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Terrapin/Jersey Shore

My pal Claudia Placentra posted a nine minute video of a mama terrapin making her way back to the bay after laying her eggs. Claudia wanted to make sure she made it back okay and her video has a cute commentary “you can make it little girl” and other facts about Terrapins. I wasn’t able to share her live video but here are some stills of the turtle making her way back. Claudia is going to send me something later and I’ll try to post. (Kerfe is well aware of my technological shortcomings, yes K., I will make it over to the Genius Bar at Apple soon). Guess it’s turtle week over at MTM. 

Turtles are an endangered species “down the shore” as we Jerseyans say. They get run over by cars and their eggs get eaten by seagulls. There are lots of signs for turtle crossings and other warnings about not touching or harming these wonderful creatures. The last photo is of the terrapin making it back to the bay. 

Turtle Netsuke: Kappa

kappa netsuke s

child of the river
I will bow to you, turning
the trick backwards, breath
of knowing healing spirit
spilling water into air

Continuing the turtle theme, I’ve drawn another Kappa netsuke.  I still think Kappa was an inspiration for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, though I can find no evidence online to back this up.  A river deity and trickster who tried to lure people and animals into water, he could himself be tricked into helping humans because of his obsession with politeness.  You can read more about Kappa in this post.

And see all my netsuke posts here.

Turtle bone

Kerfe gave me this turtle bone Saturday. I wish this blog had smell capability: this gift from the sea still carries the pungent aroma of the salt water. In doing this painting I noticed how much this reminded me of a conch shell. Kerfe was fortunate to find this buried in the sand and it was a lovely gift. Thank you Kerfe!

A Gift From the Sea

bone sketch bottom s

at rest in between
sea and land, water and wind
shaping spanning time

bone sketch top s

This year was not a good one for collecting shells.  But one morning on a walk along the beach, my daughters and I found, half-buried in the sand, a piece of what appears to be a sea turtle bone.

bone photo comp

I drew it from both sides, and I also took photos.

bone side comp

Only in the close up can you see the subtle lines of the shell.

bone close up s

Once home I looked up sea turtle skeletons online.

sea turtle skeleton s

Sea turtles are one of the few creatures to have both an internal and external skeleton.

sea turtle bone s

And of course this must go in Nina’s turtle shell collection!  I will give it to her the next time we meet for lunch.

You can read more about sea turtle anatomy here.

Tortoise Shell

 turtle rorschach stitched s

Reading between the lines:
story or history?
Ancient tongues disguise words.

Who will translate the words?
Who will reveal the lines
inside the history?

Is the myth history?
Behind forgotten words,
shadows of missing lines.

Lines in reverse, tangle of words, unwinding history.

turtle rorschach orig sm

This is a Rorschach painting where I not only dripped the paint onto the paper, but did a little deliberate painting too before I folded it.  I thought it resembled a turtle/tortoise shell, so I embroidered an abstract one on top.

turtle rorschach stitched close up s

The poem is a tritina, from the day 7 prompt from NaPoWritMo.net.  Not too late this time.  Does it have anything to do with the illustration?  Good question.

poetry month

Draw a Turtle Day?

This poor little turtle was found a year ago. I’ve had him drying out on my porch. Kerfe’s paintings reminded me of him. 

Here is the actual turtle.  

 
And here is a view where you can see his sweet little head and feet. Thoroughly dead yet still has the spark of nature.  

 

More Turtles (or are they tortoises?)

sea turtle s

I’ve painted sea turtles before, when I was doing endangered species on a regular basis.  It bears repeating that nearly all sea turtles are endangered.  Habitat destruction, particularly of coastal nesting sites, and poaching for eggs, meat, skin and shells all contribute to species loss, but one of the biggest problems is that they get caught in fishing nets.  To save sea turtles and the ocean ecosystem they are part of will require global cooperation.

box turtle s

Turtles generally spend most of their time in water, while tortoises reside on land, so why are box turtles not called box tortoises?  Sometimes they are, in fact, but they actually belong to the pond turtle family, so the turtle label is also appropriate.  They are the state reptiles of North Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, and Kansas.  Populations are declining everywhere due to (surprise!) habitat destruction and fragmentation, but they are particularly endangered in Asia, due to their use in traditional medicine, and the pet trade.

And terrapins?  They tend to live in swampy areas, equally at home in water and on land.

Nina and I have done a number of turtle posts.  With more coming, I’m sure.

You can read more about endangered turtles here.

Junk Mail Art: Turtle

6 x 6 junk mail turtle

endless change    our eyes
opened    our feet contain both
highways and home

For many Native American tribes, turtle carries the weight of the earth on her back.  Her shell contains the heavens, her body the underworld, and sacred writings and maps cover the shell.  A symbol of creation, protection, and longevity, she is the keeper of the doors, the mediator between land and water, heaven and earth.

My collage is based on a Navajo turtle image.

Turtle Netsuke

turtle octopus netsuke s

You may notice that the turtle doesn’t look too happy here…that’s because Octopus, the attending physician of the Dragon King, sent him to steal a liver from a monkey, and he did not succeed.  In some stories the liver is supposed to cure the king, and in some the queen, but in all the monkey is able to fool the turtle and escape.

turtle monkey netsuke s

At least I think that’s what’s behind these netsuke.  There are many netsuke that feature other creatures on a turtle’s back.  It could just be that the tortoise is a symbol of good luck and longevity in Japan, and the other animal and its attributes are along for the ride.

More turtles to come.

And don’t forget Draw-A-Bird Day is tomorrow, March 8.

Kemp’s Ridley Turtle

Indigenous to the waters here around Longboat Key, Florida. The Big Cat Sanctuary was a rare experience but without color I cannot capture the incredible coats of these animals, the tigers especially. I’ve never been that close to animals like that before and they deserve gouache at the very least. Kerfe, I don’t have my big iPad with me but even that app would not do them justice. Instead I offer a very lovely turtle. The beasts will have to wait until I return to my paints and Arches paper. Still no sun but lots of palm trees and the family is getting along well by some miracle. 

My source of inspiration: