The Diary of an Exhibition – Listening to Seashells


Yesterday I didn’t listen to my own wisdom … and painted in oils  despite not having found a mask that makes this possible ….. YET!


I coughed a lot and felt pretty rough after an hours work. I had also ignored my intention to paint in acrylic, deferring instead to my habit!


It is so much easier to DO our habits than to BE open to something new…. Alexander Technique teaches it over and over again… do the same thing in the same way and get the same result! So simple and yet so challenging to change.


After a mini strop with myself and a really helpful phone call with a friend,  I decided to go LEARN to paint with acrylics and be excited by and open to the challenge.



I have been picking up shells on the beach –

Shells remind me of the inner ear, and my thought has been about listening…


Expanded awareness and balance can come just from opening our ears to sounds and sounds between sounds, layers of sound … shells as reminders …


  • to listen to what we are being told
  • to listen to your intuition
  • to listen for the mystery
  • to listen out for the path and the journey
  • to listen to the space between
  • to listen to our heart
  • to listen to other people, 2 ears one mouth!
  • to listen to the deep oceanic wisdom within …





Symbolism and the shells painted yesterday –


Cockles – warming the cockles of my heart – attracting love, feeling love, the food of love

Conch type shells – The  human journey of life, spirals, the Golden Mean

Limpets – courage, confidence, strength to endure, strength to be yourself despite forces

Moon snails – the moon, tides, planetary forces, the feminine, psychic awareness, purification, peace

Scallops – travel, sharing, holding

Spirals – ‘Everything that lives and breathes and moves, lives and breathes and moves in spirals’ (Don Burton),  the mystery of life, DNA

Shells – protection, the home, containers of life, treasures being thrown up from the deep …




I painted a quick series of ‘shell-scapes’ in acrylic … very small canvas sketches … here they are … ideas in motion … just where I left off, some finished some not.

I had fun, when I got out of my own way, my oily art habit, and allowed something new!


By listening to the seashells I found form within the formless and the unformed – seashells to draw upon within the formless sea – an idea to play with.




Today I am going to see the JMW Turner watercolours at the National Gallery in Edinburgh which are only on show once a year to protect them from the light.

Excited to be inspired by watercolours from one of my art heroes!



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