5 California Surf Paintings by Kathleen M Robison

Surfer 6x8" - A surfer feels out the froth of the wave in San Clemente, CA.

Impressionist painters are constantly drawn to the mystical beauty of the sea. Something about the earth meeting the water creates ideal subject matter for paintings, and this is ever so apparent in the Southern California coast. Kathleen M Robison is a Southern California plein air painter that paints the ocean and the sea. She realized a gap between the amount of surfers and the lack of paintings of surfers in the impressionist style. When the young groms grow up and start earning a higher income, their tastes tend to mature from burritos and skateboards to craft beer and original oil paintings. Or so it seems.

Shred the Gnar Gnar II 6x8" - A soul surfer cuts back at the lip of the wave, spraying foam into the the sunlight.


One of the challenges of painting surfers is capturing the exact posture that encapsulates the full range of motion that they contort their bodies into while speeding down the surface of the waves at high speeds. Any painting of surfers really only captures that split second of their ride and does not do justice to the whole series of moments that creates the stoke.

Red Surfboard 6x8" - Kathleen’s son Jacob ponders his next move after an exhausting day charging the sets.


Shred the Gnar Gnar 6×8" - Origin of "Shred the Gnar Gnar": a phrase of joy an excitement among surfers coined in Venice Beach in 1972.


While we can all truly admire the bravery of the cowboys of the sea, most of us spend our time in that neutral zone somewhere between the hot sand and the cold ocean. Right there at the water’s edge, dipping our toes in and running back to our towels before we do it again. There are few things as simple, enjoyable, and cheap as reading a good novel on the beach in the summer. Kathleen’s next painting captures the motion and chaos of all the different personalities in the ecosystem of the water’s edge.

Crystal Cove Bathers 12x16" - Where you’ll find the majority of the population at the beach.


Kathleen’s work can be seen online at her artist website or in person at Studio 7 Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA. She love talking about paintings and the ocean, so reach out with any good discussion topics.

Visit her website: Kathleen M Robison Original Oil paintings