One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few. –Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Our quest for simplicity, both external and internal, is ongoing. Within the complexity of schedules, task lists and general life clamor, there is an enduring yearning for the uncomplicated. Being selective is helpful when our senses become overwhelmed and numbed, when too much is before us or in us. Likewise, when creating or viewing art, what is excluded or included matters. In the painting Three Shells on Stone Table, my goal was to create a private, quiet space to take in the elegant beauty of three lone seashells in the light. The simple subject and the precise details draw us to the painting. The focused light magnetizes the image further, pulling us in.
Paradoxically, it takes effort to rest. As viewers of art, once we do what is necessary to shut the door on external noise, we may then encounter internal clutter which also must be pushed aside for a time. Of course, as individuals, we bring our own associations and preferences to the viewing experience, but we benefit by looking and listening as neutrally as possible. C.S. Lewis wrote: “The first demand any work of art makes upon us is surrender. Look. Listen. Receive. Get yourself out of the way. (There is no good asking first whether the work before you deserves such a surrender, for until you have surrendered you cannot possibly find out.)” Wise advice.
This painting invites you to stop for a moment and come in - to be nourished by the simplicity of the scene and the tranquil beauty of the shells.