Where to paint with goats, seals, sea lions, whales, penguins and dogs in Connecticut

Throughout the pandemic many folks looked around at their walls and decided that they need something to spruce up their spaces. If you’re looking for a piece of art that is completely original (and doesn’t bear a “live, laugh, love” mantra), consider turning to some critter creators.

In Connecticut, you can actually register to paint with wildlife, then keep the masterpieces you make with animals like goats, seals, sea lions and even penguins.

Sure, you could attend a paint-and-sip and follow a prompt to create your own painting. But imagine the kinds of stories you can share at dinner parties as you explain to guests that, “oh, that painting over there? I made it with a seal.”

Farm painting

Bradley Mountain Farm offers painting sessions with goats.

Bradley Mountain Farm offers painting sessions with goats.

Bradley Mountain Farm / Contributed photo

Bradley Mountain Farm in Southington is all about the goats. Terri Battaglia, farm event leader at Bradley Mountain Farm, said they offer 15 different goat programs at the farm, including goat yoga, goat snuggles, goat strolls and Go-at Painting.

“You come in and you get a canvas and you get to create the painting with the goat. You get to pick out your own two colors, and we just apply the paint on the canvas and put it on the floor, and you work with the goat to get them to walk over the canvas.”

For more information about painting with goats, visit bradleymountainfarm.com.

Sea creature paintings

Mystic Aquarium offers seal painting programs.

Mystic Aquarium offers seal painting programs.

Courtesy of Mystic Aquarium

Kendall Rabeneck, communications manager at Mystic Aquarium, said they offer in-person and virtual painting sessions with their animals. Currently folks can register to paint in-person with seals and sea lions. Mystic also offers virtual painting programs with beluga whales and penguins.

“We came up with the program to provide an inside look at enrichment behaviors and provide guests with a painting to take home to reminisce on the experience,” she said.

The humans select which colors they would like their selected animal to use. From there, the critter will channel its inner Picasso and apply the paint to the canvas.

Visitors who do a painting program at Mystic will also get a biography about the critter that helped them make their creation.

The painting programs help the animals “to engage, learn and interact with their environment, benefiting them physically and mentally,” Rabeneck said.

Of all their painting critters, the penguins are the only ones who aren’t trained to paint with their mouths. Instead, the birds step in paint and walk over the canvas to create their works of art.

For more information about the painting programs at Mystic, visit mysticaquarium.org.

Pet painting at home

Anyone looking to paint an animal might consider enlisting the help of a pet. To create a pet-made painting, all you need is a tarp, some non-toxic, animal-safe paint and a canvas. Lay the canvas and some paint down on a tarp and have your house pet step in the paint and step on the canvas with their paws. (Keep in mind: this could easily get messy, so it might be easier to create your pet-designed art work outside.) For additional pet painting tips the American Kennel Society offers techniques on different ways to teach fido how to paint.