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About Robert Lyn Nelson

6220re bWELCOME to Robert Lyn Nelson’s virtual gallery of fine art, a collection of Nelson’s diverse oeuvre. Although the Artist intentionally avoids classification, we have placed his paintings into subjective categories for convenient viewing. We hope you enjoy experiencing the work of one of America’s most supremely gifted and versatile artists.


What began as an unexplainable, undeniable drive to draw beginning at age 3, has propelled Robert Lyn Nelson into a very elite minority of distinguished artists who defy categorization, having extensive bodies of work across all styles of painting & sculpture.


Nelson received world acclaim for pioneering the Modern Marine Art Movement with his 1979 painting, “Two Worlds”. This original painting played a significant role in inspiring marine conservation efforts world-wide. – The distortions of the world around him has led to increasing surrealistic elements that have added a complex dream-like dimension to Nelson’s visionary art and ignited existing and new admirers.


Pablo Picasso, Gerhard Richtor, and David Hockney, known for their versatility and considerable artistic range, inspire Nelson to continue creating works in various styles from realism to cubism to impressionism to non-objective abstractions. He believes creativity is boundless and artists shouldn’t be limited in any way when it comes to expressing themselves through art. Moved by the intense mystical sensation his paintings and drawings evoke,Robert Lyn Nelson’s art is widely admired and acquired by collectors around the world.

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painting-odayakaEarly Life and Education

Born:  February 1, 1955; Upland, California

Education:  Chaffey College, Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Mount San Antonio College, Pomona, CA; University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI


Robert Lyn Nelson began drawing with charcoal and pencil daily at three years of age; by seven he won an ‘Art for Conservation Award, one the first of his many awards, at Edison Elementary school.  His family moved in 1964 and he continued winning art awards at Hawthorne Elementary School. That encouragement fueled his lifelong passion for art.  By the age of eight Robert began an earnest study of the great masters of the Renaissance, famous impressionists, cubists, surrealists and modern artists.  Rembrandt, Monet, Renoir and Picasso fed his voracious appetite to experiment, invent and refine styles that continues to this day.  His artistic talent continued to win awards and recognition, including environmental and conservation art awards.  By the age of twelve he was selling his paintings, funding his passion.


At the age of 13, Nelson was awarded a scholarship to study art history, painting and drawing at Chaffey College in California. He was awarded another scholarship and continued his art studies at Mount San Antonio College, Pomona, CA. In 1973, At the age of 18, Nelson traveled to Hawaii for a  one month vacation. After expericiencing life in the islands, he decided to forgo pursuing education at the San Francisco Academy of Art where he had been accepted. He couldn’t imagine leaving Hawaii, which has remained his home to this day. In 1975 he attended University of Hawaii, Honolulu with studies in both philosophy and fine art. Dedicated to inspiring future generations committed to wildlife and habitat conservation, biodiversity, sustainability and environmental education through art, Robert has taught classes to up-and-coming artists at UH, Maui.


Living in Hawaii for more than 42 years, Robert’s vibrant and soothing images are equally true to life and inspiring.  Diving and surfing around the Hawaiian Islands inspired Robert’s monumental “Two Worlds” painting, and continues to significantly inspire him. However, his body of work undermines the concept of an artist’s obligation to maintain a single cohesive style.  Nelson is tirelessly devoted and dedicated to perfecting new techniques – his expansive body of work contains more than 8,000 paintings, drawings and sculpture – distinguishing him as one of the most prolific artists in the modern world.   “Painting is like breathing to me, it transcends anything and everything going on in my life.”  Facing his addiction to create from a place of strength, he channels the energy and passion to merge dreams and reality applying color to canvas, bringing his visions to life so they’ll no longer haunt his thoughts.  Yet for each one he completes, there are hundreds more in line waiting to be set free.


“If I could describe in words the surreal visions in my mind’s eye, I would be a writer, but I can’t find the words so I paint.”  Devoted collectors of his works consider him somewhere between a national treasure and natural resource – a truly visual poet expressing with color what can’t be expressed in words because the words don’t yet exist!  No artist of his generation has awakened the world to such visual complexity and beauty. Many say art is hope, each completed work by Robert Lyn Nelson is hope for a better world.   It is the intimate way Robert’s work moves his viewers that make him so desirable by collectors, in all categories.  


