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 Thomas Manning Thompson  (1941 - )

About: Thomas Manning Thompson


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Lived/Active: Alabama/Mississippi      Known for: landscape, impressionism, illustration

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Ad Code: 4
Thomas Manning Thompson
Blue Heron at Radnor Lake, Nashville Tennessee, 2006, Oil on Canvas, 20" x 24"
Photo provided by the artist
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The information was updated in December of 2006 by the artist:

Born near Starkville, Mississippi, Tommy Thompson has lived in the South during most of his life. Through many walks in the woods with his father and hunting trips with his uncle, the environment instilled in him a love of nature. Now living near the banks of the Tennessee River in northwestern Alabama, Thompson receives inspiration for his plein-air landscape paintings from the natural surroundings. Thompson was influenced to become an artist by his father, a former merchant marine, who created paintings of ships and landscapes using colored pens.

During the 1970s at Mississippi State University, he headed a team of artists who prepared illustrations for technical publications for seven years.  Later with his two daughters, he produced architectural-style composite pencil drawings of more than 350 towns across twelve states; these drawings were then reproduced as limited-edition prints and used as fundraisers for civic clubs and chambers of commerce.  Although he has 30+ years of experience as an illustrator, Tommy Thompson prefers painting oil portraits and traditional landscapes in an impressionist style. After working for 30 years in various capacities as a commercial artist, and with the encouragement of his wife Marie, he expanded his career in art by studying at the Scottsdale Artist School's Plein Air Painters of America (PAPA) Workshop in Old Lyme, Connecticut in 2003.

In Old Lyme,Thompson studied under some of the nation's premier painters including Ken Auster, Kenn Backhaus, John Budicin, Ned Mueller, and Frank LaLumia. Thompson has created his impressionist landscape paintings in Wyoming, Alabama, Connecticut, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, New Mexico, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Romania.

He has further broadened his knowledge and skills in art through studying the works and writings of Edgar Payne, Charles Hawthorne, John F.Carlson, Andrew Wyeth, and Richard Schmid. In 2004, he attended a workshop conducted by Jason Saunders in Leiper's Fork, Tennessee, and studied in 2005 under the tutelage of Scott L. Christensen during an intensive workshop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  He has been accepted to Kevin Macpherson´s "En Plein Air Masters Chateau des Arts Mentor Series," scheduled for Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in 2007.

Thompson strives to capture the particular feeling, changing light, and activity of his surroundings, and harmonizes all of these elements into an arrangement of shapes and colors. Influenced heavily by Richard Schmid, Thompson says he admires the way Schmid "combines landscapes with architecture and people and brings them together in such a pleasing manner. I admire his ability to hint at an object's existence with just a few brush strokes by painting the light that is reflected from that object."

In approaching plein-air painting, Thompson considers composition, value, color, and mood. He has received great inspiration from the work and instruction of Scott L. Christensen, whom he admires for his "choice of subject matter, mastery of values, overall look of his paintings, and his limited palette."

Thompson develops the overall tone of light and shadow of each form, refines the shapes, and finishes with dark accents and highlights. "Today I view my paintings in terms of 'before Jason Saunders' and 'after Jason Saunders.' What I learned in Saunders' workshop has helped me tremendously to grow as an artist. In other words, my taste and skills in art are now in a constant state of change, hopefully for the better."

Thompson is a member of the Oil Painters of America, the Portrait Society of America, and the Chestnut Group, a nonprofit alliance of landscape painters of Franklin, TN.  Thompson's work is now included in collections throughout the U.S.

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