animal paintings are lots of fun!  koi, dolphins, giraffes, sea dragons + more

  • What a joy it is doing animal paintings! There are so many interesting critters to paint.

Leafy Sea Dragons are the most amazing critters from the coral reef of Australia. There are several different types of leafies. The common type grows to about a foot in length.

They are well camouflaged in the sea grasses where they spend much of their time. They can stay still for hours at a time and also, sway in the currents to mimic the sea grass.

Their leafy appendages help keep them safe from predators. Larger fish don't like to eat them because of all their appendages and the sharp spines on their back.

Leafy Portrait a watercolor critter painting of a Leafy Sea Dragon painted by Carol MayLeafy Portrait

Leafies can change colors and disguise themselves while they are looking for something to eat. They are peaceful critters that drift around looking for small critters they can suck up with their long snout.

This leafy deserved to have his "Leafy Portrait" painted.



Coral fish watercolor painting by Carol MayCoral Fish

The tropical sea life that lives in among the coral is amazing. We had the privilege of visiting the John Pennekamp State Park in south Florida.

You can go on glass-bottom boat tours out over the coral reef and see the swarms of beautiful tropical fish. What an amazing sight they are. You get to see large schools of the brightly colored fish with their glistening colors.

It makes you want to do a critter painting of the "Coral Fish". Here is a beautiful Parrot Fish painted in oils with his little buddy following him.

more animal paintings

Sometimes I just enjoy the critters for a long time before painting them. That's what happened with this giraffe painting.

"Spots" a watercolor animal painting of a giraffe"Spots"

God put spots on the giraffe to camouflage them up in the trees. The sun and shadows in the leaves are echoed by the markings on the giraffe.

This watercolor giraffe painting is in the sun and shadows under the trees.

His name is "Spots".



A Bluebird Cleaning Up, art by Carol MayCleaning Up

One of God's beautiful critters are bluebirds. We have a bluebird nest in the front yard. They raise two sets of babies each year.

They don't eat from the bird feeders, but they are regular visitors to the birdbath. We enjoy seeing them bring their youngsters to the birdbath.

I took a photo and did an animal painting of this bluebird while he was “Cleaning Up”.



Brown Pelican Resting watercolor painting, art by Carol MayPelican Resting

When we first moved to Florida I was amazed by all the large water birds, especially the pelicans. Pelicans were the subject of many of my animal paintings.

Here is a pelican on a post in one of their typical poses. He is a "Resting Pelican". My husband said "He" is trying to lay an egg!

Ha-ha Lots of fun!



C-Christmas-PonyChristmas Pony

My sister and I went to a cookout at the local feed store. The food was good, but the best thing was watching all the children running and playing.

The owner's daughter was riding her stick horse named "Bucky". What fun!

Some lucky child will be getting a real pony. Not a stick horse but, a live "Christmas Pony".



A painting of Koi fish done in watercolor, art by Carol MayKoi Challenge

My parents had a tropical fish business with numerous outdoor ponds. The fish would swarm around when we fed them.

"Koi Challenge" shows the golden koi claiming the food for himself while the others are challenging him.

Visit the tutorial of this painting a learn how-to pour watercolors.



Anhinga with Mangrove watercolor painting by Carol MayAnhinga with Mangrove

Florida was my second home for about thirty years. I really enjoyed all the bird life. The "Anhinga" is one of the native birds we would see around the waterways and lakes in Florida.

Some people call it a snake bird. While it is swimming, its body is below the water. The head and neck stick out of the water giving the appearance of a snake. Not to me, they are just interesting birds.



Flamingos Feeding, an oil painting by Carol MayFlamingos Feeding

Flamingos have a unique shaped bill made for scooping through the mud to filter out critters to eat.

This oil painting of the pink “Flamingos Feeding” was a challenge for me. I painted the upright ones just fine.

When I got to their reflections, it was confusing. I found myself painting the reflections the same direction as the upright birds.

So the problem was solved by turning the canvas upside down and then the painting went smoothly.



watercolor Rooster by the painting artist Carol MayRooster

When Florida became my home, I only painted with oils. But, at my new home in Florida, watercolor paintings were the norm.

So I started working on my watercolor skills.

Watercolor can be painted in a realistic manner like the "Rooster" above.

Or you can let the watercolor do its amazing things. It was fun letting the paint flow in animal painting, below.



Surf Catcher a watercolor painting of a Florida Oyster CatcherSurf Catcher

One of the best things to do in Florida is walk on the beach and watch the shore birds.

This Oyster Catcher bird is catching some surf, while he is on his way looking for oysters. "Surf Catcher".



watercolor of Seahorses by painting artist Carol MaySea Grass

While we were out snorkeling in south Florida, I was amazed to see our native seahorses in among the "Sea Grass".

They were quiet little animals just hanging on the grasses. They lean slightly forward when they swim. They go looking for something else to hang onto again.

What a treat it was to see them. They were a pale, light color. But for this animal painting, I made them orange to contrast with the green grasses.



Happy Manatee watercolor painting art by Carol MayHappy Manatee

Manatees make great animal paintings. They are interesting ancient critters. Here is a “Happy Manatee” enjoying her baby.

Manatees are actually related to elephants and they are sometimes called Sea Elephants.

They are slow moving critters. If you are in the area where they are resident, watch out for them. Be careful and don't hit them with your boat propellers.

They are Florida's state marine animal and they are protected.



Watercolor Banded Butterfly fish painting by Carol MayTwo Stripies

This animal painting is called, "Two Stripies". While living in Florida I enjoyed doing underwater nature paintings.

I love color and had lots of fun doing these colorful Banded Butterfly fish. Do you see the starfish in the bottom left?



Lively, colorful watercolor horse painting by Carol MayEasy Freedom

This lively, colorful horse painting was painted for a lady that was having a hard time. The painting was done to encourage her that she was on her way to "Easy Freedom".

This sprightly horse looks like he is having fun prancing through the flowers.

You can get prints of any of my paintings.

Click on an image to see the options.



"Hummer's Refuge" a hummingbird nesting in a Prickly Pear CactusHummer's Refuge

One day I saw a Prickly Pear Cactus with a big cavity in one of the large leaves. My artist mind got to running and I thought that would be a perfect place for a hummingbird to nest.

Predators would have a hard time getting past all the thorns on the cactus. It was a great place for a "Hummer's Refuge".

Animal paintings, even if they are bird paintings are fun!



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