They say, for some, certain smells can evoke memories and for painter Thomas Bradshaw this rings true. Thomas’ first memory of painting is closely linked to the smell of the oil paint in his grandmother’s studio. Though his interest in the medium was kick-started at a young age, Thomas’ painting career truly began when he moved out West.
Thomas’ love affair with the West becomes apparent when viewing his artworks – western scenes and magnificent vistas take over. “I want a painting to look like a painting, not a photo. I like to think, how far can I push a painting to be abstract while you still know what it is?” With most of Thomas’ paintings, gestural brushstrokes carve out sun-soaked plein air landscapes. “How light moves throughout the day, that really gets my juices flowing.” Each painting offers a new setting to test colors, explore temperature, and value. “Like Claude Monet, I want to paint like a bird sings.”
Thomas often uses a limited palette of three colors to create a sense of harmony in each painting, like in his piece The Journey Upward. This particular landscape is a view of the Tetons in Wyoming – which Thomas calls a second home. Before creating this final piece, Thomas spent months painting this exact view everyday, sometimes even 6 studies per day. “It pushed me to notice how everyday is completely different than the day before. The whole painting is all about light and shadow on the mountain.” Since square formats are challenging for landscape paintings, Thomas says he is quite proud of this piece.
For his next major project, Thomas plans to dive back into his workshops for 2022 – both international and national. Even after 30 years of painting, Thomas says he is still experimenting with new techniques – we can’t wait to see what vistas he paints next.