Shell
OIL ON CANVAS. ORIGINAL SIZE 14x18.5 in

  • In the painting Pearl, a clam shell provides material for replacing the sky's bright orb.
  • The shell of the conch, however, produces pearl beads that form stellar nebulae,comets, meteor showers, and star fireworks, as well as other heavenly beauties.
  • These beads decorate the Crowns – both Northern and Southern – and Berenice's Hair, placed in the distant night sky after Queen Berenice II of Egypt sacrificed her long golden hair to Aphrodite upon the safe return of her husband, Ptolemy III, from war.

The light of a pearl radiates from the belly of the conch shell lying on the shore. A few other conch shells, according to ancient belief, soaked up the energy of the sun and ascended to the sky. When night falls and the skyward shells shed their cases, pearl beads will be strewn all over distant celestial fields and shine with a distant luster. Angels will swoop up the empty conchs and blow them like horns, singing the glory of the Lord.

The sea and water are the main sources of life, symbols of transformation, purification, and resurrection. Like the growth rings of a tree, the spiral shape of the shell's case is symbolic of time, with its cycles of the year and phases of the moon.

Yin and yang is a form of spiral, too. Here each half carries a grain of another, characterizing the interdependence and harmony of both.