Mr. Turtle linocut

Box turtle linocut

When I decided to make another linocut after the Japanese maple leaf one, I once again fell to the pleasure of my box turtle friends.  I recently determined that there are actually 2, if not three Mr. Turtles wandering my flower beds.  I knew for sure that I had at least two when I was able to definitely identify two separate shell patterns.  One had the markings more splotchy and melded together than the other, which had rather distinct stripes.  There was a size difference too.

I think the one depicted here is Mr. Turtle Jr. with the slashy stripes.  Mr. Turtle Sr.  is quite a bit bigger. and has the more muddled markings.

Mr. Turtle III is marked with a combination of the two others.  Also, his size just seemed to be off of what I recalled of the other two.  Smaller maybe and he seemed to be leerier of me than the others, pulling himself inside his shell when I approached.  The others just kind of look up at me and stay out as long as I don’t try to pick them up.  Whatever.  He will get to know I mean him no harm if He continues to visit.

Mr. Turtle is back

Mr. Turtle

Mr. Turtle

With all of the warm weather lately, I have been spending some of my mornings in the flowerbeds.  The nice temperatures and intermittent rains have started the morning weeding chores.  I had just finished one of the lower beds to the side of my studio and when I got up, there was Mr. Turtle almost beside me in the grass.  He was trucking right along (for a turtle, anyway) to the beds next to the gazebo.  I had been concerned about him after the sticky paper incident last fall because I hadn’t seen him after we cleaned and then freed him, so this was so wonderful for me to see.

I raced back into the house to get my camera.  By the time I got back he had moved under the edge of the evergreen shrubs where I had been weeding.  Much to his dismay, I plucked him up and set him down a few feet away so I could take his picture.  Shortly thereafter he continued on his journey.  I hope to see him often over the summer.  We’re kind of like pals after all of these years.

Mr. Turtle’s Portrait

Mr. Turtle

Mr. Turtle

I am still pretty busy outside of the studio these days so I have been choosing smaller projects that I can pick up or stop easily. I have talked about Mr. Turtle before and decided that a small water color/ink portrait of him would fit the bill.  I also need more animal portrait samples for my etsy shop and the picture I took of him last month was pretty good for that.  He is a lovely shade of dark brown with golden markings.  I think the markings are so distinctive to the individual that each one can be identified by them.  As you can see, he was peering up at me when I took his picture.  I never tried to pick him up so he wasn’t too afraid.  He kept his head out the whole picture taking session, even when I walked around to photograph him from both sides.  I think we have come to an agreement.  I kind of like the look in his eye.

I have been using the nib pen and india ink to sketch out a base for the watercolor in the animal portrait work.  I like the fluidity and variation of the pen stroke for the animal art versus the technical pen for the architecturals.  Also, I am not really using the nib pen for a lot of detail in these.  I want to keep a sketch like quality to the work.

And Mr. Turtle has been living life on the edge lately.  Last week he had to be picked up out of the way a riding lawn mower and relocated to a safer spot.  All I can say is “whew” for him.  He’s fairly good size but seeing him in the tall grass was fortunate.

Mr. Turtle has returned

I am still working on the streetscape commission. She decided, after testing my slightly askew digital image on her website, that perhaps a little color was needed. So I retrieved the board from the photographer, fortunately before he had taken the professional shot and am going to add some simple watercolors to the trees and the trunks. I think I will go ahead and color girl and her dog too. It is to be a dog walking business website so it would be nice to make them stand out.

Mr. TurtleIn the meantime, I was working in the yard last week and I came upon Mr. Turtle crossing the gravel part of the drive, heading towards the flower beds in the front of the house.  He was walking relatively quickly, pausing only briefly when I came up on him.  Perhaps he remembered me from last year because he stayed out of his shell, peering cautiously at me, then trundling away as I moved aside.  He had moved all of the way into the beds while I went and got my camera and hidden himself in the luxurious growth of the vinca.  I don’t know where he spent the winter, but I was glad to see him again, a little bit bigger and a little bit faster than before.  I look forward to seeing him soon.

Ohio Entry 2

It has been hot, hot, hot this week. And we actually needed a little rain. Last night we got about .4″ by the way of a very loud thunderstorm. I am sure that a few trees got hit by lightning too. There were several large strikes that seemed very close. Today is just hot again and mostly sunny.  I guess we are jumping directly into the heat of summer.  After last winter, however, I’m not going to complain.  I’d way rather be hot than cold and snowed in.  I could just do without the tornado warnings.

Ohio Entry 2

With a few interruptions, I managed to finish the second Ohio entryway a couple of days ago.  After letting it sit, I am fairly satisfied with it. I like the way the shapes within the drawing turned out and the colors. After I penciled it out, I made a few adjustments on where the edges were and added more onto the top to clarify the stucco area.  I usually leave extra margin space for just this purpose.  I few times I didn’t and regretted it.  It is always easy to cut off the excess later. 

Palettewise, it is similar to the first entryway but structurally they are quite dissimilar.  The first one’s internal structure was squared and this one is much more triangular.  I do like the effect of the slate roofs also.  There are many houses in the area with that brick so I’m betting it came from a local brickworks.  The colors are quite varied and some of them actually look to have a slightly purple cast.  I wonder where the slate came from?

I haven’t seem Mr. turtle lately and not much other wildlife either except for squirrels.  Perhaps this heat has driven them into the cooler woods and down by the lake.  Not even the deer have put in an appearance.  I keep expecting to see some fawns traipsing in the shallows of the lake, cooling their heels.  Soon perhaps.

A visit from a speedy turtle

I have finished about half of the coloring of the latest picture.  It’s taking a little longer because of the holiday and various other things. Because of the sunshine I also spent part of yesterday taking photos of more aceos and mini tags.  I had to take almost a hundred photos when it was all said and done because I need several of each to choose from and various combinations of everything.  It sure can be time consuming so it seems better to run up a bunch at one time and process them all at once. 

Wandering turtle

Lately, when the weather dries out a bit, I have been trying to spend some time out in the yard with the plants. One day a couple of weeks ago, I came up the back stone stairway and saw a box turtle a little bit larger than the palm of my hand up next to the garage doors, headed towards the rear. I thought he would safely move himself along and just let him be.  We weren’t going anywhere for a while. Sure enough, when I came back out a little later he was gone – to I don’t know where.  I just hoped he hadn’t tried the steps. 

I was weeding out behind the house a few days later and guess who I saw again. My little turtle friend, on the opposite side of the house, out in the grass instead of on the concrete.  I went into the studio, grabbed the camera, and returned to take a few photos of him.  I did, as you can see, but it was hard to get something very photogenic.  I moved him a little to where  I thought I could get a better shot.  Of course, once I touched him, he tucked into his shell and wouldn’t come back out.  I went back to weeding for a little while, planning to go back in a few minutes when he had a chance to recover his courage and momentum.  Unfortunately, when I went back, he was gone.  He had only been about 15 feet from where I had been working and the woods were quite a bit farther away, but I couldn’t find him anywhere.  I guess when there is a purpose even a little turtle can really move along.