Artistic Excellence 2014 | Honorable Mention: Thomas W. Schaller


Thomas W. Schaller, Chambers Street, NYC, watercolor, 30 x 22.

Thomas W. Schaller, Chambers Street, NYC, watercolor, 30 x 22.

What inspired your winning entry? Light is the inspiration for all my work. But in this particular case, I tried to take the same advice I give participants in my workshops: “Don’t paint the scene in front of you. Paint the light that defines it and gives it life.” So, I tried to depict the space, the light, and the atmosphere contained on all sides by the magnificent architecture of lower Manhattan and to make that light and that atmosphere the focus rather than the solid, man-made objects.

How does the painting fit in with the rest of your body of work? This painting was a natural evolution of the painting style I began to develop a few years ago. I come from a background in architectural artwork and highly detailed illustration. So this piece exemplifies the path I have been on—an attempt to get away from “illustration” and to come nearer to a more expressive approach.

What do you enjoy about painting city scenes and buildings? I enjoy the interplay of the built environment with the natural world. So often buildings are seen as isolated, solid “things,” but they never are. There is always a context. There is always the movement of light and shade across their surfaces. There is always the human component—people passing in and out of spaces—defining their purpose and giving them life.

What’s your favorite artwork by another artist? NO 10 by Mark Rothko.

What galleries represent your work? Total Arts Gallery, Taos, NM; RS Hanna Gallery, Fredericksburg, TX.

Featured in the December 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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