Usually I’m looking for something that feels satisfying. Pleasing. A shape that feels “just right,” whose curves create a negative space that has the kind of balance I enjoy. As happens when I’m painting, there is a feeling of completion in just the right shape (or paint stroke or color combination) that I can’t explain or defend using words.
When I picked up shells today, I wasn’t drawn to those whose shapes or colors or textures provided that satisfying feeling of completion; that “just right” feeling. They weren’t beautiful or striking in any way that had touched me before.
Today I found myself drawn to those shells that broke unevenly (not in a dramatic shape with pleasing lines) or that had odd clusters of barnacles or other growth-like elements to their structures.
It wasn’t that I wanted ugly shells. And, it wasn’t that I found these shells beautiful. I was surprised and then fascinated by the fact that I was interested in them. They were boring. They were bumpy in what felt like the wrong places and there was nothing that made me want to bring them home and put them on the windowsill.
Except I did bring one home. And, I do want to keep it where I can see it. It is boring and dull and bland and lumpy in some kind of way that makes me think it might be deformed.
This shell isn’t lovely or unique. It isn’t shiny or colorful. It isn’t special.