By: Jacob Hawthorne
Gallery: Schmidt Fine Art Gallery
The Sea Turtle, as captured here like never before, is certainly an ancient and majestic sea creature. The sea turtle is expertly captured in this digital art on canvas named ‘I’m Eyeing You Said the Sea Turtle’ by Schmidt of Schmidt Fine Art Gallery.
Sea turtles are a highly migratory species that sometimes may wash ashore to lay eggs in their nest or to bask in the sun, but a majority of their time is spent in the ocean waters, ranging from the Indian Ocean’s shallow seagrass beds to the Eastern Pacific’s sand beaches to the Coral Triangle and its illustrious coral reefs. There are seven different species of sea turtles in our ocean waters, and the five most common species to study are the green, hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback, and olive ridley.
During a recent scuba excursion around the Carribean coral reefs, Kurt Schmidt captured the Hawksbill sea turtle, pictured above. The hawksbill sea turtle acquired its name from the appearance of their beak-like mouths, since the head comes to a point like that of a hawk. Unlike its gigantic turtle brethren, the hawksbill sea turtles are relatively small to medium-sized, and their shells produce a magnificent amber hue with intricate hexagonal patterns. The hawksbill turtle shells are normally golden brown and may have streaks of orange, red and black, while the bottom side of their shell is typically a whitish-yellow. The faces of the hawksbill sea turtle match the texture and pattern of their shells to create a camouflage effect when they are hiding from predators.
Hawksbill sea turtles are commonly found in the tropical waters and coral reefs of the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean, and they mainly subsist off of sponges that are native to coral reefs. It is known that hawksbill sea turtles live in different habitats at the various stages of their lifecycle, from pelagic zones (also known as open sea) when they are juvenile turtles, to floating algal mats when they are growing, finally occupying coral reefs when they are mature. In the Eastern Pacific, hawksbills sea turtles may live in mangrove estuaries.
Resting hawksbill sea turtles find sanctuary in the ledges and caves of coral reefs during the day and at night, and when possible these turtles spend every night in the same spot, home sweet home. They tend to live and stay around coral reef areas that have very good conditions for sponge growth like rock formations and high energy shoals, as sponges are their primary source of food.
Sadly, due to our impact on the environment over the last 200 years, all species of sea turtles are now classified as endangered, and three of the species being critically endangered. Turtles have been poached and killed for their eggs, meat, skin and shells, and their habitats are continuously destroyed by the fishing industry. Not only that, climate change has altered the temperature of turtle nesting sites, which affects the sex of the hatchlings. All of the above factors force the sea turtle to fight for its survival.
The hawksbill turtles, in particular, were driven near extinction due to their attractive shell, as humans hunted them for hundreds of years to use as a pattern for jewelry and decorations. Thankfully today, the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) prohibits the buying and selling of any turtle products, including the hawksbill turtle shell, on the international market. But the fight is not yet over, as we still need to come together to fight climate change and restore their habitats.
As a photographer, Kurt Schmidt of Schmidt Fine Art Gallery combined his lifelong passion for scuba diving as well as underwater photography to capture the immense diversity of aquatic life. He has found that through constant experimentation, he is able to produce up close and personal snapshots of aquatic landscapes and sea creatures. At a young age, Schmidt had a vision for what underwater photography could be, and decided to fashion his own waterproof camera complete with a powerful lighting rig.
Through the gracious support of the art community in which he works, Schmidt founded a gallery where other photographers can display their work. Schmidt realized that with the emergence of online photography and smartphones, it is more challenging for emerging artists to be discovered, or for art collectors and buyers to find fresh talent. Therefore, he is always looking to help artists that either currently work in the field with no platform or need encouragement to get their photographs out into the public-eye.
Whether you are an aspiring photographer or an art collector in search of inspiring works to fill your home, Schmidt Fine Art Gallery is here to service you. We are a gallery for the artist by the artist. Our mission is to serve as the place for artists to simply sell art, without the overburdening of promotion, marketing and running a start-up business. We are committed to producing high-quality, museum grade products and timeless works of art on canvas or digital that can be enjoyed for generations to come.
Schmidt Gallery was founded by Kurt Schmidt with the vision to establish a photo-centric gallery in the heart of Montgomery county, Texas. Although it is all run online at the moment, Schmidt Gallery has dreams of opening up a brick and mortar gallery in The Woodlands just north of Houston. Schmidt Fine Art Gallery was founded in March 2020 as a startup funded by All ARK LLC.