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?


Subscribe to Two Coats of Paint by email.

Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

8 thoughts on “Snow day paintings: Tom Thomson”

  1. Thomson is spelled without a "p".

    He's a Canadian icon!

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

    Edmonton Alberta

Comments are closed.