Mark Thomas started selling his paintings at Central Art Gallery in Queenstown at 24 - almost 40 years ago! When he was 14, he was told to learn carpentry as a trade by his father, but he was too inspired by the surrounding beauty of the mountains to not try and capture it. He decided there and then that he was going to be an artist. He still became a carpenter, but painted prolifically in any spare time.
Thomas largely taught himself, although he did go to art school for about two hours. He tells the story of sitting there, in the lecture with the class, and feeling a buzzing up in his trousers. So he ripped them off, in front of the everyone, and a bee flew out! He ran out the room, and never went back in… Thomas reckons he'd had enough of sitting and talking about art anyway, and simply wanted to go do it.
Thomas describes himself as an impatient painter. He will quickly sketch the shape, then paint the basic block with a bit of oil paint for a minute and a half, and then start painting immediately. He knows you have to work quickly to capture the light. He loves to capture the mood, sunlight, temperature and feel of a place - especially Queenstown and the Southern Lakes. He also enjoys looking at the work of other painters and knows when he sees a good one - it's painted well with real feeling and inspires.