All images of original art by Sandra J. Shaw Copyright © 2014-1985 Sandra J. Shaw
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The Tom Thomson Portrait Bust

original reference photographs

The portrait bust in bronze of Canadian landscape painter, the late Tom Thomson (1877-1917), permanent display, Algonquin Visitor's Center, Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada, since 1993.

Tom Thomson was Canada's premier landscapist and colourist. His painterly landscapes inspired the famous Group of Seven who emulated Thomson's ability to project a sunlit world. The references for this bust were a meager few ww1-period photographs. Tom Thomson was not famous during his life-time, and so no one thought to photograph him. The principal shots I used for this work were those that reveal the structure of his skull, his distinctive facial features, and project his personality. Tom Thomson died early in life, at the age of thirty-nine, but the smattering of photos thankfully capture him from adolescence through to his late-thirties, showing a progression of facial development from youth to adult.

The bust depicts Thomson at thirty-nine years, wearing an outdoor shirt as he would have had on one of his lengthy painting trips on Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park. The rugged quality of Thomson's lifestyle is captured in the modulations of his face. The refinement of his character is preserved in his expressive eyes and mouth.

The plinth area immediately below the cut-off of the shirt posed a problem of what to show. I elected to use this area to celebrate Thomson's exuberant use of paint.

I extended the painterly surfacing over the drapery, up the back of the neck and into the hair. The over-all effect is very pleasing to the eye -- it provides a reminder of Thomson's art, as well as a bold and rugged texture for the bronze. The plinth is finished off below with a picture-frame style base.

A trademark colour-study by Tom Thomson, showing his bold, painterly style: "Autumn Foliage," Ontario, c. 1912-1917.

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Title: Tom Thomson
Figure Height: 22 inches
Mounted height:
Medium: bronze sculpture in the round
Edition: 10
Artist Proof: 2
Hors commerce: 1
Date of prototype: 1993
Current Edition Status: casting AVAILABLE in bronze

Permanent display, The Algonquin Visitor's Center, ON, 1993-
Art in the Park Exhibition, Algonquin Park Museum, ON, 1998
Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Owen Sound, ON, 1999