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Wild News

Connections Between Nature

Octopus Connection

Balance with nature is what we need to coexist with our planet and the millions of other beings we share it with, but we will only achieve this balance if we continue to use the power of our voice and our ability to vote to start turning the tide before its too late! I'll use Florida as an example.

Florida's coral reefs came into existence nearly 10,000 years ago when sea levels rose following the last Ice Age, creating a vibrant 200 nautical mile stretch of life and color down Floridas coast that has acted as a barrier to the coast by protecting it from erosion and hurricanes as well as providing an abundance of life for humans and other beings alike to thrive on! Over these thousands of years the reef grew slowly; with individual colonies growing only one-half an inch to seven inches a year, depending on the species. During long periods of favorable conditions (like stable temperatures and clean water) the reefs reached awe-inspiring heights and diversity.

Octopus Connections

However, over the last six years, Florida’s coral reefs have been experiencing a multi-year outbreak of coral disease. While disease outbreaks are not uncommon, especially in today's changing climate, this event is unique due to the number of coral species affected across a large portion of the Florida Reef Tract, and the ongoing nature of the event. To this day in 2019, the outbreak is estimated to have resulted in the mortality of millions of corals, and some suspect why it's happening is due to poor water management, sewage leakage and localized ocean acidification due to being so close to a massive city like Miami. We cannot afford to have apathy to this problem, not just because it is morally and ethically right to protect this precious life, but because Florida's economy and the livelihoods of millions of people literally depend on a healthy Florida coral reef!

Sea Turtle Connections

What will happen to the eco-tourism and the beaches that sustain Florida when it disappears? What will protect the beaches from erosion, and hurricanes when the wall of corals are all gone? What will happen to the local fisherman who sustainably fish and connects people with nature when they can longer fish because there aren't enough in the water to sustain a livelihood? Who are the people and the animals that will suffer? We need to think about these hard questions because they're terrifyingly relevant. 

Tiger Shark Connections 

We need to support change with our voice today and every day onwards through social media and word of mouth, by sharing the stories of what's happening to this precious place with the rest of the US and the world. We can't afford to have apathy, because it's our lives and livelihoods on the line if we don't speak up and protect what we love! By supporting organizations like @floridaaquairum @coralrestorationfoundation @noaa @keysmarinelab and @motemarinelab you are directly helping the preservation of the corals we depend on. These organizations are dedicated to growing resilient corals, out-planting new corals on now barren reefs, and educating the public on the importance of our reef's health. You can even get involved as a citizen scientist by volunteering with any of these organizations and even diving with them to plant corals on the reef! We need you, now more than ever! Please share with a friend if you agree!

These designs are now available as 100% organic cotton tees! Explore them at

Two of these originals are also still available! Learn more at

Sea Turtle Connections

Kelly Quinn


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Leafy Sea Dragons!

Leafy Sea Dragon

Leafy Sea Dragons (Phycodurus eques) are so cool! These beauties are found along the southern and Western coast of Australia and like to live in rocky Seagrass beds as opposed to the colorful coral reefs on the Eastern coast. Named for their dragon-like appearance and long leaf-like appendages that unfurl around their body, they use their "leaves" to disappear or "camouflage" into their habitat, giving them the illusion of floating seaweed! Crafty little critters 💙 

Considered a near threatened species, One of the largest threats they face is excessive fertilizer run-off and the pollution of seagrass and seaweed beds in Western Australia, which is the only place leafy sea dragons can survive in the wild! Today, they also are a target for illegal collectors who have stripped bare many areas in search of sea dragons to sell to the pet trade.


Leafy Sea Dragon

While it can be disheartening to hear the realities these beautiful animals face, what is happening right now can still be changed through advocating for what you love on social media, promoting #ecotourism in Australia, and supporting organizations like The Florida Aquarium who are dedicated to understanding the leafies breeding habits for protecting wild populations, and Oceana who advocates for higher water quality standards around the world!

We still have time to form sustainable habits as humans who share the planet, rather than consume it... so please use your voice when you can, it's powerful!!! Share with your friends if you agree. 🤗 Much ocean love friends!

*Ps. This mixed media, Acrylic and graphite on bristol paper, is available for inquiry. Please email me at with any questions!

Cheers, Kelly


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Earth Day 2019: Favorite Missions to Support!

Earth Day 2019: Favorite Missions to Support!

Happy Earth Day friends!

In this short journal, I'm sharing my top personal favorite eco-organizations that you can support this earth day by sharing their missions! All of these organization's either tackle climate change, coral reef restoration, species protection, or sustainability projects, and you can get involved in many different ways!


