The realistic oil paintings of Andy Thomas are frequently populated with people in an array of both complex and simple settings. They cover a gamut of subjects from western to political and from life in the Ozarks to historical depictions to maritime scenes. First and foremost, Andy is a storyteller whose intense accuracy and authenticity are captivating.
If you open your vintage artCentral cookbook, “Palettes and Palates”, facing page 82 you’ll find an exemplary image titled “The Good Earth”. At a school dance a young girl wearing her “best” sits still and alone in a straight-backed chair. Her expression of resolve is framed in a cascade of auburn curls. The accompanying text of Andy’s story gives a lovely window into her dilemma.
Proficient in many mediums, Andy says he likes them all including clay. He pulls a drawing pad from stack of several and shows me a set of recent pen and inks saying, “I love doing these just for fun.” Andy is just as comfortable painting expansively. His seven foot by fifteen foot depiction of civil war battle action in the courthouse square is found in the Civil War Museum here in Carthage.
Andy’s extraordinary talents continue to bring him well-earned, wide-ranging recognition. Visit his website, www.andythomas.com, and see the stunning list of his national honors including placement of his paintings in numerous museums including the Gilcrease Museum of history in Tulsa.
With thorough research Andy creates each painting’s story. The favorite of my artist-musician husband, David, is “…and the Band Played On” inspired by Andy’s interest in Captain Morgan, a famous British pirate and his likely inclination to throw a party after capturing major Spanish bounty.
When Andy gets to musing over who the pirate will invite to make the party the best ever, the image is filled with twenty-six deceased musicians from music history. The painting’s storyline suggests the music is wonderful and rhythmic, resonating across the island as revelers jump up to sing along or dance a jig or tell a good story. There’s a gentle breeze passing through the palm trees. Good food and drink are plentiful. Folks are having a good time. The scene is exotic, exciting and fun!
When I ask if Andy and Dina ever consider living somewhere more exotic and exciting than Carthage, Andy laughs. “Exciting for what? If I’ve been in the studio and alone too long and I’m feeling bored and I need some excitement, all I have to do is go to Walmart. I always see a friend, someone I haven’t seen in a while, and we have a good talk and get caught up. Then I’m ready to go home. Now that’s exciting!” Andy continues, “I have no reason to go away from where I am. These are my people. This is where I’m from. All I want is here.”
How very fortunate we are to have Andy and Dina among us and supporting our community with their talents. For the last two years Dina has hand delivered Andy’s original oil painting for our Holiday Boutique 4x4 Silent Auctions. For both years his canvas has realized the greatest donations for artCentral’s work on behalf of art and artists. I’m delighted Andy will contribute his time and experience as the Juror for artCentral’s Annual Membership Exhibition opening June 1, 2018.
For now our artCentral galleries are resplendent with the “Art Speaks” collection on view in our elegant Hyde House during weekend gallery hours and by appointment through March 18, 2018. Admission is free. For information call (417) 358-4404.