Honoring Turtle – a symbol of Mother Earth
For the past three years, I’ve had the privilege of watching a very determined Snapping Turtle climb the rugged, tangled bank of the Big Eddy along the Delaware River in Narrowsburg, New York as she makes her annual birthing journey. This is a tedious and lengthy step-by-step process to lay her eggs in a familiar and not so safe location. She begins her climb at the first light of dawn and once she reaches her nesting ground, she begins clearing away the grass and digging a hollow nest in the dirt. Then, for what can be hours, she slowly lays her eggs by alternately rocking and stretching and turning and gently pushing them into the prepared ground. When the last egg is released, she carefully spreads and tamps down the dirt over the nest and slowly makes her way back down to the river.
She never returns to check on her offspring. They are on their own, left to the forces of nature to decide their fate.
I have my calendar marked for her arrival during the first or second week of June and again in early September or even into October for the hatchlings to emerge. Sadly, they rarely make it out of their nest alive. The first year I was completely naive and thought I would protect them from getting crushed during the lawn mowing. I put a small circle of sticks and netting around the perimeter of the nest area as a marker for the mower to avoid. It was more like a come hither beacon for a band of night-stalker skunks that made a raucous feast of the fresh little eggs. I was in tears the following morning when I saw the shrivelled shells and smelled the nauseating stench of skunks.
I had read a lot about predators of turtle eggs and this time, I spent a few hours constructing a reinforced and very grounded chicken wire cage much larger than the nest perimeter. I waited patiently throughout the summer and once it was close to the earliest hatching time, I checked the nest morning and night every day. Another month passed and still no baby turtles. I read some more and learned that they could take up to 120 days if the weather conditions were not as favorable. By the end of October, I removed the cage and gently scraped the nest area. Nothing was there, not even a chip of an eggshell. This time, a different breed of stalking, nest robbing villans must have attacked from underground.
I’ve learned that perhaps the best I can do is to patiently watch, imagine and hope for the survival of the baby snappers. I’ll continue to watch the calendar and check the nest – which does again have a simple fence marker for the lawn mower to go around, but like the Mother Turtle, I have to be patient and allow the laws of nature to determine when and if these turtles make it to the river alive.
Mrs. Turtle returns on June 5th, 2016 to the same spot on the riverbank to lay her eggs and leave them to the whims of nature for the third year that I’ve been observing this. I dearly hope these little turtles have a chance of survival. The skunks and apparently tunneling creatures are very fond of fresh turtle eggs 🙁
Turtle Painting for 26th Annual Riverfest Poster Art Auction
When I received the Call for Riverfest Poster Art, I knew I wanted to honor Mrs. Turtle but first, I wanted a different kind of information, the kind that resonated with Her and the River and all of the elements of nature that intrigue me every day when I look out over the Big Eddy. Turtle is an ancient creature with some serious history and mythology. I wanted to paint the meaning, the feelings I have about Turtle. What resonated with her energy and felt true for me as well? I sketched for several days until a few designs felt promising. I read more about snapping turtles and I looked through old photos and notes. I’d forgotten about “Turtle’s Bad Day” a startling, too-close-for-comfort, food chain experience during my last visit to Shark Valley in the Florida Everglades and, I realized that Turtle has been one of my nature guides for many years. So I reached for ‘Animal Speak’ by Ted Andrews knowing I would find mythical and relevant information that would help me align the painting and my feelings with the energetic patterns and symbolism of TURTLE…
“The Turtle – is one of the oldest reptiles and thus has one of the most ancient mythologies surrounding it. Turtle is a symbol for Mother Earth, for longevity and for awakening to heightened sensibilities.” – Animal Speak, author Ted Andrews
In the mythology of the Far East, Turtle’s outer shell represents the heavens and the shape and patterns on the shell underside are a symbol of earth.
Turtle represents wisdom, longevity. She is slow and steady, predictable, reliable, persistent.
A symbol of Mother Earth – divine feminine energy
Turtle is a shore creature – living in the water and on the land. Shores are associated with doorways/passages to other dimensions and Turtle is sometimes called ‘the keeper of the doors’.
The markings/sections on many turtle shells number 13 which is associated with lunar calendars and the alternating annual cycles of 13 full or new moons which correspond to female cycles of fertility.
Turtle is a reminder to listen carefully and ask: What am I not hearing or seeing?
