Snow day paintings: Tom Thomson

Tom Thomson (Canada, 1877-1917) worked as a commercial artist and then a painter and wilderness guide in Northern Ontario.

According to the National Gallery of Canada’s website,

Thomson sketched mostly in the spring or summer, wintering in Toronto where he worked his sketches up into larger canvases. By late 1915, Thomson’s approach to landscape painting was more imagination-based. He often sought some natural feature corresponding to his pre-existing ideas, or painted landscapes in his Toronto studio from memory. Thomson’s design experience permeates his late canvases, which feature stylized tree branches and flat areas of strong colour. The National Gallery of Canada owns many of Thomson’s sketches, as well as the larger paintings he made from them.

In July 1917, Thomson drowned under mysterious circumstances during a canoeing trip on Canoe Lake. After his death, his painting buddies, including J.E.H. MacDonald, Arthur Lismer, Frederick Varley, Frank Johnston, and Franklin Carmichael went on to found the
influential Group of Seven, a circle of painters inspired by Scandinavian art and dedicated to developing a distinctive Canadian style.

In 2002, the National Gallery mounted a comprehensive retrospective of Thomson’s work that included more than 140 oil sketches, paintings and designs, as well as work by his contemporaries.

All images are oil paintings by Tom Thomson,  bequest of Dr. J.M. MacCallum, Toronto, 1944, courtesy of National Gallery of Canada.

If you’re in the northeast, stay warm and safe during the blizzard. Forecasters are predicting a record 18-24 inches by tomorrow evening and, in many states, the schools and roads are closed already. Bonus day in the studio, right?


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  1. These are so beautiful. Thank you for introducing me to this artist.

  2. Thomson is spelled without a "p".

    He's a Canadian icon!

    Thanks for all the great posts!
    I visit this site regularly,

    Edmonton Alberta

  3. Thanks David. Will change.

  4. Right on!

  5. awesome posts. The art is amazing

  6. Rich, personal paintings that deserve this exposure and more. Thanks for the reminder of Thomson.

  7. been watching these guys for years. thanks for spreading the word.

  8. These guys are really good thanks for the information I'm a fan. They remind me of Duprel Antwone from Atlanta, Ga http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/duprel-antwone.html

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