Friday, March 4, 2011

Moon Snails All Over

Moonsnailcollection I have always loved Moon Snails. I find them on the beach at Cape Cod, and out on the flats at low tide. Usually they are broken, but sometimes not.

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.

MoonsnailfragmentSome 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 “widdershinsMoonsnailoilpaintingMoon 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!

 MoonsnaildesignLast summer I took a workshop with James Koehler, and he asked us each to bring along supporting materials for a concept or symbol of our choice. I brought Moon Snails.

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.

MoonsnailtapestryI got stuck on that thin yellow curve, and had to figure out a better way to do it. Now that I fixed that, I should be able to finish it pretty quickly, and I will….tomorrow…..or maybe the next day.

Meanwhile, my 2011 Sketch Diary is well on its way. Every day I draw in one of the squares. My rules are fairly simple.

Austin2011SketchDiaryPage1Rule #1 Sketch every day  #2 No going back to fix what I did the day before. #3 Don’t think too much or judge what I’ve done #4 Draw what I feel like drawing  #5 Work quickly.

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!



K Spoering said...

Love the painting! Is it watercolor? Can't wait to see the tapestry finished. You're using beautiful 'seaside' colors!

Michelle said...

I love this tapestry Jan!! Great colors. Can't wait to see it finished. Really enjoy your painting and drawings as well.
Best, Michelle

Jan said...

It's an oil painting, which is what I did for my MFA. My school was so traditional that acrylics were verboten! I loved painting in oil, but didn't like having that smell in my house, so have not used oils for years now. Moon Snails have amazing colors.

Néia Guimarães said...

amei seus caracois!!

Jan said...

eu também

graças ao "Google Translate"