Life Begins at Sea

Life Begins at Sea (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Life Begins at Sea (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Did you know that a baby sea turtle isn’t much bigger than a ping pong? And they are dark, almost black. From afar, they could be wet bark and then they move.  Amazing.  As they grow they stretch that layer thin and the green reveals itself.

Seeing one is witnessing a breathing miracle.  The one in Mexico was deadly persistent in its pursuit of the sea.  A wondrous role model.  Sadly, it didn’t make it.  There were many factors against the poor thing, including the crowd of tourists, the daylight, the gentle-ish yet inconsistent surf and the pelicans circling overhead.  The survival rate of a baby turtle is about 1% and humans contact lower these chances more.   Yes, we can kill them with our love.

It did not escape my daughter, Dana, that this was a and uncommon and momentous event.  She drew the experience and then steadily persisted that I paint her drawing.

Dana's drawing inspired by a baby sea turtle sighting in Mexico

Dana’s drawing inspired by a baby sea turtle sighting in Mexico

I’m grateful for sea turtle markings which are like an unique topographical map, and gave me some artistic freedom. Dana wanted a golden head. So gold she had it and though I was challenged by it, I’m thankful to not have to map that artistic decision.

Although I’m an abstract and illustrative artist sometimes I find myself struggling with the seen and seek permission to break through the literal. Why do I need permission? Why do I feel like my painting must look like what is? That makes me laugh. I insist there is much we don’t see. I’m very interested in making the invisible, visible. And yet, I struggle. It is a human bind.

Every choice is very deliberate in art making, even when it seems arbitrary. This turtle tested the balance between symbols, color, memory, relationships and art.  Because in part, it had to be a turtle as you and I know it while more fantastic to satisfy my child and the child in all of us.

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