Occean Conservancy (Photo by Jordan Robins @jorden_robins)

Ocean Conservancy: Since 1972, the Ocean Conservancy has worked to protect the health and vitality of the world’s oceans, including the species that call it home and the humans whose livelihoods depend upon them. Through its International Coastal Cleanup program, the organization has removed 144,606,491 pounds of trash from the world’s beaches over the last 25 years.



Sea Legacy (Photo by Paul Nicklen, @paulnicklen )

Sea Legacy: Founded in 2014 by Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen. They ask, what lies beneath the surface of the thin blue line? This organization’s mission is to tell the stories of nature, to spark a global conversation, and to inspire people to act. They believe that producing powerful media and art that gives people hope is imperative. Hope is empowerment. Hope is a solution. Hope is a game changer.



The Florida Aquarium (@floridaaquarium)

The Florida Aquarium, Center for Conservation: The Florida Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to entertain, educate and inspire stewardship of the natural environment. Vision Protect and Restore our Blue Planet. Since it’s creation the Aquarium has been rescuing animals and restoring our home, but recently they expanded into “The Center for Conservation”, a 19,000-square-foot facility allows which focuses solely on conservation efforts. These efforts include a full Sea Turtle rehab hospital, Coral Arcs filled with thousands of baby corals to protect the genetics of the severely threatened Florida Coral Reef Tract, and shark breeding program, to protect the populations of Lemon Sharks! You can volunteer here or support through their fun events throughout the year!

Coral Restoration Foundation (@coralrestorationfoundation)

Coral Restorations Foundation: The Coral Restoration Foundation is the largest coral reef restoration organization in the world. Founded in 2007 by Ken Nedimyer, he jumped into action when he saw Florida's reef tract starting dying off in record numbers, and in response to the wide-spread loss, he started growing coral to replant on the reef! In this organization, you can volunteer as a scuba diver and help plant coral back in the ocean or donate funds for their research!



The Florida Wildlife Corridor Photo by Carlton Ward (@carltonward and @fl_wildcorridor)

The Florida Corridor: The Florida Wildlife Corridor organization champions the public and partner support needed to permanently connect, protect and restore the Florida Wildlife Corridor – a statewide network of lands and waters that supports wildlife and people.

Using a science-based approach, on-the-ground knowledge of the Corridor, and the support of thousands of followers throughout the state and nation, the Florida Wildlife Corridor now embarks on its most important journey – to accelerate the rate of conservation in Florida by 10% annually in order to protect 300,000 acres within the Corridor by the end of 2020.

Oceana, Photo by Martin Hristov (@oceana)

Oceana: Founded in 2000, Oceana was established by a group of leading foundations — The Pew Charitable Trusts, Oak Foundation, Marisla Foundation (formerly Homeland Foundation), Sandler Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund — after a 1999 study they commissioned discovered that less than 0.5 percent of all resources spent by environmental nonprofit groups in the United States went to ocean advocacy. Today they are an active resource for reliable environmental news, and petitions to advocate for change within our governments!


Nakawe ProjectPhoto by David Seerradell (@dserradell_photo and @nakaweproject)

Nakawe Project: NAKAWE is a non-profit and proactive entity, founded in 2014 in Barcelona, formed by a small group of professionals from different sectors committed to the environment and humanity, with a shared passion; the ocean, our first mission is to help save the world’s dwindling shark populations.

As a non-profit organization, our objective is to collaborate with governmental and non-governmental institutions, with the diving industry, industrial fisheries, recreational anglers and, of course, with all shark lovers worldwide.



Sharks 4 Kids (@sharkeducation)

Shark Education: Sharks play a critical role in the delicate balance of ocean ecosystems. Yet despite their importance, shark populations are being decimated globally. The rapid decline in populations teamed with the man-eating monster stereotypes sharks have garnered over the years, have left sharks fighting for their survival. The goal of Sharks4Kids is to create a new generation of shark advocates through access to a dynamic range of educational materials. Curriculum, games and activities will allow teachers to integrate shark education into their science programs on an introductory, intermediate or advanced level. Students can access games, activities and info sheets to satisfy their own curiosity about sharks. Photos and videos from scientists and conservationists bring an exciting element into the classroom and show students the beauty of the ocean.

Sharks4Kids will also fund first-hand experiences for students in the South Florida area (like the picture above!) as well as coordinating classroom visits across the country.



Sierra Club (@sierraclub)

Sierra Club: Founded in 1892 by conservationist John Muir, the Sierra Club is one of the oldest and largest environmental organizations in the U.S. It has protected millions of acres of wilderness and has helped to pass key environmental legislation, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. It’s also leading efforts to move away from the use of fossil fuels.



