Category Archives: Sea Turtle Tuesday

Reflections of a Sea Turtle

Reflections smallerFacebook is amazing.  Ran across a photographer who loves loves loves to photograph sea turtles as much as I love love love to paint them: Julie Suess.   That’s her facebook link (LIKE IT!), THIS is her website.

So, it was wonderful to connect with a fellow sea turtle lover, and translate her photos into partially abstract, partially realist art. Thank you Julie, Glad we met!

Take a close look at the reflections – just a hodge podge of my favorite colors., and completely abstract when you zoom in. For the water I tried to capture the aqua water of the Bahamas where I see one of these beauties almost every time I jump in with mask, snorkel and fins. 

The painting really popped when I added the dark purple outlines in the reflection.  A wonderful experience to paint!

Reflections of a turtle…..  painted in a stressful time of my life, but helped me to remember to just rise to the surface, take a big breath, and CARRY ON.

Sea Turtle Tuesday: Love at first sight.

loveatfirstsight smaller file
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Oh, the amazement one feels to come face to face with a wild sea turtle for the very first time. And, to be a youngster when that happens…. life changing!

Our Bahamian friends took this picture of their daughter while snorkeling at Sandy Cay Reef (Pelican Cays National Park).  I saw it on Facebook and HAD to paint her.  She was in a state of underwater wonder WITHOUT the turtle, so I imagined this meeting of two young creatures and their reciprocal feelings.

I grew up underwater thanks to my diving dad, and remember the amazement I felt seeing these “foreign” creatures that live below the surface.  Their numbers have fallen rapidly over the last decades since then, and so many creatures, large and small, are at the brink of extinction, if not gone altogether.

But recently, it’s as if the world is finally realizing that non-human creatures do have a viable existence.  And it’s about time. Game hunting and killing for sport is thankfully becoming passé.  People are finally looking at other species with recognition and acknowledgement of their being.  The Bahamian government banned the taking of any sea turtle a few years ago.  

This trend needs to continue, expand and strengthen; attitudes of “disposable” animals and mindless killing and abuse need to be gone. Even in the sixties, the call to “save the world for the children” was broadcast, but to deaf ears.  Let’s keep saying it, and learn to love, cherish and care for all of God’s creatures.

P.S.   One year later:


It’s  better in the Bahamas!!!

Sea Turtle Tuesday: The Beloved Sea Turtle

The beloved Sea Turtle

doreensFrom leatherbacks to loggerheads, six of the seven species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered at the hand of humans according to see Survival is harder as they face  many more dangers than ever in their wide area ocean migrations and daily life on the reef — including accidental capture and entanglement in fishing gear, the loss of nesting and feeding sites tGreen Turtleo coastal development, poaching, and ocean pollution, particularly  plastic.

Layne's TurtleBrenda's TurtleKris' Turtle

These creatures are well-adapted to the ocean though they require air to survive. Their size varies greatly, depending upon species — from the small Kemp’s ridley, which weighs between 80–100 pounds, to the enormous leatherback, which can weigh more than 1,000 pounds.  Living six months in the Bahamas, I was thrilled when they placed a ban on hunting sea turtles, both for tourists and for local Bahamians.  While diving and capturing photo images for my paintings, I run across a turtle or two practically every time I’m in the water.  A community of young turtles thrive in our little harbor where we live in what they call Fry’s Mangrove on Elbow Cay in the Abacos.  Occasionally, they overcome their fear and approach me underwater, curious and enthralling.  I strive to share the beautiful, but ever deteriorating ocean reef along with its gorgeous inhabitants to both those who never Blinghave been below the surface of the sea, as well as those addicted to diving vacations.  Even in my lifetime, having grown up in Miami, I have seen entire reefs destroyed by pollution, reckless boating  and over fishing, along with the hundreds of thousands of sea creatures who used to thrive there.  What I can do to educate and inspire people to protect those reefs we have left is to recreate that sea life on canvas.


Sea Turtle Tuesday: Tangerine Dream

Wow, was this a lot of fun to paint or WHAT!?

Tangerine Dream“Tangerine Dream”  came  from an old digital pic I took with my Mavica camera (remember those?  with the floppy discs?) at the Dallas Aquarium in the late 90’s, when I was still an insurance agent.  Lots of my early paintings came from there; I had an annual membership and spent lots of time studying and shooting the gorgeous fish and other creatures they had in there.  Plus roaming around the mini rain forest with all the monkeys and panthers.  I digress.

So, years later I was in my Abaco studio: what to paint? what to paint?  I had just completed an orange tree study called “Convergence” and was hooked on reds and oranges.  So, why not?  I put the turtle in, put the reef in, and out came the red and yellow paint.  Honestly, I don’t know what came over me.  But it IS a little trippy, don’t you think?

In my HEAD I heard the Beatles lyrics. Click on the little arrow and you can hear them too!!!

Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

However, COME TO FIND OUT, Tangerine Dream is a German electronic music group founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese.  Go figure.

Anyway, every time I see that painting, I hear that Lucy in the Sky song.

Robbie Bethel sold this piece at the Hummingbird Gallery in Hope Town, Abaco.  Original is 24″ X 48″, Acrylic on canvas.  Also comes in a mini!4x8_Tangerine Dream


Sea Turtle Tuesday: Little Turtle Bambinos. Awwwwww

One morning I was up early walking the beach on Hutchison Island and saw a commotion near the water.  Birds were swooping in making a big racket. As I got closer, I saw the tail end of the mass exodus of baby turtles from their under the sand nest into the ocean.  There were a few that had missed the bus!  They should have been in the water well before light but the sun was just rising and they were in deep doo doo with those seagulls.  Lots of them made it to the water’s edge, but big waves would send them flying back onto the sand.  

