"The proper pace of feeling free to look around is lazily slow, idiosyncratically detailed and half-entranced. It is the pace at which you might stop and stare and see the almost unseeable..

--Susan Murphy

Identifying my current slowness and introversion with the image of a turtle, I decided to morph myself into one in my art. Any outreach seems to be followed by contraction as I find my elder pace and place. The turtle wins the race in the fable, but being out of step in our speedy culture makes one feel old and left behind.

I started my turtle art by drawing on the backside of a wood panel because it was stressed and worn like the shell of a turtle; the structural backing then became a frame for me to reach beyond. The metaphor of going outside the box was so appealing, I repeated it with each turtle, finding a different way to expand its limbs.

Turtle Hurdles, mixed media on board, 16" x 20", 2008

The initial drawing is done with conte, graphite, colored pencil and acrylic paint. To further play with illusion, I often use brilliants, sea pebbles, shells, pencil shavings, glass shards and whatever else catches my fancy. The end result is a mixed media extravaganza of gluing and layering.

Turtle Soup - 2008
Turtle Soup - 2008
Turtle Time - 2008
Turtle Time - 2008
Turtling Along - 2008
Turtling Along - 2008
A Crusty Snuggle - 2008
A Crusty Snuggle - 2008
Aiding & Abutting - 2009
Aiding & Abutting - 2009
Turtle Doves - 2009
Turtle Doves - 2009
The second turtle in the pond is my husband Kenny. At first, he enters tentatively; then we slip/slide, bump, snuggle, criss-cross, expand and contract together in the new/old rhythm of our lives. Turtle medicine includes a connection with the center, navigation skills, self-reliance, tenacity, patience, the ability to respect the boundaries of self and others, and develop new ideas. Originally created with humorous intent, I unknowingly chose an ancient symbol of nurturance, mother energy, determination and longevity.
Helen Redman's Turtle Diaries: Portrait of a Couple from Susan Richards on Vimeo.

"Redman's work is both whimsical and profound, and has much to convey about aging, creativity, and the synergy of a loving marriage. Redman has painted self-portraits at every stage of her life. In this interview she speaks about the double portraits of herself and her husband Kenny Weissberg - as turtles! It was a privilege to film Helen and Kenny, and to share their wisdom in this video. "

Second Wind - 2009
Second Wind - 2009
Eon - 2010
Eon - 2010
The Rising - 2009
The Rising - 2009
Toes to Tango - 2010
Toes to Tango - 2010
Bespectacled - 2010
Bespectacled - 2010
Tongue Twister - 2010
Tongue Twister - 2010
Tongue Twister Detail - 2010
Got Yer Back - 2011
Logabout - 2010
Logabout - 2010
Newborn's Eyes - 2011