Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day: Turtles all the way down

Here is the painting I made for Valentine's Day this year. If you haven't planted a big juicy smacker on someone's passionately pleasurable lips, you now have a mission. Precious moments of nibbling and kissing are 'a wasting!

The painting title comes from a hilariously metaphysical physics joke. This is the sort of thing that kept all the science students chortling late into the night as we crunched vector fields and fudged probability envelopes.
A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the Earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the centre of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy.

At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise."

The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?"

"You're very clever, young man, very clever," said the old lady. "But it's turtles all the way down!"
With love and respect,


  1. Very nice painting. :)

    What's that bag?

  2. So why is the woman naked and the man not?

  3. For that matter: Why does the fruit have wings? Why is there an old bald man voyeur coming out of the tree (which happens to be on the back of a turtle atop a pile of turtles)? What exactly is the inspiration for a horny turtle?

    My question, about the physics, is do we arrogantly then assume that we are on the top turtle? or is there yet another turtle standing upon our world as ours stands upon the others?

  4. Uhm Bart, a giant turtle on top of us would crush us!

    Pretty obvious there bud...

  5. Gee everyone, isn't looking at any art all about seeing what you want to see? It's up to you what each item means...

    The girl is naked because girls are usually prettier naked than boys, unless the boy spends all his days working out in a gym! I'm not so much into those boys ;)

  6. Thanks for this beautiful picture, Dan! My wife and I have loved that turtles joke for a long time, so it's fun to see a picture based on it.

    I assume the guy in the tree is meant to be God, in reference to the Garden of Eden. (But I'm curious about the geometric designs on His head!)

  7. Anon: Originally both were naked, but I saw the opportunity to add a turtle neck for the man and could not resist.

    snej: He is a clockwork God. Since this is an ode to atheist mythology, all Gods are required to be man made. :-)

    Glad folks are enjoying the painting. It was quite delightful to draw.

    take care

  8. Beautiful. Do you do contract work? Don't have anything right now, but I may be in the future.

    Peter Schaefer, that Denver guy

  9. Are you sure the woman's nakedness just isn't your own brilliant way of sending a hit to your wife?

    Just curious! *innocent eyes*

  10. What's in the bag?

    Nice painting.

  11. It looks sexist that way. And the turtleneck joke is lost on non-English speaking people.

    But the art itself is nice. Though many of your paintings carry some inner sadness in them.

  12. I meant "non-English-speaking", of course.

    Also, have you tried clicking that wheelchair man next to verification window? He's blabbering like a madman!

  13. "So my take on this pic is that the man wants the woman to get bigger breasts. Look at the "fruit" on the tree with the wings. Those have definitely have nipples!!"

  14. "Turtles all the way down" is my phrase for people with an infinitely recursive series of fantastical arguments to defend a fantastical premise. Should you displace one supporting premise, i.e. turtle, there is always another premise just a fantastic below that ready to support the world view being defended.

    Also, defeating a particular turtle, i.e. premise, with logic and proof does not mean that same exact turtle will be presented at a lower point in the stack as a new and unique argument. The climate change debate works this way.

    I like your painting very much. To me it represents the never-defeated hope for romantic happiness. Should one turtle fail there is always another to hold up the world.