Tine McCormick
Back in college, I had an awesome ecology professor. Meg Lowman was very enthusiastic about... well, everything. Of all things, she was particularly interested in the subject of invasive species---- animals that find their ways into habitats that they don't belong in, usually with the help of humans. Florida has a major invasive species issue. There are tons of reptiles living all over Florida that were introduced by irresponsible or uneducated pet owners who released their turtles and snakes into the wild, rather than finding them new homes. These invasive herpetological species are wreaking havoc on the ecosystem in south Florida, hunting and displacing native species.

Anyways, the whole point of this back story it to explain that one time, I went to this crazy dinner party at Professor Lowman's house, and got to meet this gentleman who works to trap these crazy creatures, and find them new homes. 

That evening I made friends with snakes, iguanas, tortoises, and more. I got to hold with this 7-foot python:

And swim with this 18-foot python:

But my favorite creature that I met that night was this tortoise, an African land tortoise that was found roaming around a Walmart parking lot. 

I took quite a few pictures, and have recently decided to draw and paint using some of these photos as reference. I painted a watercolor rendition of the shell, and am currently working on a graphite drawing based on the one shows above, and thought that I would share them here.

The watercolor came out okay, but I really could have improved some of the shading to give it some more depth. I've had quite a few people think that it was an impressionist painting of an umbrella. Ooops.

My drawing is coming out quite a bit better than my painting.

I haven't made it too far, but I like it overall. I will continue to plod away, and update with some progress pics.

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