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Penguin Picassos

Only one year ago we covered little "Blue Blue's" hatching at Connecticut's Mystic Aquarium

Blue blue baby penguin mystic aquarium

Since that time, Blue Blue has turned into quite the painting prodigy. Keepers apply non-toxic paint to Blue Blue's webbed feet and he is free to waddle about as he pleases, creating a unique piece of art. Along with the works of two other mated pairs, Blue Blue's masterpieces are available on the Aquarium's website starting Feb. 5th. The perfect Valentine's Day gift for that hard to buy for penguin art aficionado in your life.  

Painting penguin mystic aquarium 2

Painting penguin mystic aquarium




Thirty paintings to go on sale February 5

MYSTIC, Conn. (January 27, 2010) – As the ultimate tribute to Valentine’s Day, two mated African penguin pairs at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration have created 30 original paintings together. These paintings ($124.99) will be available for purchase beginning February 5 in the Aquarium Store and at

The paintings were created by Green-Blue and Green-Black, who have had three chicks over five years, and Gray-Silver and Yellow-Red, who have been a pair for 12 years. Gray-Silver and Yellow-Red have not had any chicks because they are not part of the African Penguin Species Survival Plan (SSP), which approves the breeding of genetically-matched pairs. Blue-Blue, who was the only penguin chick born at the aquarium in 2009 and is part of the SSP, also created some of the paintings.

Creating these one-of-a-kind works with their feet is a form of enrichment for the penguin pairs. First, the penguin sticks out its feet (they have been trained to do this as part of the aquarium’s animal care program), and a trainer dabs non-toxic paint on them. A canvas is laid on the floor, and the penguin is set down on it, free to waddle wherever it wants. Once the paint begins to fade, a new color is applied to the second penguin’s feet. That penguin walks across the canvas to create a layer of hues.

The 16-inch-by-20-inch paintings are double-matted in white with black inner trim and encased in a black wood frame. They are available in two three-color combinations: dark red, blue and green and purple, blue and green.

A portion of the proceeds from each sale will go toward the aquarium’s many penguin conservation efforts here and across the world. Over the last eight years, the world’s African penguin population has decreased by 42 percent. The penguins at the aquarium play an integral role in the African Penguin SSP, and the aquarium staff’s work with them is helping researchers better understand penguins in the wild.

Additional paintings created by one penguin will be available for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and 9-inch-by-12-inch matted prints will be available this summer and fall for $19.99 each.

The Aquarium Store is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (gates close at 4 p.m.). Visit to learn more about the African penguins at Mystic Aquarium and to watch a video of them creating their art.

About Sea Research Foundation, Inc.

Mystic Aquarium, Institute for Exploration and Immersion Learning are divisions of Sea Research Foundation, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3organization. The mission of Sea Research is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration.