Ocean Art | Found Objects & Beach Combing Collection | New England | Clara & Cole

Collection Overview

Shadow box, stretched canvas, and panel canvas abstract landscapes with coastal New England sea glass.

When my dog chewed up an entire pack of 500 organic raw hemp rolling papers, I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away. 

Instead, I held onto them, took some pictures, and waited for inspiration. 

We live on a peninsula, and our beach juts into the sea in the shape of half a horse shoe. On drizzly days, when the New England sky turns grey, rocks and waves stand out on the horizon. As days lengthen and the sun stays up for longer, a foggy weekend in March gave way to my long awaited inspiration. As Clara & I walked the beach, I saw a coastal landscape perfect for abstract replication on canvas. 

Projects like these reinforce my desire to hoard. That, and satisfy my moral obligation to contribute less to landfills and consumerism. As I comb the sand of our local beach, I bag any plastic bits and other trash I find and deposit it all in a dumpster on my way home. Sometimes the “rocks” I find consist of plastic, ceramic, and even black or dark brown sea glass when I’m extra lucky. 

Minimize Materialism 

I use recycled and recyclable items in my art to promote sustainable living.  

On our return home, I cast back over our coastal stroll, and the vibrancy of my view. This pushed me towards multi textural representation. Which, in turn, reminded me of those rolling papers my puppy ruined. With crumpled raw papers as clouds, rolled papers for waves, and stones collected during our beach walk, my memory came to shape on canvas.  

My mother gave me a pack of shadow boxes a while back, and I always keep a selection of dollar tree canvases on hand. A 5x7 inch panel canvas fits perfectly in the shadow box, and serves as a base for this multi textured landscape art piece. 

“Texture increases accessibility.”

After compiling the materials for my shadow box abstract ocean view, I collected my remaining materials and began to plan the subsequent art pieces. 

Three pieces of white sea glass I found right along the shoreline in the shallows. They glistened in the water and I wanted to recreate that feeling on canvas. I used blue and white acrylic with some sand from the bottom of my beach bucket to create a background on which the sea glass would pop. 

With some left over glass beads from a klutz kit and a length of narrow gauge wire, I affixed the pieces of sea glass to stretched canvas through a small hole.

When the light catches the glass, it shines just like it does on the beach. 

As the tide rolls out, waves sift rock piles; nature’s tumbler. Through this natural process I gathered handfuls of rounded and small oblong rocks. I lined them up on a green canvas with a square pattern in the background to represent the part of the rock life cycle when the rocks roll deep under the sea. Before returning to the top of the sand and rock piles at the beach. 

A couple rocks didn’t quite fit, and I decided to feature them on their own stretched canvas with an under the sea theme. 

For this canvas I chose a vertical line brush pattern with a green ombré. 

Clara & I have hair tinsel left over from years ago, silver struck me as able to create a similar visual effect to sun glancing off sand and seaweed under the water.

I continued the multi dimensional theme, and use the last of my blue spiral wave papers. 

I created black paint from primary colors for the first time. I used this to create a thick background, on which I mounted the waves along side a two dimensional drawing of the rolled paper twists.  

Creation Process

Materials and suggestions for DIY textured wall art.


  1. Red, blue, yellow, and white acrylic paint
  2. Stretched canvas
  3. Panel canvas
  4. Shadow box
  5. Beach combing finds (small rocks, frosted glass, etc)
  6. Paint brush(es)
  7. Narrow gauge metal wire (I use 32 g)
  8. Glass beads
  9. Sea glass
  10. Silver tinsel
  11. Craft glue
  12. Raw rolling papers
  13. Paint palate 

This list covers all supplies used for all featured art in this post. If any particular piece spikes your interest, each can be purchased through our Etsy  shop. 

I encourage creative substitution of any materials as desired, especially because no two beach adventures produce the same discoveries of ocean treasures. Sometimes we walk for hours and miss every piece of sea glass we pass. At least I do. Clara has quite the eye for sea glass. 

Despite the recent price hike of 25 cents at Dollar Tree, we still buy most of our base supplies from the popular chain. Even at $1.25, I think it’s a great deal. This is my unsponsored opinion. 

When it comes to Dollar Tree paint brushes, I look for plastic handles. The wooden handle paint brushes degrade too quickly for my needs. I like to soak my brushes briefly before rinsing, and the wooden handle brushes leave paint chips everywhere after the first minute or two submerged in water. 

Rolling papers function similarly to tissue paper, or even streamers. Newspaper would be a stretch, but could work. To follow my use of recycled and unusual materials, you could rip up used brown packing paper or paper bags and crumple it to make the base for 3D clouds. Strikes me as an idea I’d like to explore further in a future collection. Keep an eye out for that if you’re interested, and please leave your thoughts and advice below!

Clara & Cole Queers on a sandy peninsula in New England, Massachusetts.   Alt-left, feminist, atheist. Guardians to two majestic dogs, Ocean and Forest. American Staffordshire Terrier and Pit - Chihuahua mix. We love homegrown adventures, beach days, gardening, and first times. DIY projects, travel, etc.

Forest & Ocean Forest: 3 year old brindle Pit Bull and Chihuahua mix from Palo Alto, California. At 35 lbs, she makes her presence known despite her short stature.  Ocean: 8 month old American Staffordshire Terrier from Rhode Island. Also 35 lbs, she is almost double the height of her sister!