I know you aren’t supposed to touch them, but I started picking them up and throwing them over the waves…..  at least they were able to have that “first swim” which I really love to see… their little flappers flapping away.

So, maybe there is a turtle or two out there in the big ocean who grew up, thanks to me!

5x7_First Time In
First Time In Mini

“First Time In” was painted in Dallas long ago during a painting class. It hung in a show I had at Daddy Jack’s, and a waitress bought it for $150, and paid for it on a  monthly basis.



First Trip
First Trip

I painted “First Trip” in my NC mountain studio.  It’s a little trippy with all those colors and curvy lines. The original is 16X20, and still available. 



I have both in minis, and First Trip has it’s place in the dinnerware.  I got a little resistance from my team when I wanted him at the bottom of the cup, but I think he is so cute there.

Sauce_First Trip
First Trip Little Dipper
5x7_First Trip
First Trip Mini
Mug_First Trip
First Trip Mug
Big Dipper_First Trip
First Trip Big Dipper
Tidbit_First Trip
First Trip Tidbit

Thanks for your interest!




Sea Turtle Tuesday: Bling

bling photoOK, everybody loves Bling.  So, let me tell you her story.

Back when I was living in Dallas as a State Farm agent, they were pretty strict with what business I could write, so anything I couldn’t I would toss over to Jay Freeman, an “excess lines” agent. (Things like DWI’s, motorcycles, etc). I had met Jay in a scuba class I dive mastered for him, and he and his wife Rani have always been huge supporters of my artistic endeavors.

Anyway, Jay had taken a picture of a green turtle on one of his many dive trips  around the universe and I just HAD to paint it.  (And he let me).  I do a lot of compositions of close up sea animal heads and Jay had taken a great shot.  Here’s what he has to say about it:

“I took this Green Turtle photo in 1996 during a night dive on the main wall (2000 ft straight down) of Sipidan Island, Borneo Malaysia. This was our 2nd trip there, our first was in 1992. Back then, we were allowed to actually stay on the island and we could grab a tank and dive off the beach anytime we wanted (this was taken on a shore dive). Our accommodations were bamboo and thatch huts on the beach and at night turtles would dig their nests and lay eggs under our huts. Every morning Rani and I would walk around the island (it took about 35 minutes) and count the 30-40 new turtle nests from the night before. Divers are no longer allowed to stay on the island… since 2005 the island has been protected and all the dive operations are now based out of the islands of Mabul, Kapalai or Mataking and divers can only dive Sipidan by permit. Rani and I are truly blessed to be among the few fortunate people to have spent 2 weeks of our lives living on this magical island.”

I started painting  in my new studio over a garage I had built after I moved to Stuart.  The canvas was 60″ X 48  (one of the first times I used linen and I have used nothing else since).  

brenda leighMuralist Brenda Leigh got me hooked on “Disney paint”…. huge expensive cans of the paint Disney World uses for their outside sets and what she uses for her murals, which are practically pure pigments. This is the first painting I used them with, and the blues knocked my socks off.  Well, the yellows and the reds did, too, but that pthalo blue was to die for.  Sooooo rich.  

I “decorated” the turtle’s neck with all kinds of mixes of the new paints…. purples, emerald greens, lots of white…. and the painting looked like the turtle was wearing jewels around her neck.  I considered calling her “Bejeweled”, however my friend Robin Makowski (original chick that she is) came up with “Bling” and so she was named.

So, there you go. It DOES take a village…. Jay, Brenda and Robin! Thanks guys.Bling

It took a while for the original to sell, meanwhile lots and lots of prints went out the door.  Finally a client from literally 2 blocks away bought it for her gorgeous new home off of East Ocean.  And there she hangs today.

Bling is available Bling Miniin prints (from a mini with an easel all the way up to the original 60X48″ size) as well as Tidbits, Little Dippers and Big Dippers.


(First weekly) Sea Turtle Tuesday – Free Style Turtle

Free StyleI painted this turtle in our little efficiency on the beach in White Sound about 3 years ago (2012?)  Unlike most of my pieces, I started out with some water soluble crayons (GREAT fun!) and just scribbled big circles and ovals on a 36X36 canvas.  Then I poured water on the marks, making them look like water color. Next I studied what I had done, and magically, this turtle appeared out of nowhere! So, while he may not be anatomically correct, I think he certainly does have that free style spirit of the turtles I dive with here in the Abacos.

“Free Style Turtle” Turtle_set 2was used in the first edition of my dinnerware on the bowl in the “Reef Time” collection below:The first two years of production on these were very trial and error, so many a “Free Style” bit the dust until we perfected our process.

Free Style is also available in a  mini-giclee:  a small work of art in itself:  gallery wrapped canvas, with a little easel and hanging hook included, plus info all about the creature on the back.6x6_Freestyle Turtle

 Finally, Free Style got his own “Party Pleaser”….   a platter and four tidbits.
PartyPleaser_freestyle turtle

One of my favorite paintings to make because, well, it kind of painted itself!!  My plan is to talk about one of my turtles every Tuesday, so follow my blog or watch out on Facebook. Let me know what you think.




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