The Story Behind Turtle Bay

To me ‘Turtle Bay‘ is a romantic image of youth, nature and loss of innocence. In December of 2001, Robert (my husband) ran the Aide’s Marathon in Honolulu. He had trained for months in advance. I have a crystal clear image burned in my brain. We were jogging in North Hollywood Park the morning of September 11, 2001 when another jogger passing by yelled to us, “It’s on TV – a plane hit one of the Twin Towers!” We ran home to watch as the second one got hit and crumbled into the ground. That event  changed me on a very deep level and it was more about defiance in the face of terrorists that we chose to carry through with our plans to fly to Hawaii and for Robert to run the marathon. We spent a couple days on the North Side of the Oahu where there’s a sweet little cove called Turtle Bay. I was up to my knees, when I saw a turtle head poking out of the water. A woman pushing her kayak into the water said to me, “You’re not supposed to interact with the turtles, but if you really want to get close to them, pull some of that green slime off the rocks and offer it to them.” These wern’t little turtles, like the snapping turtles at Lake Lida, MN,  that terrified me when I was a kid. These were 300 pound amazing creatures that lived wild in the mystery of the ocean deep. I started pulling slime off the rocks and pretty soon I had maybe 3 or 4 massive bodies in front of me eating out of my hand. I couldn’t resist sneaking feels of their muscular fins while they munched happily and unafraid. Being all consumed by this moment of pleasure, I didn’t notice that I was soon surrounded and finding it difficult to keep my footing. One of the turtles, behind me decided to let me know that he was waiting, impatiently, and took a little bite out of my calf. Fun time was over and I bid these mystical beings a farewell. I later purchased a postcard of a young Hawaiian girl. It was probably taken in the 30s or 40. She wasn’t wearing a top and, though she gazed out in unabbashed innocence, she had this “old soul” look about her. She became the model for my painting and friend to all turtles.


About kriegart

I am Susan Krieg, Mixed Media Artist, since 1989 when I first started working as a water colorist for Accent Graphics. I've lived on the West Coast, the East Coast, the Midwest and the Southwest, and currently in rural Virginia. I studied art at Cal College of the Arts in SF and The Art Students League in NYC. I am influenced by Modigiliani, Picasso, Lempicka, Dunand and a million other things.
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2 Responses to The Story Behind Turtle Bay

  1. Shari says:

    I think we all remember where we were on 9-11 and how it changed our lives. Your story of the turtles & the girl are fascinating. What’s even more fascinating & beautiful is how you chose to interpret them on canvas. Amazing!!


  2. What a lovely story and a beautiful painting. Inspiration if such a gift!

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