Andrews also writes: ” turtles are opportunistic. When Turtle shows up in your life it is usually a reminder to pay attention or you will miss opportunities.”
Turtle painting by Debra Cortese for the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance Annual Riverfest Poster Auction.
Sunday, July 24, 2016 is the 26th Annual Riverfest event that takes over the entire length of the Main Street
business district in Narrowsburg, New York. A total of 60 original artworks will be auctioned to the highest bidders
in this immensely popular event which benefits the Delaware Vally Arts Alliance.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL OF THE POSTER ARTWORKS FOR THE 2016 RIVERFEST AUCTION
I’m very excited to participate in the first “INSPIREWORKS Art Institute” with SUNY Sullivan at the Narrowsburg Union!
INSPIREWORKS presents 23 Art Institute courses that SUNY Sullivan is presenting NOW – this summer into the fall at Narrowsburg Union in Narrowsburg, NY. As one of the 15 teaching artists*, I’ll be presenting a leading edge, sacred geometry, law of attraction, power of positive thinking, adult coloring, meditative version of my Seeds of Intention workshop. You can sign up for either Saturday, August 6th or Saturday, September 10th, 2016. It is a 3 hour workshop from 1 to 4 pm and all of the materials are included in the course fee.
Click HERE or on the INSPIREWORKS image above for a pdf copy of the full INSPIREWORKS Art Institute brochure to see all of the courses and be sure to register early before the classes are sold out!
Seeds of Intention – course description:
This workshop combines the therapeutic benefits of music, meditation and coloring within the informational patterns of the universal Flower of Life. Yo will be guided to create a work of art that is energetically aligned with a relevant-to-you, career or personal goal. The final artwork, your unique SEED of INTENTION is a visual representation of having already achieved your goal and it functions as nourishment towards your success.
The image below is a Seed of Intention that I created to represent my goal to facilitate the most enjoyable and authentic Seed of Intention workshop for myself and all participants:
*list of INSPIREWORKS Art Institute Summer 2016 teaching artists: Linda Bastian, Debra Cortese, Daria Dorosh, Chip Forelli, Tom Holmes, Ramona Jan, Jim Kingston, Mitch Lewis, Brandi Merolla, Susan Miller, Helena Clare Pittman, Devin Dwight Richardson, Natalie Sauer, Carol Smith, Elaine Cardella-Tedesco.
Finally produced a new design that feels right. Has been a bit of a challenge this winter to keep my muse and myself inspired. Very cold nights and days along with a bit too many ‘shades of gray’ of the no sun and dreary gray landscape in my studio window view.
However, a new White Heart on Waves of Pink & Orchid has emerged from yet another revisited photo. Seems I am drawn back in time on many levels since returning to my childhood hometown (Narrowsburg, NY).
The base inspiration for the new White Heart image was from my Miami garden so not that far back. What I once thought of as the dracaena plant turned out to be a cordyline and that is the basis for the new design. The fractal or overlaying grids of gray lines represent the energy lines of both the plants leaves and the interaction between the sun, the shadows and the plant. The White Heart developed after many variations of reflecting portions of the image in a variety of angles.
My intended outcome was to offer a design that is filled with the energy of unconditional LOVE. The surprise for me was that it is also filled with JOY and a SENSUALITY that evolved with the finished art.
Unfortunately, I did not complete this in time to have any handbags produced for Valentine Gifts, however, you can order it on a necklace, a locket and pillows through my Zazzle shop. http://www.zazzle.com/debracortesedesigns
White Heart on Waves of Pink and Orchid is available on custom products, as a print on paper or canvas and it is also available for licensing. Just pop me an email at: debra at debracortese.com and let me know what you have in mind.
In the meantime, I’m sending waves of LOVE and JOY and SENSUALITY out to the Universe and can’t wait to see what returns 😉 LAW OF ATTRACTION…
NOTE: This design will be available on handbags – look for it in the new Spring 2014 collection.
I’ve been processing images for days and will now begin the tedious but very valuable process of listing each fine art print on my Etsy Shop. Stay tuned to see many updated images, new images and many old favorites. I’m sorting through hundreds of images and setting up collections of wildlife, florals and coffee art to get this shop back in business. Expect this will be another never-ending story 🙂
Here are a few preview images of what I’m working on:
I’ll post again when the shop is stocked!
Enjoy nature 🙂
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