I got to wondering, "Why am I painting turtles?" I thought about this for a while and I didn't really come up with an answer. I was talking to a long time friend of mine one day. She asked me what I was currently painting. I said, "Sea Turtles." She then remarked that I had been hiding in my shell for the last couple of years- just like the turtles. When she said this, I realized it was true. I had been in constant pain for the last two years and because of this, I barely went out and did things. I was truly was hiding in my shell.
Well, I am happy to say that after having my right hip replaced, I am coming out of my shell. Not being in constant pain has given me a new lease on life. I am totally fascinated by the fact that my subconscious mind is always reflected in my art- even if I am not aware of it at the time. I have always understood this connection though I do not pay that much attention to it.
The most transitional periods of my life really stand out in my work. Many years ago, I was attempting to leave my New York life and create my new Maui life. I was quite unhappy and I began to paint doors on buildings. I had never before or since had any interest in painting buildings but there I was inexplicably creating watercolors of different types of doors. The first in a series of four, had bars on the front door. The next one was a solid wooden door with no bars. The third piece had a window on the door. The fourth and final painting became a beautiful iron gate with bars and bougainvillea. The gate was open and was beckoning me to my new future.
I did not see the relevance or the meaning of these paintings until all four of them were completed. I donated all of them as a collection to a hospital in New York. I was hoping that they would somehow lend encouragement to someone who might be longing for it. I did not need them any more. They had served their purpose. I had painted my way to freedom and a path to my new life.
I see a parallel here and I feel the need to remark upon the connection through this memory. My renewed health has truly given me a new life. The turtle paintings were a way for me to protect myself symbolically.
Turtles are so very special in that they represent longevity, endurance, persistence and the continuation of life. How perfectly appropriate. I am done painting turtles and I am grateful to them. They have served their purpose. It is time for me to come out of my shell. Enjoy the journey!!