I have completed my latest totem drawing, the beaver. I am very happy with how it turned out. I enjoyed working with the colors as they blended just the way I wanted. I like how the tail came out as well. It’s like I can feel the texture of it just by looking at it. I’m not going to lie, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed creating this piece. I was a little nervous with the ink but the colors really bring it together.
If the beaver has crossed your path it may be time to pay attention to your home and family life. Beavers are known for their advanced skills in building. When they create their homes, there are many entrances and exits. This teaches us not to create a corner for ourselves to get trapped in. Leave many openings for new experiences and let the waters flow freely. Do not get stuck down one path but instead allow yourself to try new things.
The beaver is the builder of dreams, the one who takes action. Have you been working towards your dreams lately or just waiting for something to happen? The beaver knows it takes hard work to finish projects. Make sure you are putting forth the effort to finish your projects. Are you sour because you have to work? Buck up, buttercup. You get nowhere if all you do is day dream. It is time to take action! Projects do not finish themselves and dreams do not manifest out of thin air. You have to build them!
The beaver is also known to stay with one mate for life. The beaver understands that family and teamwork are important. We can achieve major goals when we work together. Everyone has a specific talent that they bring to the table. We must appreciate each other for the individual talents we contribute. When everyone is playing their part and encouraging each other in the process, your dreams can finally become a reality. Build your dream home together!
The beaver is also very reliant on their teeth. If a beaver were to lose a tooth, they would surely die. Make sure you are taking care of your own dental hygiene!
The beaver has lifted it’s tail and gave a slap in the face! Wake up daydreamers! Stop fantasizing about what you want and just make it a reality. You are the one in charge of your life. Now actually build it into what you want.
Thanks for stopping by this week! I hope you enjoyed the latest totem drawing and gained some insight from beaver’s wisdom. If you have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment below!
Until next time,
“If there’s something wrong, those who have the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action.”
My family and I were driving down the road a week ago and passed by a creek. We noticed movement in the water and my husband shouts, “Turn around! I think that was a beaver!” We were really excited and instantly turned around. I drove slow along side the creek and we spotted it’s head again. It was cruising along the water, minding it’s own business. Sure enough, it was beaver! We slowly crept to a spot where we could sit for a moment and watch it but as soon as I put the vehicle in park it spooked and slumped down in the water. My husband and son watched it’s tail rise out of the water and loudly SLAP down before he disappeared. I only heard it. It echoed and was unmistakable like a paddle smacking the water.
We waited for about ten minutes, hoping it would return. It never resurfaced but we could see it’s huge body gliding under the water. Then we saw another huge body swimming along side it. There was two of them! Maybe more, who could be sure but the beavers? They eventually swam away down a stream that jetted off of the creek. We could see dark holes underwater and assumed they headed home.
It was the first time I had seen a beaver in the wild! I was so excited! That is what inspired my latest totem animal piece. Next week I will share the symbolism behind beaver as well as the completed piece with color.
Thanks for stopping by this week! Have you ever seen a beaver in the wild? Share your story in the comments below!
Until next time,
“Gotta get this log movin’, sonny, gotta get it movin’! T’ain’t the cuttin’ take’s the time, it’s the doggone haulin’!”
Opossum have been scurrying all over the night. Have you seen any? I completed the color on my latest totem piece. I was a little worried in the beginning. It wasn’t turning out right at all. I just kept tweaking it until finally it started to look right. I should know better than to judge a piece before it’s finished! What do you think?
So what message do these nocturnal marsupials have to share? It’s what they do best of course! Play dead!
It is time to think strategically, like the crafty opossum. Have you found yourself in an uneasy situation. Is someone trying to put you down or spread rumors about you to make you look bad? You may want to scream that individuals head off but the opossum is not one to use the claws right off the bat! When a predator approaches, the opossum will drop dead, emit the “death stench” and slow it’s heart rate. This throws the predator off. In the confusion and a quick glance in the other direction, the opossum can run to safety. Use this tactic with your own situation. “Play dead” and let it go. If you ignore hurtful words and let them roll off your back, the individual inflicting it on you loses all their power. If rumors are being spread, let them fade out on their own. Others will see the truth and you will win in the end! Do not add unnecessary drama to your life when you can simply “play dead” to the situation. In doing so, you will achieve greater victories than if you show tooth and claw.
