Globally, all seven extant species of sea turtles are vulnerable to extinction. Unfortunately, population declines are an unintentional consequence of various human activities such as boat collisions, entanglement in fishing gear, and ingestion of pollutants. Despite continued efforts to reduce sea turtle bycatch in commercial fisheries, this remains a leading cause of death for these ancient mariners.
However, human activities can also positively impact sea turtle populations. Together, we are now witnessing the recovery of the most critically endangered species of sea turtles in the world: the Kemp’s Ridley. In South Carolina, Loggerhead sea turtle nest numbers are at record levels.
My sea turtle paintings are dedicated to the advocacy of conservation, inspired by the patients at our local sea turtle hospital, and are my contribution to this worthy cause. I donate 10% of my profits to the South Carolina Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Rescue Program, a facility that rehabilitates sick and injured sea turtles for release back into the wild. Please join me in being part of the solution to conserve our local threatened and endangered sea turtles.
Acrylic on Canvas
40 x 16
Original & Prints Available
Ollie had been struck by a boat on the top of his shell and on the top of his jaw. After closer examination they also found some older wounds on the rear of his shell and a severe lesion on his underside that penetrated all the way through the bone. He was administered fluids, pain meds, and antibiotics, and after a week of treatment he was resting comfortably. After six months of care, Ollie was released in Florida with 52 other sea turtles.
Acrylic on Canvas
24" x 36"
Original and Prints Available
Hawksbills feed almost exclusively on sponges. As the turtles feast the stinging coral burns their faces and they relentlessly reach through it to get to the sponges. Hawksbill turtle meat is poisonous to humans, caused by the sponges’ sharp glass-like spicules with toxic chemical compounds. Although the Hawksbill turtles aren’t harvested for their meat, they still aren’t safe from poachers. Hawksbill turtles’ shells are considered the most beautiful feature of this astonishing animal, and at the same time, a great threat. Their carapaces are absolutely stunning because of their beautiful colors and their distinctive pattern of overlapping scutes. This has led to Hawksbill’s overfishing in the past. Currently these shells are still coveted on the black market, even though Hawskbills are considered critically endangered on a global level.
24 x 24
Original Sold Prints Available
Johanna is an endangered hawksbill sea turtle who was found by guests at the Four Seasons hotel in the Maldives. She had beached herself and become stranded. She was very weak upon admission to the Marine Savers Centre, with damage to her carapace from an old wound. After some time and care from their support team the majority of the shell hardened and healed. After her recovery Johanna became very active in their recovery pool, diving with ease and enjoying the abundant amount of foods offered. Her behavior was very encouraging and she was released a few days later.
12" x 24"
Jersey is a Loggerhead turtle who was stranded at a nuclear power plant in New Jersey. She was pulled in by the cooling canal, which isn’t rare for sea turtles. Her left rear flipper wasn’t moving and she had a healed wound on her shell. Although her overall health was increasing, her rear flipper still wasn’t moving and has led to her developing scoliosis. Jersey was declared un-releasable and has found a permanent home at the Birch Aquarium in San Diego, CA.
“18th Green” is a green sea turtle who was found on the beach near the 18th hole on Kiawah Island’s Ocean Golf Course. He was covered with barnacles and algae and was found lethargic and underweight. Radiographs revealed air in the intestines, causing 18th Green’s rear end to float, suggesting a gastrointestinal tract impaction.
Upon admittance to the Sea Turtle Hospital, 18th Green received a fresh water bath to remove the barnacles and algae, was administered fluids for hydration and mineral oil tube feedings. About 2 months after being admitted, 18th Green passed multiple pieces of plastic and slowly regained his appetite.
After receiving extraordinary attention from the Sea Turtle Hospital staff for a year and a half, 18th Green was deemed releasable and was sent back to the ocean where he was found, on Kiawah Island.
(1) 30" x 48" & (2) 30" x 15"
12 x 36, Original Sold Prints Available
Miss Royal was found just off of Hilton Head Island by the SCDNR. She was struck by a large propeller and suffered from wounds from the right side of her shell to her rear flipper. The propeller did not completely sever the rear flipper, causing her to undergo surgery to remove the hanging portion of tissue. Under special care from the sea turtle hospital, Miss Royal has had a thriving recovery and was released back into the ocean.
24" x 36"
Eddie is a small green turtle who was stranded near Edisto in August of 2012. The rescuers found him flailing and swimming vigorously trying to get away, but he wasn’t able to dive below the surface. After some close examination, the sea turtle hospital concluded that Eddie’s buoyancy issue was caused by a boat strike wound to his shell. The nerves that control the gastrointestinal tract were damaged, causing his rear end to constantly float, making it difficult for Eddie to dive for food. In addition, Eddie’s appearance was abnormally pale. Low thyroid hormone levels caused Eddie to lose his color, leaving him with a light gray skin and shell. After a year and a half of rehabilitation, there was still no solution to Eddie’s buoyancy problem, and he was deemed non-releasable. Eddie’s quality of life is otherwise excellent, and he has found a permanent home at an aquarium in Texas.
