Friday, October 10, 2008

Paint-Out With Alabama Plein Air Artists

During September 27-28 we participated in the Alabama Plein Air Artists Paint-Out in Courtland, AL. D. D. Martin of Courtland and Donna Chieves of Birmingham coordinated this very successful event.

The artists were honored with the utmost in Southern hospitality provided by the wonderful residents of Courtland. Courtland offers a trip through the history of a nineteenth century town. Reflecting the town's beginning as a local trade center rooted in the surrounding plantation economy are more than 100 homes, buildings and sites dated from 1820-1938. For more information about APAA, check out our web site at

Painting With Atlanta Plein Air Painters

Tommy Thompson was invited by our long-time friend, John Baggenstoss of Monteagle, TN, to paint with an Atlanta plein air painting group in beautiful Monteagle, TN, during September 21-25. Baggenstoss, formerly with Ebsco Media, and Marie Thompson collaborated for many years on publications produced for IFDC--an International Center for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development of Muscle Shoals, AL.

During the Paint-Out we met the renowned pastelist, Elsie Dresch of Atlanta. Ms. Dresch authored the book, Create Better Paintings: Working with Pastels, which is available via her web site at

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Hills and Hamlets Magazine Publishes Feature Article on Tommy Thompson

Reproduced with permission of Hills and Hamlets, Leiper's Fork, TN (

" Tommy Thompson Art Brought to Light"

Photograph by Anthony Scarlati

On a warm, sunny morning this past August, I had the pleasure of a visit from artist Tommy Thompson and his wife Marie at my farm in Franklin. The rural property was the backdrop for photos with the artist as well as subject for his canvas. Reaching the back field, Tommy pulled out his easel and set up under a shade tree facing the adjoining pastureland. He took in the scenery and watched two horses, who had greeted him earlier with a curious hello before going back to their grazing. As the camera quietly captured the man in his realm, the sun shined down brightly on the grass and threw a spotlight on the canvas. Tommy proceeded to brush on colorful oils that transpired to an illuminating painting of horses in landscape.

Residents of Florence, Alabama, the Thompsons make frequent visits to Middle Tennessee to market his paintings, as well as to visit family in Brentwood. The couple can be found driving country roads looking for the subject of his next painting. Tommy is habitual about wanting to see what’s around the bend or over the hill. While finding these spontaneous spots of inspiration, they have discovered new places and many friends throughout the U.S. and abroad. After 30 years as an architectural and commercial artist, Tommy turned his focus to oil painting in 2002. His paintings are traditional landscapes in oil with subjects including horses, children, pets and architecture.

Painting is an everyday part of this artist’s life, a continuous labor of love and effort for improvement. “I haven’t talked to an artist that hasn’t felt they have arrived yet; they are constantly developing their style,” claims Thompson. And, he adds, “You have to work at it every day, never stop painting.”

While he continues to master his technique, the painter will admit to a noticeable, but not bothersome tremble in his hand. Sometimes he can’t control where the brush is going, but when he looks at what he has done he thinks, “I couldn’t have done that if I tried.” A small blessing in disguise you could say.

With the help of Marie, Tommy Thompson Art continues to fill the walls of homes and offices nationwide. Credentials include studying under top oil painters like Kevin Macpherson, Richard Schmid and Jason Saunders. The artist’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions and featured in numerous publications like Southwest Art and Nashville Arts magazines. ranks Thompson No. 33 out of 2,000 artists.

“One thing that has had more affect on my success is my wife, none of this would have happened without her. There would be a lot more great artists if they had a Marie,” affirms Tommy.

It is clear, as I watched him paint that day, Tommy Thompson has the passion and skill to create beautiful artwork. What he began on a small canvas while standing in the pasture turned into an exquisite piece of art that now hangs on my wall and I catch myself gazing at it every day.

Visit to view Thompson’s work. He can be reached at 256.767.0422 or by email,

Becky Bauer lives in rural Williamson County. A gifted songwriter, poet and horse woman, with interests in graphic and Web site design, her many talents make her a multi-faceted contributor to Hills & Hamlets.