Friday, September 21, 2012

Turtle Parking

This week's APR theme is "in your own backyard". I've asked you to look out your back window and be inspired by what you see. I've got a very cute story about one of my previous backyards then I'll show you the bridge I've sketched because I promised my mom I'd draw her bridge outside the apartment. I don't have any cute bridge stories so I'm substituting a cute turtle story instead. Work with me here people!

When I lived in Vancouver, the apartment I lived in was part of a group of buildings that formed a haphazard ring with gardens and a large fish pond in the center for all the residents to enjoy. I was lucky enough to have a central view from my second floor balcony of all the goings on in the pond. Our man made pond had a nice border, kind of like a curb around the entire thing that served as a bumper between the paths for people and the pond for wildlife. The curb was about a foot wide all the way around our pond. Our pond, along with hundreds of goldfish had ducks, had Canada geese, a heron and a dozen or so resident turtles.

Mostly the turtles (who came in many sizes, from more than a hand span down to baby turtles) kept to themselves, doing what turtles do, swimming around and eating bugs (I'm guessing, I'm no turtle expert). But on exceptionally warm, sunny days the turtles did something that would make me laugh out loud as I watched them. There seemed to be a favored spot where the curb curved in to the pond and this short distance of curved curb proved to be the problem. It was prime turtle real estate and there wasn't enough sunning room for all the turtles.

First, one or two of the larger turtles would get up onto the curb in this very specific spot. Then, as others came to join their buddies for some tanning time there became a line, shell to shell of parked turtles. Here's where the fun began. When this prime spot (a couple feet of curb) became full, all the rest of the turtles felt left out of the tanning party and they'd try to wiggle their way between their turtle buddies to grab a spot. Well, the turtles already "parked" were having none of this, especially if they were the big mama turtles. Junior would try and winnow between and promptly be kicked back into the pool! The babies were the smartest, they'd just scramble on top of the big'uns for double decker turtle parking!! It was just hilarious to watch this slow maneuvering of a dozen turtles all vying for a few feet of space when there was probably 500 feet of empty curb space with the same sunny warmth radiating down. 

The funniest times were when I'd look out and see turtle parking going on and see a medium sized turtle who had decided that YES, there WAS enough room for him!! But, in actuality, it was like a fat man trying to squeeze through a tiny doorway. The spatially challenged turtle would end up on it's side, one set of legs on the ground and another set of legs on the turtle beside him. You try squeezing a too large car into a too small parking space, something's gotta give, that shell isn't shrinking any time soon, buddy!

I used to get such laughs out of watching our pond and sunny days of turtle parking. Ok, so now that you had a nice story, here's my bridge. I've inked it out and added the under bridge shadow but haven't hardly started the shading. I intend to do it all in warm & cool greys and maybe some subtle greens, just to give it a little spark. I'm not sure if I want to even give the water any color, maybe a VERY subtle hint of blue, we'll see if it needs it. I know I want it to be quite monochromatic.
Title: "Donna's Bridge"

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  1. Great drawing - the bridge is so charming (and so is your turtle story) and I like the idea of a monochromatic drawing - that little hint of yellow in the stones is enough to gently warm up the picture. Great work!

  2. Oh what a laugh...I had the circus music playing in my head whilst visualising the turtle acrobatics!
    I could watch those sort of antics for hours! ;D
    What a beautiful quaint little bridge...the sort that we'd say 'hello fairies' to as we passed over.
    You know I'm a fan of monochromatic drawings so its a winner in my book.
    Donna must be thrilled :D

  3. Love your turtle story (and the dear bridge).

  4. Turtles so love to pile up in a cluster--LOL!
    Lovely little bridge! :)
    I hope to finish up on my organizing project this coming week and be able to participate more often.

  5. How funny, and I loved that you have named it "turtle parking", which makes it all funnier! I would love to have a pond to watch but am happy to settle for the creek! Lovely bridge too! waving hi from the hills of North Carolina :)

  6. this is such a wonderful and wondrously told memory-story, Jenn!! I was reminded of the seals in Monterey, and in San Francisco, though those are NOT as close-up. When Gracie first "met" the ocean was the same day she first "met" seals. to say she was humbled would BE an understatement. we got right up next to a bunch of them, sunning, much like your turtles, and talking all the while. I will never EVER forget the look on Gracie's face... somewhere BEtween terror and insatiable curiosity...
    and as for your rendering of the bridge etc, YOWZAH!! BEautimous...

  7. Hahaha, a very fun turtle story! Beautiful bridge - I can see why your mom wanted you to sketch it. I just love any architecture with stone and yo captured the intricacies of the layers so well!

  8. great drawing... and the turtle tale made me laugh... I am not a turtle fan as growing up my brother used to have all these penny turtles and he used to put them in your drink when you weren't looking... or on your dinner plate in the middle of the meal... I used to have nightmares about those bloody things...xx

  9. I love those turtles, can just imagine them doing Sounds like my kids when there was just one inflatable toy in the pool. You bridge is fabulous. The details in that stonework is amazing and the shadow under the bridge is so good. I can't wait to see it finished. The monochrome idea is very good and would work well. Excellent!!

  10. I´ve been sitting here smiling while reading your turtlestory! And I love your bridge! Very good drawing!

  11. I love garden bridges, and yours is especially beautiful. Blessings!


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