Why Oyster Shells?

   I have always loved drawing the figure, flowers,  trees, bones and shells for the organic line quality one can achieve while seeing and sketching them.   I had a few shells in my studio in the outer Sunset in San Francisco,  about 4 years ago and started sketching them - only to find it was infinitely interesting to study these shells and all the irregularities each one possessed.  The hard and soft lines, the matte and pearly surfaces are a great subject for paint! With the limited color palette, they really are about texture and line. I also like the feeling that an oyster incites, which is celebratory in nature and really captures the coastal culinary riches of Northern California. 

These are commissioned works for The Shuckery, a jewel box of a restaurant inside The Hotel Petaluma.  The owners  had purchased a few smalls and soon loved the idea of two large statement paintings for the dining room. First, I sketched various compositions and created a color palette to bring in the greens and blues of the tiles on the bar , as well as the rich brown wood of the tables. In these images we are playing around with placement.   Even on this larger scale, the paintings are about line and texture as well as the salty beauty of the sea.