Zebra Paintings by Ilse de Villiers 

Where Stripes & Reflected Sky Meet 

As an artist with a passion for creating large zebra paintings. If you have followed my work, you know that I love the challenge that comes with creating a 3D artwork on a flat surface, especially when it comes to zebra paintings. To me, no year is complete without taking on the task of creating a striped masterpiece.

Exactly why it challenges me so, is probably debatable, & in the end who cares? As long as I can create beautiful zebra paintings that make onlookers stare in wonder & amazement, I’m a happy artist!

The Inspiration Behind My Zebra Paintings

As a wildlife artist from South Africa, I am constantly inspired by the beauty of the natural world and the amazing wildlife that surround us.

When I set out to create a new zebra painting, I spend countless hours studying their patterns and movements, observing them in their natural habitats, and capturing their beauty in photographs. I use these photographs as reference material for my paintings, carefully considering every detail and making sure that each stroke of the brush captures the essence of the zebra.

My goal is to create zebra paintings that not only capture their beauty, but also convey the sense of movement and energy that is so inherent to these creatures. Whether it’s the way they move through the savanna, or the way they drink from a waterhole, I want my paintings to capture the spirit of the zebra and bring their beauty to life.

Burchell’s zebra (Equus quagga burchellii) is a subspecies of the plains zebra named after British explorer William John Burchell. They are similar in size to most plains zebras, with males and females weighing between 230-320 kg and standing 1.1-1.4 m tall at the shoulder. They are characterized by bold, broad stripes on the head, neck, flanks and sparse stripes on the limbs that fade to white, with one or two shadow stripes in between the stripes on the haunch. Burchell’s zebra live in small family groups that can be either harem or bachelor groups and often gather in larger herds around food and water sources.


Ilse painting zebras
Progress on Where zebras & reflected sky meet<br />
Zebra Painting
Ilse de Villiers painting zebras

Burchell’s zebras: My Favorite Subject

As an artist, I am always on the lookout for inspiration and new ideas to bring to life through my paintings. And when it comes to my favorite subject matter, Burchell’s zebras take center stage. These magnificent creatures are found in East and Northern Africa and are known for their characteristic “shadow stripes” on the rump that give them a unique chestnut coloring. I have had the privilege of being able to capture their beauty and grace through my art, and I am always in awe of their stunning patterns and movements.

A Wildlife Photographer’s Inspiration

My husband, Abraham, is an avid wildlife photographer, and his love for capturing the beauty of the wild has inspired me greatly. I often use his stunning photographs as reference for my paintings, and I am always amazed at the incredible images he is able to capture. This is especially true of our recent trip to the Kruger National Park in South Africa, where we were able to witness a group of zebras at a waterhole in a way that truly inspired me.

An Encounter with Zebras at the Waterhole

We had arrived at the Kruger National Park in August of 2021 and spent several days exploring the area, photographing various wildlife and searching for opportunities to capture images of zebras. Our patience paid off, as we finally stumbled upon a small herd of zebras approaching a waterhole. They were cautious, as there had been multiple sightings of lions and leopards in the area, but they eventually made their way down to drink.


Ilse de Villiers painting stripes meet and reflected sky meet. Zebra Painting
Zebra Painting Inspiration

As they dipped their heads into the water, the light of the day was perfect, creating great contrasts of light and shadow, and the sky was reflecting a beautiful blue in the water. Abraham was able to capture a series of stunning images that would serve as the inspiration for my next painting.

Ilse de Villiers - Where the stripes meet and reflected sky meet

Bringing the Painting to Life

With a reference of beautiful images, I set out to bring my vision of the zebras at the waterhole to life. It was a difficult painting, as all of my zebra paintings are, but I am so proud of the final result. The painting depicts the zebras at the waterhole, surrounded by the beauty of the surrounding landscape, and the interplay of light and shadow adds a three-dimensional feel to the piece.

close up - Where the stripes meet and reflected sky meet progress
Zebra Painting Where the stripes meet and reflected sky meet by Ilse de Villiers

Available for Purchase

This original painting, titled “Where Stripes & Reflected Sky Meet,” is currently available for purchase and will be on display at the Southeastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston, South Carolina from 16-19 February 2023. If you are interested in purchasing this piece or commissioning a custom painting, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

You can contact me directly at art@ilsewildlife.co.za, or connect with me on Facebook (ILSE Wildlife) or Instagram (ilse_wildlife). I look forward to hearing from you!


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Wildlife Paintings, Ilse de Villiers, South Africa, Elephant Paintings, Buffalo Paintings, Leopard Paintings, Zebra Paintings, Rhino paintings, Antelope paintings, Lion Paintings, Black and white paintings, Bird Paintings, Available Art.