Forest Undergrowth I
Autumn Algonquin Park
Lightning at Canoe Lake,1915
Snow in the Woods,1916
The Pine Tree
The Jack Pine 1916-17
Autumn’s Garland, 1916.
The Silent Lake, 1913
April in Algonquin Park, 1917
Pine Island, Georgian Bay
Northern River, 1915
Woodland Waterfall, 1916
Thomson was largely self-taught. He was employed as a graphic designer with Toronto's Grip Ltd., an experience which honed his draughtsmanship. Although he began painting and drawing at an early age, it was only in 1912, when Thomson was well into his thirties, that he began to paint seriously. His first trips to Algonquin Park inspired him to follow the lead of fellow artists in producing oil sketches of natural scenes on small, rectangular panels for easy portability while travelling. Between 1912 and his death in 1917, Thomson produced hundreds of these small sketches, many of which are now considered works in their own right, and are housed in such galleries as the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.
Many of Thomson's major paintings, including Northern River, The Jack Pine, and The West Wind, began as sketches before being expanded into large oil paintings at Thomson's "studio"—an old utility shack with a wood-burning stove on the grounds of the Studio Building, an artist's enclave in Rosedale, Toronto. Although Thomson sold few of these paintings during his lifetime, they formed the basis of posthumous exhibitions, including one at Wembley in London, that eventually brought international attention to his work.
Thomson peaked creatively between 1914 and 1917. He was aided by the patronage of Toronto physician James MacCallum, who enabled Thomson's transition from graphic designer to professional painter. ...
Thomson's art bears some stylistic resemblance to the work of European post-impressionists such as Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne, whose work he may have known from books or visits to art galleries. Other key influences were the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, styles with which he would have been familiar from his work in the graphic arts.
Described as having an "idiosyncratic palette," Thomson's control of colour was exceptional. He often mixed available pigments to create unusual, new colours making his distinctive palette along with his brushwork instantly recognizable regardless of the subject of his work.
Tom Thomson, Spring flood, 1917