Thomas Adkins – Pastoral Solitudes
Gregory James Gallery
Oct. 4, 2023 - Nov. 4, 2014
Contemporary realist and Connecticut native Thomas C. Adkins has spent years meandering through the hills and farms of Litchfield County, searching for the perfect view. Rather than seeking out new landscapes, Adkins finds inspiration in the familiar and captures on canvas the emotion or feeling that is evoked when something suddenly appears fresh and new.
“The more familiar I am with a location, the more I am able to see something that moves me,” said Adkins, who will present 30 new works, both Plein Air and studio paintings, in a one-man show, “Pastoral Solitudes,” at the Gregory James Gallery in New Milford. The show opens October 4th with an artist’s reception from 5 to 7 p.m. and continues through November 4th. All of the paintings were produced over the past two years and reflect the farms and untouched landscapes of Connecticut’s Northwest Corner. A few marine paintings were inspired by scenes near Adkins’ home in Maine, where as a boy, he spent summer vacations with his family.
“I paint whatever moves me and it has always been the landscape,” said Adkins, who seldom includes figures in his work. As a result, the viewer is able to appreciate the landscape through his eyes, and share in the stillness of the moment captured by the artist. “That solitude and tranquility is so important and precious. I’m trying to capture that feeling, the mood, the whole presence of a place. That’s what I try to put on the canvas, and why people gravitate toward the canvas. They feel they have known that location at sometime in their life.”
Most of his paintings are derived from small sketches made on location, which Adkins refers to later in the studio, making subtle changes in color and light to evoke a mood, the season or time of day.
The green and gold fields of “Northern Farm Early Spring” draw the eye up to an aging grey barn illuminated by sunlight peeking over the hills beyond the farm. The last remnants of snow are visible on hilltops and the bare branches of trees stretch toward a pale sky tinged with purple. The interplay of light and shadow hint at a scene captured just before sunset, or perhaps slightly after sunrise.
The change of season is evident in “Fall Diagonal Light Kent,” which features a pair of barns, bookends to a white farmhouse, tucked beneath leafy green trees tinged with orange. The last slanting rays of sun fall over the scene from beyond the frame of the painting as thick clouds move in from the opposite side.
Looking at “Lake Waramaug Summer,” the viewer seems to be perched on the path, in the same spot Adkins set up his easel, pausing to take in the view of the lake and green the hills sloping down to its edges. There is a small farm tucked into the hillside, yet there is a sense that the viewer is able to take in this tranquil scene alone. Adkins calls it “a snapshot of the moment. You get a true sense of the atmosphere and the feeling for the place.”
A graduate of Paier College of Art of New Haven, Adkins completed graduate classes at the School of Visual Arts of New York. He has worked as art director and creative director for some of the most prestigious advertising agencies in Connecticut and New York.
As a contemporary painter, Adkins’ style and technique has developed from early influences by Impressionistic painters of light on nature, such as Monet, Pissaro, Willard Metcalf.
Adkins’ work is featured in private collections throughout the United States and abroad. His paintings have been shown in galleries and exhibitions in Connecticut and New England, including the New Britain Museum of American Art, The Butler Institute Of American, Old Lyme Association, Gregory James Gallery, Greene Art Gallery and at Bayview Gallery in Brunswick, Me. A member of the Connecticut Plein Air Painters Society and the Association of Oil Painters of America, he participated in the prestigious International Marine Art Exhibition at The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport. In 2014, he will be one of a select few award-winning artists from seven countries selected to participate in the 35th Annual International Marine Art Exhibition at Mystic Seaport.