Thursday, July 29, 2021

chambered nautilus

I am posting this painting for sale on my facebook page today. Here is a link to the day that I originally posted about it here on my blog. And I painted the same shell twice. Here is the link to the first painting. At that time I didn't name the paintings, merely numbered them to go with my painting a day project.  These were numbers 11 and 12 and I was on a powerful roll with all that painting exercise!

I didn't realize that this shell is a chambered nautilus. I hadn't researched all my collection of shells from the Philippines, they are very precious to me for sentimental reasons. This one is fairly large, you can see it in the photo above in relation to the 8x10 framed painting. I bought it from a shop while on a trip home to the Philippines years ago.
I looked up some research about the Chambered Nautilus and came across two things that inspired me. One is this tempera painting by Andrew Wyeth titled "Chambered Nautilus" which at first glance shows a woman lying in a bed looking away, out a window. It is a profound and deeply moving piece of art which will stay with me a long time.    Andrew Wyeth’s “Chambered Nautilus.’’ ANDREW WYETH  


Here is a quote from a 2012 article in the Boston Globe. "You can see it in “Chambered Nautilus,’’ one of a handful of Wyeth’s exquisite, gritty tempera paintings in a penetrating show, “Andrew Wyeth: Looking Beyond,’’ now at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. The painting, made in 1956, depicts his mother-in-law, Bess James, confined to her bed. She sits up, bony hands wrapped around raised knees, gazing out the window, which is a sheet of pallid light. A nautilus shell glistens on a dull wooden chest at the end of her bed. With extraordinary precision, Wyeth captures the smallness of Bess’s world, the contraction of her days. Her stringy, unwashed hair suggests the depredation of illness. The nautilus itself is a metaphor for life's containment. Yet it seems to shine with its own light, as if even the most ordinary of lives is imbued with dignity and beauty. You only have to look to find it."
I will never look at my shells with the same affection now, but with much deeper meaning. 
The second inspirational thing I came across is a poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes titled "The Chambered Nautilus" which seems to describe much about the cycle of life and death that it is certain Andrew Wyeth is on familiar terms here. 
You know I love poetry and quotes to go with the art so I will save that for another post.




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