Every once in a while, we come across an artist that really WOWS us. We’re not too particular when it comes to the medium—we love camouflaging body paint just as much as blooming street art.

That being said, our current fav was a painter by the name of Robert Gonsalves, a man who took advantage of traditional tools (i.e. oil paint on canvas) to create his spellbinding images.

The late Canadian artist used modern surrealism in his dozens of paintings, often times integrating natural features, like crashing waves, budding flowers, and pillowy clouds into every day, otherwise banal settings. The effect is seriously inspiring; Gonsalves’ brush strokes are what sweet dreams are made of!

Before his death this past June, the artist made a habit of interacting with his many fans on his official Facebook page. In doing so, he ended up leaving a legacy of gorgeous quotes. This is what he had to say about why he makes art:

The “making” of art feels more like finding something that is telling me it needs to exist. Each picture has its own life and journey. I don’t know exactly where it comes from; I just open a door for it to make its entrance.

Yep, that gave us chills, too.

To commemorate this visionary, we are sharing with you some of our absolute favorite Robert Gonsalves paintings. As you scroll through the images below, make sure that you study each one closely—you’ll be amazed by how many themes the artist was able to incorporate into each and every one of his masterpieces…

  1. Beyond the Reef

    Two snorkelers make their way through an ocean-kissed sky.

  2. The Sun Sets Sail

    Are there boats sailing through the arches of the bridge or do the arches of the bridge merely resemble sailboats? You decide.

  3. The Space Between Worlds

    An accurate depiction of what a book lover’s head looks like.

  4. Making Waves

    We’ve all had cat naps like this one, haven’t we?

  5. Night Lights

    Gonsalves posted this cropped and rotated version to his Facebook page to prove a point—changing one’s perspective can give a piece of art a whole new meaning.

  6. Union of Sea and Sky

    Our intrepid snorkelers reunite in the sky for a nighttime soak with beluga whales.

  7. Toward the Horizon

    Another take on the thought-provoking ‘sailing bridge’ motif.

  8. Acrobatic Engineering

    This gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘manmade’.

  9. Alpine Navigation

    Beached boats atop mountain peaks or sturdy sailboats staggering over cresting waves? We like to think both.

  10. Aquatic Mountaineering

    Where the mountains meet the sea—literally!

  11. Candle Power

    There’s nothing more atmospheric than a lighthouse at dusk.

  12. Chalkboard Universe

    That magical moment when a professor’s words really start to ‘click’.

  13. Cold Comfort

    A chilly dream, indeed!

  14. Flood Fences

    A neighborhood of floating Victorians—we’d live there in a heartbeat.

  15. Dancing Wind

    That moment when everything in the room seems to be dancing along with you—even the curtains!

  16. High Park Pickets

    Visual proof that there’s nothing more infinite than a child’s imagination.

  17. Into the Labyrinth

    We never knew we had a ‘dream rooftop’ until now!

  18. Listening Fields

    A sea of sunflowers doubles as a captive audience.

  19. Sailing Island

    Where we see lone tree islands, Robert Gonsalves saw sailboats.

We can’t wait to hear your take on the late Gonsalves’ paintings! Which one is your favorite? Do you have one hanging in your house? Who is your all-time favorite painter?