Robert Lyn Nelson

View Art by Robert Lyn Nelson


In 1979, Robert Lyn Nelson created his landmark painting "Two Worlds", and a new type of art was born. "I wanted to paint the precise sensation of being in two universes at once. I could see it when I went diving. I wanted to share it with the world" and indeed he has. Today this view of life above and below the surface of the ocean has become one of the world's most successful and widely imitated genres.

Born in California in 1955, Robert's talent surfaced quickly. At three he began creating remarkably detailed drawings and by age four it was clear that a true child prodigy was at work. His skills continued to grow to such a degree that at age fifteen every painting displayed at his first one-man show was sold. Taking note of the local phenomenon, two nearby colleges invited the young artist to study art while still attending high school.

The ocean and its mysteries have long been an inspiration for Robert. His unbreakable bond with the sea dates from his first surfing experiences at age eight and continues to grow today. Moving to Oahu in 1973 Robert began SCUBA diving and it was there that he began in earnest to explore the underwater world first revealed to him through the early films of dive pioneer Jacques Cousteau. Today his remarkable paintings have become powerful symbols of the struggle to preserve that world and the life within it.

The success of his marine work has been so significant that many may be unaware of his beautiful abstract, impressionist, landscape, floral and portrait works. His achievement in any of these styles would, in itself, make him a painter of note. Whichever style he chooses, however, the common thread in all his painting is a shining life-like quality. Filled with minute detail, his paintings often take months to produce.

In 1976 while surfing in Hawaii, Robert had what was literally an eye-to-eye encounter with a humpback whale. This incredible experience provided an epiphany which has inspired Robert for life. A dedicated conservationist, Robert has donated his time and work to a host of environmental groups. He is deeply devoted to the National Marine Sanctuary Program and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation.

Robert has achieved recognition usually reserved for an artist whose life's work has been completed. His images have appeared in such widely diverse places as the cover of a Beach Boys album to official currency for the Republic of Palau. His paintings have been reproduced for the U.N. sponsored International Year of the Reef and International Year of the Ocean. He is among the first group of Americans to be named White House "Environmental Hero" and the Director of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has called his work "A National Treasure". His work on behalf of the NOAA has been displayed in such highly visible places as the lobby of the U.N. building in New York. His monumental painting "From Sea to Shining Sea" was honored as Official Painting for the American Pavilion at the Lisbon World's Fair and then became part of a larger display of his work in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

We are indeed proud and honored to offer to you the magnificent talent of Robert Lyn Nelson.