Turtle Diaries

“The proper pace of feeling free to look around is lazily slow, idiosyncratically detailed and half-entranced. It is the pace at which you might stop and stare and see the almost unseeable. –Susan Murphy

The initial drawing is done with conte, graphite, colored pencil and acrylic paint. To further play with illusion, I often use brilliants, sea pebbles, shells, pencil shavings, glass shards and whatever else catches my fancy. The end result is a mixed media extravaganza of gluing and layering.

The second turtle in the pond is my husband Kenny. At first, he enters tentatively; then we slip/slide, bump, snuggle, criss-cross, expand and contract together in the new/old rhythm of our lives. Turtle medicine includes a connection with the center, navigation skills, self-reliance, tenacity, patience, the ability to respect the boundaries of self and others, and develop new ideas. Originally created with humorous intent, I unknowingly chose an ancient symbol of nurturance, mother energy, determination and longevity.

Helen Redman’s Turtle Diaries: Portrait of a Couple from Susan Richards on Vimeo. “Redman’s work is both whimsical and profound, and has much to convey about aging, creativity, and the synergy of a loving marriage. Redman has painted self-portraits at every stage of her life. In this interview she speaks about the double portraits of herself and her husband Kenny Weissberg – as turtles! It was a privilege to film Helen and Kenny, and to share their wisdom in this video. “


Turtle Diaries

Identifying my current slowness and introversion with the image of a turtle, I decided to morph myself into one in my art. Any outreach seems to be followed by contraction as I find my elder pace and place. The turtle wins the race in the fable, but being out of step in our speedy culture makes one feel old and left behind.
I started my turtle art by drawing on the backside of a wood panel because it was stressed and worn like the shell of a turtle; the structural backing then became a frame for me to reach beyond. The metaphor of going outside the box was so appealing, I repeated it with each turtle, finding a different way to expand its limbs.