2 of 30 Juvenile Queen Conch

Someday I'll Be Queen (Juvenile Queen Conch)
5" X 7"

Juvenile Queen Conch, symbol of Key West

Rarely a day goes by in Key West that the word "conch" isn't heard. People who are born here are called "Conchs"; Key West is the Conch Republic, which once briefly declared independence from the United States.

I didn't grow up here. I did come here back in the eighties for lobster season. I also spent a lot of my childhood in the Florida Panhandle, where we had crown conchs, so I knew "conch" rhymed with "bonk." For this reason, the Spongebob episodes that pronounce the shell with the "ch" at the end grate on every nerve. In the days that my TV was on Nickelodeon every afternoon, I cannot tell you how many times I grumpily told Spongebob and Patrick, "IT'S [KONK]!"

It wasn't until we moved here that I learned that the queen conch was in decline and was nearly extinct in the Keys. All of the conch fritters that you eat around here are imported from the Bahamas. That said, on any given day, I can walk out into the bay and pluck a conch out of the seagrass.

my hand....holding live adult queen conch by our dock

 If they are occupied, of course, I put them back. Occasionally, they end up stranded by the ebbing tide. I put them back in the seagrass, but they don't always make it. That's how I end up with the shells. I only have a few queen conch shells; I seem to find more hawk-wing conch shells, but the juvenile queen conch that I painted today was a nice find, if tinier than you would expect.

I have a crush on my painting at present; I'm considering printing it (larger) on canvas and hanging it in my bathroom. above my shell collection.

By the way, being a Key Westie, more conchs are coming in the days ahead.


Cagley Art said...

Having spent LOTS of time in Key West when I lived in Florida - I love all shells, especially conchs! Can't wait to see more in the coming days.
- Connie

Chris Lally said...

This is a real beauty! Best of luck with the challenge.

And I'll never say con"ch" again (sorry, Spongebob).

Nancy Murphree Davis said...

Thanks for the comments Cagley Art and Chris Lally!

Anonymous said...

That's a gorgeous paintings. Love the vivid colours of the background and the contrast of darks & lights.

Nancy Murphree Davis said...

Thanks for the nice comments!