Oyster Season

Oyster Bay by Marlowe D'Oriano

Oyster Bay, 48"x48", 2014. First in a new series of oyster paintings.

According to local wisdom, months that contain the letter "R" are the best for eating oysters, at least in the Chesapeake Bay area. If this is true, then we have now entered Oyster Season. I love to eat oysters on the half shell and am lucky enough to live in an area where this is part of the local culture. I can have my pick of several restaurants that offer an array of oysters from different areas. Or I can just go pick up a few dozen at one of the seafood markets on Lynnhaven Inlet.

This is a privilege I do not take for granted. There have been many efforts made to restore the oyster population in the Bay over the last several years, it having been decimated to only 1% of historic levels due to over-harvesting, pollution and disease. (Read about the important work of Lynnhaven River Now and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and find out how to help.) Saving the oysters is not just important for coastal economies, it is an vital part of restoring the Chesapeake Bay.

My passion for oysters is not only culinary or environmental, but certainly artistic. The textures and colors of their shells are an amazing microcosm of the colors of the sea and sky of th