Your fine art information site since 1995
artists dealers art organizations digest publications contact search about archive   close menu

Tom Edwards. American Artist, born 1948

Tom Edwards thinks in terms of "line." His fine pen and ink, graphite, conte and sometimes ink and coffee drawings flow onto the surface as if poured from his mind. While all lines flow from his vivid imagination the seed springs from landscape, figure and a thorough knowledge of art history and those who have preceded him.

Tom Edwards
Tom Edwards, Artist, Untitled, artline
Tom Edwards
click on image to enlarge
Tom Edwards
Sticks and Stones Still Life, 2017
color pencil, pastel, oil, paint on wood panels (triptych), 26 x 73"
Tom Edwards, Artist, Under Tide, artline
Tom Edwards
Under Tide, 2009
pen, ink, graphite on board, 48 x 48"
click on image to enlarge
Tom Edwards, Artist, Backyard Archaeology, artline
Tom Edwards
Backyard Archaeology, 2010
ballpoint pen on paper, 50 x 50" click on image to enlarge
Tom Edwards, Artist, Kansas Triptych, artline
Tom Edwards
Kansas Triptych
pen, ink, graphite on board
click on image to enlarge

Artist Statement

I start my drawings from a particular location, but the element of 'time' begins to affect my perceptions of the place. Because some of the drawings (mainly the large ones), take such a long period of time (over a year), the passage of time takes away from particulars; and shifts the focus to a more abstract kind of 'moving time-scape.'


Artist's Statement About his Drawings/Paintings

Drawing, for me, covers a vast array of activities that in some ways are akin to breathing and in other ways akin to surgery, or juggling the royal crystal and cacti. Intuitive and analytical at the same time. The idea of making a few twisted scratches with a pencil or pen, and then having those marks read as energy, space,light, and surface that describes or conveys visual experience is neverendingly puzzling and amazing to me. I constantly try to expand the possibilities by adding new elements to my vocabulary of marks and surfaces. I think my approach to constructing a drawing, painting , or print has now become homogenous and therefore more connected to a single language (that, at least, I can understand).

The surface of a drawing or painting is similar to the surface of a print. My prints are the result of many layers of drawing, etching, redrawing, removing, overprinting, surface residue, deep lines, shallow lines, old decisions, new decisions, abandoned directions, mistakes, accidents, conceptual unity, and endless possibilities and combinations of references to time, space and place. The paintings I am presently working on are an outgrowth of the same approach. I start with a concept of a space/place I want to describe and begin drawing into a layer of wet paint. The soft surface of paint lets me inscribe lines into the surface in much the same way a line is etched into the surface of a metal plate. I have begun to use different colors of surface paint as well as different colors of pencil line to create more spatial variation as well as surface variation. The main difference in surface development occurs when layers of paint start to build the surface out at the same time the mark is digging in. The resulting layering and inscribing produces a complex surface that holds the history of the process and hides underlayers of decisions and associated effects. The more complex the surface becomes, the abstract it tends to appear, the more the vocabulary becomes the language, the more real it becomes to me.

Experience of the landscape is one of time and space. Still Life is still, static, and controlled. Landscape is moving, ever changing, dynamic, alive, and unpredictable. A drawing/painting/print is not a photograph, it is a record of TIME and SPACE, and the memories, observations, reactions, conscience and sub-conscience, and much more of the artist reacting to (not coping) the place. I try to include as much as possible when possible. I think of the "landscape of the painting/drawing/print" as absolutely REAL and inhabitable even thought it may be completely constructed, invented, and abstract. I work "inside the image" to include wind, smell, fear, history, all those things that are present in our minds as we sit alone in a wilderness, (we bring it ALL with us), otherwise we wouldn't find it interesting.(?)

The paintings/prints include simple landscape themes that are basic to universal experience, the "fence" as an enclosure and limitation, the "alley" as excluded backzone dreamset, the "backyard" child memory safe haven of play, the "woods" as a mystical place wilderness of trees (I'm from Kansas, trees & forests are mysterious places, ask Dorthy), the "prairie" unlimited space with earth & sky & always wind, the "path" as a place to transverse a picture space, etc.

the artist says about prints:

I've always been more interested in printmaking as a medium for expression and exploration and less as a method of creating multiple images. A few years ago I produced several images by folding portions of a print back onto itself, making a symmetrical image from the counterproof. I was also experimenting with printing from different plates onto a single image, using various plates that were not originally intended to be combined. The results were a kind of "double exposure" that suggested some interesting possibilities. Printing this way became problematic due to plate marks occurring in unwanted places. I found I could get away from the plate mark problem by tearing up sections of freshly printed proofs and creating a sort of collage that I could counterproof onto a new image. I have been printing this way a lot over the last few years. After a print has been dry for a period of time, I can dampen it and continue working, offsetting new counterproofs until the new spatial relationships seem to maintain some continuity. The result is that one of these monoprints can be the result of many different sources and printing sessions. I have even found old proofs from years ago and reworked them into a new image. At times I add washes and some ink drawing or fingerprints to complete a passage in the image. The result is a unique image from a combination of printing methods. I know of no one else who works this way, but it works for me, and satisfies my need to constantly rework a never ending image.



born 1948 Wichita, KS

1983 M.F.A., Yale University, New Haven, CT
1978 M.F.A. Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
1971 B. Architecture, Kansas State University, Manhattan
public collections
Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock
Baltimore Museum of Art, MD
Boston Public Library, MA
Boston Printmakers Permanent Collection, MA
Fralin | University of Virginia Museum of Art, Charlottesville
Little Rock Art Center, AK
Library of Congress, Washington DC
Sheldon Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, IN
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC
Wichita Museum of Art, KS


In the galleries: Scenes of nature with allusions to religious art
Washington Post - January 2015

By Mark Jenkins
January 2 at 11:07 AM

Tom Edwards, Artist, artline
Tom Edward's "Seven Angels Arrive to Witness the Fall of the Last Leaf,"
on view at Jane Haslem Gallery. (Courtesy Tom Edwards/Jane Haslem Gallery)

The quick way to explain "Seven Angels Arrive to Witness the Fall of the Last Leaf" at the Jane Haslem Gallery is that artist Tom Edwards found some discarded doors and decided to draw on them. As the title suggests, however, it's not that simple. The exhibition's centerpiece is two linked sets of 61/2-foot-high doors embellished with woodland scenes. Edwards compares the work to Renaissance altar pieces that were opened or closed to show alternate paintings for different occasions.

Edwards lives near a Connecticut nature preserve and depicts New England forests realistically, if in unorthodox media. He draws with ballpoint pen and colored pencil, sometimes layered atop or beneath other substances. "Under Tide" is an exceptionally detailed picture of objects, natural and man-made, that drifted onto a seashore. The scene's liquid quality is accented by washes of tea and coffee.

The show's title piece also was drawn with pen and pencil, but in wet gesso, a chalky white substance used as a base for paint. On the outer set of doors, the seven winged witnesses are moths and butterflies drawn in color amid monochromatic woods. They hover around the season's last leaf, whose drop represents the death of Edwards's father. The inner picture is a winter scene, more harshly rendered, yet with a lone green leaf to represent spring's imminent renewal.

Clearly more than an offhand sketch, the four-door piece alludes to religious art, yet contemplates the mystery of death in secular terms. The butterfly wings were inspired by one of Fra Angelico's Christian paintings, Edwards notes, but "Seven Angels" suggests not the gospels, but Thoreau. "In wildness is the preservation of the world," he wrote - although probably not with a ballpoint pen.



Artist/Dealer Websites

Contact the Artist