coral reef

Coral reef watercolor painting


Thinking about connectedness, I googled “threatened ecosystems” and browsed the results. The 9 most endangered ecosystems on earth and what you can do to save them caught my eye.

I have fond memories of snorkeling above a coral reef in Jamaica when I was 16. I was entranced by the beauty of the bright colors and variety of life. I was inspired by this image and the surrounding article, which includes advice for travelers.


  • I feared that I overworked the paint and I am relieved to see that’s not true.
  • A fun thing about painting coral is that it is pretty blobular in shape so just a few touches of brush make a colony.
  • The underwater world is forgiving in general, so the eye makes a fish from just a few marks and wobbly lines seem appropriate.
  • Comparing photo to painting, I can see where I’m inaccurate, but it doesn’t bother me.
  • I am pleased that I successfully captured the sunlight through water quality that attracted me to this scene.


  • I had a good time painting this image and I am happy with the result.
  • Repainting some of the pink coral made it lose some structure. This is the second time I have had this feeling. Maybe start to call things “finished” earlier??
  • Everything in this scene depends on everything else. We are all interconnected.

Posted on

April 30, 2023


  1. Annette Smith

    How blessed we are COLOR
    Thank you

    • Kate

      Agreed! The whole light-> eyes-> brain process leaves me gobsmacked.

  2. Lee

    This is so beautiful! I love the bright fish and the vibrant colors contrasting with white spots in the coral. The light coming down through the water makes the whole scene feel alive!

    • Kate

      The way the light came through the water was one of the things that attracted me to the image. I am glad I was able to capture it. Thanks.


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