I started doing research and learned the following:
  • The crab is actually called the Florida Stone Crab. I've never heard them called Florida Stone Crabs before.
  • These crabs can be found as far as Connecticut to Belize in the North Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba and the Bahamas. 
  • They live 7 to 9 years.
  • Predators of stone crabs include the horse conch, octopus, grouper, sea turtle, cobia and humans.
  • The crabs will easily give up a claw to escape from a predator as they can re-grow the lost appendage. 
Given the amount of chipping and erosion along the edges of the claw, my guess is that it was found on a beach. Perhaps given to a predator or lost during a molt. 

About The Page
Looking closely at the two images, you can see torn tape around the edges of the sketch and a small peek of the other sketches that will be on the page once I get the page finished. The torn tape you see is an experiment to see if it will create a "torn edge" look to the boxes.

As for the rest of the shells in the bin, I could be busy painting shells until the cows come home in, say, 2051. It would definitely take a while and in an odd way, it kinda felt like a nod from our friend saying, "Yeah, I'm still keeping up with you and what you're doing. Now, get busy!"

Wishful, nostalgic thinking, no doubt, but comforting as well.

Many thanks to Minnette Webster—you may be gone, but you'll live forever in the many hearts you touched. Bon voyage!

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10 Painted Thought(s)

  1. Very cool! Love the serendipity of the experience, too.

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    Replies
    1. It was a sad day but it came with sparkling moments. Kind cool.

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  2. We love these. Every year when we go to Marathon, we order them by the pound almost daily for about 2 weeks. We even have our own personalized 'hammers'. I learned that one must cover the claw with a cloth before smacking it with the hammer to prevent juices, flesh and shell bits from covering the condo. Glad you have some treasures for us in January. BTW I have some personal clarifications about the beach trip. Which email and subject should I use?

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    Replies
    1. Personalized hammers!?! You're serious about your claws!!

      Any of my email address are fine, Clare. I look forward to hearing from you!

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  3. Oh and I love the sketch as I do all of your sketches. I can see the tape and I think it works. I may have to give it a try to see for myself.

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    Replies
    1. I'm using artist tape to see it if works. If it does, I'll share the finished product on the blog.

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  4. That's actually a very nice tribute to your friend. Serendipitous? Maybe, maybe not. I always get goodbyes in some form from people the people and even my pets after they've died. Just my mind playing tricks on me? Maybe once but not everytime. I think God is bigger and better than people imagine and he and his newest cohorts help us out at times! This sure seemed like a good verification for your upcoming trip!

    Your painting looks great! The claw looks so real. I bet the tape works great especially with a touch of shading here or there.

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  5. How sweet of the Son to offer these things to you. Love your sketch.

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  6. a lovely day of discovery for you in many ways! and for us as well. I love the sandy look to the page

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  7. Dear Laure - sounds like you found some lovely treasures. Also a great remembrance of your friend as well. Your sketch is super. As always you inspire me. Have a great day.

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