On the other hand, maybe you’ve been “playing dead” too often or when it doesn’t call for it. Have you been making excuses instead of facing the facts or being honest with the people around you? You might be trying to avoid hurting others feelings but you must learn how to tactfully tell them the truth of the matter. Remember, you do not have to explain yourself to anyone but white lies are not a good alternative. Be strong and use your head. Think strategically.
Thanks for stopping by this week. I apologize for the delayed post but I finally got ‘r dun! Do you have any stories to share about opossum? Leave a comment below!
Until next time,
“All these moments will be lost in time. Like…tears in the rain. Time to die.”
I have been seeing quite a few opossum lately. Unfortunately, most of them have been roadkill. Luckily, this morning I saw one scurry across the road into the woods! Go, little guy, go! I decided my next totem animal piece was going to be the opossum. I have completed the ink and will be working on the color throughout the week.
There are many misconceptions when it comes to opossums. Many people see them as nasty rodents that carry disease and could be a threat. Some people are put off by their appearance, like a giant rat. Opossums, however, are marsupials. This means they carry their young in a pouch. They are the only marsupials found in the US and Canada. They are not disease ridden and do not carry rabies. Though they have an impressive set of teeth, they will not attack. They are…well…cowards. They will run away or “play ‘possum” rather than lunge at you or a pet.
Opossum spend a lot of their time in trees. They have prehensile tails to act as an extra limb to help with climbing. It is not, however, used for hanging upside down. Adults are too heavy to support their weight with just their tail. Young opossum are capable but it serves no purpose.
I hope you enjoyed the latest drawing! Check back soon to see the finished piece! Thanks for stopping by this week.
Until next time,
“I thought we’d be dead by step two, so this is going great.”
With keen eyes atop an elongated neck, giraffes have amazing eyesight. They can see vast distances and have a wide peripheral. This represents being able to see what lies ahead of you. Giraffe gives you the power to see your future. You will be able to see your destination and any obstacles that may be in your way. You will be able to prepare and effectively deal with obstacles so they do not inhibit you.
Are you preventing yourself from moving towards your future? To go along with their towering necks, Giraffes also have long and lanky legs. Though they have a teetering appearance they are balanced and move rhythmically. Their neck and legs work together as they run. This teaches us we must not only see our future but to make sure we are moving towards it. See what is in front of you and take yourself there. Always move forward.
Giraffes have adapted to only need water every few days. This is because of the awkward stance they must put themselves in to drink. They part their front legs wide and lower their heads to the water. This puts them a vulnerable state. Giraffe could be warning you to keep your head high. Do not let your vision drop below the horizon for too long. You will be susceptible to harm and may hinder your own progression in life. Have you ever heard the expression one step forward, two steps back?
Giraffes are silent creatures. They may occasionally snort or “hum” but otherwise do not produce sound. Their communication is body language. Pay attention to yours. What are you saying? Are you saying too much? Or maybe not enough? If giraffe has presented itself to you, it may be time adapt your communication.
I hope giraffe is able to help you through your next journey. I learned a lot about giraffes and their symbolism that I hadn’t known before. Do you have any stories about giraffes? Share your story in the comments below.
I wasn’t able to finish my giraffe totem drawing yet but will be sharing another post later this week with the completed piece in color. Once the color is added it changes the entire look of the drawing. I am excited to see how it turns out. Check back soon! Thanks for stopping by!
Until next time,
“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
Animal Speak by Ted Andrews
Ending quote from the movie “Back to the Future”
I have completed the ink for my latest totem animal piece. I have been wanting to create a giraffe piece for quite some time now. I drew one in high school in green colored pencil and eventually lost it. Ever since then I’ve wanted to bring it back to my collection. They are beautiful creatures with a unique pattern. It’s like Mother Earth has given them their own tangle to display proudly. It made my job simple. I completed this piece quickly and I am happy with the results. It is a gentle piece for a gentle giant.
