Moon Snail Project # 100: The Only Thing

May 2, 2013

“To live in the world of creation — to get into it and stay in it — to frequent it and haunt it — to think intensely and fruitfully — to woo combinations and inspirations into being by a depth and continuity of attention and meditation — this is the only thing.”
— Henry James

Moon Snail Shell # 100, ink sketch with watercolor

Moon Snail Shell # 100, ink sketch with watercolor

I’ve finished Moon Snail Shell # 100!

Some observations:

  • No big breakthroughs.  I didn’t push my boundaries nearly enough.  I was always conscious of my promise to post every painting, and opening my work to public scrutiny was an impediment to creativity.  I think that I would have found the project much more freeing if I had required myself to destroy every one of my first 100 sketches and then gone from there.
  • That said, I do like some of my sketches more than others.  Here are some of my favorites: Numbers 32 – 34, 39, 43 – 45, 67 – 68, and 72 – 79.

    A few of my favorites

    A few of my favorites

  • Looking back at the body of work, I do see that I have a rather consistent style or point of view.  I wish it had evolved more.
  • The assignment kept my interest.  Art has its own set of challenges — how to depict edges, how to show volume, how to express my feelings, how to translate what I see to the blank page . . .  I find each new drawing and painting absorbing and worthy of my attention.
  • I do like projects.  Unlike so many other things in life, projects have definite beginnings and endings.  I can bundle this experience and make it stand out in the long path to becoming an artist.  I will have to think up new projects in the future.

It takes so little in terms of material things to craft a meaningful life.  I want to live my life captivated by ordinary things, small moments.  And my moon snail shell embodies that principle.  I chose for my 100 Drawings Project a found object, something that cost nothing.  And yet, it provided hours and hours of focused absorption, contemplation, and joy.  I think I chose well.

“While we respond to the exacting demands of the environment, we must attempt to rediscover, during what leisure we can wrestle from the struggle, the value and the quality in little things.”
— Angel Pellegrini, The Unprejudiced Palate:  Classic Thoughts on Food and the Good Life

“Nearly all the best and most precious things in the universe you can get for a half penny.  I make an exception, of course, of the sun, the moon, the earth, people, stars, thunderstorms, and such trifles.  You can get them for nothing.”
— G. K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles

“Joys come from simple and natural things, mists over meadows, sunlight on leaves, the path of the moon over water.  Even rain and stormy clouds bring joy, just knowing animals and flowers and where they live.  Such things are where you find them, and belong to the aware and alive.”
— Sigurd Olson

And so I leave this project as my gift to you.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

“Thus, the artist’s gift is not necessarily the artistic expression he or she imparts to the object created but, rather, the expansion of our awareness and our appreciation of the wonder, diversity, and unlimited opportunities of the world.”
– Barry Behrstock, The Way of the Artist:  Reflections on Creativity and the Life, Home, Art and Collections of Richard Marquis


14 Responses to “Moon Snail Project # 100: The Only Thing”

  1. Kitty Says:

    Thank you. I’m grateful for who you are and all that you share.

  2. Janet Foss Says:

    I just scrolled through the entire moon snail project and really enjoyed the whole of it. I love moon snails also, but had not thought much about them for a while, but this past month I have mindfully revisit Camano Island and the joy of looking for empty shells at low tide. What fun! My favorites were the tongue twister, the moon scape and the comparison of spirals, but as a mom I treasured the mother daughter moment. Janet

    • Rosemary Says:

      Janet, it made me very happy to think of you scrolling through my project in one sitting. I think of this series of posts as a little book, a self-contained offering. And I enjoyed hearing about the posts that you favored. I imagine your gardens are keeping you very busy. Who knows. Maybe my next project will involve flowers. So great to hear from you.

  3. Ladybug Says:

    I saw a definite transition in the art, the feeling and the resulting work. Life is a journey and one never knows what they will discover. I noticed that at first you felt resistance to your own feelings and creativity. As you let go of that, your art became more fluid and expressive. Bev

    • Rosemary Says:

      Thank you for your observations. I’m too close to the projects to see things in an objective way.

  4. Diana Studer Says:

    I’m a little disappointed that the hundred are done, already! It was fascinating to see fresh interpretations.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Yes, I also have mixed feelings about the end of this project. It was more absorbing than I anticipated.

  5. Carol Says:

    This has been so fun! I’ll bet we all have favorites. I am drawn to the whimsicality of #83, all the tongue twister ones and the unexpected blues and pink of #50. The soft dreamy colors of #39 are charming and while the ink and watercolor sketch of #87 is beautiful, I like better the softness of your pencil and watercolor #66. Thank you for including us in your project.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Thanks, Carol. I will have to go back and scroll through to see which ones were your favorites.

  6. shoreacres Says:

    When you mentioned “no breakthroughs”, the first thing that crossed my mind were the words, “Of course.” Birds hatch, cicadas shed their exoskeletons, snakes shed their skin. But the moon shell? As you pointed out, it just keeps growing, with the entire process contained within its shell.

    Seems to me your process may have been partly determined by the nature of your subject!

    I’ve enjoyed it tremendously, and will be returning to it many times, I suspect. There’s a lot to ponder here.

  7. camilla wells paynter Says:

    I came across your Moonsnail project while researching images for a little moonsnail piece I’m thinking of doing. I don’t know if I’m more inspired or intimidated now (!), but I LOVE this work, the vast array of ways of seeing….your #35 is a favorite of mine, and so many others–I looked at every one! I, too, get some of my moonsnail inspiration from the low tides at Carkeek. Funny! Thank you for sharing your work–the pieces themselves, the photos, and the thoughts all go together so well. The posts are artwork in their own right.

    • Rosemary Says:

      I’m so glad you stumbled across my project and that it resonated with you. I do hope it inspired you.

  8. This is wonderful, Rosemary! Your projects are an inspiration to me. I am full of admiration for your work — the words, the photography, the drawing and painting. Thank-you for sharing!

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