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312 S. Cedros Ave., #130
Solana Beach, CA 92075
San Diego



WADE KONIAKOWSKY - The Art of the Ocean

"The ocean is my inspiration. My art is a reflection of this great
force that has shaped my life ." Wade Koniakowsky has spent his entire
life involved with the ocean and art. He is thought by many to be on the
cutting edge of the new-school of marine art.


News & Events

Going Big.

Lynn Koniakowsky

I've spent most of my career as a painter having a fear of scale. It was always a bit daunting to do a painting larger than, say, 24x36". Why? My theory is that a painting up to that size can be done from one stationary position. You don't have to walk around. In fact, smaller paintings can be done entirely "from the elbow" - from your elbow you have about 2 feet of range of motion. Also, when you back up to view your work from a distance, you can do this with one or two steps. Bigger paintings bring on a more disjointed feel as you have to work an isolated area, then move on to another area. And when you step back to see the painting, you have to move back 3-4 steps or more. Consequently painting larger pieces was awkward and I felt they weren't as good as my smaller pieces.

 Pat and his wave

Pat and his wave

 David, the Whale Mural, and Wade

David, the Whale Mural, and Wade

Recently I had an opportunity to paint some murals in a new home in Costa Rica. A big part of the incentive to take the job was that it would allow my wife to come with me and stay with our daughter who lives about 2 hours away from the place where I would be working. The job consisted of 2 murals about 9x9' each, going up a stairwell. The large paintings were linked with a one-color motif of swimming sea life done in the style of Tahitian tattoo.  


Something magical happened when I arrived at the home I was to paint. Inspiration was everywhere. The house itself was amazing. It overlooked an incredible piece of coastline. Exotic birds circled above as monkeys played in the jungle. We started each day with a 2-hour surf. My client was a terrific host- meals and accommodations were superb and they helped me with anything I needed. 

 Wade, Jamie, and the Grandkids!

Wade, Jamie, and the Grandkids!

In spite of the fringe benefits, I still faced a daunting task. I had given myself a maximum of 7 days to finish. But there I was, thousands of miles from home, with 7 days to complete the work - I had no choice but to dive in and make it great. And that’s what I did. The murals emerged quickly and the faster I painted the more I overcame my trepidation about the scope of the project. Before I knew it, it was done and my client was stoked. So, if any of you are in the market for a mural, let's talk. With my new found vigor, I might be the man for the job.

 Costa Rican Wave Mural by  Wade Koniakowsky

Costa Rican Wave Mural by Wade Koniakowsky


Lynn Koniakowsky

Jim Moriarty, past president of the Surfrider Foundation said “Wade Koniakowsky’s focus is capturing Polynesian dreamscapes and the related emotional tie we have with far away lands. His vibe intersects with those same emotions–unspoiled, nirvana-esque landscapes, islander portraits, and ephemeral visions that make you want to sell it all and travel”. Surfer Magazine described my paintings as “dreamlike point breaks in Polynesian paradise.”

The above comments were made in reference to a series I started a decade ago called “Dreamscapes”. As many of you know, in my art I approach a variety of subjects. I paint California landscapes, inspired by my love of “Early California” art. I paint surfboards, something I’ve done since I made boards in my garage beginning in the late 60’s. I paint figurative art - “Islander portraits”. And wherever I travel, I paint: the Gulf coast of Texas, where I grew up. The Colorado mountains, where my father-in-law owns a home. Kauai, where I travel each year to paint. Costa Rica, where my daughter and her family live. And I paint waves, most recently, a series called “Moving Water”.

Dreamscapes, however, is a theme I always come back to. One unique thing about them is that they are the only subject I can paint with no reference, either photographic or plein air. The dreamscapes come almost entirely “out of my head”. (Thus the name). If you surfed when you were in high school, you likely did Dreamscapes on notebook paper when you were bored in class and couldn’t wait to get to the beach when school was out. And, like me, these visions poured right out of your mind.

We’ve just come out with a small book of the best of the Dreamscapes series. It’s only 6x6”, which makes it affordable. It’s printed own high quality “stay-flat”- heavy coated stock.

