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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.

Click on the thumbnail picture or title to see a larger image. To inquire about purchasing a painting, please contact the artist.

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. 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". In a private collection: A. Roberts.

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.
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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. In a private collection: A. Roberts.
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. In a private collection: K. Huggett.
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: K. Huggett.
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. In a private collection: D & T Wilson.
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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". In a private collection: A. Roberts.
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". In private collection: A. Roberts.
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".

Giraffe-10x10-211030.jpg Watercolor: Giraffe - 10" x 10"
On November 2, 2019, I visited the Giraffe Center in Nairobi, where I saw this giraffe up close and personal. 210130. Watercolor, 10" x 10"
PacificTreeFrog-14x10-210703.jpg Watercolor: Pacific Tree Frog - 14" x 10"

I've been painting a series of animals that appear on the walls of my granddaughters' rooms in Auburn. This Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla) abounds in our area. This is from a photo I found searching. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210703. Watercolor, 14" x 10".

7-SpotLadyBirdBeetle-210712.jpg Watercolor: Seven-Spot Lady Bird Beetle - 14" x 10"

My oldest granddaughter is interested in all things animal -- including insects. Here's a Seven-spot Ladybird (or Ladybug, Coccinella septempunctata, the most common ladybird in Europe, and expanding in the American eastern seaboard. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210712. Watercolor, 14" x 10".

ReadytoStrike-14x10-210716.jpg Watercolor: Ready to Strike (Boa Constrictor) - 14" x 10"

When I asked my granddaughter what kind of animal I should paint for her, she responded: Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor). So I looked for a dramatic photo from which to paint -- not having my own pet boa -- and found a particular menacing one. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 210716. Watercolor, 14" x 10".

OwlEyes-14x8-220421.jpg Watercolor: Owl Eyes - 14" x 8"
In church recently it occurred to me that owl eyes would be interesting. So here's my attempt. His eyes just won't let you go. 220421. Watercolor, 14" x 8".
EagleandFlagStainedGlass-14x10-220527.jpg Watercolor: Eagle and Flag Stained Glass - 14" x 10"
I felt like doing something striking -- and what's more striking than an American Eagle with a glare in his eye? For a couple years I have been occasionally playing with a stained glassy effect. I think I like it because I can use wonderful saturated colors, and because of the definition it offers. And it's fun, even though it's tedious. 220527. Watercolor and ink on hot press 140# watercolor paper, 14" x 10".
MockingbirdinBlue-10x10-220625.jpg Watercolor: Mockingbird in Blue - 10" x 10"
We've had a mockingbird staying around the last few weeks, bringing joy to the morning air. Mockingbirds are primarily gray, black, and white, but I wanted mine more colorful. So .... 220625. Watercolor and ink, 10" x 10".
RedBarkScorpion-10x7-220707.jpg Watercolor: Red Bark Scorpion - 10" x 7"
In looking for a scorpion to impress my granddaughters, I ran across a photo of a Red Bark Scorpion (Babycurus jacksoni). It is venomous, though not native to California. Full-grown it is about 4 inches long. Part of my 31 Paintings in July challenge. 220707. Watercolor, 10" x 7".
GardenSnailSlime-10x7-220707.jpg Watercolor: Garden Snail Slime - 10" x 7"
When I was in Jr. High in Hayward, California, I can remember having snail wars with the plentiful snails in our yard. Fortunately, where we live now has been pretty well spared. This is a quick painting of the common Garden Snail (Helix aspersa). Part of my 31 Paintings in July challenge. 220707. Watercolor, 10" x 7".
HeresLookinatYou-7.5x7.5-220710jpg.jpg Watercolor: Here's Lookin' at You, Kenya Giraffe, 7.5" x 7.5"
One of the joys of a mission to Kenya in October 2019 was a daytrip to Lake Nakuru National Park where I watched a herd of Rothchild's Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi) in the wild feeding in the forest beside the lake. One looked straight at me for a moment when I snapped a photo. Part of my 31 Paintings in July challenge. 220709. Watercolor, 7.5" x 7.5".
SorrelQuarterhorseMrJessPerry-7x10-220710.jpg Watercolor: Sorrel Stallion Mr. Jess Perry - 7" x 10"
For my 8-year-old granddaughter I painted a portrait of a sorrel quarter horse stallion Mr. Jess Perry (1992-2017). He had won races in Texas and Louisiana, then was a top-earning stud. Part of my 31 Paintings in July series. 220710. Watercolor, 7" x 10".
PalaminoJacsLittleSunrise-10x7-220710.jpg Watercolor: Palomino Jacs Little Sunrise - 10" x 7"
My eight-year-old granddaughter is in a horse-loving phase, going to horse camp in Auburn this summer, so I painted her a couple of horse pictures. This one is a Palomino quarter horse stallion Jacs Little Sunrise, seen here galloping around the field. He was active in 2008-2012 in Europe and Britain. Part of my 31 Paintings in July series. 220710. Watercolor, 10" x 7".
LorquinsAdmiral-10x7-220712.jpg Watercolor: Lorquin's Admiral - 10" x 7"

One of the resident butterflies where I live in Loomis, California, is the Lorquin's Admiral (Limenitis lorquini). Here's my take on it. Part of my 31 Paintings in July series. 220712. Watercolor and ink, 10" x 7".

