Clarke Haugli | About
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beach treasure…


“There is something nostalgic, an emotional attachment to the memories created collecting beach treasure.  It can take us back to a connection with nature, with our loved ones and with ourselves.” – Sharon Clarke Haugli

This series represents special time spent in nature connecting over the beauty of found objects from ocean and lakeshore beaches. Having lived most of my life near the ocean in Vancouver and lakes in the Okanagan, beachcombing has become a favorite past time for the opportunity it provides to connect with nature, beauty, loved ones and especially children.  There is a collaborative aspect to this work as some of the treasure I find with my five year old son Mattias, some with my nieces and nephews, some with friends and some with my Mother, who despite experiencing Alzheimer’s, has never lost her appreciation for beauty or her love of nature. Friends have also generously lent me their bounty from the beaches of Costa Rica to Salt Spring and the San Juan Islands. Each item of beach treasure has it’s own beauty, history and origin that the finder has sensed, sparking curiosity, story and awe.


Beyond finding the inspiration for the paintings, the process includes intuitively choosing which pieces to include and arranging the treasure on a plain white surface. Items such as sea glass, stones, shells, beads, wood and marbles become abstracted by their magnified size. The variety of textures and finishes play off one another and reflect and refract light in a variety of ways. The minimal ground ads to the abstraction of the subject matter with subtle organic water stains and markings.


These abstract still life paintings conjure deep memories of the past and speak to the complex relationship between humans and the environment. For every small handful of treasure I collect and eventually return, I collect at least a bag of garbage that has washed ashore or been left behind by visitors. This series has an opportunity to heighten awareness of the impact humans have on our lakes, rivers and oceans.