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Short Stories: Married to the Sea

Jul 23, 2012

by tastesorangey

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Here at Etsy, we believe that the story behind an object is often just as fascinating as the object itself. Short Stories is our series dedicated to telling the tales behind extraordinary pieces found or created by Etsy sellers. 

We love the work of artist Clare Elsaesser, and when we noticed a poem paired with one of her prints, we had to know more. Here’s Clare:

I spend my summers in a tree,
I roam the world while sipping tea,
and lots of things are built by me
from house to ship and this decree
I’ll spell it out so you can see,
I cannot marry because I’m free
and one more reason this may be
is I am married to the sea.

Somewhere in the middle of the painting process words start tumbling around in my head, and I usually manage to string a few together to form a title. Sometimes titles feel perfect and natural; other times, they are a little forced. Occasionally, I use parts of songs or randomness floating around in my head. I thought I’d come up with “Married to the Sea” on my own, but it turns out there is a really neat comic titled Married to the Sea, which has been in existence much longer than my painting, and as I dig through my atrophied artist’s brain, I definitely remember poring over its pages and laughing hysterically more than a few times. So, I guess I “borrowed” the title. Luckily, the painting is all my own, born from my love of the ocean and its blues and greens, using myself (I changed the hair color) as the model, and inspired a bit by old-timey mermaid portraits.

I used to write little poems, although you can barely call them that, to accompany my paintings. The poems came after the titles, and incorporated left over words and feelings I associated with the painting. These poorly rhymed lines often stick in my head for months like a bad pop song. I am a sucker for cheesy word play. My husband Kai and I live in Jenner, California, and have an old beater canoe which we named the deJennerate, after my initial vote for the Chaka Khan-oe was shot down.  I imagine I will evolve into the most annoying elder road trip companion, spitting terrible chains of free-associated rhymes and puns and wannabe tongue twisters at the bees and trees passing by, with my (future) cat Stevens digging his discontented paws into my lap, and my husband begging me to stop!

I haven’t written a painting poem in a while, though. I got a feeling the words might put ideas into peoples’ heads when they look at my art, and I’d like to leave the idea making up to the viewer, at least for now.

More Short Stories

Have you created or come across an object with an extraordinary story that needs to be told? Email us!

Unclasped .  extra large wall art . giclee print
Unclasped . extra large wall art . giclee print
ClareElsaesser
$175.00 USD
Swirl . giclee art print
Swirl . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
So Much . giclee art print available in all sizes
So Much . giclee art print available in all sizes
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Married to the Sea . giclee art print
Married to the Sea . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Happiness . giclee art print available in all sizes
Happiness . giclee art print available in all sizes
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
At Sunset . horiztonal / landscape giclee print
At Sunset . horiztonal / landscape giclee print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Portrait in Yellow . giclee art print
Portrait in Yellow . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Bird in Hand . giclee art print available in all sizes
Bird in Hand . giclee art print available in all sizes
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Overgrown . giclee art print in all sizes
Overgrown . giclee art print in all sizes
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Underpinning . giclee art print available in all sizes
Underpinning . giclee art print available in all sizes
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Days End .  giclee art print
Days End . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Flower Child .  giclee art print available in all sizes
Flower Child . giclee art print available in all sizes
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Unclasped . giclee art print in all sizes
Unclasped . giclee art print in all sizes
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Sunshine .  horizontal giclee art print available in all sizes
Sunshine . horizontal giclee art print available in all sizes
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Esther .  giclee art print available in all sizes
Esther . giclee art print available in all sizes
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Striped Sleeper . giclee print
Striped Sleeper . giclee print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Navy and Yellow . giclee art print
Navy and Yellow . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Desert Rose  .  giclee art print
Desert Rose . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Endless Summer .  giclee art print
Endless Summer . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Burst .  giclee art print
Burst . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Still Going .  giclee art print available in all sizes
Still Going . giclee art print available in all sizes
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Happiness .  giclee art print
Happiness . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Distant Island. horiztonal / landscape giclee print
Distant Island. horiztonal / landscape giclee print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Dress Up . giclee art print
Dress Up . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Passing Storm . giclee art print
Passing Storm . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Married to the Sea . giclee art print
Married to the Sea . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
To Pieces . giclee art print available in all sizes
To Pieces . giclee art print available in all sizes
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
How One We Grow .   giclee art print
How One We Grow . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Silence  .  giclee art print
Silence . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Capsized  . giclee art print
Capsized . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
So Much . giclee art print
So Much . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Distant Island. horiztonal / landscape giclee print
Distant Island. horiztonal / landscape giclee print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Changing  .  horizontal giclee art print available in all sizes
Changing . horizontal giclee art print available in all sizes
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Married to the Sea . giclee art print
Married to the Sea . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Summer Sunset .  giclee art print
Summer Sunset . giclee art print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD
Asleep . horiztonal / landscape giclee print
Asleep . horiztonal / landscape giclee print
ClareElsaesser
$20.00 USD

