Make your own free website on

About Myself: Briefly

I was born and grew up in Southern California: received a BA in Studio Art from the University of California at San Bernardino in 1985. Upon graduation I knew I wanted to leave California to live in the southwest, but couldn't decide between Arizona and New Mexico. I ultimately chose Tucson, AZ., where I pursued a career as a fine artist and as the owner of a small cactus nursery business. Over time I began to regret not having moved to New Mexico, and by late 1998 I also realized that it simply was no longer fullfilling to divide my time between two careers. I made the decision to close my business and put all my energy into my art. Summer 1999 finds me moving to a new home in a rural area of northwestern New Mexico, where there is plenty of space for me and my horses, and I feel a greater sense of freedom to pursue my art.

Why I'm Called Turtle Woman

My mother was born in Oklahoma; my father in Arkansas. My mother's mother was Osage Indian, her father Scotch- Irish. My father's family was full- blooded Scotch- Irish. Both families lived a rather poor, rural farming life. My parents met as teenagers, and when my father returned from WWII, they got married. They lived around Arkansas for a few years, then decided that a better future lay ahead for them if they followed the "American Dream" to California. Shortly after they arrived in the Los Angeles area, I was born- on March 26, 1955. When I was one month old, my mother bought her mother a train ticket to come out to California, so that she could see me. I was a roly- poly baby ( and child too, I'm afraid!), and my parents teasingly told me years later that my grandmother had bounced me on her lap and called me a "round little turtle". She stayed with us a couple weeks, then took the train back to Oklahoma. A very few days later, she passed away of a heart attack! Many years later, when I first began exhibiting my artwork, I decided I wanted to work under a name other than the one I had been born with. My given names (both first and last) are very common, also, I have found my first name distasteful ever since I was a kid! After giving the matter a lot of thought, I remembered my parents' teasing me about what my grandmother had called me as a baby. I decided to use the name "Turtle" as a part of a new "nom de plume". At first I thought of calling myself "Turtle Lady", but that seemed too pretentious, or something. Being a feminist, I decided upon "Turtle Woman". Gradually I began using the name in other ways besides just signing my artwork with it- in fact it is now my "real name" as far as I am concerned and there are very few people who even know what my given name is! And that's how I came to be called "Turtle Woman"- it's the legacy my grandmother left me.

Here I am with my oldest and first horse, Surprise

Back to the Beginning: Turtle Woman's home page.
A Storyteller's Art Gallery: My paintings and sculpture and the folktales that inspired them.
Arid Plants; Arid Lands: Care pages on plants; a desert gardener's journal, and some thoughts on desert ecology.
My Animal Family : the horses, cats, and birds that share my life.
Turtle Woman's Tarot: Probably the biggest art project of my life!
Links: Some websites I enjoy- maybe you'll enjoy them, too!
Sign My Guestbook or E-Mail Me: ...or both!
Turtle Woman's Sonoran Desert: onward to the NEW home page!