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In an Artist’s Own Words: Thomas Wood

April 2019

 

We asked artists participating in the 2019 Ranches & Rolling Hills Art Show and Sale to share why they participate in our show. Today, we hear from Thomas Wood.

©Denise Rocco-Zilber 

As a founding member of the MALT art show, I have worked on its production and exhibited in it for twenty years.

My wife and I moved to West Marin in 1976 because we both loved its beautiful open country: its ag lands and open space preserves and the State and National parklands, and its proximity to bay and ocean.

My great-grandfather, a Swiss-Italian immigrant, started a dairy operation in the Carmel Valley backcountry in the 1860s, and the property remains in our family; from childhood, I painted there part of every year, though I grew up in San Francisco, and also spent time in West Marin.

This area, including its dairies and beef ranches and produce fields, is my favorite kind of landscape to paint, and its resemblance to that of our Monterey County ranch may have played a part in the decision to live here.

Of the themes for this year’s Ranches and Rolling Hills Art Show and Sale, "Grasslands" resonates the strongest with me, because I like to paint hill forms punctuated with oak, bay, and willow.

Being at a MALT gathering inside Kitty Dolcini's wonderful hay barn one afternoon made me want to return and paint the beams of sun streaming through cracks in the old boards, and paint the colors of the hay bales in the loft. I did return, and completed a painting that I think captured to my satisfaction the feeling of the light and deep shadows and the sunlit hills seen through a large opening.

As a landscape painter, I revere nature and open space and celebrate the existence of ranches and farms. Their continuing viability is as important to our physical sustenance as to our psychological well-being, especially as the world becomes more populated and paved over.

My appreciation for the land is akin to the appreciation that dedicated ranchers feel for their ranches; it is their livelihood but also their life-blood, and when I paint the landscape I feel a connection with the ranchers in a shared love of the earth and open country, of wildlife and livestock and trees and water and weather.

Join us at the Ranches & Rolling Hills Art Show and Sale from May 17 to 23.

©Denise Rocco-Zilber

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