Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser - John Gardner

It all started one windy, rainy, freezing night on the beach.  Lion's paws are an unusual find on SWFL beaches.  I just had a feeling that the storm that had been blowing for a few days last winter had stirred up the Gulf of Mexico enough to wash some goodies ashore.  I ran out to the beach after work with my flashlight and low & behold I was right.  There was a line of deep water shells all the way down the beach.  Since I was the only person crazy enough to brave the cold & go on the beach after dark I had the whole wrack line to myself. I scored some nice lion's paw fragments and  1 lion's paw that was intact.  After looking at them & cleaning them up I could just see they would make a great mermaid tail if I was to mosaic them. I started picking up orange scallops for the scales & worm shells for her hair.  All my junonia fragments would come in handy as well.

 I mentioned my idea of doing a mermaid mosaic off & on to some of my shelling buddies. Once you hear yourself say it out loud that pretty much commits you to a thing.  It was when I found a certain piece of anatomically correct coral that the project swung into high gear.  My local thrift shop provided a 60's abstract painting that the frame & hanger were in good shape to re-purpose.  After priming over the canvas I laid it out on my kitchen table with all my mermaid mosaic-designated shells ready to start my masterpiece.  Then company came in the form of a 6 yo & 4 yo nicknamed "Baby Godzilla".  Everything was put away to make room for Thomas the Train and Cars 2. After our visitors left hubby & I hit the road to do some travelling over the summer first to North Carolina then on to Pennsylvania.  So the dust has settled and a few weeks ago I cleared the table, laid out the canvas, sorted the shells and with glue in hand stood and stared at the white bare picture waiting for a download of inspiration. 

So I stared & stared some more.  I'd walk away for a bit and do housework or run errands.  Every time I passed the kitchen table the blank canvas would glare at me.  Alright!  Already!  You just have to start so I did and I'm done.  Well, I'm still pondering the border but the mermaid is complete. I'm very pleased with her because what I saw in my mind's eye is actually what I ended up with.  I named her Jenny in honor of a story of a woman who collects worm shells or "Jenny curls" as she calls them in memory of her daughter that passed on.  I don't consider myself an artist or a writer but I have moments where I do both.  I just make things or write about things that move my heart. Such is life.

Family Pectinidae
Nodipecten fragosus
(Conrad, 1849)
Northern lion paw

The inspiration piece

I found all the shells & sea glass except the driftwood arms ( they are from my mom's driftwood stash), the blue seaglass, and the face.  The face is a shell from Panama given to me by my shell brotha Capt. Brian.