August 9, 2017

“Seashells by the Seashore” At Olivia Rainbow Gallery

“SEASHELLS BY THE SEASHORE”: Scenes such as this inspired the interpretations by Johnson Park School fourth-grade students now displayed on the Olivia Rainbow Gallery walls, along with actual shells brought into the classroom. “Seashells by the Seashore” is on view through September 6.

D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Olivia Rainbow Gallery presents a virtual seaside stroll in “Seashells by the Seashore” by Johnson Park School fourth-grade students, on view through September 6. For this exhibit, the young artists re-created the spirit of beachcombing along the Jersey Shore, while learning the science of shells. 

The artwork depicts the natural treasures left behind by the sea’s most recent tide. The children learned to render water, particularly a receding wave. Eliza Tilney-Sandbur’s whorled shell scene includes the rising of the sun. Gabby Ruiz-Mitchell shows a girl wide-eyed with wonder before shells in a luminous aquarium.

Shell observation was followed by actual tracing, with techniques for adding realistic details.

For this project, the Johnson Park School teachers explored such questions as “Where do shells come from?” and “How are they created and why?” They sought personal responses from the fourth-graders about the shells they found on a beach; their favorite shellfish to eat; the meaning of shells’ smooth interiors; and how pearls come to be.

“It was my first time drawing a shell,” said Osbaldo Morales. “I learned how to do shading and make it look real.”

“We added salt to our watercolors, which made the water sparkle,” said Eliza Tilney-Sandburg. “It was really fun.”

The Olivia Rainbow Gallery was founded and is funded by Chris and Leslie Kuenne, in memory of their daughter, Olivia, to whom art and nature were paramount. Part of the gallery’s mission is to teach young people about the importance of nature in their world.

Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., at D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, Princeton. For more information, call (609) 924-4646 or visit