The production values are quite nice. If you’ve thought about buying a Dreamscape painting for your home, the book is full of ideas: color, format, composition, etc. It’s also a nice thing to have on the coffee table or in your office so that you or your guests can take a momentary vacation to some exotic place, trek through the jungle, peel away the palm fronds and witness the empty perfection of a tropical point break.

Oil on Paper

Lynn Koniakowsky

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For the last few years, we’ve done something special for holiday shoppers. With our miniatures, offered only at this time of the year, people can get an original handmade gift at a price well below what we normally charge for an original. This year I’m focusing on painting originals in oil on watercolor paper. Most of these are on a 9x12” sheet with some white around the edge and a “organic” edge treatment. This leaves a lot of options for matting and framing. These are priced at $99 - available on the website or at our Solana Beach gallery. 

Why oil on watercolor paper? These have been super fun for me to paint. I’m always amazed at how a new medium can change everything for an artist. First of all, because it’s watercolor paper, it takes a wash and treats it like a watercolor, mostly in the way it absorbs the paint. So washes look like water color. I like to block in large areas with a wash, applied with larger brush. Secondly, when the thicker paint is added, the paper immediately starts to soak up the oil, making it easier to paint wet into wet. The surface of the painting is not as viscous as it would be with canvas, since canvas allows the paint to sit very wet on top of the surface. Lastly, the end result is a velvety finish that looks great. If the colors look too flat, I use a small amount of satin finish spray varnish to “pop” the color. 

As for subject matter, I’m running the gamut of our most popular themes: lots of local San Diego scenes, tropical wavescapes (dreamscapes) and even getting into the new “Moving Water” series. If there’s something you want, let me know. I may be able to fit it in. Please have a look at our website (under “Oil on Paper”) or stop in the gallery to check them out. Mahalo!

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Watching Water Move

Lynn Koniakowsky

Since becoming a surfer in 1966 when I was 12, I've always looked at waves the way a surfer does. Recently that changed. I started noticing that even "bad" waves looked interesting. Most waves, as they break, become a cylindrical type of prism of refracted light. And even if a wave does not pitch and form a tube, it's still reflecting light from so many surfaces, ever changing, ever moving until it dissolves into the sand. Not an easy thing to paint, but still, a very compelling subject for a painting. I've been busy on this new series for several months now. We have sold many originals and are committing the best ones to limited editions. I tend do them either small or big. At, say, 48x48" they can be very compelling and can make a powerful statement in a room. They have an almost abstract quality. I just delivered some to a gallery in Laguna that focuses on very contemporary work. These paintings fit well in this setting. Please stop by the gallery in Solana Beach, when you can, to see this new work, we'd love to see you!

Pop-Up Gallery in Corpus Christi, TX

Lynn Koniakowsky

Greetings Friends! I will be opening a summer Pop-Up Gallery in Corpus Christi, TX. The Water Street Gallery is located in a vibrant downtown business and retail district on the Bay in Corpus Christi. Being from that area (moved to CA in 1978) I have many friends and collectors. Many thanks to Brad Lomax, owner of the the 3 restaurants that surround the gallery (we'll never go hungry) for allowing us to take the space for the summer. I am joined by 2 fellow artists and long time friends, John Olvey and John Steele. If you live in Texas, please come visit!

Click here for more info courtesy of Eastern Surf Magazine.

The Family that Paints Together has Fun Together

Lynn Koniakowsky

Here's an idea: bring your family to a painting workshop. Last Saturday I had this wonderful group. Three generations, grandmother, two daughters and a grand daughter. They wanted to paint together so we put them together at one table while I had another group of four at another table- in that group was a married couple and a mother/daughter duo. Together we walked through the fundamentals of painting a landscape in a fun and casual atmosphere. We painted local scenes of our San Diego beaches. Each participant left with a painting they’ll treasure. It was truly a family affair!!

