Weekly Photo Challenge: Work Of Art Is An Abalone Shell

The theme for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge is ‘Work of Art’.  Michelle defines it this way:

“Art” isn’t just paintings and sculptures, it can be anything in which we find beauty and meaning — even food. Show us a thing, place, or person that’s a work of art to you.

Works of art are everywhere we care to look but of course art’s beauty, as with all creativity, is subjective.  Thinking of so many possibilities for this challenge one voice called out louder than all the rest and I realised that I didn’t need to look far for art’s ‘beauty and meaning’.

Walk with me then, if you will, down a few steps and into my garden and I shall show you my kind of art.

Witness the glory of the lavender as it sparks into deepest purple, all the more a work of art since I moved this particular plant at least twice last summer; a thrill for me to see it taking root and form as it welcomes all who look upon it:

Spring Garden (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Spring Garden
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Then we look upon the merest hint of a delicate pink that has kissed the edge of the first flush of  a budding rose, exploding into scented life from winter’s hibernation.

Rambling Rose (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Rambling Rose
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

With a deeper sweep of nature’s paintbrush and another rose gives up its blushing splendor.

Spring Rose (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Spring Rose (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Added to the artist’s palette is the buttery yellow of the Iceland poppies who dance to their own tune in the bright and breezy spring air.  Happy to be alive,  they stretch up to the blue above with their little yellow hats:

But when I think of art and all that is marvellous in God’s creation I think not only of flowers and plants and trees on the land but of ‘all creatures great and small’ and I remember my days by the sea.

In my garden sit two Abalone shells.  One intact, one broken, yet sit they do, side by side, as they have done through wind and rain, sun and snow as the years rush by.

Since the days when my children and I found them, washed up on the Californian shore so many years ago.

Abalone shimmers in the sunshine with its mother-of-pearl iridescence.

Abalone Shell (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Abalone Shells
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Sea otters eat abalone, along with mussels, clams, crabs and snails.  When they are finished eating the juicy insides, the empty shells are abandoned and travel as sea-treasures sent to us who walk through the sand and wait patiently for the tide to bring them in.

When I look upon these shells I think of California, of returning to a small fishing town called Morro Bay, where my children laughed and played for years and years.  Where we used to watch the otters and the seals also at play, if we were lucky.

Gazing out across the harbour with my friend last year, how thrilling to be able to capture this little scene:

California Sea Otter, Morro Bay CA (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Hey! You wanna piece of me? California Sea Otter, Morro Bay CA
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

 Keepin' it cool man! Californian Sea Otter, Morro Bay CA (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Keepin’ it cool man!
Californian Sea Otter, Morro Bay CA
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

‘Works of Art’ then are everywhere, as viewed through the camera’s lens.  What moves one may not move another but how wonderful it is to explore our inner artistry and to discover our kind of art.

‘A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be’. – Abraham Maslow

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
This entry was posted in Garden Snippets, My California, Nature & Wildlife, Weekly Photo Challenge and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: Work Of Art Is An Abalone Shell

  1. longandluxe says:

    Such a happy and lovely post! Aaaahhhh the creative life! 🙂

    Wishing you peace, always, Sherri ~

    Allison xo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Allison, glad it made you feel happy! Isn’t creativity wonderful, and in so many ways! I tried to listen to your podcast and also to comment but I have been having awful problems with commenting on other blogs, my comments going to spam and loading pages etc. I was going to try again later, so just to let you know I haven’t forgotten you!!! Have a great day and peace to you too… 🙂

      Like

    • longandluxe says:

      Aw Sherri no worries at all! Thank you so much for telling me that was so kind of you 🙂 take your time!! xo

      Like

  2. cardamone5 says:

    This is lovely, Sherri. I have been meaning to capture my garden, if only to explain why I haven’t been blogging. But, my garden is just starting to wake up, not nearly as interesting as your oasis.

