Water Horse II by Lynnette Shelley


Small (23.2" x 14.8")


Sizing Information

Small 23.2" x 14.8"
Medium 33.1" x 21.0"
Large 46.9" x 29.8"
Note: Includes a 3/16" white border


  • Printed on 185gsm semi gloss poster paper
  • Custom cut to three maximum sizes – A2, A1 & A0
  • 5mm white border to assist in framing
  • Tack them to your bedroom door, or frame

Original artwork is for sale. Please email redeye@designbyredeye.com with inquiries.
View more of my artwork online at www.lynnetteshelley.com

After my ill-fated original Water Horse artwork was destroyed/lost by the postal service while sending it to its new home, I decided to make another Water Horse of sorts.

This one is done in a bit of an Asian style, and is a mixed media creation (oil pastels, colored pencils, art markers, gold paint pen, and liquid copper leaf) on light green Canson pastel paper. The artwork measures 12.5 × 19 inches.

A small study of the basic horse figure was also created and is named Painted Pony

According to legends, a Water Horse is a supernatural creature that lures humans to death by drowning.

From Wikipedia

The kelpie is a supernatural water horse from Celtic folklore that is believed to haunt the rivers and lochs of Scotland and Ireland.

Its hide was supposed to be black (though in some stories it was white), and will appear to be a lost pony, but can be identified by its constantly dripping mane. Its skin is like that of a seal, smooth, but is as cold as death when touched. The horse’s appearance is strong, powerful, and breathtaking. Water horses are also known to transform into handsome men in order to lure women into their traps. It is understood that the nostril of the horse is what creates the illusion of grandeur. The water horse also creates illusions to keep itself hidden, keeping only its eye above water to scout the surface, much like the illusion of a fish’s pupil. It is wise to keep away from them. If a human climbs on the back of a water horse, the horse will often dive into the water and drown its rider. If a human gains control over the horse it can be put to work in fields. Water Horses have the strength of ten land horses and do not like to be enslaved and will try every trick to escape. The water horse then courts its master for several years before it consumes only the left leg and right hand pinky finger of the victim.

The water horse is also a common form of the kelpie, said to lure mortals, especially children, into the water to drown and eat them. It performs this act by encouraging children to ride on its back. Once its victims fall into its trap, the kelpie’s skin becomes adhesive and it bears them into the river, dragging them to the bottom of the water and devouring them – except the heart or liver. A common Scottish tale is the story of nine children lured onto a kelpie’s back, while a tenth keeps his distance. The kelpie chases him and tries to catch him, but he escapes. A variation on this is that the tenth child simply strokes the kelpie’s nose, but when his finger becomes stuck to it he takes a knife from his pocket and cuts his own finger off. He saves himself, but is unable to help his friends as they are pulled underwater with the kelpie. Commonly known as spirits of the dead, kelpies are not benevolent creatures.

An exception is a Scottish tale in which, towards the end of the mystical period of Scotland, a water horse fails to travel to Tír na nÓg with its fellow mystic folk, and instead rises above water, seeking a wife. However, after attempting to court a clever girl, who consults the wiseman about the situation, he is captured and forced to work in order to be taught compassion. After learning his lesson, he is given the choice of departing to Tír na nÓg, or drinking a magic potion that will make him a real man. The water horse, now full of love decides to drink the potion which erases the memories of his life as a water horse and gives him the chance to live with the clever girl with whom he has fallen in love.

View more of my artwork online at http://www.lynnetteshelley.com

Also check out Water Horse III

Having a great love animals, fairytales, and world mythology, Pennsylvania artist Lynnette Shelley fuses these influences into her strikingly unique illustrations. Her artwork strikes a primal chord in many viewers, with almost Jungian associations to the colors and shapes. Her artworks have been likened to images from an undiscovered ancient civilization or culture.


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  • Patricia Anne McCarty-Tamayo
    Patricia Anne ...over 5 years ago

    WOW WONDERFUL I really LOVE the colors too NICE work as alwayds my friend :) xoxox

  • Hey thanks Patricia :) I am very glad you enjoy this.

    – Lynnette Shelley

  • Ming  Myaskovsky
    Ming Myaskovskyover 5 years ago

    Such Illuminated colors, love your contrast , really nice ambient light, everything is wonderfully rendered! :)

  • Alexandra Felgate
    Alexandra Felgateover 5 years ago

    Instant fave Lynette, it’s gorgeous!!! So sad to hear your previous one was destroyed :(

  • Thank you Alexandra. Yeah, I am still mad about the other artwork being either lost/stolen/destroyed by the Postal system. I packaged it correctly, but the person I sent it to never got it – just a note in the door saying the post office was sorry but their item had been destroyed and no other explanation. But usually when that happens they send you the actual damaged item. This time there was nothing.

    – Lynnette Shelley

  • colorblind
    colorblindover 5 years ago

  • colorblind
    colorblindover 5 years ago

  • Helene Henderson
    Helene Hendersonover 5 years ago

    Stunning, Lynette!! Congrats on the feature!

  • Thank you!

    – Lynnette Shelley

  • Enivea
    Eniveaover 5 years ago

    Gorgeous! I’d love to see the original of this, to fully appreciate the textures.
    Congratulations on your feature:-)

  • Thanks Enivea. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I do have to say it looks better in person as you can’t see the lovely copper leaf to full effect here (or the gold acrylics).

    – Lynnette Shelley

  • redladyart2
    redladyart2over 5 years ago

    Lovely work :)

  • Thank you Sharon!

    – Lynnette Shelley

  • Rcuppini
    Rcuppiniover 5 years ago

    lovely the shabes remind me of old celtik patterns. is a nice soft and warm pic

  • Thank you Randi

    – Lynnette Shelley

  • Anita Inverarity
    Anita Inverarityover 5 years ago

    Fantastic Lynette !! xx

  • Thank you Anita :)

    – Lynnette Shelley

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