Annie Olson

"Artist Musings"

Come into my shell with me! My "Artist Musings" will give you an insight into my inner workings and why I create these faux shells and other works of art.


My spelling is so bad! My husband Phil and I do a simple crossword puzzle in the newspaper every morning. And it is a source of humor for him to see how creative my spelling will be. Glad I can make him laugh.

I’m going to take some pictures after I finish this blog. Pictures of all the artificial flowers I have in our home. They are all over the place. Some better than others. But surely much more real now than when I was young.

It’s been a strange journey with these shells. Not quite real. Not quite artificial.

Just like the flowers of plastic and silk, time has improved my shells. I look at the ones I did 25 years ago and I’m shocked! They are so crude! I wrote an essay a few weeks ago on the concept of perfect. This fits my shells.

So like the 4 minute mile!

The record was broken when I was a kid. I think. After that, only mili seconds could be shaved off.

Once I got it, I have continued to get a bit closer to perfection. But I’d be hard pressed to be able to distinguish between shells I made 10 years ago from the ones I create now.

Now it’s all about how to display them. How to do others things with them.

I’m like an artist with paint. Each brush stroke, a shell.

I'm very lucky! I live only 45 minutes from Meijer Gardens. A world class sculpture gardens. Home to the 24 foot tall DaVinci Horse of bronze. The twin is in Milan, Italy. I suggest you lo

ok up The Gardens on line. That way you'll realize why I LOVE to visit there.

One time when we were there, I saw this poster with the title, “How to be an artist”. Fit me to a tee, so home it came with us. It's graced our walls in many places. But it wasn't until last November the first suggestion jumped off the wall.

“Stay loose. Learn to watch snails”

So when Helix, my snail showed up at the same time we were designing my website, I felt as if Nature was gently blessing my art and writing. I had no idea the saga of learning to watch snails was going to continue.

A few weeks ago I brought home some healthy moss when I was out walking. I didn't know there were snail eggs ready to hatch. I shouldn't have been surprised though.

I have an iPhone and it is amazing the pictures I can take. I put it at 10x and have the microscope of sorts to look at and photograph these beautiful life forms.

Well, I realized that they'd probably leave the glass dome and return to the moss and I never see them again. Until they grew a whole lot more.

So I was surprised a couple days ago to find one on the dome again. Larger! I could see barely the shell form and the tentacles searching for food. So I was able to get a 17 sec video of her traveling.

Yesterday, she disappeared again. I went looking. Lifted up the dish that held the moss and found another tiny snail! Very tiny. I didn't know if it was dead. But just like Helix, I added water and low and behold, she's alive too. May the way, the other snail is back on the dome.

I have come to realize, they move around a lot!

I must say, this isn't an easy one to relate for you to read. So maybe your best way to appreciate what I'm trying to express, is get some moss of your own.

And just maybe a tiny snail will hatch. Then you too can learn to watch snails. Which will allow us all to stay loose.

Phil is in the bedroom taking a nap. April 27, 2020, overcast and almost 50 degrees out. Good time to write some thoughts on color.

I turned on an old PBS program of Bob Ross painting. Four baby fox squirrels climbing all over him and a friend. So many of us, so alike. Now painting a happy scene.

The title of his show. Happy Painting. Of course! Just heard him say, “Indian Yellow”. His paintings are all about diverse colors playing together.

I was so lucky as a young child. My Pop was a chemist for US Rubber during WWII where I was born in 1943. We moved back to Holland after the war and he got a job right away at Holland Color. His goal now was to develop pigments for the auto industry of Detroit. The very town we’d just left.

At a young age, I so often went with him to the lab. A lab full of all the stuff necessary to create all the colors of the rainbow.

I was like a tiny Bobwhite Quail that had just exited its calcium carbonate shell that had once held it safe.

Now, free to imprint on all the colors of the rainbow in the lab.

I bought this color wheel from the owner of the Color House when they closed

 © 2020 by Essence of the Spiral - Annie Olson.

Created by Robin Canfield