16 of 30 American Stars (Broken Shell Series)

The Glimpse Inside (American Star Shells)
5" X 7"

I can't be sure when it started, but on my shelling trips, I've become more and more picky about which shells to bring home. Over Christmas break, my college-age son took a walk on the beach with me. He kept picking up shells and handing them to me. Often they were chipped or bleached. Since he isn't four and has had to pack up and move with our family six times, he knows that my collection has limits, I explained that I appreciated it, but that I am pretty picky.

This line of thought led me to thinking about beauty in general. TED did a talk on beauty that was quite interesting. Beauty can be hard to define. We know it when we see it; at least, we know what we think is beautiful when we see it.

I can't explain why I love the zebra arks and dislike the red-brown ark. I hoard the colorful moonsnails and toss back the smooth Atlantic tegulas. I adore the long-spined stars and don't keep the American stars when they are whole.

I do pick up a lot of American stars when they are broken. The American star shell is one of the prettiest shells when the waves take a toll on it. At that point, the chamber inside is more visible and the patterns of construction are revealed. I hope you like this painting, the first in a series of broken and worn seashells. There is beauty in imperfection. I hope to show you some of it.

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