RainbowUnicorn-7x10-220713.jpg Watercolor: Rainbow Unicorn - 7" x 10"
One of my granddaughters is entranced by unicorns. So I painted this rainbow unicorn just for her. Part of my 31 Paintings in July series. 220713. Watercolor, 7" x 10".
DragonflyBlue-21x8-221122.jpg Watercolor: Dragonfly Blue - 21" x 8"
A dragonfly's wings are beautiful when it is perched on a branch over the edge of the lake. I am fascinated by the colors in the minute wing panels of the membrane stretched tight, reflecting the sun. 221122. Watercolor and ink, 21" x 8".
DragonflyYellow-21x8-221123.jpg Watercolor: Dragonfly Yellow - 21" x 8"
I worked on a pair of dragonflies simultaneously -- one on a blue background, the other on bright yellow. This is Dragonfly Yellow. I think I like this one better. 221123. Watercolor and ink. 21" x 8".
GreatEgretatInverness-221223-10x14.jpg Watercolor: Great Egret at Inverness - 10" x 14"

On a photo day with my son Dan in mid-December 2022, I watched this Great Egret (Ardea alba) standing in shallow water at the edge of Tomales Bay near Inverness, California, waiting for a fish to spear. None appeared this time, and he eventually flew away with his great wing strokes. I tried to capture the dancing waters behind the egret with various colors of blue horizontal lines. 221223. Watercolor, 10" x 14".

PandaEatingBamboo-14x10-230710.jpg Watercolor: Panda Eating Bamboo - 14" x 10"
My granddaughter Connie has moved from unicorns to pandas as her animal of choice. At her request, I painted this for a spot high on the wall adjacent to her upper bunk. Part of my 31 paintings in July challenge. 230710. Watercolor, 14" x 7".
TriceratopsatVanHowdStudios-10x7-230706.jpg Watercolor: Triceratops at Van Howd Studio, 10" x 7"
The Rocklin Fine Arts sketchcrawl went to the Van Howd Studio near the Auburn Airport for June. Van Howd is the creator of some wonderful bronze sculptures! This is a quick plein air sketch of a life-sized Triceratops behind the building. Part of my 31 paintings in July challenge. 230706. 10" x 7".
HouseFinch-10x7-230714.jpg Watercolor: House Finch, 10" x 7"

One of the most common birds to visit the bird-feeder outside my study is the House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus). 230714. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. Watercolor, 10" x 7".

GreatHornedOwl-10x10-230711.jpg Watercolor: Great Horned Owl, 10" x 10"

In May 2023 I saw a Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) perched on the lamppost outside my study at dusk during a Zoom meeting. I also made a 4" x 4" version for the Library's Mini-Masterpiece challenge. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 230711. Watercolor, 10" x 10".

Black-HeadedNuthatch-7x10-230725jpg.jpg Watercolor: White-Breasted Nuthatch - 7" x 10"

The White-Breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) is a common visitor to my bird feeder. It has the interesting characteristic of walking DOWN branches and chains. Part of my 31 Paintings in July Challenge. 230725. Watercolor, 7" x 10"

Black-HeadedGrosbeak-10x7-230717jpg.jpg Watercolor: Black-Headed Grosbeak - 10" x 7"
This bird is an occasional visitor to my birdfeeder. Beautiful coloring. Part of my 31 paintings in July challenge. 230717. Watercolor. 7" x 10"
CanadaGooseComingOn-7x10-231118.jpg Watercolor: Canada Goose Coming On - 7" x 10"

On 29 June 2023, I was poking around Folsom looking for great scenes. I took photos of several waterbirds from the south shore of Lake Natoma near Young Wo Circle. The Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) were active. This is from a shot of a bird coming straight towards me. I played around with a lot of salt in the water portions to try to simulate reflections on the water. In a private collection, DJ Wilson. 291118. Watercolor and ink, 7" x 10".

CheetasChasingDeer-14x10-231110.jpg Watercolor: Cheetas Chasing Deer - 14" x 10"
My granddaughter Jubilee gets very animated when discussing cheetas. "They're the fastest mammal," she tells me. I painted these running cheetas for her bedroom. 231110. Watercolor, 14" x 10".
PuffinChicksonSkyIsland-10x7-240108.jpg Watercolor: Puffin Chicks the Isle of Sky - 10" x 7"
These are some puffin chicks waiting for their mother to bring a fishy food for them. I saw the image on Rick Steves' travelogue of the Ilse of Sky, Scotland. 240108. Watercolor, 10" x 7".
HummingbirdandSage-10x7-240213.jpg Watercolor: Hummingbird and Sage - 10" x 7"

I often have Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) stop by my birdfeeder, but seldom have the light right to see the nearly phosphorescent head fathers. Here, it is feeding on a Woodland Sage (Salvia nemorosa), not native to California, but striking colors. 240213. Watercolor and ink on hot press paper., 10" x 7".

Ralph F. Wilson Watercolors
P.O. Box 565, Loomis, California 95650
phone (916) 652-4659
All art works are copyright by Ralph F. Wilson. All rights reserved.