"Tangled Octopus" - watercolor and ink on aquabord, 14" x 11"
When I was a kid, I remember my dad taking us to the movies to see "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad" (1973). It was a really big deal because I had just turned twelve, and that meant he had to pay full price for me. Which I made sure to tell the lady selling the tickets, much to my dad's dismay! I was fascinated with the monsters, the thought of long ocean voyages and the unknown creatures lurking in the sea.
The legendary kraken, for example, a giant squid of old Icelandic lore who could pull ships under with its giant tentacles. Inky and black, undetectable until it rose up over your ship and cracked the timbers with its monstrous strength. Shiver me timbers, but I thought the kraken was as frightening as a monster could get. Of course, that was before zombie movies, and now I am terrified of zombies.
In reality, the octopus is an elegant, fascinating creature. And usually not large enough to threaten a ship. Or a rowboat or even a paddleboard. And for some reason, this one came to me today and demanded to be doodled and tangled on the board. This is a large piece for the amount of detail in it, so this octopus and I spent most of the day together. And once he emerged, I was smitten!
So what could the octopus mean for me? The octopus is primarily a bottom dweller. This could be reminding me to be grounded. He doesn't have a spinal column and moves in a fluid manner. Perhaps telling me to loosen up and relax. The octopus can detach a limb at will to distract a predator, so as a totem this creature is telling us to cut loose excess baggage. And the fact he can then regenerate that limb reminds us that whatever we cut loose won't leave an empty space for long. This graceful creature is also highly intelligent, and can reason, strategize and recall. He urges us to use our logic to our highest advantage and be the master of our own intelligence. We can't forget his ability to camouflage with clouds of ink...and though I don't know what message that skill might have for me, I do know it would be a very helpful talent if I were being chased by zombies!
This piece is available. Currently unframed. Inquiries: email@example.com
Jen Walls and her imaJENation