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thanks so much Elizabeth. Our gardens here in the UK are thriving because of all the rain we had over the winter I think. It seems to have given everything a boost although not everything is out yet, and I’m sure that yours will soon be glorious! I look forward to your posts 🙂

      Like

  3. Oh, I love lavender, Sherri! I can smell it now. 🙂 Your garden is so beautiful. Don’t you just love Sea Otters…they seem so happy. That’s a great shot of the happy fella doing the back stroke!
    I hope you’re doing well and working on that book! xo

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    • Sherri says:

      Isn’t lavender beautiful Jill? This one isn’t as big as a couple of my others but I thought I had lost it so I’m thrilled to see it burst into colour after all the rain we’ve had this year! I loved it in California too. Yes, I love Sea Otters, they are so mischievous and playful. We say that our black cat Eddie has a face like an otter, haha 😉
      Thanks Jill, I’m doing well (other than the stress I’ve had here on WP with commenting problems etc. which so far seem okay today…holding breath…) and yes, I’m working on that book!!! Hope your week is going well too… 🙂 xo

      Like

  4. Your garden is glorious, happy and fragrant. Scented roses and aromatic lavender makes me want to close my eyes and sit a while. Your photos do your garden justice and more. You’ve created a place of grace with an artist’s eye.

    The shimmering shells and playful otters make me anxious for summer or warmer weather anyway. This is a feel-good posting. ❤ Thank you. +(~_~)+

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh me too, Tess, I do love roses and lavender ( I discovered that growing them together helps keep aphids away, who knew??). I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, thank you! I will post some more once my other roses come into bloom. This year seems to be a good one for our gardens over here, must be all the rain we had over the winter 😉
      Ahh…yes, bring on summer! We had a glorious, sunny weekend, but cooler again this week… I hope that you get your summer soon and enjoy days on end of shimmering shells and playful otters… 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

  5. jennypellett says:

    Ooh, you green fingered thing you! Your garden looks absolutely beautiful and your narrative really does it justice. You are quite right – artistry is everywhere and is in the eye of the beholder, but I can’t imagine anyone not agreeing with me over there lovely pictures. Are you watching Chelsea this week? I love Monty Don 🙂

    Like

    • jennypellett says:

      Oops, typo – should be these Not there …..

      Like

      • Sherri says:

        I knew what you meant Jenny!! Well, all I can say about my garden is that it must be all the rain we had!! I thought we were in for awful greenfly but I’ve also seen tons of ladybirds so that’s good isn’t it? I’ve had an area (where the lavender grows) that hasn’t done at all well, seems that everything I try to grow there either gets decimated by slugs and snails or chewed by some kind of bugs. This year I’ve been determined to nip it in the bud..no pun intended!… and so far so good…
        Thank you Jenny, I’m so glad you enjoyed the photos and yes, definitely watching Chelsea. I would love to go! Have you ever been? Monty Don is fab… 😉

        Like

  6. I have an affinity for flowers, also the sea otter was a pleasant treat. Very nice capture

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  7. This post was a feast of wonderful spring and early summer flowers, floating otter in water, and of course the abalone shell, which is gorgeous! I began planting my garden and flower beds yesterday. Colorado had snow on Mother’s Day, and now it’s supposedly safe to start planting.

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    • Sherri says:

      Goodness, you had snow on Mother’s Day? Wow, you’ve had a long, cold winter. Mind you, we had that last year, it was cold for ages. I’ve known it snow here at this time of year, even in June once, but that was when I was a child. The temps here definitely seem to be warming up. We had a thunderstorm at the weekend (after blazing temperatures like summer) and we don’t get those until the summer usually! Makes me wonder what kind of summer we are in for!
      I’m so glad you enjoyed a feast of flowers Marylin, thank you, and I hope that your garden blooms into gorgeous colour very soon now that the threat of frost has passed hopefully. Gardening is so therapeutic isn’t it? 🙂

      Like

  8. jenniferkmarsh says:

    Nature is God’s canvass, as nature’s sound is God’s song. Nature is the most beautiful art form to be.

    (That seagull bobbing alongside the otter made me smile)

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      It certainly is Jenny Jen Jen! Glad you liked the seagull and otter pics…they make me smile every time I look at them too 🙂

      Like

      • jenniferkmarsh says:

        Seagulls make me chuckle. They are such yobs of the bird-world, don’t you think?? They’re always strutting around looking like they’re up to no good. I see plenty of gulls where I am, being by the sea and all! And yet, I am still surprised as to how big they can be. HUGE!

