Delaware artist rides the waves for inspiration

Rick Lantz loves to surf. Equally strong is his love of painting: Everything from wood to surfboards is a blank canvas for him

In another life, Lantz may have been a fish, as he has spent most of this life in or around the water. He has surfed since the age of eight, and has painted for almost as long.

Some of his earliest artistic endeavors included stripping the paint off of his bicycle and repainting it to look like a hot-rod. His mother noticed his talent and encouraged it. Raised in Lancaster County, Pa., Lantz was surrounded by cornfields, but even then he was looking beyond those fields and dreaming of the ocean.

Lantz dreamed of going to California to make surfboards, but as he couldn’t leave home, he did the next best thing: He bought a surfboard kit. With the help of his High school industrial arts teacher, they fashioned what Lantz described as an “absolutely gorgeous board.”

His love of the water took Lantz to many places and to various jobs as well. 

Lantz worked as an offshore fisherman from Lewes, Del.down to Ocean City, Md. He was also commercial crabber in the Delaware Bay for a few winters. As a kid, Lantz wanted to be a commercial diver, and lived out that dream for a water construction company in Connecticut.

In recent years, Lantz draws inspiration from not only his love of surfing and the view from his board, but also from the love and support of his family.

Lantz’ son Richard and daughter-in-law Amanda, along with their baby, Gus, live in the same development as Rick and his wife Becky. His youngest son lives in Hawaii.

The eldest Lantz spends his winters in Hawaii surfing and painting and the rest of the year at his home in Rehoboth. His favorite place to surf in Hawaii is called Sandy Beach.

“It’s one of the most treacherous, dangerous shore breaks in the world, and the waves are absolutely beautiful there, just gorgeous. Even if you don’t surf it’s a great place to just come and just ponder.” Lantz says.

Lantz loves Hawaii, but he also finds the Delmarva Peninsula inspirational as well.

“The water, you can’t see as far in, but we get some nice waves, it’s just a different type of ocean,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to be able to go winter time in Hawaii and then come back here; it’s a really nice balance.”

As for Lantz’s art, color plays a big part in the works, Lantz says he is not a detailed artist, so don’t ask him to do a portrait of your cat.

“Somebody says, ‘Can you paint a picture for me of my cat?’ for example,” Lantz suggested. “No, I can’t do that, I’ll send you in a different direction, somebody can help you out. Give me some colors that you want to work with. Just turn me loose, and that’s when the best things happen.”

The feeling Lantz gets sitting in the water, or on the beach watching a sunset, is the feeling that Rick is trying to impart with his art.

“If that comes across to the viewer, then that’s good,” he said. “Then, the journey continues. So that’s what I hope happens.”

You can find samples of Ricks work at the Liquid Surf Shop  or Quiet Storm Surf Shop in Rehoboth. And If you happen to be lucky enough to vacation in Hawaii this year, look for Lantz on the island of Oahu.

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