Serenity Zebra Painting in Acrylic

Serenity Zebra Acrylic Painting

“Serenity” Acrylic Zebra Painting with Damask Stripe and Butterflies by Ellie Burdett

Zebra Painting

By Ellie Burdett

“Serenity” Zebra Acrylic Painting with a Teal Damask Stripe and Butterflies.  

A wonderful challenge this painting was to be, all I knew when I started was that I wanted to paint a Zebra.  I wanted something different, however I had no idea where I was ending up eek.  I thought Zebra so it made sense for the background to be black – looking for more of a serene silhouette.  

So off I went and painted the Zebra and when complete wondered what next?

I put the painting down for a few days as I couldn’t decide what next….I did a couple of coloured pencil drawings instead….pretty pleased with those…note to self remember to blog the Kingfisher in Coloured Pencil.


Then on about the third evening I started to get some ideas, I had a lovely damask stencil and had been itching to use it with the airbrush.  My favourite art toy by the way the airbrush – its so versatile in adding many elements into my artwork.  So out came the art masking tape and with a quick measure up, I was airbrushing away.

Beautiful I thought but still something missing, a final touch to bring the picture together.  Then after a flick through Pixabay for some inspiration it hit me…….of course Butterflies! 

Serene, Serene, Serene,

Of course there was no option but to paint the butterflies in teal to match the Damask stripe and with a final touch of teal added to the eye of the Zebra, I felt the Zebra painting had been brought to its conclusion.

On sitting back from my art table, I did not have to procrastinate for long over a name, it came to me from the feel that I got from the painting, “Serenity” 


“Tip:  Don’t be afraid to try new things in art – it is only by experimenting you find the art from within yourself “

Zebra Painting


Zebra Acrylic Painting with a Damask stripe with Butterflies in black and teal


I started by painting the canvas with Mars Black then drew the Zebra straight onto the canvas (truthfully I had already drawn my Zebra as a draught – however when looking to transfer it to the canvas with transfer paper – I thought ooops not big enough for the canvas – so with a big deep breath – I got out the chalk pencil).  

Unlike normal where I usually paint around the outline in unbleached titanium white, it was obvious at this point, that this would not be possible considering the black background.  In this instance, I blocked in the Zebra stripes in unbleached titanium white to form the shape and body of the Zebra.

I continued to layer from the unbleached titanium white followed by a glaze of raw sienna and finally in titanium white.  At this point I wanted a little more detail in the fur so went over the edges of the stripes with the black again.  

Since I had started the Zebra on a black back ground, I was unable to get the look of the black maine – not deterred by this I used grey to give the impression of the maine.  The nose was block in with unbleached titanium white followed by deep grey. 

A quick measure up with the ruler and masking tape applied, with the stencil having its first art day out – I sprayed away in Teal. 

Finally a dash of teal to the Zebra eye and onto the butterflies….

Again the butterflies were drawn directly onto the canvas using a reference photo from Pixabay.  I block them in using light teal and gradually darkened the mix to add depth.  

“Tip:  Next time I do this – I will defiantly go from dark to light – its much quicker to get a lighter tone to the colour you have already mixed rather than a darker one”



Glossed three times with Liquitex Gloss Varnish Medium, gave the painting its freshly painted zest – incase you hadn’t noticed, a big favourite of mine. 


Supplies List:


  • Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint
  • Liquitex Gloss
  • Stretched Canvas 40cm x 40cm
  • Iwata Neo Airbrush
  • Hand Mixed Teal Paint for Airbrush using Liquitex basics mixed with water and airbrush medium
  • Brushes: Flat, liner, filbert, rake and sponge brush for glossing

A big thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you enjoyed it

Ellie Burdett

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