Underwater Scenes


School of fish and sharks


Escuadrón. Acrylic and Oil on canvas. 45 in by 53 in. 2006


Carlos Hiller's art has been published many times. He has also several magazine covers and books. These publications include Diving Almanac and Book of Records, Northwest Dive Magazine, Espacio Profundo Magazine, Utopia Magazine, X-Ray Magazine, and more.

Milagro rental newsletter:

Carlos Hiller, World Renowned Artist of Underwater Scenes

We asked Carlos if we could feature him in our newsletter. He immediately and enthusiastically said yes! But rather than focus on himself, Carlos asked us to focus on the importance of protecting marine life. This month, Carlos was joined by over 100 children to paint a mural in Liberia, Costa Rica, to celebrate World Oceans Day.

Carlos painted a 46 feet long whale and her 14 feet calf while the children painted one fish each, which now comprises a gigantic, multi-colored and diverse school of fish. “We wanted to do something impressive, that would allow all of us to feel the sensation of being next to and with these animals, to see their details, and this way create an ownership and a feeling of responsibility to protect them” – artist Carlos Hiller says, and continues: -“Simultaneously, we reminded every one that marine life is in danger, and we shared ideas of how all of us can be part of a change. For example, not throwing garbage and proper disposal, since this is extremely dangerous for marine life, and life in general.” Muchisimas gracias, Carlos, for your dedication to protect the world’s marine life.

X-Ray Magazine

Carlos Hiller - painter of ocean light

Submitted by Editor on 30 August, 2009 - 19:15

“When I am diving or just snorkelling, all I have in mind is the marine environment, the light travelling to the deepness, my breathing. I only care about the life surrounding me, the exploration, and the colours…”
Published in X-Ray Issue: 13 - Oct 2006
Authored by: | Photography: | Translation:
Download pdf ► Carlos Hiller - painter of ocean light
The art of Carlos Hiller is devoted to the ocean. His paintings bring powerful images brimming with energy and marine life into our daily lives. Huge schools of fish and diverse marine creatures are usually present on his paintings which evoke the mysterious atmosphere of the underwater world. Some works are split images, giving us views above and below the surface of the water at the same time in one painting.
His images have an extraordinary sense of depth and dimension. Carlos explains, “The ocean makes me feel happy, and my paintings reflect that feeling. It is very simple, like the best things in life. My aim is to capture emotions and to capture the ocean light.”
To achieve this, Carlos uses a laborious technique involving the layering of colors in paint. He starts with an initial background colour and adds thin colourful layers of paint that form a complex final colour. When light passes through these different layers, it gives us an impression of atmosphere and water. Rather than passing through the canvas, light is returned to us from the various layers of colours of paint.

Early beginnings
Carlos was born in Argentina. From an early age, he enjoyed travel, adventure and exploring new places. Indeed, he once travelled the length of the Parana River in Argentina on a rudimentary river craft, right down to the sea.
As a result of the impressions he aquired during travels in Latin America, the young Carlos painted landscapes of the Amazon and the Central American forest. When Carlos started diving and investigating the submarine world, he began to incorporate ocean elements into his forest paintings, such as schools of fishes and dolphins swimming into the vegetation. “It was a confusing phase” said Carlos smiling.
He then decided to immerse himself into the underwater realm completely by taking a diving course and devoted himself exclusively to the ocean and painting.
Now, at age 34, Carlos sells all his paintings systematically: “I like the idea of my paintings hanging on the walls of different offices and homes and people having a moment of relaxation at the sight of them.”
When one looks at his art, one can see a great diversity of subjects and ways in which they are approached. There is a great deal of quality in the details. Carlos explains: “Sometimes it happens that only one dive provides me with so many images that I really get busy for a long time. Then, it is difficult to decide what to paint—everything is so wonderful! As I do not follow any formula, I do not repeat my paintings. The ocean is like that—every image it offers is unique and unrepeatable. Anyway, who has had two diving experiences exactly the same? People often ask me how long it takes to finish a painting, the answer is: Until I feel I have finished it! It can be 20 days or a lot longer. The important thing for me is to work only when I feel inspired and happy. If something is missing, it is time for a plunge!”
Carlos also practices underwater photography. For him, this is a useful tool to capture fundamental details.
He exhibits his artwork in Costa Rica, where he has lived for 12 years, and lately, he has started exhibiting his work in other countries, especially in the United States.
Whenever requested, Carlos gives live performances of painting as a new way of getting closer to the public. In the course of a few hours, Carlos will create a painting with a wonderful display of colour and energy and spectators become participants of the process of creation.
Carlos often creates commissioned works too, and he paints anything from miniatures to murals, although it is clear enough that he prefers the big format, considering that the ocean itself gives us immediately the sensation of great breadth and space.
One of Carlos’ next challenges is to paint a gigantic mural, with plenty of details, and to capture again the emotion, the colour, the energy of the sea and the ocean light.
Carlos achieves an exact representation of marine nature in his paintings, even though this is not his principal aim. Through symbolic associations, beyond our common senses, he enhances the images emotionally. This way, Carlos melds, in a new dimension, nature and art as a bearer of purely abstract elements. His paintings irresistibly attract all eyes. The images are so powerful that they even transmit a sense of freshness.
The painter brilliantly combines diverse factors, like the selection of colours, the “big format”, which is Carlos’ favourite, to give us the possibility of feeling “immersed” in the painting. Carlos makes a deliberate use of optical illusion as a resource to help viewers transcend from the ocean depths into the depths of our own humanity.

