Featured Artist Mindy Lighthipe

Artist Mindy Lighthipe raises awareness of the fragility of our ecosystem through beautifully detailed imagery. Find more artwork on her website.


colored pencil drawing of a Toucan in a Papaya Tree by Mindy Lighthipe

“Toucan in Papaya” colored pencil, 22″ x 30″


As an artist, I have led an exciting life dabbling in the natural world. During my career I have reinvented myself through different art forms. My love for art and nature has brought me to amazing places. I have created things I never imagined I could do.


watercolor of a Cattleya by Mindy Lighthipe

“Bodacious Cattleya” watercolor, 20″ x 24″


I started as a fiber artist, learning to make yarn on a spinning wheel and dyeing them with natural dyes from the plants I grew. I wove fabric on a handloom and then created wearable art.


watercolor of an Io Moth by Mindy Lighthipe

“Io Moth Lifecycle” watercolor, 14″ x 18″


Later, I studied and changed my artistic pursuits to botanical and scientific illustration. My main focus was the insect world. I remember a friend of mine asking me why I wanted to draw “bugs” after making fine crafted fabrics. I have always had a passion for color, pattern and texture. All of these elements are found in the insect world. It was a natural transition from making fabric to creating works on paper.


colored pencil drawing of a Red Eyed Treefrog by Mindy Lighthipe

“Red Eyed Treefrog” colored pencil, 5″ x 7″


At the age of twenty-eight, I had my first opportunity to travel outside the United States. I was headed to the rainforest of Costa Rica. I fell in love with the tropics and have traveled for thirty years—enriching my life and my art.


watercolor of the Owl Butterfly lifecycle by Mindy Lighthipe

“Owl Butterfly Lifecycle” watercolor, 20″ x 24″


The flora and fauna of Costa Rica and other tropical rainforests have expanded my love of insects to include many more amazing creatures. Through my travels I have had the honor of teaching and training other artists like myself.


watercolor of a Sandhill Crane by Mindy Lighthipe

“Sandhill Crane Preening” watercolor, 12″ x 12″


With growing concerns of climate change and habitat destruction, I have worked with conservation groups to enhance public awareness of how wonderful and fragile nature is. I create my art to share with people in hopes of educating them that all things are interconnected.


gouache and watercolor of a Brown Pelican by Mindy Lighthipe

“Brown Pelican” gouache and watercolor, 40″ x 60″


I approach my work with wonder, recording both beauty and scientific accuracy. I aim to preserve a natural record of the earth’s plants, insects and animals.


solar etching of two owls by Mindy Lighthipe

“Breezy Day” solar etching, 6″ x 6″


I’ve never been a purist in my approach. I work in many different mediums—watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, gouache and pastel. I often combine techniques and am crazy for bold color!


solar etching of a Tortoise Beetle by Mindy Lighthipe

“Tortoise Beetle 1″ solar etching, 4″ x 4”


My latest passion is printmaking. I took printmaking in college and have now found a new earth friendly method of etching—solar etching. Solar etching replaces the toxic chemicals used in traditional etching techniques. Using a UV sensitive emulsion polymer plate, I am able to hand pull an edition of my art to offer to my collectors. After the printmaking process, I hand color them with watercolor and inks.


watercolor of a snow leopard cub by Mindy Lighthipe

“Snow Leopard Cub” watercolor, 11″ x 14″


I have written and illustrated a children’s book, Mother Monarch, from Schiffer Publishers and an instructional book, The Art of Botanical and Bird Illustration, from Quarto. I lead art/photography tours to Costa Rica, and teach Scientific Illustration online at the University of Florida.


Artist Mindy Lighthipe invites you to follow her on Facebook and Instagram.


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  1. I like your portrait of the re eyed tree frog. Also like your owl and Sandhill Crane. Your printmaking process is unique. I have taken etching classes in the past but none involved color. I like to paint wildlife in acrylics ,but have only experimented occasionally with other mediums.

    • Hi Ann Marie! Thank you for leaving such a nice comment about my work. You can take any of your etchings and hand tint them with watercolor or inks. It is really easy! Your ink must be waterproof in order for it not to bleed when you put on the water medium. If you have an etching you made, and want to experiment, all you have to do is put some watercolor washes over the top. Watercolor or inks are normally transparent and your original inked etching will shine through. This is how I add color to my prints. Experiment and have fun!

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