8" x 8"
Turtle Fact: Hawksbills are in high demand for the tortoiseshell market. Their shell is used as a colored inlay in fine antique furniture and to make combs, fans, jewelry and other ornamental objects. The hawksbill population plummeted in the late 1900’s due to shell trade, and although trade in tortoiseshell is now banned by international treaty, the hawksbill populations are still greatly diminished. Almost all nesting females in the Philippines are captured and killed, they are “critically endangered” around the world, and although international tortoiseshell trade has been banned, it still continues.
Acrylic on Canvas
36" x 48"
Original & Prints Available
This painting is named after Amelia, a juvenile green sea turtle rescued in Hilton Head by a family in early January. When she was found, air temperatures were near freezing and the water was approximately 50 degrees, which is far too cold for sea turtles. Amelia was cold-stunned, which happens when sea turtles are exposed to frigid water temperatures for several days, causing their circulatory system to slow to the point where they become cold-stunned and unable to swim or function properly. The SC Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital took Amelia in and is slowly nursing her back to health.
16" x 20"
Florida has the largest and best protected population of Loggerheads in the world.
"A Midday Bask"
8 x 8
8.5 x 12
8 x 8
36" x 36"
Lazarus is a juvenile loggerhead sea turtle who was stranded on a beach in Garden City, SC. This struggling sea turtle that was found lethargic and near death, was named “Lazarus” for her miracle of life. When she was brought to the sea turtle hospital her only obvious injuries were two old fish hooks embedded into the skin on her flipper and neck. However it was clear that Lazarus was suffering from more than surface wounds. This sea turtle had been ill and without an appetite for weeks or even months.
Upon the sea turtle’s arrival to the hospital, she was given immediate treatment. Just one hour later Lazarus began exhibiting the classic signs of sea turtle death. She threw her head up, gasped for air, flailed her flippers, and her eyes sunk deep into her skull. The vet quickly administered adrenaline to stimulate the heart and placed a tube down her throat to control her breathing.
Five days had passed since her arrival and she still had no desire to eat. In effort to start Lazarus on a normal digestive path they began tube-feeding her small amounts of gruel. Ten minutes later she again exhibited signs of death and was rushed to the medical lab for another life-saving treatment of adrenaline, fluids, and assisted breathing. It was that day that they named her Lazarus, for not only was she the first sea turtle that they ever brought back to life, but they did it twice!
Three weeks later Lazarus finally chewed and swallowed a small amount of mackerel. This was a huge step in her recovery; however they had to carefully monitor the amount of food she consumed, for her digestive system had ceased from long-term anorexia. Once she was able to digest some food, the underlying problem was clear. Lazarus had passed a small amount of fishing line and two different pieces of plastic in her feces, leading them to believe that there was likely more foreign matter littering her digestive tract.
Two months later Lazarus had a complete turnaround. She went from being a finicky eater to eagerly consuming nearly a pound and a half of fish every day! She gained 11 pounds since her admission and her blood work results indicated that she was regaining her health. Lazarus had transformed from a skeletal turtle too weak to swim into a robust and thriving loggerhead splashing around her tank. Ten months later Lazarus proved to be strong in every category and was released on April 10th, 2015.
Acrylic on Canvas, Triptych (1) 30 x 40, (2) 30 x 15
Grace is a Green sea turtle who was rescued in Awendaw SC. She was found floating in the Intracoastal Waterway, listless and unable to swim away. Grace was cold stunned. The term cold stunned refers to the hypothermic reaction that occurs when sea turtles are exposed to prolonged cold water temperatures. Initial symptoms include a decreased heart rate, decreased circulation, and lethargy, followed by shock, pneumonia and possibly death.
Grace was lucky enough to strand herself near a dock belonging to a coastal conservationist and wildlife biologist, who was able to recognize the symptoms of a cold stunned turtle, and for whom Grace was named after.
Upon admission they performed a physical examination, took radiographs, administered fluids, vitamins, and antibiotics. She had a lowered heart rate of 16 beats per minute, and a body temperature of 54.8°.
After some special care and a slow acclimation to being in a tank of salt water, Grace was swimming around energetically and devouring fish and lettuce. Radiographs were taken and showed no signs of pneumonia, prognosis was good. Grace made a full recovery and was released approximately 7 months after admission.