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Animals and Birds - Ralph F. Wilson Watercolors

In the last few years I've been enjoying painting animals and birds for my young granddaughters.

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Woodpecker-Bookmark-14x4-180404.jpg Watercolor: Woodpecker Bookmark - 13" x 3.5"
This is the basis of a bookmark of Nuttall's Woodpecker (Picoides nuttallii) that appeared at my bird feeder in December 2017. It has striking marking. The bookmark was designed to have lettering in the lower portion, as yet to be determined. 180404. 13" x 3.5"
EasternPaintedTurtle-181220-14x10.jpg Watercolor: Western Painted Turtle - 14" x 10"

I got interested in turtles when reading a book on turtles to Evangeline a couple of weeks before Christmas. The Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) is the most widespread native turtle in North America. Of the four subspecies, the Western Painted Turtle (C. p. bellili) is the most colorful, with a bright yellow and red pattern on its bottom shell or plastron. Its upper shell or carapace, on the other hand, is pretty dull. The Western Painted Turtle occurs primarily from Kansas and Missouri north to southern Canada, west of the Mississippi, and across Montana and Idaho into Washington and Oregon.

This painting depicts the turtle, a cold-blooded animal, emerging from a lake to bask in the sun to warm its body for several hours before foraging. It may repeat this behavior two or three more times in the day. 181220. Watercolor, 14" x 10".

palace-swans.jpg Watercolor: Palace Swans (20" x 14")
A pair of swans at San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts lagoon. These are Mute Swans (Cygnus olor). Watercolor, 20"x14". Exhibited at Sacramento Fine Arts Center, "Awash with Color" WASH 2014 Members Show, April 1-19, 2014.
ColorfulGiraffe-7x13-181201.jpg Watercolor: Colorful Giraffe - 7" x 13"
While painting Giraffes with Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance, I wondered what it might look like to have different colors in the characteristic spots that camouflage them. Here's what I came up with. 181201. Watercolor, 7" x 13".
GiraffePairFeedingLakeNakuru-20x14-191119.jpg Watercolor: Giraffe Pair Feeding at Lake Nakuru - 20" x 14"
One of the most delightful 15 minutes of my most recent trip to Kenya were spent in my driver's car at the side of the road observing a herd of about 14 giraffes feed in the Yellow Acacia forest in Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya, on October 31, 2019. They were so very graceful and unassuming. It was so peaceful! I shot photos and videos with the 30x lens on my compact Sony DSC-HX90V camera. This particular scene was captured as a frame of a video, when the giraffe closest to us dipped his head down to feed next to the other giraffe. The parallel lines of the neck fascinated me. I realize that it's hard to differentiate the two giraffes from each other, but that's the effect of their natural camouflage. Watercolor, 20" x 14".
GiraffesatMountTanzanaia-20x14-181201.jpg Watercolor: Giraffes at Mount Kilimanjaro - 20" x 14"

What interested me originally was the Umbrella Thorn Acacia trees seen in the distance. I saw some of their acacia cousins in Kenya, and consider this tree the iconic tree shape of the savannas of Africa. My resource materials combined a couple of photos. Pictured is a family of the Masai Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) which populates central and southern Kenya as well as Tanzania. Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa at 19,452 ft., looms in the distance. It is an extinct volcano. 181201. Watercolor, 20" x 14".

Family--PapaMamaand19Goslings-20x13-180506.jpg Watercolor: Family - Goose, Gander, and 19 Goslings - 20" x 13"

I saw these geese at the small lake at Auburn Regional Park in late April, where half a dozen goose families sat on the grass to the side of the lake. Most couples had perhaps 5 or 6 goslings. But then a family with 19 goslings entered the water, shepherded by the goose and gander, out into the lake together. I don't think this goose laid all 19 eggs, since a typical clutch is two to eight offspring. Perhaps some goslings from other mothers imprinted on them when they hatched. But this family stirs in me feelings of danger, of vulnerability, and especially hope for each of these youngin's. They're family, with parents watching out for them, perhaps in the way God watches out for us and teaches us to swim in deep waters. This painting won an Award of Merit in the WASH Open "Go with the Flow" watercolor show at Sacramento Fine Arts, September 4-30, 2018. It was also exhibited at the Placer Arts Council's "New Beginnings" show at the Hacker Lab, Rocklin, from 26 January to 23 May, 2019. 180505. Watercolor, 20" x 13".