2 Featured Comments

  • StringBeardCraftery

    Stephanie from StringBeardCraftery said 4 years ago Featured

    I , like pretty much every other little girl at one point in her life, spent some time obsessed with mermaids. The sea is so intriguing, and mermaids have such a mysterious, forlorn, beautiful life. To this day, I wish I could just dive in and remain there with the soothing sway of seaweed and watch the sunlight dance on the surface. This painting makes me feel like I have done just that. Gorgeous work, and congratulations on the recognition!

  • SeventhCloudStudio

    Courtney D. Williams from SeventhCloudStudio said 4 years ago Featured

    Beautiful painting, wonderful poem...As a jewelry designer AND writer, I am always particularly drawn to handmade pieces with written stories attached to them. And I just love to hear more about the processes and approaches of other artists who share these two loves of mine. Terrific post!

44 comments

  • RedorGrayArt

    Elaine Kean from RedorGrayArt said 4 years ago

    love this ... as always !!

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 4 years ago

    Wonderful!

  • silviaberrios1

    Silvia Berrios from DesignsbySilvia said 4 years ago

    Your paintings are very beautiful!! Thank you for sharing your poetry and life story. Part of my studies in elementary school was to learn about local poets an their poetry. I enjoyed this class so much, I even memorized some of my favorites.

  • ShauneilSupplies

    Tobey Tobey from ShauneilSupplies said 4 years ago

    Can't believe someone shot down Chaka Khan-oe! Love your work..........Head Over Heels is my favorite. :)

  • TheMillineryShop

    Marcia Lacher from TheMillineryShop said 4 years ago

    Wow, beauty paired with beauty.

  • maggiesraggedyinn

    Mary Robertson from MaggiesInn said 4 years ago

    This was a good one, I love stories and believe it is what makes life interesting.

  • VintageEye

    VintageEye from VintageEye said 4 years ago

    deJennerate is a good name but Chaka Khan-oe is epic! :)

  • valeriephoto

    Valerie from valeriestitchery said 4 years ago

    I love your work, Calre, but I wish you sold actual paintings instead of prints!

  • Iammie

    iammie from iammie said 4 years ago

    Love it.

  • SCAVENGENIUS

    Anathalia from SCAVENGENIUS said 4 years ago

    I'll be forever grateful to tastesoragey for introducing me to Etsy world! I stumbled upon Clare's work on a blog and fell in love with it. After I bought a print from her, I became addicted to Etsy and a few months after I opened my vintage shop. Congrats on the feature, Clare! You deserve it! :)

  • ErikaPrice

    Erika from ErikaPrice said 4 years ago

    A beautiful painting, Clare, and lovely words too!

  • VeraVague

    Vera and Victor Vague from VeraVague said 4 years ago

    congrats, Claire!

  • tracylee888

    tracylee888 from MagnoliaHoneybee said 4 years ago

    I just bought this print a little while ago! Framed it this weekend, and now it's famous :) It's one of my favorite things in my whole house - It is absolutely beautiful

  • mattyhandmadecrafts

    Matejka Max from NattyMatty said 4 years ago

    Superb!

  • Rt9NJvintageFun

    candy donnelly from Rt9NJvintageFun said 4 years ago

    Congratulations, wonderful art work and inspiration! Some thing to feed our souls.

  • SBuss

    Sherri from BurninLoveJewelry said 4 years ago

    Beautiful. What a talent you have. To be able to write and have such a gift for painting. You are a true artist!

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage from accentonvintage said 4 years ago

    Lovely and inspiring !

  • StringBeardCraftery

    Stephanie from StringBeardCraftery said 4 years ago Featured

    I , like pretty much every other little girl at one point in her life, spent some time obsessed with mermaids. The sea is so intriguing, and mermaids have such a mysterious, forlorn, beautiful life. To this day, I wish I could just dive in and remain there with the soothing sway of seaweed and watch the sunlight dance on the surface. This painting makes me feel like I have done just that. Gorgeous work, and congratulations on the recognition!

