For a guided tour, visit www.thomaspaquette.com. Paquette's paintings are more like conversations, he says, and he revels in the places that inspired the creative process. He was, after all, a naturalist before he became a painter.
Known for his large-scale oil paintings and singled out by art historians and contemporary critics as a master painter, this Warren, Pa., resident will remind you of the Explorer Artists of the American West, the forward observers who captured the grandeur of places like Yellowstone and Yosemite in the late 1800s.
But the wild places in Paquette's book of 110 full-color paintings are different. They tend to whisper, not roar, and it's no wonder-these paintings, made from layers of opaque water color paint called "gouache," are tiny. How an artist can compress such spectacular vistas into what amounts to only a few square inches is beyond me, but Paquette manages to render you speechless, the same way a visit to the rim of the Grand Canyon can, whether you are looking at his painting of a blueberry bog in Maine or clouds over Hungry Jack Lake. Choosing from hundreds of fine brushes, he meticulously details the cotton rag paper with of layers of pigment suspended in water, and once it dries, scratches through the delicate surface again and againuntil he is finally satisfied he has created something entirely new from the original he painted on the scene, or "en plein air." The art, like nature, is in the details."--(Lisa Gensheimer, author of Pennsylvania Wilds: Images from the Allegheny National Forest)