Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Great widsom in cold skin

Today I saw a turtle crossing the road that runs in front of the studio building. I was concerned that it might get run over, so I rushed out to rescue it. As soon as I approached the turtle it closed up tight, so I knew then it was a box turtle (later research revealed it was a three-toed box turtle). I picked it up and decided to bring in the studio for a little visit.

Normally in a situation like this I will take lots of pictures of the subject and then do some quick supportive sketches. Since my camera was not working and I have not gotten a new one yet, I could only sketch the turtle. I would have liked to have photo references, as the colors and markings on the turtle were quite beautiful.

The turtle did not stay closed up for very long at all. In fact, it was a total ham! It would pose, turn its head, hold for a time, then give me another angle to work from. All the while, it looked at me with such focus, I definitely felt an intelligence there. It never once attempted to bite and it remained quite calm and comfortable as I held it and examined it from every angle. It was even unphased by Lian (the painting Chihuahua) worrying about with rapt curiousity! I have posted a selection of sketches that I made of the turtle's visit above, pieced together from my sketchbook using a scanner.

After about an hour, the turtle seemed to have quite enough and began to head toward the door. I thanked it profusely and obligingly carried out into the woods behind the studio. I set it down and after a few minutes, it turned around and came walking right back to me. I explained that the studio time was over and that it was time to go back to searching for food and heading deeper in the woods, lest one of the dogs (other than Lian) in the area found it. I turned it around and off it went into the sun dappled woods. Watching it go, I couldn't help but feel I had been in contact with a very ancient and wise creature. Its skin may have been cool to the touch, but it had a very warm spirit. What a special creature! I feel blessed by the time we shared.


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DoAn Art is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of DoAn Art may be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

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Tamora Pierce said...

What incredible sketches--he looks like he could walk right off the page! (Well, the whole one. The parts walking off the page would just get weird.) You have an astounding eye!

Tammy (Tamora Pierce from Fecebook)

Tamora Pierce said...

Oops. My Freudian just slipped, didn't it? Pay it no mind.

Tammy, blushing

Antony Galbraith said...

Thanks Tamora!
It really helps when the subject possesses so much personality and charm. I was sad to see the turtle waddle away, as it crunched through the leaves and undergrowth, but happy too, for having shared such a magical time together. I am glad that my experience was conveyed through the sketches! It is the sharing of such magic that drives me to create art!

PS: Talking about magic! I LOVE your books!

Tracey Clarke said...

Beautiful sketches.
These encounters are so special....

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