World Wildlife Fund (@wwf)


World Wildlife Fund (WWF): The WWF works in 100 countries to conserve nature and protect biodiversity. Founded in 1961, it’s now supported by nearly 5 million members worldwide.



Just by voicing your support for these organizations you are helping both local and the global environmental movements to gain momentum. Your voice and passion are important to our future, so please keep sharing your love of nature! 



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The Florida Aquarium is Growing Coral!

The Florida Aquarium is Growing Coral!

Me with a fresh clone fragment of a Staghorn Coral!  

Recently I had the opportunity to learn more about The Florida Aquarium’s coral farm! For those who haven’t heard about it, it’s kind of a big deal. Up until recently there was no feasible solution to combat the rapid disintegration of our coral reefs… however, with new genetic discoveries and growth practices, the Aquarium is successfully raising corals that can be out-planted back into the wild!

 The Florida Aquarium, along with its partners, use the Coral Health Certificate to rescue, rehabilitate and reintroduce healthy corals back onto degraded reefs. This certificate ensures that reintroduced corals will not introduce disease, compares wild corals to captive corals, identifies specific genes, and establishes protocols to map, relocate and evaluate the health of coral fragments.

So here’s what I learned!

How We Grow Corals Infograph

 How do you raise a coral?

  • Coral Colonies are produced by several methods. These mostly include cloning and sexual reproduction.

  • Cloning (Which is what I learned about and was able to help with!) is the process of trimming off the ends of healthy corals and transplanting the new ends on a small concrete disc. This fragment of coral will become a perfectly new clone with the same genetics as its parent coral, but it will grow nearly three times as fast. This method works especially well with staghorn coral, one of the most endangered corals found on our reefs.

  • Sexual reproduction happens when a small gamete (baby coral) is created during a spawning event in the wild. Some of our researchers take regular trips down to the Florida Keys to gather gametes during such events, and currently The Florida Aquarium is the only facility to have successfully grown an adult coral from a gametes!

     A close up of the Staghorn Coral clone

    Staghorn Coral in Farm Staghorn Coral among other species in the coral farm tank.

    What are the ideal conditions for coral?

    • Corals need just the right conditions to grow. These factors include excellent water quality, plenty of sunlight (but not too much), healthy water movement, and temperatures ranging from 72 - 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

    • Currently, the Florida Keys reef tract is suffering greatly in all of these areas. To combat this issue, The Florida Aquarium is working alongside the Coral Restoration Foundation and many other partners across the country, including other zoos and aquariums, to create genetically stronger corals that have natural resistance to higher temperatures and can withstand a lower quality of water. It’s really quite amazing what science can do!


    Coral Tree A small fish enjoying the new Coral Tree in his exhibit at The Florida Aquarium!

    What are we doing with these corals?

    • Specifically, the Aquarium participates in reef restoration projects that grow corals from gametes and clones. Our team will take periodic trips down to the Florida Keys to transplant our farm raised corals back into reef systems that no longer have living branching or stony corals. This type of coral is the most important because it is the foundation for the rest of the reef!

    Staghorn Coral from our FarmStaghorn Coral grown from our farm planted in an exhibit at The Florida Aquarium to demonstrate the process of planting coral.

     Coral Reefs are in trouble all over the world. These important ocean ecosystems are stressed from many causes, including global climate change, coastal run-off, ship groundings, disease and pollution. To help coral reefs, The Florida Aquarium’s coral farm raises corals in order to create new coral colonies for reef restoration, research and educational exhibits. 

    Visit The Florida Aquarium to learn more about this research and see the coral farm for yourself! Thank you for reading friends, you're awesome! Also, a huge thank you to Shawn O Garner (Sr. Biologist) with The Florida Aquarium for sharing all this research with me so I could share it with you! 


    *Permit Notation* The Florida Aquarium works under a permit regulated by Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.



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    What is a Giclee Print?

    What is a Giclee Print?

    Print staged in a coastal condo

    Giclee printing is a type of inkjet printing – focused on producing artwork at a higher quality and with a longer lifespan than a standard print. I offer both Giclee Canvas and Giclee Varnished Board as prints. We use only Archival Quality inks, canvas and paper. 


    What is a Giclée?

    Giclée is an elegant, state-of-the-art method of printing which provides a vibrant color rendition of an original painting, even capturing the depth of texture. This means a Giclée canvas or Varnished Board will reflect the vibrant color, rich detail and texture of the original Acrylic painting. To guarantee the quality and durability of the artwork the Giclée prints are printed on archival quality canvas or board which means the color and lifespan of the print will last well over 100 years. 