Utopia Magazine

Carlos Hiller paint life-size humpback whale with its calf!

Carlos Hiller public mural

Diving equipment demonstrationTo commemorate Universal Ocean Day on June 8th, artist Carlos Hiller immersed himself in the creation of a gigantic painting of a Humpback Whale with its calf Life-size! The large whale,46 feet long and the calf 13 feet, were painted on the side wall of Jumbo Perimercados, in the Santa Rosa Mall in Liberia. Hiller believes that the education of children is pivotal, so throughout the day he invited students from several schools to contribute to the artwork. Each child painted one fish, leaving a giant multicolor school of fish to accompany the whales on their journey.

Children at workThe children also listened to Hiller talk about the conservation of the ocean and they had the opportunity to meet and interact with a team of scuba divers in an entertaining demonstration given by diving instructor Miguel Sanchez. The event was sponsored and coordinated by Marina and Peninsula Papagayo, with the collaboration of Jumbo Perimercados and Mall Plaza Santa Rosa.

** The beach communities surrounding Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, collaborated to celebrate World Ocean Day on Sunday 8 th June 2008.
A Gigantic, Breathtaking Community Mural (11mts X 4mts) was brought into being by marine artist Carlos Hiller, with the help of more than seventy local children, (organized by groups of ten, conducted by non profit children's association Proyecto de Luz). This piece of art has principal subject coralline reefs, to support the celebrations of “The International Year of the Reefs” (IYOR).
 In addition, Carlos Hiller painted a huge Bull Shark, portraying how beautiful and imposing these wonderful marine inhabitants really are, unjustly feared, and for that reason at the mercy of massive fishing by foreign fishing fleets.
 In order to protest the infamous practice of shark fining (by means of which the fins are cut off and the body of the shark is thrown overboard), Stop shark finning! Legend was added, and also the same phrase in Spanish. During the activity, children filled the outlines of marine life around the coral reef and in addition wrote letters and created drawings to send to different governmental institutions, indicating their perceptions, desires and hopes about the importance of protecting the marine environment.
 This first Marine awareness mural which embellishes Playas del Coco is part of a Carlos Hiller`s national level campaign to encourage different cities and towns simultaneously to educate and make aware the importance of protecting our marine resources.

Hundreds of children and parents united to clean the beaches, build sand sculptures, and experience boat rides. Everyone was eager to learn more about the protection of the marine resources, and at the same time, all enjoying a beautiful day along our shoreline.


Reef Check:
Costa Rica

The beach communities surrounding Playas del Coco collaborated to celebrate World Ocean Day on June 8. A community mural was created by marine artist Carlos Hiller, with the help of more than 70 local children in collaboration with local nonprofit children’s association Proyecto de Luz. The mural was created in honor of IYOR, and its main focus is on coral reefs. Hiller painted a huge Bull Shark, portraying the beauty and imposing presence of these wonderful creatures. "Stop shark finning!" was added to the mural in English and Spanish to protest the practice of shark fins being cut off and the bodies being thrown overboard. Kids painted, wrote letters and created drawings to send to governmental institutions, indicating their perceptions, desires, and hopes about the importance of protecting the marine environment. Hundreds of people united to clean beaches, build sand sculptures, and take boat rides. Everyone was eager to learn more about the protection of marine resources and at the same time, enjoyed a beautiful day along the Costa Rican shoreline. Click here for pictures from the event.


􀀃costa rica
Carlos Hiller Community Mural
On June 8, 2008, a community mural was created at Playas del Coco, Guanacaste by marine artist Carlos Hiller. In celebration of IYOR 2008, the theme of the mural was coral reefs. During the creation of the mural, more than 70 local children painted the outlines of marine life around the coral reefs.
They also wrote letters and created drawings to send to different governmental institutions, indicating their perceptions, desires, and hopes about the importance of protecting the marine environment. This mural is the first mural created as part of Hiller’s national campaign to encourage Costa Rican towns to simultaneously educate and raise awareness about the importance of protecting marine resources. Hundreds of children and parents attending this event also unified to clean the beaches, build sand sculptures, and experience boat rides.
Public mural painting by Hiller, Playas del Coco, Costa Rica.

Hiller and kids at shark finning mural

Carlos Hiller, the internationally acclaimed artist from Costa Rica, was moved to create a special painting for our foundation. His vision is that of a leatherback turtle on the surface during a spectacular jungle night. Carlos donated this beautiful work of art to SOLO. The painting will be offered for sale at DEMA this year for a Donation of $4,500.

Save Our Leatherbacks donation

Books and magazine


Diving Almanac & Yearbook 2008:

Diving Almanac and Year Book cover

Northwest Dive Magazine:

Northeast Dive News cover

Utopia Magazine:

Utopia magazine cover





















































































































































































































(c)Carlos Hiller 2010