Shells have been metaphors for me ever since I was a child and collected clam, slipper and snail shells on the Connecticut shore and dreamed of rarer species and more exotic locales. Shells represent shelter and movement, life and death, what (and who) flees and what (and who) stays behind, beauty and usefulness.
Whether common or rare, each shell is unique -- so too are the marks made by my hands. As a meditation on the gift of singularity, I still like to paint an old, partly broken, favorite shell over and over.
Each time, it looks a little different, tells a slightly different story. Or I turn to the comforting shape of my childhood shells, and see what feelings are evoked.