A passionate conservationist, and considered a visual activist, he has dedicated his life’s efforts on building concern, and more importantly inspiring a call-to-action to protect nature & animals through his art.  Co-founding the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation with Jean-Michael Cousteau and receiving the NOAA Environmental Hero Award by then Vice President Al Gore for his efforts to protect the environment, Nelson is widely recognized as one of the most inspiring artists of his generation.

Prominent Collectors (Partial)

Bruno Mars

Jean-Michel Cousteau

Paloma Picasso

Pres. Bill & Hillary Clinton

Jack Nicklaus

Gov. Ben Cayetano

Pres. Ronald & Nancy Reagan

Terry Schroeder

Leonard Nimoy

Pres. George W Bush

Roger Clinton

Richard Lewis

Clint Eastwood

Bernie Kopell

John Candy

Vice Pres. Al Gore

John Davidson

Tom Selleck

Barbara Bush

Clare Boothe Luce

John Hillerman

Jacques Cousteau

Marlon Brando

Mac Davis

Robert Kennedy Jr.

Kenny Loggins

Lloyd Bridges

Dr. Sylvia Earle

Chi Chi Rodriguez

Beau Bridges

James Cameron

Robert Wagner

Vince Neil (Motley Crue)

Arnold Palmer

Michael Schiffer

Al Jardine

Mike Love

Robert Rockefeller

Gov. George Ariyoshi

Willie Nelson

Sonny & Mary Bono

Shep Gordon

Nick Nolte

Brian Wilson

Jimmy Messina

Peter Max

Jackie Cooper

John Denver

Randy Travis

Jimmy Buffet

David Gates (Bread)

David Silverman (The Simpsons)

Mike Conners

Guy Buffett

Carl Wilson

Richard Crenna

Dan Fogelberg

David Robinson

Chad Everett

Cliff Williams AC/DC

Michael Warner

John Forsythe

Marlin Perkins (Wild Kingdom)

Andy Bumatai

Jack Lord

George Benson

Dr. Robert Ballard

Danny Arnold

Ron Ely

Non-Profit Organizations (Partial)

Companions of Art and Nature
Lahaina Restoration Foundation
Waikiki Aquarium
Cousteau Society
Maritime Center Honolulu
Seattle Aquarium Society
Earth Island Institure
Maui Arts and Cultural Center
Special Olympics
Friends of the Sea Otter
Monterey Film Festival
Steinhart Aquarium
Green Peace San Francisco
National Audubon Society
The Nature Conservancy
Green Peace U.S.A
National Geographic Society
Vancouver Aquarium
Green Peace Hawaii
National Marine Sanctuaries
World Wildlife Federation
Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean
Futures Society
Pacific Whale Foundation
Year of the Hawaiian Club
John Wayne Cancer Clinic
Save the Manatee Club
Year of the Reef

Exhibition Listing (Partial)

1975: Sea Flowers Gallery – Oahu, HI

1976: Gallery Hawaii – Honolulu, HI

1977: First one man show: Punaluu, Oahu, HI

1978: Lahaina Galleries, Lahaina, HI

1978: Kelsey Gallery, Lahaina, HI

1979: Lahaina Galleries, Lahaina, HI

1979: Casay Gallery, Lahaina, HI

1979: Kelsey Gallery Lahaina, HI

1980: Gallery Hawaii, Honolulu, HI

1981: Images International; Kona, HI & Honolulu, HI

1981: Lahaina Galleries, Lahaina, HI

1981: Gallery Americana-Carmel, CA

1982: Urban Gallery, Hong Kong, China

1982: Art Expo-New York, NY

1982: Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA

1982: Macbeth Gallery, Depoe Bay, OR

1983: Lahaina Galleries, Lahaina, HI

1984: Peabody Museum, Salem, MA

1984: Island Gallery, Honolulu, HI

1984: Lahaina Galleries, Lahaina, HI; Newport Beach, CA

1984: Art Expo – Maui Marine, Wailea, HI

1985: Abilene Fine Arts Museum, Abilene, TX

1985: Michael’s Galleries, Irvine, CA

1986: Marine Art Expo, Wailea, HI

1987: Society for Wildlife Art, London, Great Britain

1987: Dyanson Galleries, San Francisco, Carmel & Beverly Hills, CA

1987: Michael’s Galleries, Irvine, CA

1987: Lahaina Galleries, Lahaina, HI; Newport Beach, CA

1988: Dyanson Galleries, San Francisco, Carmel & Beverly Hills, CA

1988: Marine Art Expo, Wailea, HI

1988: Lahaina Galleries, Lahaina, HI; Newport Beach, CA

1989: Dyanson Galleries, San Francisco, Carmel & Beverly Hills, CA

1991: Ron Segal Gallery, Seattle, WA

1991: Makk Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA

1991: Lahaina Galleries, San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, CA

