One day I brought home a handful of them, and was standing in the front yard chatting with a neighbor when I felt a tickling in my hand. A hermit crab had set up house in one of the shell fragments! So I had to carry him back to the beach.
Some of my shells are Sharks Eye, which are a type of Moon Snail. My favorites are the Northern Moon Snails, which are more colorful and have more dramatic spirals, like this one.
The spirals always go the same direction: clockwise from the center, when you look at the outside of the shell.
My brother, who reads a lot, tells me that there are rare snail shells that go counter clockwise, so I am on a lifelong quest for the “widdershins” Moon Snail! (Did you ever wonder what they called it before the invention of the clock?)
I have been drawing and painting Moon Snails for about 30 years. This is an oil painting I did in graduate school, about 1981 I think!
This is the sketch I came up with for a small tapestry: a broken Moon Snail shell, with a shadow that is a perfect waning moon!
That was in July, and I have still not finished it. It’s being woven sideways, the left side in this photo will be the top of the tapestry. In other words, I will turn the tapestry clockwise when it’s done.
Meanwhile, my 2011 Sketch Diary is well on its way. Every day I draw in one of the squares. My rules are fairly simple.
I started page 1 with Moon Snails, thinking I would change the subject for page 2, but I ended up doing 3 pages of Moon Snails! I just started page 4 and it is much more abstract. More about that later. Here is page 1. So many Moon Snails!