Abstract Painting

Lynn Koniakowsky


For some time now I've been wanting to explore abstract painting. But the way I wanted to do it was not to leave the representational world entirely. As an ocean artist, I've painted lots of waves. Popular wave photography today often views a wave in abstracted form, light and color. My wave abstracts do a similar thing but with paint. I create an abstract first, then integrate a wave form into the abstract, allowing the abstract to come through the wave. This is a new development for me but the response has been good. We're beginning to get some of these pieces in the gallery and quite a number have sold from my Instagram feed (Ocean Art by Koniakowsky) and on Etsy. Experimentation keeps the art, and me, fresh. I don't plan to give up my passion for local impressionist landscape and my "Dreamscape" series, so keep an eye out for more new work in those genres!

The Nicaragua SURF & PAINT Adventure

Lynn Koniakowsky

For several years I have toyed with the idea of hosting an event that combines painting (with me as the instructor), and surfing. My dream was fulfilled this October in Nicaragua at a fabulous stretch of beach known as Popoyo. The Popoyo Surf lodge, established in the late 1990s, was our base of operations. Their experienced surf guides, with a fleet of trucks and boats, daily introduced us to a variety of surf. Our group of about 10 people made up a wide range of surfing ability. From beginners who actually learned to surf at the retreat, to skilled surfers after Popoyo's famous barrels. This part of Nicaragua has an amazing climate. Fairly dry on many days, due to the offshore winds that blow consistently as a result of the "lake effect" (Lake Nicaragua, a very large body of water, sits just east). Some days felt like California during a Santa Ana with offshores grooming the waves to perfection. Of course not everyday was perfect since we were there at the tail end of the rainy season. But we were able to surf fun waves everyday. The average wave height was about chest to head high with overhead surf for the more experienced. The water temperature was around 83 and the air ranged from 80-90.

Popoyo Surf Lodge provided a large, air conditioned recreation room which became our art studio. People were so into their painting that they worked at all hours of the day and night, crafting beautiful ocean scapes with new found skill, experimenting with the new techniques that they were being taught. Everyone took home a number of paintings, that both they and I were proud of! Some of the artists did some outdoor painting as well. We also had a number of guests of the lodge as well as workers who would sit for portraits and figure painting.

All guests found the accommodations very comfortable. We slept in private, air conditioned casitas. We were served 3 meals a day and the food was great. The bar was popular late night gathering spot to discuss art and let off steam. Many of our surfer/painters became fast friends. Even though we had painters from all over the U.S., I anticipate they will stay in touch. Many are asking about when and where the next SURF & PAINT will be. I hope we can return to Popoyo, and we have been invited back. I am currently working on plans for a local (North San Diego) weekend SURF&PAINT for early Spring 2017 and will keep you all posted.

Ocean Art Workshops

Lynn Koniakowsky

I love to teach painting. Most of my students are beginning to intermediate painters. I teach oil and acrylic painting. The workshops are held in various places in North San Diego County, usually in the evenings (except for plein air workshops) and sometimes on weekends. Most of my workshops are what I call “Introduction to Landscape Painting”. This is an easy format where I select photographs as reference for the students - photos that have been taken by me and proven to guide the artist to a solid and thoughtful composition. The classes are generally no more than 8 or 9 people (often smaller). Our Plein Air workshops are held in spots in North SD County, scenes I have often painted- places that are easy to get to, although “off the beaten path”, where we won’t be inundated with on-lookers. In these tranquil settings we work on “painting from life”, how to SEE the landscape and create from it an inspired sketch. The emphasis is on COMPOSITION, COLOR and VALUES. The current schedule is on our website in the “News and Events” section.  Shoot us an email or call us if you have any questions.

Surfboard Art

Lynn Koniakowsky

I have done dozens of surfboards sold mostly in art galleries in Hawaii. I do quite a few custom commissions for local collectors, as well. Our boards are delivered with an automotive “gloss and polish” finish and a built in hanging system that can be easily hung from picture hooks on your wall. My most popular motif is what I call the “Polynesian Collage”. This is what you see in many of the examples shown here. But the collage format can be adapted to other subjects and places. I also do complete scenes of a place. We work with our collectors to offer a variety of types and sizes of boards. We offer wood surfboards in addition to fiberglass boards. The process usually takes 6-8 weeks. If you are interested in an art surfboard for your home, email me at to schedule a consultation.