The Coast News Group
A Brush with ArtArtsRancho Santa Fe

Painter catches the perfect wave

If you’ve strolled through Old Encinitas recently, chances are you’ve noticed the newest additions to the city’s outdoor art. 

One of three artists currently featured in Encinitas 101 MainStreet’s Utility of Art Project is Breanne Custodio, whose design titled, “Time to Relax” is located in front of Solace at 25 East E St.

The casual design depicting sunglasses and flip-flops represents the laid-back beach culture of Encinitas, but barely hints at the scope of Bre’s artistic talent.

Bre Custodio captures the perfect wave in “Summertime Sunset.”   Image courtesy of Stephen Whalen Photography
Bre Custodio captures the perfect wave in “Summertime Sunset.” Image courtesy of Stephen Whalen Photography

Gaining recognition for her bright colors with a coastal focus, Bre is the artist behind the magnificent barrel waves that have stood out among Encinitas Arts Alive banners for the past few years. Her waves are simply breathtaking.

Primarily painting places she’s lived or visited — or waves she’s traveled through — the Sarasota, Florida native moved to San Diego in 1999 to attend SDSU, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in advertising and a minor in Fine Art.

While studying oil painting in college she learned the art of mixing colors.

Bre states, “Most people don’t realize how much thought goes into the mixology behind oil paintings… The artist likely spent an hour or so just mixing colors to get the slight variations from tone to tone needed to create depth and life in the painting.”

Bre absorbed valuable technical training in portrait painting and life drawing while studying at Watts Atelier recently. However, she still prefers to concentrate on coastal themed pieces, which allow her to be more expressive and free to focus on the feeling of the piece.

She states, “I think the strongest art combines technical prowess with creative execution, never losing sight of capturing an emotional response from the viewer.”

In Bre’s eight years in the marketing department of a Carlsbad life sciences company, she has found that similar thought processes are involved in marketing and art. “(In marketing) you need to determine your strategy based on subject matter and then creatively execute everything to relay the message to your potential customers.

“With an art piece there is so much that needs to come together. If one element is off, your piece will fall short. There is a lot of problem solving involved for both.”

An avid surfer for the past 17 years, Bre has been a volunteer coach for the La Jolla High School surf team and has traveled to Costa Rica, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Barbados, Indonesia, Bali, and Nicaragua on surfing excursions.

She says, “Surfing is so much more than a sport; you are actually riding a physical energy wave. Every wave is different and has a personality, and you have to respond to each wave a little bit differently. Every time I paint a wave I remember that session and feel what it was like.”

Challenging herself to capture in paint specific details of her experiences, Bre says, “I’d love to take my wave paintings to that next level where even if you’ve never surfed, somehow you could smell the salt in the air and feel the ocean carrying you along.”

Bre and her husband are expecting the birth of their first child at the end of August, which she feels will be her most rewarding and challenging creation so far. She plans to include their daughter in surfing and making art as she grows… and catching a lifetime of perfect waves.

Follow Bre and see her latest creations at

Kay Colvin is director of the L Street Fine Art Gallery in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, serves as an arts commissioner for the City of Encinitas, and specializes in promoting emerging and mid-career artists. Contact her at [email protected].