There are four species of giraffe with five subspecies. They can only be found in Africa and are the tallest mammals in the world. They can reach heights of up to 19 ft.! The females give birth standing up, which gives their offspring about a five foot drop and a rude awakening!
Giraffes can survive with only 5-20 minutes of sleep a day and need only to drink water every few days. A lot of their hydration comes from the leaves they eat on the top of trees, high out of reach of other animals. Their tongues are about 21 inches long to give them even more of a reach!
Unfortunately, in 2016 the giraffe was moved on the IUCN red list to “vulnerable” which means they are at high risk of extinction. This is mainly due to poaching and habit loss. Within the last 30 years, their population has decreased by 40%! It is heart-breaking to see another fascinatingly unique creature slowly dwindle away. How many more must we lose before the world realizes we must respect wildlife and learn to coexist.
There are organizations working to help giraffes and conserve their existence. Below is a list of websites that can get you started if you would like to learn more. Thanks for stopping by this week. I hope you enjoyed my latest totem piece and learned something new about giraffes. Check back next Monday to learn the symbolism behind giraffe and see the completed piece in color.
Until next time,
“I stick my neck out for nobody.”
Ending quote from the movie “Casablanca”
Sea turtles are beautiful, elegant creatures. I was inspired from my recent trip to the New England Aquarium to make my next totem piece the sea turtle. The black and white version came out alright but I was much happier with the piece after adding color. The natural patterns of this particular sea turtle resembled flowers and I think the colors really added to that effect.
Turtle symbolism, in general, encompasses Mother Earth and our connection to her. Many different tales speak of the giant turtle carrying the entire world on it’s back. Some portray the turtle carrying the tree of life. Turtle is Earth, the mother of all life and the protector of the universe. We are all born from the Earth and one day give back what was given to us. As long as we love Turtle, love the Earth, she will love us back and we will never be alone. Abundance will follow by simply showing gratitude for what we’ve been given.
Turtle is balanced with earth and water energy. The sea turtle, with it’s strong association with water, further amplifies the meaning of life, feminine energy and fluidity. The seas are also symbolized as the womb of life. It is also home to our dreams, our subconscious and unconscious minds. The water is forever changing, a constant transition like life. We must learn to flow off Turtle’s back, allowing change and rebirth to happen. Water has no shape. Become shapeless like the sea and let new possibilities form more easily.
Sea turtles bury their eggs on the beach under the sands. The sun will do the rest of the work until they hatch and fight their way back to the sea. This tells us we need to let our ideas fully develop before we let them rise to the surface. We must build our strength before we open ourselves up to potential threats. Focus your thoughts and energies before acting to better ensure success.
If the sea turtle has swam through your mind, it is time to reconnect will Mother Earth. Ground yourself with the Universe and remember where we all come from and were we will all return. Be grateful for the life you’ve been given and Turtle will reward you with abundance and love. Show respect for the ancient wisdom that Turtle holds. She is eternal. She is our protection. She is our connection to everything great.
I hope you enjoyed my latest drawing and gained some insight learning about sea turtle symbolism. Thanks for stopping by this week. Check back next Monday for a sneak peek at my next totem animal piece.
Until next time,
“I’m the Turtle, son. I made the universe, but please don’t blame me for it; I had a belly-ache.”
Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson
Nature Speak by Ted Andrews
Animal Speak by Ted Andrews
The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook by Adele Nozedar
Ending quote from “IT” by Stephen King
My recent trip to the New England Aquarium in Boston, MA brought the stunning sea turtle to my attention. There I saw a green sea turtle and a loggerhead. Both were very beautiful, massive and left a lasting impression on me. My latest totem animal piece was inspired by them. At first, I wasn’t happy with how the piece turned out because it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it too. Although, keeping Zentangle in mind, you cannot have a preconceived notion on how the piece will turn out. Just draw and let it happen. Don’t force it. I went back and touched it up a bit after remembering this and began to like it a bit more. I think I might work on the ink a little more before I add the color. Once the color is complete I will cover the sea turtles symbolism. For now, some interesting facts and conservation updates!