        Like

        • Sherri says:

          Yes, they really are! They are scavengers after all and are always on the look out for scraps…much like my boy (my glutton of a black cat Eddie I mean, haha!!) 😉

          Like

  9. Heyjude says:

    Lovely! I have several very small abalone shells (perlemoen) in my ‘garden’ from South Africa, sometimes they fill up with velvety moss, but mostly they just sit there in the sun outside the door with that delicate mother-of-pearl iridescence greeting me every time I come home. Good choice Sherri 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Jude. How lovely to know that you have your abalone shells too! They are beautiful aren’t they? I’ve had mine so long and love them 🙂

      Like

  10. Imelda says:

    Indeed, the best works of art are in nature. Your garden, itself, is a work of art. 🙂

    Like

  11. Denise says:

    That shell is the pick of the pics.

    Today at work the Art department showed me landscapes that they had helped the pupils make with broccoli, garlic cloves, etc. They were very striking.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      I bet! I love to see art work like that. I used to love making moss gardens, remember them? Glad you liked the shell pics, thanks Denise 🙂

      Like

  12. restlessjo says:

    This is a heart warmer, Sherri 🙂 Those roses are so delicious. My mum always loved her roses and I can’t see a beauty like these without remembering. And there is a lot of abalone on one of my Algarve beaches, so more smiles of happy memory 🙂 Just like yours.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh yes, of course, I can imagine you see a lot of abalone shells in the Algarve. They are so beautiful and I’m so glad that this post gave you happy, feel-good memories…thank you Jo 🙂

      Like

  13. Such lovely works of art, Sherri. Your garden is absolutely beautiful and full of colour, and I love the welcome sign. 🙂 The Abalone shells are exquisite, and the otter pics are adorable. 🙂

    Like

  14. Delightful photos. I love your garden! And the sea otter/seagull are simply charming. But what caps it all — your words, your comforting essay is a reminder that even in brokenness, we can find beauty. Well done!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      In brokenness we do indeed find beauty and that is what I too think of when I look at my abalone shells, the good memories, the healing and the life lived now, today. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the pics (I will be posting more as more comes into bloom, you know how we love our gardens!) and thank you Tracy for your kind words of wisdom .. 🙂

      Like

  15. Angelia Sims says:

    Beautiful garden and such lovely rose blooms. Wow! I love, love, love the sea otters and the quote at the end. Great job expressing beauty for the challenge. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Hello Angelia, thank you very much for stopping by and leaving such a lovely comment. I’m so glad that you enjoyed this post, lovely to meet you 🙂

      Like

  16. thirdhandart says:

    Your garden is lovely Sherri! You must have a green thumb. The lavender looks luscious, and the roses are very beautiful.
    Your awesome photos and your well crafted words tell the story of the shimmering Abalone shells… the works of art in which you found beauty and meaning. Great entry for the photo challenge!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…well, not so much really Theresa, a lot of my gardening is trial and error, mostly error, haha!! My mum taught me an awful lot. I struggle with slugs, snails, aphids and who knows what nibbling away at my plants but this year, maybe with all the rain we had over the winter, everyone’s gardens here seem to be more lush than ever. Let’s hope it continues, and there are more blooms on the way so I’ll be posting more rose pics!
      Thank you, as always, so much , for your lovely, kind and encouraging words, I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post in its entirety, which blesses me no end!
      Have a lovely day my friend and may spring bloom abundantly for you 🙂
      PS It’s funny the different expressions we use..I remember the first time I heard ‘green thumb’ in the States and had to think for a minute as over here we say ‘green fingers’! Now I forget which is which,,, 😉

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      • thirdhandart says:

        So glad that you figured out what I meant Sherri 😉 Your garden really is beautiful! I imagine that all gardens have occasional unwanted pests; the trick is knowing (or finding out) how to handle them. You mentioned companion planting in one of the comments… like planting lavender near roses so that both plants benefit. I like that concept too.
        Have a lovely day my friend, and may your garden continue to bloom abundantly for you!

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        Haha!!! I do get confused more times than I care to admit 😉 Yes, I just found out recently about lavender and roses together helping to keep aphids away and so far it seems to be working. It’s great finding out things like this, I would love to learn so much more…one of these days!!
        Ahh…thanks so much Theresa 🙂

        Like

  17. Pat says:

    Your garden is looking lovely, Sherri. I love roses and, oh, the lavender. I can almost smell them. I have some lavender growing but it’s still brown. We’re a little slow at this elevation. I also love the seagull shots. How in the world did you capture that? I miss seagulls and the smell of the ocean. I only see them occasionally around some of our lakes.

