Last night in drawing class we worked on drawing small. While taking a break to look at each other's work, I heard a class mate say 'shells are hard'. I agreed. I find them very challenging to draw and yet they seem simple when you first start and I think that is part of the problem. With a tree or a flower there's so much detail to work from and once you start to add the detail, the brain starts to see it for what it is. But a shell keeps itself concealed even after it has lost its inhabitant. Working with crow quill pens also added to the difficulty because we could not rely on color to add emphasis. Instead we had to utilize line and shading.
It is this kind of drawing the reveals the surprising complexity of nature. How a smooth shell, when looked at closely is a perfect package of biological wonder. We all know that every snowflake is unique and while I don't know this to be true, it seems every shell would be as well. Each line formed through tidal rhythms, places where the top layer has flaked off to reveal a different color underneath; it is a visual story of their journey and existence, just like the lines and colors on our own faces tell the story of our life so far.