Sea turtles can be found all over the world! There are seven different species which include the green sea turtle, the loggerhead, the leatherback, the flatback, Kemp’s ridley, olive ridley and the hawksbill. The largest is the leatherback which can reach up to 8 feet long and can weigh over a ton, literally! Some species can dive to 3,000 feet and hold their breath for up to five hours. All sea turtles are carnivores except for green sea turtles which are herbivores.
Six out of seven of these species are endangered, however. Their main threat being pollution, loss of nesting beaches, over hunting and getting trapped in fishing nets. There are many other dangers to sea turtles, mostly inflicted by humans, but there are ways to help!
You can purchase bracelets from cool companies like 4Ocean and Planet Love Life that work to clean up the ocean and beaches. Or you can volunteer with local groups to help clean them up yourself! Recycling is always a simple and effortless way to make a difference as well. If you live near the beach, be aware of nesting grounds and steer clear. Many beaches may already have areas blocked off from the public to protect the nests. Below are a few sites you can check out to learn more about how to help sea turtle conservation!
Thanks for stopping by this week! I hope you enjoyed my latest totem drawing and some neat sea turtle facts. Check back next Monday for the completed piece and their symbolism.
Until next time,
“And the turtles of course…all the turtles are free, as turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.”
More About Conservation
Cool Companies with Cool Ideas!
Ending quote from “Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories” by Dr. Suess
I have completed my latest Zentangle inspired totem animal, the manatee. I posted last week about their symbolism accompanied with the black and white drawing. I have finished adding the color and am satisfied with how the piece turned out overall. More specifically, I am happy with how the algae came out. It makes the drawing pop against the blueish grays of the manatee.
Something else I am happy to share is that manatee numbers are on the rise! It’s always good to hear when animals are regaining their territory and making a come back. In early 2017, the US Fish and Wildlife Services changed the manatees’ status from endangered to threatened. Their population and habitat continue to grow with the efforts of many organizations and individuals who have been working to make this happen. It is still going to take a lot of work to make sure their numbers keep growing and all acts and protection laws issued are still in place to help this magnificent marine mammal take back the waters!
If you want to learn more and find out how you can help manatees, check out the websites I have listed below. I hope you enjoyed my latest piece. I’ll be posting a new totem animal next Monday. What will the next one be? Come back soon to find out! Thanks for stopping by this week!
Until next time,
“It’s what you do right now that makes a difference.”
**Ending quote from the movie: Black Hawk Down**
Manatees are the “Buddhas” of the waters. They look like heavy, cumbersome boulders yet they glide through coastal waters gracefully. They swim slowly, peacefully at about five miles an hour but can reach up to 15 in short distances. Manatees live in small groups called aggregations though sometimes males create larger groups during mating season. Their diet consists of marine grasses, algae and seaweeds. They have teeth like horses to grind up their food and their intestines can reach up to 100 feet long!
So has the mellow sea cow drifted across your path? What is their message? Peace and tranquility, of course. Slowing down and not letting life blow right by you. Take time to glide through the waters; appreciate life. When Manatee presents itself to you, it is time to let go of violence and aggression. Let anger roll off your back like a gentle wave. There is no need for it now. Be calm. Be cool. Just Be. Clear the mind of unnecessary thoughts and open it to new ideas. Ideas that put you at ease. Peace and tranquility. Far out!
Manatee also show us to cherish our closest friends. We only find a few true friends in our lifetime and we need to appreciate them. Keep them close and value the strong relationships you have made.
I really enjoyed creating the totem drawing for manatee. I was a little nervous about how it might come out for the simplest fact they are gray blobs with paddles floating in water. I think it worked out though in the end. I used one of the tangles from my book and it gives it an old “Mayan stonework” look. I am still working on the coloring which shows off the green algae that sticks to the manatees backs. I will be sharing the finished piece in a later post.
What do you think of Manatee? Have you been in a situation recently that called for some peace and calming? Share your story in the comments below! Thanks for stopping by this week.
Until next time,
“Anything is possible when you have inner peace.”
Ending quote from movie: Kung Fu Panda