For Tom de Walt, a love of nature started when he learned to surf at a young age. The sun, wind and waves instilled in him a great appreciation for the outdoors. Out of this connection with nature he began painting landscapes and received early recognition for his modernist take on tonalism. His background includes working in the special effects industry where he created matte paintings for feature films, he also worked as a graphic artist and illustrator. For 28 years Tom lived and painted at Hollister Ranch, a pristine coastal tract of nearly 15,000 acres 30 miles north of Santa Barbara. During this rare and extended exposure to California’s raw natural beauty his talent matured and his work evolved to what it is today – a masterful treatment of an exquisitely beautiful landscape that at once elevates and transcends its subject matter. His work, though representational, has graphic elements in the compositions making it a fit for contemporary or traditional settings. His work is held in the personal collections of business titans, sports figures, musicians, actors and others. Some include: Patagonia Corporation, Jackson Browne (musician), Bryan Sipe (Cleveland Browns), Tim Flannery (SanFrancisco Giants), Barry Berkus Estate, The Hollister family and many others.
A word about the Hollister-Wheelwrights and their connection to Tom’s work: Jane Hollister Wheelwright and Joseph Wheelwright were major art collectors and they loved Tom’s work. Tom had dinner at their Hollister Ranch home every Sunday night for more than 10 years and this deeply personal connection naturally influenced the direction of his artwork. Jane and Joe’s home on The Ranch was filled with art and they acquired several of Tom’s paintings, and his painting, ‘Government Point’ held the place of love and honor on the mantle above the fireplace. Jane and Jo were Jungian analysts who studied with C.G. Jung and Toni Wolff in Zurich during the 1930’s, were among the founders of the C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, and were major figures in the dissemination of Jung’s ideas in America.
Tom's artistic roots can be traced to his great aunt, Aurella de Walt Payne. She traveled to France at the turn of the century to study painting then moved to California around 1915 where she was a member of ‘The Eucalyptus School’, a loose title that covered the large number of landscapists painting en plein air in Laguna Beach from about 1915 to 1930. Aurella was also a pupil of Edgar Payne. Tom grew up with her paintings and was inspired by her painting style. Like Aurella, he also made his home in Southern California. Tom is an award winning artist based in Santa Barbara.
Hollister Ranch/Gaviota Coast
20 x 30, oil
20 x 30, oil
14 x 18, oil
9 x 12, oil