    Types of Giclée

    Giclée Canvas:

    •  Archival quality stretched canvas 
    • Varnished finish for UV protection and scratch protection
    • Delivers ready to hang


    Giclée Varnished Board:

    • Archival quality paper on board
    • Varnished finish for UV protection and scratch protection 
    • Textured board
    • Delivers framed and ready to hang


    If you have any comments or questions please feel free to reach out to me anytime via email!



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    Art Reveal: "The Mission"

    Art Reveal:

    "The Mission" - Panoramic for The Florida Aquarium, 11ft x 4ft Acrylic on Canvas


     These works are a window into the world of Florida’s iconic marine life and is meant to epitomize the mission of the Florida Aquarium; which is to entertain, educate and inspire stewardship for our natural environment, and to protect and restore our Blue Planet. Inspired by The Florida Keys, “The Mission” collection currently hangs in the Florida Aquarium's conference room, and acts as a visual reminder for the staff and volunteers as to why they are committed to saving Florida’s disappearing Coast and endangered marine life.

    • The collection includes an 11ft x 4ft panoramic made up of three separate canvases and one stand-alone vertical 3ft x 4ft canvas, all representing endangered and threatened marine life living on Florida’s coast.
    • The panoramic portion of this commission is the largest piece I have worked on to date, consisting of over 120 hours of painting, and days of research on Florida’s Great Barrier Reef, all completed in a three-month timespan.
    • The size of the collection was very important, because the viewer needed to feel as if they were surrounded by the reef, integrated with it, and truly experiencing the rush of standing next to a life sized Octopus, Eel, Sea Turtle and Sand Tiger Shark.


    Panoramic Hung



    • The Florida Aquarium’s dedication to their mission was the initial inspiration for the collection, but it quickly grew into a need to tell the story of our disappearing Great Florida Barrier Reef, the only living reef in the continental United States.
    • The final characters to be painted were based off of The Aquariums most charismatic animals; Flip the Green Sea Turtle, Missy the Sand Tiger Shark, Scylla the Octopus, and the Moray Eel couple who live alongside them. 

    Sand Tiger - Missy

    Sand Tiger Shark

    "Representing these animals and their home; Florida’s Great Barrier Reef, was crucial because they represent one story in Florida’s history, and this story is quickly disappearing."


    The Animals and The Art:

    Moray Eels

    "Moray Eels", 36" x 48" Acrylic on Canvas

    The moray eels, who are peeking out from their home to witness the arrival of an age old nomad, The Green Sea Turtle. Often found as couples, the Moray Eels acts as a clean-up crew for the reef and it’s an amazing experience meeting these curious residents when scuba diving! 


    Green Sea Turtle

    "Green Sea Turtle", 36" x 48" Acrylic on Canvas

    The focus in the central portion of the panoramic is obviously the Sea Turtle, but the key element that needed to be emphasized is the forest of Staghorn Coral that is flourishing throughout the artwork, representing a time when Florida coral reefs teemed with this now highly endangered coral. Currently The Florida Aquarium and The Coral Restoration Foundation are working together to raise Coral in gardens and “Plant” them in the wild to regrow damaged reefs!


    Common Octopus

    "Common Octopus", 36" x 48" Acrylic on Canvas

    With her wild red colors and swirling tentacles, the intriguing Common Octopus completes the panoramic, and inspires a feeling of joy in her movements. With an artistic focus on color, light, and movement, the panoramic represents a pristine and healthy Florida coral environment. With these elements, the collection shares the grandeur of this unique environment and tells the collective story of the reef, in order to preserve and convey its true impression and character.

     Sand Tiger Shark

    "Sand Tiger Shark", 36" x 48" Acrylic on Canvas 

    Separate, but a key character in “The Mission” is the mystifying Sand Tiger Shark. Missy, the shark who inspired this piece, has captivated me since day one at the Aquarium. Feeling a draw to her, she needed to be represented in the most vibrant way possible, with lots of color and a focus on connecting the viewer to her soul through capturing the audience with her eyes. I didn’t want her to look like other common portraits of sharks where they seem mindless, ferocious and almost lifeless. She needed to feel as if she was breathing and looking at you intelligently, reflecting the true character of these beautiful and quite gentle animals.


    Sand Tiger Shark


    Together with the Florida Aquarium, we support the preservation of Wild Florida and the organizations dedicated to educating and protecting our shared heritage in order to defend endangered species like Sea Turtles, preserve historical land and coastline found nowhere else, and to cultivate an even healthier Florida economy based on eco-tourism. We need your help, you who love Florida and her beautiful coast, to keep our paradise clean, safe and preserved so generations to come can enjoy America’s paradise.

