Andy Thomas is one of those artists who has a distinct style that’s recognizable even though he paints on a large array of topics. His renderings of our presidents, past and present, were very popular this past political cycle. In between, many have fallen in love with the charm and thoughtfully clever stories folded into his paintings of The West, the Civil War, oil wells, and even pirates. Recently, Andy set his brush down for a few moments to answer a couple of our questions…
Prints.com: You’ve worked with oil, watercolor, pen and ink, charcoal, pencil, and even in sculpture. Which is your absolute favorite medium from a purely artistic point of view?
Andy: I think oil painting allows an artist the most freedom to create the painting he wants. It was also the most challenging for me to learn to control. That being said, I really enjoy all mediums. Pen and ink has always been a favorite. One of my most admired artists is Charles Dana Gibson who worked almost exclusively in pen and ink.
Prints.com: You cover a very wide range of subjects. How do you decide where to turn next?
Andy: I am living a second childhood painting action westerns. With the depth of adventure and history in the American West, I’ll never run out of subjects. I have many interests besides the west so I enjoy painting many subjects. On my easel right now is a storytelling painting of schooners on a vibrant sea that should be published soon. It’s the first of a new series that I am excited about.
Prints.com: You describe yourself as “primarily self taught.” How have you gone about building your repertoire of techniques over the years?
Andy: Mostly I studied the paintings of artists I admired. I was primarily concerned with technique. I studied and then tried to mimic Howard Pyle, Charles Russell, Frederic Remington, Norman Rockwell, John Singer Sargent and Richard Schmid. Eventually my own style emerged. It was a very effective learning method.
Prints.com: Your political artwork has been very popular. How is painting well-know, highly respected (or sometimes, highly controversial) men different than other, more anonymous pieces?
Andy: The political paintings were a real challenge. These faces are so familiar to everyone. I decided very early that I would try to show every President as favorably and as pleasantly as I could. I found it easier to paint each man if I concentrated on their best qualities and I finished with a great admiration for each of them. It would be hard to paint someone you can’t like.
Prints.com: Do you have a favorite piece?
Andy: I have some where I used my children for models and occasionally have a chance to buy them back. Besides those, I do have paintings I’ve done that evoke an emotional chord in me, just the same as an art collector. There’s no rhyme or reason to it.
Thank you to Andy for taking the time to share a bit about himself! We always enjoy getting to know our artists a little better, as it makes the print we collect all the sweeter. Andy Thomas has been honored highly as an artist, including the highest auction prices for a piece of art by any artist, living or dead, at the CM Russell Art Auction, exhibitions at prestigious art shows, inclusion in countless publications, and art hanging one the walls of private and public collectors. Please consider Andy Thomas fine art the next time you are looking to expand your collection. He’s known as the “Storyteller” for good reason- each of his beautiful pieces has a great story within. You can visit Andy’s personal website at andythomas.com.