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.
I’m more than a bit behind in my posting, but wanted to share a few images from the outstanding art salon at Mildred’s Lane from last Saturday, May 31st, 2014.
and click on the next image for The Band at Mildred’s Lane
Mildred’s Lane Art Salon – May 31, 2014
Keynote Speaker : Mary Jane Jacob
Live Jazz/Blues in the field with musicians, Rusty Lewis, Doug Vanderhoof,
Alastair Gordon, Kevin Vertrees, and Bob Lohr
Host: J. Morgan Pruet,
Bonfire Design : Amy Yoes with Paul Bartow.
Guest Chef : Cheryl Edwards, 2014 Digestion Choreographer
photos by Debra Cortese
It’s always charity event season here in Miami and as an artist, I receive dozens of requests from all over the country to donate art or my handbags to all kinds of worthy causes. I’ve become much more selective over the years after experiencing a variety of unprofessional situations and attitudes. It makes a tremendous difference when the organization is professional and shows their appreciation for the time, materials and creativity an artist puts into a work of art. The official letter thanking each donor for their contribution is pretty standard and it makes a great impression when I am also invited to be a guest at the event, but getting personally introduced to the winning bidder creates the most rewarding experience of all because charity event patrons often become collectors of the artist and look forward to seeing more of their art at future events.
This is a major benefit of the dynamics of cultivating donors and collectors. It’s about building relationships and communities. It is about everyone winning on all levels. The charity raises money to support their projects, the patron not only buys the painting that generates the sale, they get something unique and beautiful for their home or office and the artist gets recognition and ideally, a new collector.
When I think about my Orchid Angel I often wonder where if she is hanging on someone’s wall that truly appreciates her nurturing, peaceful energy. I hope so. On the other hand, she could be stuffed into a storage closet with unsold auction items. If that’s the case, I’d love to reclaim her!
Guess I’m just a midnight blogger. Never seem to get to this until after 11 pm.
I have 13 minutes for this post to be ‘in’ on the 5th day of #SMCSFBlogOff.
My dear friend/artist/designer, Macarena Zilveti exhibited 2 paintings in
the Clouds and Oceans show at Ave 74 in the Bird Road Art District.
Congratulations to all of the participating artists on many very impressive works.
detail of "The Honey Queen" painting by Debra Cortese
The 3rd and final Opening Reception for the TRIAD ART Exhibition with Debra Cortese, Karen Deilke and Pamela Palma is on Saturday, July 21st at VALMAR ART, 4150 SW 74th CT (in the Bird Road Art District), Miami, FL 33155.
Debra Cortese is exhibiting her new series titled, “Seeds of Intention”. Each piece is based on variations of a Flower of Life pattern and represents a positive meditation for the future of humanity in cooperation with nature’s energy.
“The Honey Queen” painting honors one of the smallest and most significant creatures on our planet, the bee. Cortese has dedicated this painting to long-time beekeeper, Mike Price of Bees-n-the-Keys as well as other compassionate beekeepers in Miami and all around the world.
Coconut Grove artist (and Founder of the Coconut Grove Drum Circle), Karen Deilke is exhibiting her vibrant and expressive “Hot Tropics” paintings.
Miami Beach artist, Pamela Palma is exhibiting her evocative fiber art works that incorporate uncommon materials including shredded one-hundred dollar bills, the delicious color interactions of hand dyed yarns, and textural elements.
Live Blues with Miami guitarist, Rob Moore – all at VALMAR ART during the monthly Bird Road Art Walk on Saturday, July 21st starting at 7 pm.
Triad invitation with more details here.
Valmar Art, 4150 SW 74th Ct, Miami, FL 33155
Debra Cortese, Karen Deilke, Palma Palma art in TRIAD show
Hard to believe it’s almost time to hang the final exhibition of our TRIAD shows! I was fortunate to draw the short straw when Karen Deilke, Pamela Palma and I first met to discuss the logistics of hanging and scheduling our run of three artists, and three openings during the months of May, June, and July*.
I say I was fortunate to draw the short straw for several reasons which have developed throughout the process. The first and most exciting to me was the fact that I now had 2 extra months to create the new series that had already been showing up in sketches throughout the beginning of the year. I thought this was reason enough, but as it turns out, rotating walls for each new opening challenged each of us to step further outside of our comfort zone – creating new work, mixing up the exhibits each month and learning how beneficial it is to share our ideas and communicate our needs.
As artists, we are often very accustomed to working independently and making or avoiding decisions based on our current state of affairs. Working as a team requires cooperation, and communication in order to equitably satisfy everyone. Our communication skills were fine tuned as we worked through the details of times, dates, marketing materials, and meetings. I’d say we now have a better understanding of the processes involved in this type of a cooperative exhibit. And I’d also say there is always more to learn 😉
Please join us on Saturday, July 21st for the opening reception of TRIAD III. I’ll be showing my new Seeds of Intention artworks, Karen Deilke has new work in her Hot Tropics series, and Pamela Palma will have even more mysterious goddess weavings on display. Of course there will be wine and finger foods and LIVE MUSIC – by my friend, blues legend, Rob (Wild Boar) Moore. You can hear Rob’s music at www.robmoore-guitar.com.
TRIAD 3 Opening Reception starts at 7:00 pm and runs until 10:0 pm. There will also be a drawing to win a very special Seed of Intention painting. You don’t have to be present to win, but you do have to attend and fill out an entry so we can contact you to pickup your art prize! 😉
Click HERE for more info on the TRIAD show – and a map to VALMAR
you can also RSVP on Facebook HERE
*NOTE: final exhibition opens on July 21st and runs through August 15th, 2012.
TRIAD No. 2 (of 3) art exhibitions at VALMAR Art & Framing Gallery
Join us on Saturday, June 16th during the monthly Bird Road Art Walk.
Coconut Grove artist, Karen Deilke is headlining this opening with her
a collection of large, colorful, tropical paintings.
Miami Beach artist, Pamela Palma, will present new fiber artworks.
Miami artist, Debra Cortese. will be showing her playful
Making Mango Salsa and food art, mixed media paintings.
NOTE: Cortese’s “Seeds of Intention” will be headlining
the TRIAD 3 opening on Saturday, July 21st
For full details and a map visit our official TRIAD Invitation page HERE!