Berry Artist of the Week – GARY THOMAS

How long have you been an artist?

I started drawing at school in 1975, although I had long periods where I didn’t draw. I recall drawing mountains when I was about 5. During my twenties and thirties, I travelled a lot and used to draw in graphite whilst on the plane or waiting hours for the next flight. In 2007 I started to draw on a regular basis and then 3 years ago I started with pastels to put some colour in my life.

How did you get involved?

Pastels eventuated as I got bored with graphite and after researching different mediums, I decided to give them a go.

Have you entered any competitions or exhibitions? If so which ones

I started entering my pastel painting in competitions in 2018:

· 2018 Finalist – Lethbridge 10000 Art Competition

· 2019 Finalist – Lethbridge 20000 Art competition

· 2019 finalist – Brisbane Rotary Art Spectacular

What do you love about art? What is your motivation?

I’ve loved art from a very early age. I enjoy immersing myself in a project and sometimes I even forget to eat! My motivation is to continuously improve and explore colour as much as I can. I’m now learning to paint with oils and enjoying it very much.

How would you describe your style?

My style is hyper realism, the more realistic I can be, the more interest I have in the subject. Having said that, I’m now working also in looser styles. For commissions, I only work with good quality photos. All my paintings are based on the eyes. Unfortunately, I knock back about 60% of enquiries due to poor quality photos. My wildlife and bird paintings have been selling really well, some are even sold before they are finished!

Who/what are your influences?

When I decided to start pastel painting, I did extensive research on pastel tutorials. I learnt a lot from Emma Colbert (pets) and Jason Morgan (wildlife). I then became a pastelholic (and bloody proud of it too!).

What are some of your favourite personal works?

I have three favourite works:

My favourite pet portrait commission is Taggert, an old golden retriever in the water. Other favourites are the Siberian Tiger and the Wedding Portrait.

Taggart was a challenge as it was the first time I had painted trees, a beach, water and a wet dog! The Siberian Tiger I chose to paint as I liked the blurred foreground and background. The Wedding Portrait was a commission. I also hadn’t painted anything like this before, so it was a challenge. The work was also quite large 70cmx50cm.

What is your creative process?

Trying to make things look real.

What are your goals?

To look at a subject and make the decision to paint it in pastels or oils and to develop my sty

le away from hyper realism.


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