In 1970, at the age of 20, Colin held his first exhibition, Ourtimes, in the Whanganui Sarjeant Gallery. The themes of this exhibition confronted land issues as well as Colin’s stance as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam war. The Whanganui Sarjeant Gallery holds a painting from this exhibition.
Some months after his exhibition in the Sarjeant Gallery, Colin smashed all his paintings. Disillusioned and frustrated with the struggle of trying to find his own identity as an artist, between 1970 and 2001, he produced only one painting.
In 2001 and 2002, Colin’s return to painting was marked by a major exhibition based on the Baxter poem Song of the Years, a poem subsequently put to music by Dave Dobbyn. These works drew from the landscapes surrounding Te Awa o Whanganui and Hiruhārama. Some 16 years later, having re-visited the poem, Colin felt inspired to paint a fresh series of paintings.