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7 Sky Paintings by Tom Thomson

Tom Thomson Round Lake, Mud Bay

“Round Lake, Mud Bay” by Tom Thomson

7 Sky Landscapes by Tom Thomson

Tom Thomson was a Canadian artist whose works consist almost entirely of landscapes depicting trees, skies, lakes, and rivers. Our Sky Landscapes collection includes:

“Round Lake, Mud Bay” by Tom Thomson

“Round Lake, Mud Bay” by Tom Thomson depicts wild Geese flying back in a “V” shaped formation over Round Lake, Ontario.

Thomson was preoccupied with capturing the sky, especially near the end of his career, from 1915 onward.

In his paintings from 1913 onwards, he consistently utilized the perspective of his canoe. This composition has a narrow foreground of water, a distant shoreline, and a dominating sky.

Round Lake, Ontario

Round Lake is a lake located in Renfrew County, Ontario, Canada. The Bonnechere River flows into the lake, and there are two provincial parks on the lake.

Round Lake is the first significant lake in the course of the Bonnechere River, which begins at Basin Lake in Algonquin Park to the north. It passes through Golden Lake, Eganville, Douglas, and Renfrew before emptying into the Ottawa River.

“Round Lake, Mud Bay” by Tom Thomson

  • Title:                  Round Lake, Mud Bay
  • Artist:                Tom Thomson
  • Year:                  Autumn 1915
  • Medium:           oil on panel
  • Genre:               Landscape art
  • Dimensions      Height: 21.5 cm (8.4 in); Width: 26.2 cm (10.3 in)
  • Museum:           Art Gallery of Ontario

~~~

“Summer Day” by Tom Thomson

Tom Thomson Summer Day

“Summer Day” by Tom Thomson

“Summer Day” by Tom Thomson depicts billowing clouds sailing across the blue sky over a deeper blue cloured lake.

The lake in the foreground is a thin horizontal stretch at the bottom of the painting. On the other side is a green wilderness of Algonquin Park in Ontario, with deep blue colored hills in the distant horizon.

Tom Thomson spent his spring and summers from 1912 to 1917, traveling by canoe, camping at Algonquin Park. He took odd jobs as a ranger and guide, to allow him to complete his sketch of the wilderness landscapes.

“Summer Day” by Tom Thomson

  • Title:                  Summer Day
  • Artist:                Tom Thomson
  • Year:                  Summer 1915
  • Medium:           Oil on composite wood-pulp board
  • Genre:               Landscape art
  • Dimensions      Height: 21.6 cm (8.5 in); Width: 26.8 cm (10.5 in)
  • Museum:           McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Vaughan, Ontario, Canada.

~~~

“Wild Cherries, Spring” by Tom Thomson

Tom Thomson Wild Cherries, Spring

“Wild Cherries, Spring” by Tom Thomson

“Wild Cherries, Spring” by Tom Thomson depicts the wild cherry trees growing in the wilderness. Two types of wild cherry trees grow in Ontario.

The reddish-brown, with its close-grained wood, is the wild black cherry tree, which produces black fruits.

The wild red cherry trees, also known as pin cherry, produce cherries with a sour taste.

The red cherry trees tend to be bush-sized plants, with clusters of white flowers appear. The fruit turns red in August or September.

“Wild Cherries, Spring” by Tom Thomson

  • Title:                   Wild Cherries, Spring
  • Artist:                 Tom Thomson
  • Year:                   Spring 1915
  • Medium:            Oil on wood-pulp board
  • Genre:                Landscape art
  • Dimensions       Height: 21.6 cm (8.5 in); Width: 26.7 cm (10.5 in)
  • Museum:           McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Vaughan, Ontario, Canada.

~~~

“Northern Lights” by Tom Thomson

Tom Thomson, Northern Lights

“Northern Lights” by Tom Thomson

“Northern Lights” by Tom Thomson depicts an aurora, also referred to as northern lights. It is a natural light display in the Earth’s sky, predominantly seen in the high-latitude regions around the Arctic and Antarctic.

Thomson produced roughly two dozen nocturnes. Thomson often spent his nights lying in his canoe in the middle of the lake, stargazing.

Besides capturing the nighttime sky, he also captured silhouettes of spruce, birch trees, and the northern lights, painting five different sketches of the aurora.

Thomson would stand and study the aurora for an extended period before going back into his cabin to paint by lamplight.

He sometimes completed nocturnes this way, going back and forth between painting indoors and looking at the subject outside until he completed the sketch.

Aurora

Auroras are the result of disturbances in the magnetosphere caused by the solar wind.

These disturbances are sometimes strong enough to alter the trajectories of charged particles in both solar wind and magnetospheric plasma.

These particles, mainly electrons, and protons precipitate into the upper atmosphere. Polar lights or northern lights are called Aurora Borealis.

Southern lights that are viewed from the southern regions of the earth are called Aurora Australis.

“Northern Lights” by Tom Thomson

  • Title:                  Northern Lights
  • Artist:                Tom Thomson
  • Year:                  Summer 1917
  • Medium:           oil on panel
  • Genre:               Landscape art
  • Dimensions       Height: 21.5 cm (8.4 in); Width: 26.7 cm (10.5 in)
  • Museum:           National Gallery of Canada

