Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sand dollar ~ Elizabeth Smith

Sand dollar, originally uploaded by Elizabeth Smith.

Memories: wading through the warm surf to a sand bar off the beach, the heat stinging one’s shoulders, the gentle nibble of small fish testing ankles, the startling movement of something inching away underfoot.

Live sand dollars are often found in shallow water near the shoreline or on sand bars, and are more mobile than most people think. If you are lucky you’ll find an intact skeleton (called a test) on the sand, bleached by the sun, like the one I painted for my nature journal. I don’t know much about these fascinating creatures, so naturally I went off on an Internet search adventure.

For more reading about the sand dollar, see this entry in Wikipedia. I also find that information written for children is a wonderful way to get an overview of my subject, and I especially liked this printable page from Enchanted Learning (complete with a sand dollar to color!). However, I also found a video on YouTube of a sand dollar burying itself, and another one here moving across the sand in time-lapse footage.  Pretty cool!

And, of course, many people are familiar with the Christian legend of the sand dollar.

You can click on the image above to view it larger on my Flickr photostream.
~Elizabeth Smith, Naples, Florida, USA


  1. Very nice and delicate painting of the sand dollar. It looks so real in the way that you have captured. I like your suggestions for finding out more about an item that you sketch - especially the children's books - getting some brief info.

  2. I really like your shadow washes....Linda

  3. What a wonderful post, Elizabeth! The colors are so subtle and beautiful, and I loved the links.

  4. Fascinating info Elizabeth, and great sketch, lovely soft colours, just like these little creatures. Beautifully done!


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