When I was a girl I only collected perfect shells . . . any shell with a chip or a crack or a barnacle was dismissed. So when I was walking on the beach last year thinking of what to paint and thinking about whether or not I could paint after a series of life altering events, I realized that at mid life we have all lived half a life and gotten knocked around and had some deep sadnesses and our shells are no longer perfect. We all become broken in different ways . . . no more perfect shells . . . so I started looking at the broken conch shells on my walk and there were many. All broken and worn differently . . . all unique. The breaks allowed me to look into the shells and see the spirals. Sometimes the color was subtle and sometime it was still bright. Maybe a shift in life or a closer look at the once disregarded can produce a deeper and truer experience. It has become impossible to look away from the broken . . . what follows is tenderness and understanding and acceptance and work . . . all very beautiful things that were previously unexplored and disregarded.
— Susan Darwin Ordahl, May 2012