~~~

“Sunset” by Tom Thomson

Thomson, Sunset

“Sunset” by Tom Thomson

“Sunset” by Tom Thomson was painted at the water level in a canoe. It illustrates his excited brushstrokes as he captured the lake’s reflection.

The painting was executed over a grey-green ground, adding depth to both the light of the sky and the reflecting water.

The 1915 volcanic eruption of Lassen Peak in California provided dramatic sunrises and sunsets in the northern hemisphere for the year.

These skies provided artistic inspiration for Thomson and other artists in the same way that the eruption of Krakatoa in the previous century had inspired Edvard Munch.

Sky effects were one of Thomson’s main interests for the entire 1915 year, indicated by his heightened use of color.

“Sunset” by Tom Thomson

  • Title:                  Sunset
  • Artist:                Tom Thomson
  • Year:                 1915
  • Medium:          oil on grey wood-pulp board
  • Genre:              Landscape art
  • Dimensions     Height: 21.6 cm (8.5 in); Width: 26.7 cm (10.5 in)
  • Museum:         National Gallery of Canada

~~~

“Sketch for Morning Cloud” by Tom Thomson

Tom Thomson Sketch for Morning Cloud

“Sketch for Morning Cloud” by Tom Thomson

“Sketch for Morning Cloud” by Tom Thomson depicts the morning clouds over the wilderness the artists loved. Thomson learned of the Algonquin Park from fellow artist Tom McLean.

In 1912, aged 34, he first visited the Park, venturing through the area on a canoe trip, and discovered Canoe Lake Station and camping nearby on Smoke Lake.

He returned as often as he could to the lake views to sketch his sky landscapes during different seasons and light conditions.

“Sketch for Morning Cloud” by Tom Thomson

  • Title:                   Sketch for Morning Cloud
  • Artist:                 Tom Thomson
  • Year:                   1913
  • Medium:            Oil on canvas
  • Genre:                Landscape art
  • Dimensions       Height: 17.8 cm (7 in); Width: 25.3 cm (9.9 in)
  • Museum:           Art Gallery of Ontario

~~~

“Sky (The Light that Never Was)” by Tom Thomson

Thomson, Sky (The Light that Never Was)

“Sky (The Light that Never Was)” by Tom Thomson

“Sky (The Light that Never Was)” by Tom Thomson depicts the light that Thomson saw during an early morning in 1913.

The horizon is disappearing, and pure movement is left behind as the sun rises on an out-of-focus wilderness.

Tom Thomson had spent all night in his canoe out on the Canoe Lake in Algonquin Reserve, located between Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River in Ontario, Canada.

Canoe Lake is a lake located in Algonquin Provincial Park in Nipissing District, Ontario. Canoe Lake is a significant access point for canoeists entering Algonquin Park.

“Sky (The Light that Never Was)” by Tom Thomson

  • Title:                 Sky (The Light that Never Was)
  • Artist:               Tom Thomson
  • Year:                 1913
  • Medium:          Oil on canvas
  • Genre:              Landscape art
  • Dimensions     Height: 17.5 cm (6.8 in); Width: 25.1 cm (9.8 in)
  • Museum:         National Gallery of Canada

Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Provincial Park is a provincial park located in Ontario, Canada. Established in 1893, it is the oldest provincial park in Canada.

Its size, combined with its proximity to the major urban centers of Toronto and Ottawa, makes Algonquin one of the most popular provincial parks in the province and the country.

Over 2,400 lakes and 1,200 kilometers of streams and rivers are located within the park. Its unique mix of forest types, and the wide variety of environments in the park, allows the park to support a significant diversity of plant and animal species.

Tom Thomson

Thomas John Thomson (1877 – 1917) was a Canadian artist who, during his short career, produced about 400 oil sketches on small wood panels along with around 50 more significant works on canvas.

His works consist almost entirely of landscapes depicting trees, skies, lakes, and rivers.

His paintings use broad brush strokes and a liberal application of paint to capture the beauty and color of the Ontario landscape.

Tom Thomson

Highlights of the National Gallery of Canada

Highlights of Art Gallery of Ontario

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“Through other people’s faults, wise men correct their own.”
– Canadian Proverb

~~~


Photo Credit: Tom Thomson / Public domain; Art Gallery of Ontario / Public domain

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