About My Art

I have been surfing for over 40 years and just love the ocean.  The feel, the sound,  the look. The power, the fractured lines, sparkling light,  mist,  the movement of the sea.  I am not just inspired by the ocean, it is my life force. I paint the ocean as I experience it – as a surfer.

I am humbled that my art can be found in homes, offices, and galleries around the world. It was chosen by Bruce Johnston and the Beach Boys as a backdrop for their 2016 world tour. 

I am greatly inspired by the work of the great 18th-century Japanese artist, Hokusai, and often paint using permanent acrylic ink on very heavy Arches watercolor paper.  Generally, I use that method for the finer pieces, where I am trying to capture the intricate detail of a wave.  For the larger ocean pieces, I use a combination of acrylic and oil.  My recent “storm” series, for example, was all acrylic and oil.

About The Artist

Hi, I am Col and have been painting, sculpting and surfing the ocean for a long time now. I have been lucky enough to surf in some beautiful locations globally. No wave is ever the same. The light, shape, texture and even sound of the waves differ constantly.

A strong influence for my work is the Japanese Ukiyo-e genre of painting exemplified by Hokusai. The simplicity and clarity of form and structure is captivating. My pieces are often based on places I have surfed and in some cases, places I really want to surf! 

Like most artists there are some places that simply capture your heart and soul.  While the ocean is obviously mine. There are some very special areas that just embody the power and magnitude of the Ocean like no others.  The Great Southern Ocean being one of my obsessions.  Over and above that I have my very own sunshine coast,  New Zealand,  Tasmania, Costa Rica,  Mexico and many more. I tend to move between a desire to capture the wild chaos of mid ocean storms and the absolute perfection of glassy barrels on a winters day.   My driving commitment is to Ocean Conservation. Our exhibition in October 21 raised funds and awareness for the Australian Marine Conservation Society.  In my view,  art can and should have an important role in helping protect the planet we love.

Waves are the heartbeat of the planet. The ballet of the sea, and the symphony of life. They heal, they calm, they exhilarate and they destroy, but always with immense beauty


Drakes Passage – Great Southern Ocean

Acrylic on Canvas
91cm X 61 cm
This is part of the “Storm Series” Painted over 3 years. The second painting of the Great Southern Ocean.
Seans Wave

Sean’s Wave

Acrylic and Oil
102cm x 76 cm
This is part of the “Storm Series” Painted over 3 years. The second painting of the Great Southern Ocean.

Teahupo’o Green

Acrylic on Canvas
61 cm x 91cm
A celebration of the power of this magnificent wave

Moon break Southern Sky

Ink and Acrylic on 840 GSM Arches Water Colour Paper
50cm x 70cm
A playful piece with lots of sapphire and turquoise ink.


Acrylic, Pastel and Ink on Canvas
76 cm x 61 cm
A wave that I would have loved to have seen in person! The sheer power and speed.


Ink and Acrylic
50 cm x 70 cm
Two red figs on the edge of the ocean in Indonesia. A thumping left reef break in the background. Not sure if this was inspired by wishful thinking or just good dreams of great days

Chopes 2

Ink and Acrylic on 850 GSM Arches Paper.
50cm x 70cm
I wanted to capture the threat of the reef sitting just meters from this amazing wave while highlighting the Tahitian Landscape in the background.


Ink and Acrylic on Arches 850 GSM Paper
50cm x 70cm
The waves are just off Bali. The technique is straight from Japan. The pink effect in the background came from the use of a very light bleach mix

Kings 1769

Ink on Arches 850 GSM paper
50cm x 70cm
Kings is my attempt to imagine our iconic Kings Beach when our First Peoples still had it to themselves. With great thanks to Karl Angell whose incredible photo was used to do this painting. Karl is a real talent.

Leroy’s Downfall Part 1

Ink on Arches 850 GSM paper.
70cm x 100cm
Dedicated to Leroy Bellet, another immensely talented Aussie surf photographer. Leroy was so deep in the wave when he took the photo he broke his neck. That is dedication.


Ink on Paper
70cm x 50cm
Mizuiro means “light blue water” in Japanese. While the wave was in Indo, again the technique is heavily influenced by Hokusai from Japan
Storm Surge

Storm Surge

Acrylic on Canvas
The wave was in the Southern Ocean. I have had many people comment on the unusual “cavity” in the face of the wave. It is really truly there. In fact, that is what attracted me to the wave!
Teahupoo from the back

Teahupo’o from the Back

Acrylic on Canvas
101cm x 101cm
This piece reflects my obsession with Teahupo’o. We always see the waves from the front in the surf mags but I wondered what the wave looked like from the sea. The gorgeous Tahitian mountains form a needle-like backdrop for this piece. While from behind the wave looks a bit insignificant, from the front there is a 3m monster smashing hard into the reef.

The Cove

Ink on Arches 850 GSM paper
50 cm x 70cm
From a wonderful photo by Karl Angell. The Cove is pretty much the break between Moffat Beach and Dickey Beach. Given this is my “home” beach, it’s quite personal.

Original Photo by Karl Angell
The Quiet Place

The Quiet Place

Acrylic on Canvas.
91 cm x 102cm
This dream-like piece is a blend of Indo and Tahiti but mostly just somewhere I would like to be when things get stressful.

The Moment

Arches 850 GSM paper
90×70 cm
The last wave of the day. The light from the setting sun brings the wave to life.

Based on a photo by Karl Angell

Great Southern Ocean Part 1

Acrylic on Canvas
Another member of the storm series. The hint of a break in the weather on the horizon helps make the scene a bit more optimistic.

Anatomy of a Wave Part 2

Ink on Arches 850 GSM paper
Taken from a photo by the immensely talented Leroy Bellet

Lady Blue Part 2

Ink on Arches 850GSM Paper
Ocean Gods update 23_11

Ocean Gods

Ink on 850GSM paper
If I was a dolphin I would want tattoos! The cooler the better. I have come face to face with so many Dolphins around the world and they are all so much cooler than me!
Sunlit Whale

Sunlit Whale

Ink on 200 GSM paper
50 cm x 70cm
A moment captured, as light from the surface ripples across this giant traveler’s body
Coromandel Magic

Coromandel Magic

Ink on 850 GSM Arches Paper
A whimsical view of one of the great NZ breaks. A zen enso created from tree branches highlights the break.
French Wave

French Wave

Acrylic on Canvas and a bit of sand
102cm x 76 cm
A massive shore break on the coast of France. All I can do is imagine trying to paddle through it. I like to think that it might be Currimundi on a big day.
Offshore updated


Ink and Acrylic on Arches paper
50 cm x70 cm
A wistful amalgam of all my favourite waves.

Bevs Wave

Acrylic and Oil on Canvas
1.2m x 1m
Like many of my paintings, this is from the great southern ocean. A confused and stormy sea at night


Acrylic and oil on Canvas
1.2m x 1 m
Every now and then a monster wave pops up from nowhere. Rogue waves can go up to 20 or 30 meters. Great to see but I am not sure I would be too keen on surfing one.
We chose COLD WAVE to drift across our large concert screen(s) in 2016 and beyond (so far 150 concerts booked). COLD WAVE will look magnificent!!! Thanks so much for visually enhancing our Beach Boys in concert atmosphere!

Bruce Johnston
The Beach Boys

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