1992: Marunouchi Gallery, Osaka, Japan

1993: Marunouchi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

1993: Keith Alexander Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

1993: Robert Lyn Nelson Galleries, Lahaina, HI & Carmel, CA

1994: Ron Segal Gallery, Seattle, WA

1994: Robert Lyn Nelson Galleries, Lahaina, HI & Carmel, CA

1995: Robert Lyn Nelson Galleries, Lahaina, HI & Carmel, CA

1996: Robert Lyn Nelson Galleries, Lahaina, HI & Carmel, CA

1997: Robert Lyn Nelson Galleries, Lahaina, HI & Carmel, CA

1998: Robert Lyn Nelson Galleries, Lahaina, HI & Carmel, CA

1999: Robert Lyn Nelson Galleries, Lahaina, HI & Carmel, CA

2000: Robert Lyn Nelson Galleries, Lahaina, HI & Carmel, CA

2000: Santa Barbara Museum, Santa Barbara, CA

2001: Smithsonian Institute, Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C.

            RLN became the youngest artist in history to be featured in a solo exhibition at the Smithsonian Institute

2001: Robert Lyn Nelson Galleries, Lahaina, HI & Carmel, CA

2002: Robert Lyn Nelson Galleries, Lahaina, HI & Carmel, CA

2003: Robert Lyn Nelson Galleries, Lahaina, HI & Carmel, CA

2003:  Tripp Harrison Gallery, St. Augustine, FL

2004:  Robert Lyn Nelson Galleries, Lahaina, HI & Carmel, CA

2005:  Lahaina Galleries, San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, CA

2006:  Rancho Cucamonga Museum, Rancho Cucamonga, CA

2006: John Girton Galleries, Dana Point, CA & Homer, AK

2007:  Medea Gallery, San Pedro, CA

2008:  Images Gallery, Lahaina, HI

2009:  C&S Media International, Shanghai, China

2010:  Images Gallery, Lahaina, HI

2010:  John Girton Galleries, Las Vegas, NV

2011:  Diamond Head Gallery, Lahaina, HI

2011:  Takeuchi Galleries, Beverly Hills, CA

2012:  Diamond Head Gallery, Lahaina, HI

2012:  Trowbridge Gallery, Ojai, CA

2013:  Diamond Head Gallery, Lahaina, HI

2014:  Diamond Head Gallery, Lahaina, HI

2014: Tabora Galleries, Waikiki, HI

2015: Diamond Head Gallery, Lahaina, HI

Awards (Partial)

1981: Artist-USA 1981-1982

1981: “Personalities of America”

1982: “Trends and Testimonies of Contemporary Art”

1983: “Community Leaders of America” Raleigh, North Carolina

1984:  “International Register of Profiles” Cambridge, England

1985: “ABI” for Distinguished Artistic Achievements – USA

1986: “Tiger of the Year”

1986: “International Book of Honor”

1997: “Year of the Reef” from Governor Cayaetano

1997: “Environmental Hero Award” of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, presented by then Vice-President Al Gore

1997:  “MIPA 1997 Book Achievement” for “Our Ocean Home”, RLN Illustrator

2011:  Certificate of Recognition, California Legislature, 63rd District

2011:  Certificate of Recognition, California Legislature, 61st District

2011:  Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, United States Congress, 43rd District

2012:  Certificate of Recognition, California Legislature, 60th District

2012:  Certificate of Recognition, City of Monterey Park, California

2012:  Certificate of Recognition, County of Los Angeles, California

Recent Gallery Representation

Tabora Galleries, Honolulu, HI & Lihue, HI

Trowbridge Gallery, Ojai, CA

Winters Fine Art, Carmel, CA

Celebrites Fine Art, Wailea, HI

Masters of Light, Monterey, CA

Legacy Fine Art, Hot Springs, AR

Hana Coast Gallery, Hana, HI

Diamond Head Gallery, Lahaina, HI

NaPua Gallery, Kihei, HI

Contemporary Masters, Lahaina, HI

Key West Gallery, FL