This is the where my art and science sides coexist. Growing up near New Bedford Harbor and the Atlantic shoreline, I collected shells. When it came time to choose a major for graduate school, my shell collection came to mind and, you guessed it, Biological Oceanography became my major.
My specialty is Malacology, the study of mollusks (shells), particularly bivalve mollusks (those with two shells such as oysters, clams, and scallops). My Master’s Thesis was an illustrated guide to the Bivalve Mollusks of Virginia. My Ph.D. was the Distribution of the Planktonic Larvae…Within…Great Bay Estuary, NH. I described how microscopic larvae and juveniles of young clams and other bivalves transported in ebbing tides miles away from parent brood stock made their way back upstream instead of washing out to sea. I wrote articles in scientific journals, chapters in books, and devoted entire books to mollusks.
The shells I paint are all favorites of mine from my personal shell collection. All are painted in true living color. What does not appear here yet are my scientific illustrations. All are done in fine ink lines with stippled dots to indicate the “landscape” of a shell in species-perfect proportions. Illustrated are complex shell hinges with “teeth” that interlock beside deeper depressions, texture of roughened or smooth shells, barely incised muscle-scar attachments, and more that facts that for meare like “fingerprints” to the taxonomist who needs to make an accurate identification.