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Sandro Giacomangeli: Iridescent Acrylic Wildlife Paintings

San Diego artist Sandro Giacomangeli has been painting wildlife for over 30 years, and hopes that that his artwork will help promote the idea of conservation and respect for the natural world.

Using multiple layers of acrylic paint and various scraping tools and mixed media on wooden canvas, Sandro is able to create the illusion of texture and natural variations. His paintings have a soft sheen to them made possible only by the careful layering of sheer paint—it’s this subtle effect that makes each animal come to life, showcasing them in a tender, almost magical, light.

Sandro’s first painting for today, seen below, is a perfect example of that. . . and the enormity of this majestic elephant is only emphasized by the artist’s choice of composition. Its head alone takes up half the canvas space, while its massive body gets lost in the depths of shadow created by his flapping ears and ribbed trunk.

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Through his layered painting technique, Sandro creates amazingly realistic speckled, sandpapery skin, complete with folds and veins. Although the elephant, with its wrinkles and rough skin, doesn’t sound like the loveliest animal in the kingdom, Sandro creates the argument that it, indeed, is one to admire.

I’d also like to point out the soft, luminous purple, orange, yellow, pink, blue and green colors Sandro uses to give the elephant a gentle personality and striking appearance. Like an elephant’s memory, the insightful, delicate colors used to depict this creature are something I’ll remember forever.

And what about this next creature? When you think about the Caribbean Sea with all its vibrant wildlife, is this the sight your imagination dreams up or what?!


I love how the light reflecting from the water’s surface mirrors brightly on this turtle’s impermeable skin. Like a dragon of the sea, the turtle has intricately scaled skin and a segmented, rich brown shell to act as protection from the ocean’s predators.

As he floats past, he eyes the viewer knowingly, with a look in his eye and perhaps the hint of a sly grin that can only read as amusement! There, swimming lackadaisically in the gorgeous, sunlit waters, this sea turtle knows life is good. It’s bound to give you, the viewer, such a pleasant, relaxed feeling

Last of all, but certainly not least, the painting of the giraffe below was the very first to catch my eye upon discovering Sandro’s portfolio.

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The foliage and sky in the background are incredibly soft, as though they are melting in the sun’s heat. This giraffe is in his element, though, taking it easy so as not to overexert himself as he saunters away, one eye still cautiously lingering behind him.

Sandro does excellent work with lighting in all his paintings, and the sunlight in this particular one falls deftly upon the giraffe’s shoulders, displaying (with obvious reverence for this animal’s magnificence) the various browns and reds in his thick coat and mohawk that trails down his neck in soft tufts.

Of course, if you think these paintings are incredible, just wait until you see more of Sandro’s work! Take a few minutes to visit his website and view the rest of his inspiring wildlife paintings.

*Note: this post may contain affiliate links*

I'm not an artist, but I'd like to nominate Scott Gearhart, a Portland artist who creates amazing abstract paintings, despite being a quadriplegic. He paints by holding the brushes in his mouth, and what he comes up with is incredible.

I found Scott's paintings at a local church, where he'd started creating a series of artwork. . . read more

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