    • With the purchase of any "The Mission" collection print, a percentage of the profits will immediately be donated to the Florida Aquarium and help fund initiatives like the Coral Restoration Project in the Keys.
    • To learn more about available prints, please visit the Gallery. Artwork is available as a collection, or as an individual piece.

    Thanks for reading! 


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    Art Reveal: "Synergy"

    Art Reveal:

    Synergy –

    “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.”


    "Synergy", 30" x 40" Acrylic on Canvas


    Synergy exists in many places throughout nature, but Coral Reefs are the poster child for collaboration. They are a compilation of thousands of organisms that are constantly battling for space to grow, but they grow so slowly that it takes thousands of years to form a viable reef! “Synergy” is an overhead view of the “Great Florida Barrier Reef” located in the Keys, and it represents the energy and nutrients the reef gives off, which flows into the oceans currents and is swept all over the world. These nutrients are key for life to flourish throughout our oceans, and supports the massive fishing industry that Florida depends on for economic stability.

    Florida Keys Reef

    • Third largest coral barrier reef in the world and the only one in North America
    • Extends 221 miles down the south-eastern coast of Florida
    • Home to over 6,000 individual reefs
    • Contains over fifty different species of coral and over one hundred fifty species of fish, and more
    • Supports a billion dollar fishing industry
    • Supports a million dollar tourism industry


     From the start, I knew what I wanted this piece to represent and why I needed to paint it. Here in Florida, we have the third largest Barrier Reef in the world, and what has surprised me is how few people realize its size, and the fact that we have the ONLY living reef system in the Continental United States. That’s a big deal!

     As I started the journey of painting this piece, I prepared a mini painting that some of you may recall seeing as a daily painting. This informed the first decisions on what colors and shapes were going to be used.


    "Daily Painting"

    I ended up flipping the piece horizontally for the final painting because our eyes naturally want to move left to right, and this movement from left to right represents a sense of moving forward and positivity. 

    “Synergy” is filled with a range of complimentary colors because this is the way I see the natural world; in a bright, whimsical, and ethereal kind of way. These colors create impact, and pulls your eye in. This was purposeful because "Synergy" is meant to be a window for you to look through and see our Barrier Reef, which deserves to be experienced and taken care of in the same way you would care for a piece of fine art. And just to put it into perspective, “Synergy” took months to create, the Florida Barrier Reef took thousands of years to create.

    Thanks for reading! I hope you learned something cool today :)


    I have compiled a list of the issues facing our Barrier Reef below. Immediately after that, there is a list of resources for you to learn more about these issues and the people doing their part to stop it!


      • Coral Bleaching
      • Coastal Development
      • White Band Disease
      • Pipeline Construction
      • Run Off Pollution


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    Art Reveal: "Meeting of the Queens"

    Art Reveal:

    "Meeting of the Queens," 15" x 30" acrylic on canvas

    Three iconic reef fish found in Florida! The "Queens" are the Angelfish, Parrotfish, and Triggerfish (Left to right), and all wear their own variation of a crown, although the Angelfish(left) has the most noticeable ;) . Our coral reef, The Great Florida Barrier Reef, is the perfect habitat to find these Queens all in one place, with each responsible for grooming and maintaining different places on the reef. 

    The Great Florida Barrier Reef is the only living coral reef found in the Continental United States. It has protected Florida from eroding away for nearly 10,000 years, but today it is experiencing massive "Bleaching" events. This disease is primarily caused by dramatic shifts in water temperature, which causes the the algae that live in the coral (Which gives coral its vibrant color) to be expelled, leaving the coral barren white, sick, and susceptible to further disease or death.

    Here's an Info-graph on Coral bleaching below (Created and distributed by NOAA):

    This environment supports nearly 25% of life in the ocean, and ours (the Florida Barrier Reef) is the third largest in the world! It not only supports an abundance of natural life, but our nearly $5 billion dollar fishing and recreational industries as well, which creates thousands of jobs and stimulates Florida's economy. Why I'm writing this is to educate anyone who will listen on the importance Florida's environment has in our lives and our planet. All I ask is that we each pick up after ourselves when on the beach, or grab one piece of trash if we can. Every hand helps in saving our ocean, and I want to work with as many people as I can who also believe in protecting Wild Florida. 

    Please feel free to use the comments section to tell me your thoughts! If you have questions, want to collaborate with me, or just want to reach out please contact me in any of these ways:

    • Email:
    • Facebook:
    • Phone: (813)-309-9663

    -Thanks for reading!




    To learn more about Bleaching and coral reefs check these Links out!

    NOAA information:

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