duckbilled-stork.jpg Watercolor: Duckbill Stork - 10.5" x 10.5"
Here is a pair of Duckbilled Storks that Pastor Charles and I saw in the Nairobi National Park in 2014. This stork is named for a yellow bill that protrudes at the top of its own bill. Native to Africa. Watercolor, 10.5" x 10.5".
colorful-zebra.jpg Watercolor: Colorful Zebra - 10.5" x 14.5"
On our way home from Eldoret, Kenya in 2012, Pastor Charles Brown and I took a two-hour tour in 2012 of Nairobi National Park, just a mile or two south of the city, we saw herds of zebras. This one caught my attention. But I didn't want to paint him with boring black stripes, rather set him apart as a special zebra! Watercolor, 10.5" x 14.5". This painting was exhibited in the WASH Member Show, "Awash with Color" at Sacramento Fine Arts Center, April 26-May 14, 2016.
BrownLeghornRooster-8x8-190704.jpg Watercolor: Brown Leghorn Rooster - 8" x 8"
I wanted to paint something for my 31 paintings in July challenge, and a rooster came to mind. Here's a wonderfully colorful, strutting bird. Watercolor. 8" x 8".
BassSwimmingAimlessly-7x5-170703.jpg Watercolor: Bass Swimming Aimlessly - 7" x 5"
Bigmouth Bass swimming in the large aquarium at Bass Pro Shop in Rocklin inspired this small paining -- one of my 31 watercolors in July series. This is on L'Aquarelle Canson Heritage hot press paper, which I got at Hobby Lobby. Watercolor, 7" x 5".
barn-owl-hunting.jpg Watercolor: Barn Owl Hunting - 20" x 9"
Barn owls are fast and silent at dusk. All you hear is the rush of air over wings. I feel sorry for rodents foolish enough to be out after dark. Watercolor, 20" x 9".
baa-more-goat.jpg Watercolor: Baa! More! (10.5" x 14.5")
The goat is bleating, calling rather impolitely for more feed! This is an old nanny goat belonging to my friends Keith and Allyson on their six acre farm in Loomis. Watercolor, 10.5" x 14.5" It was exhibited in the "Animal House" show at Sacramento Fine Arts Center, February 7 to March 8, 2015. The painting is now in a private collection.
american-eagle-eye.jpg Watercolor: American Eagle Eye - 14.5" x 10.5"
I was fascinated by the glaring intensity of the eagle's eye. Maybe it helps represent America's determination to be free and help others live free. Watercolor, 14.5" x 10.5" In a private collection.
3-gulls-jacksonville-beach.jpg Watercolor: Gulls at Close of Day (10.5" x 14.5")
In April 2008 I saw these three Franklin's Gulls late in the afternoon at Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Their interesting shadows and reflections made me want to paint them. Watercolor, 14.5" x 10.5". Exhibited at Sacramento Fine Arts Center, "Awash with Color" WASH 2014 Members Show, April 1-19, 2014.
FlamingosFeedingLakeNakuruNationalPark-20x14-200107.jpg Watercolor: Flamingos Feeding, Lake Nakuru NP, Kenya - 20" x 14"
I spent a wonderful day on October 31, 2019 along the shores of Lake Nakuru. Though there weren't as many flamingos as in former years, there were many. I grouped these for composition. Hidden under one of the Lesser Flamingos is a Wood Sandpiper. 200107. Watercolor, 20" x 14".
LesserFlamingosandWoodSandpiperatLakeNakuru-10x14-191203.jpg Watercolor: Lesser Flamingo and Wood Sandpiper at Lake Nakuru - 10" x 14"
I enjoyed the colors of the Flamingos at Lake Nakuru NP, Kenya, on October 31, 2019. Here are some feeding in the shallow alkaline water along the shores. The small bird is a Wood Sandpiper. Won an Award of Merit in the WASH Member Show, "Awash with Color," April 7-26, 2020. 191203. Watercolor, 10" x 14".
HornedPuffinPair-10x13-191120.jpg Watercolor: Horned Puffin Pair - 10" x 13"
Here's a pair of Horned Puffins painted on Yupo, with my granddaughters in mind. 191120. Watercolor on Yupo, 10" x 13".
Tiger Stalking the Jungle - 10 Watercolor: Tiger Stalking the Jungle - 10" x 14"
I've been painting a series of animals to entertain my granddaughters. They probably won't want this one in their bedroom, however, because it might be scary in the middle of the night. Watercolor, 10" x 14".
MonarchButterflyFeeding14x10190711.jpg Watercolor: Monarch Butterfly Feeding - 14" x 10"
I painted this Monarch butterfly for my granddaughters. 190711. Watercolor and ink, 14" x 10".
YellowSwallowtailButterfly-8x8-190711.jpg Watercolor: Yellow Swallowtail Butterfly - 8" x 8"
I painted this for my granddaughters. 190711. Watercolor and ink, 8" x 8".
PelicanonLakeNakuruKenya-7x13-200410.jpg Watercolor: Pelican at Lake Nakuru, Kenya - 7" x 13"
On October 31, 2019, I spent a day at Lake Nakuru, after a conference in Eldoret, Kenya. It was a delightful day! Especially enjoyable were the giraffes, the flamingos, and the pelicans, that were fishing in the shallows of the lake. This was the Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalu). 200403. Watercolor, 7" x 13".
ZebraLove-14x20-200624.jpg Watercolor: Zebra Love - 14" x 20"
I caught a photo of these to zebras nuzzling near the shore of Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya late October 2019. There IS love among Zebras! You'll notice that none of the stripes are black, but a mix of blues, reds, and purples. Nor was the sky yellow that day, but that's why I got an Artistic License! Juried into the WASH “Go with the Flow” 2020 Open Show, August 25-Oct 25, 2020. 200403. Watercolor, 14" x 20"200624. Watercolor, 14" x 20".
lamb-revelation-front-cover648x800.jpg Watercolor: 'Conquering Lamb of Revelation' Bookcover

In May 2020 I published a series of 24 devotional messages focusing on the Conquering Lamb of Revelation. Here's the watercolor I painted for the book cover. 200502. Original uncropped size 10" x 14".

Ralph F. Wilson Watercolors
P.O. Box 565, Loomis, California 95650
phone (916) 652-4659