Artist Brings Turtles to Life
Artist and Molokai resident Linda Hogan is inspired by turtles. So much, in fact, that that’s all she’s been creating for the past seven years. As a scuba diver, she has spent hours watching and swimming with honu, which motivated her to develop a technique to form life-sized turtles as works of art.
“[Honu are] peaceful, serene, ancient, magical… there’s something about them,” said Hogan.
Now, her pieces of art are sold across Hawaii and in several galleries around the country, including in Molokai’s own Art from the Heart in Kaunakakai. She typically creates honu in three sizes, with the largest about the size of a full grown turtle and weighing about 25 pounds. The sculptures are designed to hang on the wall.
The technique she developed to create her honu was five years in the making. Beginning by using wood as a medium, she wasn’t satisfied with the results. So she started to experiment with different types of materials. Now, she uses dozens of layers of soft clay, letting each coat dry inside a polyurethane mold before applying the next layer. It takes a couple of weeks for each piece of art to reach an adequate thickness of clay to hold its hollow shape before she uses a carving tool to create the finer features.
Then she starts the equally painstaking process of adding her signature glowing colors to bring the honu to life.
“In painting them, I wanted to put [into them] everything I’ve ever learned,” explained Hogan, who majored in art in college and “did every art thing I could as a kid.”
Using minute brush strokes, Hogan paints layer upon layer of translucent oil-based color over the body of the honu. She describes the process as taking a lot of patience.
By using this laying technique, she said she achieves a finished product that “seems to glow [with the] luminosity of a polished turtle shell.”
While in nature, Hogan acknowledged that most honu shells are covered with algae or barnacles, her goal is to portray them in pristine condition to highlight the beauty of the shell.
There’s one feature to which Hogan gives special attention on each animal.
“I love the eyes,” she said. “I try to give them a human-like appearance.”
While their features may not be anatomically exact to the species, the resulting honu are incredibly life-like and full of expression, making a viewer feel a connection to the animal.
“I’m having the time of my life,” she said. “Each one is different and has personality.”
She does the entire creation process out of her Molokai condo, where she and her husband split their time with Colorado. From here, she ships completed pieces to galleries far and near.
To view or purchase Hogan’s art, visit Art from the Heart gallery in the Ala Malama Center in Kaunakakai or call her for more information at 553-3398. You can also view her work on her website, LindaHoganArt.com.