I’ve been very drawn to the turtle lately. I found I’ve been using The Turtle’s energy and patience these past few months as I’ve been getting my hand back into fighting form. Just prior to starting this hanging I designed a turtle tattoo for a client in San Francisco, and part of what I designed for him has ended up in this hanging (middle square). It is the symbolism in general of the turtle that this hanging most represents (protection, patience, wisdom, courage, compassion, perseverance, skill, longevity, loyalty, peace, confidence, love, mother earth, adaptability, healing, and knowledge), but there were some specific attributes I wanted to accentuate. The turtle is an animal whose magic united heaven and earth, and the sea turtle in particular is a prevailing mythic figure and archetype. Therefore, I wanted each square to represent a specific element of this magical creature.
This piece was officially appraised at $2,500 in 2007, and in 2010 was donated to a great organization I partnered with (and have since donated several other pieces for) for their annual silent auction for Free The Children: www.hopeandopportunity.org
Warrior (top square)
Impervious to attack, the turtle is seen as a very model of settled, universal order. It is steady, strong, protective, and unshakeable. It possess an enviable and divine-like resistance to ageing (afterall, it did converse with the dinosaurs when they were around, one of the few species on the planet today that witnessed them evolve, and devolve), and so came to symbolize longevity. The turtle also signifies immortality and is considered a provisional dwelling places for souls making their way through a series of lives on the path to Nirvana.
Passion (middle (way) square)
“Mi Amigo.” Painting is like breathing to me. It’s essential to my existence. It’s my meditation. It is my Passion. The turtle is a self contained creative source and is also known as “the keeper of secrets.” The turtle is courageous because it makes progress only when it sticks its neck out, and moves forward with a patient, steady flow in order to achieve the desired destination, not letting anything stop it from what it is most passionate about. This is for the Friends that watch over us, and the Passion that pumps through our very core.
Wisdom (bottom square)
The turtle has carried Wisdom on its back for many cultures throughout history. Wise with age, some psychological theories see in the turtle a connection with the self; the unity of the personality as a whole. Though life around us may be chaotic, the turtle can slow down and heighten its awareness which continually allows it to see the connection to all things. Proverbially steady, in Eastern religions the turtle is thought to be the balance of opposing principles. While some religions release doves as ritualistic acts, many Buddhist ceremonies release turtles. And in many native cultures, if you need grounding, focus, endurance, or deep power, calling on the turtle for help is an age-old way of wisdom.
Listening to X&Y by Coldplay while painting this, I was taken by the lyric “fighting with my weak hand.” I’m not sure a lyric has ever understood me so completely. I listened to this song a great deal as my left hand slowly recovered, and thus I’ve given it the working title for this hanging.
This is the first painting I have done without a specific individual in mind. I decided to take a shot at letting this painting find its own owner, and vice versa. Ideally this hanging is intended for a recipient who embodies some of the impenetrable characteristics of the turtle, or can benefit from the turtle’s energy. Also ideal for someone whose decor and colour style would be enlivened by a piece such.
Size: 32″ x 70.5″
Style: acrylic on untreated canvas
This is the playlist I created on my iPod for this hanging:
- On Top – The Killers (from Hot Fuss)
- Sky Walk – Althea W. (from Buddha Lounge 4)
- Speck of Gold – Afterlife (from Departure Lounge)
- Pacifique – Deep Forest (from Pacifique)
- Mystical Experience on the Mountain – Christopher Franke
- Random Angel (baby) – Our Glass (Ralph Joseph)
- Timeless – Our Glass (Ralph Joseph)
- As The Train Passes By – Ralph Joseph (from Songwriter Series Vol. 1)
- X&Y – Coldplay (from X&Y)
- Seasons of Love – Cast of RENT (saw this in New York last year, still have yet to recover)
- Rainbow Connection – Kermit the Frog (told you I had diverse musical interests)
- Aphelion (entire album) – Amethystium
- Ethereal – Amethystium (from Odonata)
- Untitled 6 – Sigur Ros (from “( )” )
- Glósóli – Sigur Ros (from Takk…)
- Sé Lest – Sigur Ros (from Takk…)
- Andvari – Sigur Ros (from Takk…)
- Alibi – David Gray (from Life In Slow Motion)
- Balloon Escape – Carter Burwell (from Before Night Falls soundtrack)
- I Didn’t Mean To Hurt You – Spiritualized (from The Complete Works)
- How it ends – Devotchka (from How It Ends)
Drink up, dreamers, you’re running dry – Peter Gabriel.
Warrior Passion Wisdom (“Fighting with my weak hand”) (32″ x 70.5″)