    Great photos, girlfriend. You’re quite a photographer. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Pat, you are very kind but I feel that compared to many of the photos I see here on WP mine are very amateur indeed! Still, I’m so glad to be able to share a little piece of my garden here! Hopefully your lavender will be in full, purple bloom very soon … 🙂
      I took the seagull and otter shots from the walkway on the Embarcadero and then cropped them to bring them in closer. I was so happy to see the otter up so close, especially when he looked up with such a cheeky look!
      Have a great day my friend 🙂

      Like

      • Pat says:

        They’re good, Sherri, amateur or not. I wouldn’t know the difference and it’s fun looking at them. It freezes in time something beautiful or a special event so we can enjoy it over and over again. I love that and for sharing it with us. 🙂

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  18. Lovely post, as always, Sherri. What strikes me is how so many of us have recently paid more attention to small, beautiful things in life. Through several blog posts this week, I’ve noticed a need to slow down, to pause even. Small things, nice people, matter so much. Great causes are important, too, by shells, otters, flowers, and the laughter of children playing in the surf, make life meaningful. Of course, the photos of Morro Bay and California in general, touch me very much. Your Abalone shell is gorgeous. See you soon.

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh yes, always such a pleasure to share California with you Evelyne and thank you so very much for your lovely words. Slowing down is not always easy with the frenetic lives we seem to lead these days so it’s good to be able to share here the things that bring each of us to the point of stopping, if just for a moment, to quite literally smell the roses. Or the coffee, as the case maybe!
      Have a great day Evelyne 🙂

      Like

  19. Funny that we don’t think of nature as art, because it’s the most perfect art of all. You have all the treasures of land and sea in your garden Sherri, it must be a blissful place – and that photo of the otter is great 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      What I love about doing these challenges Andrea is that once I think of the photo I want to use, the thoughts and ideas flow from that. Having been out in the garden a lot due to our recent, glorious weather,memories were stirred up of the story behind my abalone shells, which to me truly are a work of art…nature’s art! Glad you enjoyed the pics and the sweet little otter…thank you so much Andrea 🙂

      Like

  20. Thank you for inviting me on this walk with you, Sherri! Sorry I had to hold on to you several times, my arthritis was acting up. LOL. Not only are these photos beautiful but your writing is exquisite. Love your descriptions of the flowers and the Abalone shells. 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Maria for taking a little walk in my garden with me, and you can hold on to me anytime! My pleasure 🙂 Nothing like that good old fashioned fresh air to blow away the cobwebs – goodness, I sound just like my dear Granny, LOL 😉
      Seriously though, you are so kind, and wow, what a lovely thing to say, bless you, you’ve made my day… and I hope that arthritis gives you some peace today my friend 🙂

      Like

  21. What gorgeous photos!! I just want to be there with you.

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  22. lilkaraphael says:

    Just Beautiful! No other words come to mind. I love that you have a bit of sunny California tucked away in your home. B Blessed Sherri 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…it’s so lovely to be able to share each other’s gardens here isn’t it? Yes, indeed, my garden has a few ‘bits of sunny California tucked away’ to remind me of so many good things…thank you and bless you Lilka, have a beautiful, sunny day 🙂

      Like

  23. Amy says:

    Really like this beautiful post and photos, Sherri!

    Like

  24. Sherri says:

    Thanks so much Amy 🙂

    Like

  25. Nature not only is an ever changing Art form but brings happy memories of times with family. Reading your memories of your kids laughing and having the best times close to the sea brings joy and hope. Remembering our happiest gives us comfort during times of not so good days. All the best to you and your family.

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much dear friend and yes, whenever I think of the sea I think of my children’s happy laughter and carefree abandon. The memories flood me at times like this and I love having my abalone shells in my garden to remind me of our life in California. These memories certainly do bring so much comfort and heals the sadness. God bless you today and always 🙂

      Like

  26. I love your works of art Sherri plus the beautiful blooms in the garden. Artists have tried for years to capture the perfect colour yet nature does it without trying. How wonderful to see the otter and the ?sea gull together and as always I love the little bit of yourself and family that you give in giving the story behind the treasures. 🙂

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