Totem Animal: Orca

I had so much fun creating this piece. I always have an idea in mind but as I draw I let the piece create itself. My original thought was to have each orca resemble each half of a yin yang symbol. They originally were going to be done in zentangle and one porpoise would be black, the other white. The more I worked on it, my entire idea changed. The orcas’ skin is so smooth and shiny, I didn’t want to take away from that by adding patterns. I thought, instead, it would be a fun opportunity to play with the value scale and get some nice blue hues in replace of the orcas’ natural black. To fill in the space between, I created a neat design to represent the waves of water splashing around them. It’s a very calming piece. I feel like I can hear the water splashing when I look at it.

The orca has always fascinated me, ever since I was a child. They are my favorite marine animal and they have a lot to boast. So let’s dive on in and learn about their symbolism! (…see what I did there…)

Orca Symbolism

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First of all, lets get this out of the way so there is no confusion. Orcas are also known as killer whales. They are not actually whales, however. They are the largest porpoise (like dolphins) species in existence.

Orcas are highly intelligent creatures. They have the second largest brain in the ocean and can figure out any dilemma they come across. Have you ever seen those videos on youtube of the killer whales hunting? Pretty crazy stuff! Their ability to work together and problem solve is remarkable. This is a key point we should take from the orca. If they have swam into your consciousness, it may be time to start using that big brain of yours. Keep yourself mentally active and healthy. The better you take care of yourself, the better you can take on any obstacle in life!

Orcas are a strong symbol of family. They live in huge “pods” sometimes of 40 family members! The females lead the pod, passing it down from generation to generation. They have great respect towards their grandmothers and mothers. We, too, should remember to respect our own family members who have cared for us and taught us what they know.

It is also important to work together. Killer whales know they can accomplish more when they are together. They are phenomenal hunters. Orcas have often been referred to as the wolves of the water because of the way they work as a pack to catch their prey. Make sure you are being a good team player. Help each other to obtain a common goal. The success rate is higher when you work together. It is much easier to make waves with many whales than it is with one. Imagine what you can do if everyone is in tune with each other. Communication helps with this.

Orcas are very vocal and rely heavily on sound. They use echolocation to navigate the world around them. Plus their songs are beautiful and melodious. If you hear the call of the orca, remember to use your own voice. Communicate with others to achieve harmony. Sing your song and enjoy the music of others. A calming tone can do wonders!

Some Native Americans believed that each orca was a reincarnation of a loved one. They showed a great respect for the animal and never hunted them. They were a sign from the spirit realm that a love one that has passed is still with you, watching over you. If you have lost someone recently, perhaps they have come to comfort you in the form of orca.

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The orca is such a powerful totem and they represent so much more than what I covered here. Make sure to check out other sources to get a full interpretation of your totem. Thanks for stopping by this week! Say hi in the comments below and let me know what you think of the orca totem!

Make a splash, free spirit!

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Inktober 2018 – Jolt

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My first thought for “Jolt” was Frankenstein, an obvious choice. I wasn’t in the mood to draw another Frankenstein themed sketch though. I went with my second choice instead, Jaws. I didn’t realize it until I had already started but this incorporates fire and water, two of the hardest things for me to draw. This is the perfect opportunity to practice though.

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Inktober 2017
Inktober 2016

#130 – The MEG…tooth – 7.22.18

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My husband and I went to a Gem & Rock Show in Herkimer, NY! It was a lot of fun and I bought many new treasures for my collection. One of which being this megalodon tooth. The enamel is chipping and as you can see one of the corners has broke off but because of this we got it for a steal! You can still feel the serrated edge. I will share a photo journal soon showing everything else I got while I was there. 

Totem Animal: Sea Turtle

Sea Turtle

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 Totem BW

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.”

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Sources:
  • 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

#45 – Productive Day

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4/24/18, Megtography #45 – Productive Day – I got quite a bit done today! Had a good day at work, out in the sunshine all day. Then came home and completed my sea turtle totem animal drawing! Check back on Monday to see the colored piece and learn about sea turtle symbolism.

Turtle Tribute

Turtle Totem BW

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.”

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More About Conservation
Cool Companies with Cool Ideas!
Ending quote from “Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories” by Dr. Suess

Travel to: New England Aquarium

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It was trying to be a difficult day but no matter how hard the day tried we still had a blast! The drive to Boston, MA is roughly three hours for us. We had heard great admiration about the New England Aquarium from friends and family and knew it would be worth the drive. It was forecasted to be a sunny 70 degrees that day but turned out to be a cloudy,windy 40!

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When we finally arrived in the city, we wanted to check out Quincy Market before hand to grab lunch. We had tickets for a 3-D IMAX movie at the aquarium but gave ourselves enough time to eat first. So we started walking towards what we thought was the market until we realized we were walking in the wrong direction for 15 minutes. Did I mention it was cold out! We wasted so much time trying to figure out where we were but we finally found Quincy Market, found some food (very yummy seafood from Salty Dog), and quickly got to the aquarium to catch our movie.

Lines were crazy but moved quickly. We thought we might miss our show but made it in the nick of time. Phew! Turns out we didn’t have to rush. They were having issues with the equipment and couldn’t get the movie to play. They tried for 25 minutes before they called it. Luckily they offered refunds or tickets for another visit. We chose the tickets. We stayed in good spirits and headed to the actual aquarium now. That’s when the real fun began!

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It was pretty crowded but it was a systematic chaos. We were still able to check out everything. Everyone kept moving to give others a chance to look at all the different tanks. When we first walked in, we headed straight for the penguins. The penguin enclosures were just below the first floor so you walked above them, looking over the ledge. It was like they could swim through the bottom floor and you could watch them as you walked around the entire aquarium. There was three different species and they were feeding them when we were there. They were funny to watch; they hopped from here to there, diving in the water and swimming rapidly after each other! I kept thinking about the Penguins of Madagascar and it made me laugh.

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In the very center of the building is a huge cylindrical tank that starts on the first floor and goes all the way to the top. There is a walkway that spirals all the way up and you can watch all the fish swim by in the gigantic tube of water. It’s about four floors high and all the way at the top, at the time, they were giving a seminar and you could look down into the huge tank. There were bonnethead sharks, rays, big balloonfish, and so many other colorful crazy things I don’t even know what they were! Not to mention the green sea turtle which you would never believe her gigantic size until you see her in person! Beautiful, gorgeous animal! She was definitely my favorite creature in the entire aquarium.

We saw shadowy piranhas, electric eels, mesmerizing jellyfish, seals and sea lions, a beautiful octopus and even a ginormous anaconda! We saw native fish, exotic fish, one, fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish! (see what I did there ;)) The cuttlefish were oddly adorable as well!

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The entire day was overwhelmingly fantastic! I really wish I could go on a slow day or in a perfect world after hours. I would just sit there all night; I would watch them all and draw everything I could in amazing colors. I would fill an entire sketchbook. Maybe one of these days I will go out there and do just that. Talk about some meditation.

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So much seemed to go against the grain with this day but it turned out absolutely amazing…and we didn’t even get to see the 3-D IMAX movie! We are excited to see one next time we go back because we are definitely going back!

Have you been to the New England Aquarium? What was your favorite creature? Share your story in the comments below. And if you haven’t made it there yet, I highly recommend going with the family! (or alone for some artful meditation ;)) Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed the photography!

Until next time,

“I am a nice shark, not a mindless eating machine. If I am to change this image, I must first change myself. Fish are friends, not food.”

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Mad for Manatees!

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.

Manatee Totem Color

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.”

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**Ending quote from the movie: Black Hawk Down**