  • ChasingLightDesigns

    Sarah from ChasingLightDesigns said 4 years ago

    Beautiful work!

  • andiespecialtysweets

    Jason and Andie from andiespecialtysweets said 4 years ago

    Congratulations, Clare -we love your work!

  • jimmy87

    Simpson said 4 years ago

    very impressive

  • dragonhouseofyuen

    Annette from TheLeveretsNest said 4 years ago

    Clare's work is so, so beautiful and so evocative - love all her pieces!!! thank you :)

  • BaxCatandCo

    Kelly from BaxCatandCo said 4 years ago

    Lovely work and very interesting concept of "painting poems", thank you for sharing!

  • HoneyThistle

    Wei from HoneyThistle said 4 years ago

    yay for word play! I love puns :)

  • elleestpetite

    Donna Thai from PetiteCuisine said 4 years ago

    I love this painting. And there's nothing wrong with corny word play either. I use to do this often while thinking about random things.

  • bibiboutique1

    Diana Maria from BibiDesignShop said 4 years ago

    so romantic... love it!

  • CopperheadCreations

    Sarah from CopperheadCreations said 4 years ago

    Beautiful work!

  • AlisaDesign

    Alisa from AlisaDesign said 4 years ago

    Love your works!!!! Fantastic!!!!!

  • bedouin

    Nicole from bedouin said 4 years ago

    always a favorite ~ love love, tastesorangey inside and out

  • SeventhCloudStudio

    Courtney D. Williams from SeventhCloudStudio said 4 years ago Featured

    Beautiful painting, wonderful poem...As a jewelry designer AND writer, I am always particularly drawn to handmade pieces with written stories attached to them. And I just love to hear more about the processes and approaches of other artists who share these two loves of mine. Terrific post!

  • BrittneyWest

    Brittney West from BrittneyWest said 4 years ago

    What gorgeous art! Thanks :-) "Let the beauty of what you love be what you do." --Rumi

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 from breadandroses2 said 4 years ago

    One of my foremost favorite artists on Etsy so what a treat to read the story behind the work! Congrats and thank you.

  • BucktoothedBunny

    Toni from BucktoothedBunny said 4 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this!! How wonderful to hear the "behind the scenes" of this beautiful painting!! :)

  • HanShanStudio

    Mark Hansen from TheArtofMarkRHansen said 4 years ago

    Poetry, drawing, and painting, not to mention many other art forms, compliment one another. Your chosen medium works as well as any, and I love it.

  • colourfullknitting

    MEHTAP from LovelyKnitShop said 4 years ago

    Amazing! Congrats on your work!

  • lifeartdesigns

    Janie from lifeartdesigns said 4 years ago

    You have beautiful work on canvas and in words. I too am married to the sea...

  • vegasblingrocks

    Judy Murphy from vegasblingrocks said 4 years ago

    I love the part about your "future cat". Thx for the chuckles and showing your beautiful art.

  • cbleier2

    Cheryl Bleier from Ynot4u said 4 years ago

    I love the featured painting (and poem) so I checked out your shop. Fantastic! I see that you do the prints in postcard form, which is great. I would love to see them in greeting cards as well. I hope you'll consider it in the furture. They would make excellent gifts. Best wishes for continued sucess.

  • fallenwalnut

    fallenwalnut from FallenWalnut said 4 years ago

    Your paintings are quite poetic themselves. They have a rhythmic quality in your brush strokes. I love your rich sense of color. http://www.etsy.com/shop/FallenWalnut

  • brandymagil

    Brandy Magill from BrandyLynnArt said 4 years ago

    amazing and inspiring

  • emilyymao

    Ms. Emily from yuanStudios said 4 years ago

    Beautiful story and beautiful work...inspired me to create some paintings that have stories behind them as well :) https://www.etsy.com/listing/107302904/original-acrylic-nature-fine-art Thanks for sharing!

  • enchiladamama

    Esther from enchiladamama said 3 years ago

    I've been a fan of your work for some time now. The strongest emotion conveyed to me by this piece (Married to the Sea) is melancoly, and yet in reading your story I can see you're upbeat (good!) Would you consider doing a piece someday of a woman on a cliff overlooking the ocean below. Sort of a French Lt.'s Woman thing. A painting, I suppose, about longing. Thank you and one day I will actually make a purchase instead of just window shopping - I promise!

  • cloud9designstudio

    cloud9designstudio from cloud9designstudio said 3 years ago

    Beautiful art. Great poem and wonderful story. Very inspirational.

  • dingzhaozhao

    lily chao said 1 year ago

    like it

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