Even as the first official artist in residence in Acadia National Park’s newly minted program in April of 1994, it was of course impossible to feel that I was the first artist to paint Mount Desert Island. It was for at least 150 years already a destination for artists. Still, it was possible to feel that I was discovering hidden wonders almost by the minute. Yes, there is the astonishing Thunder Hole and the stupendous sand and pebble beaches, cliff walks, stone walls that meet the ocean, and carriage trail bridges, all of which I explored and painted during my residency at the Park. But there is a subtler side I also prized, and which is depicted in my plein air gouache painting Ship Harbor Trail, 1994. I found a dependably quiet solitude soon as I departed the busier sites, trails, parking lots or roads. It is the experience of the unshakably deep nature of Acadia, thriving despite its popularity as a destination. In this painting’s subject – a scene along the trail in the southwest portion of the island – I was intrigued by the network of branches overlaying the background water and foliage, and drawn by the patterns of light on the trunk, trees, and path. It stopped me in my tracks and I painted until the sun left me no more light. I can’t remember whether I ever returned to see the end of that trail, and its ostensible destination. For me the destination turned out to be the trail itself.
- Thomas Paquette
Thomas Paquette (1958– ) was born in Minneapolis and has painted full-time since earning his MFA degree in Painting in 1988 from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, which he attended on full graduate fellowship. His BFA degree in Painting was earned summa cum laude from Bemidji State University in 1985.
After spending some years in his teens and twenties vagabonding around North America on freight trains, and following his formal studies, Paquette established studios in Minneapolis (MN), Portland (ME), and for the last several years, at the edge of the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania, where he now lives.
His paintings have been featured in more than fifty solo exhibitions in museums and prominent galleries in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Washington DC. In 2018-2019, a large solo exhibition of his paintings, "America's River Re-Explored – Paintings of the Mississippi from Source to Gulf" traveled to Minnesota Marine Art Museum, Watermark Art Center, and Dubuque Museum of Art.
In 2014-2015, a 70-painting exhibition of his works, "On Nature's Terms", traveled to art museums in California, New York and Indiana (Wildling Art Museum, Quick Center for the Arts, and Evansville Museum of Art and Science). Other independent solo museum exhibitions of his paintings were mounted at Erie Art Museum, Georgia Museum of Art, The Rockwell Museum, and Westmoreland Museum of American Art.
Paquette was awarded a three-year residency/fellowship in Miami by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, and also had residencies, among other places, at the American Academy in Rome, the Aegean Arts and Cultural Exchange (Greece), and at U.S. national parks (Acadia, Yosemite, Rocky Mountain). His commissioned works in public and corporate collections include large paintings for Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Queen Mary II, and the states of Minnesota, Montana, Maine.
His paintings have been selected to hang in nineteen U.S. embassies on five continents, including the cities of Rome, Brussels (NATO permanent collection), Athens, Vienna, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Taipei, and Santiago. Paquette has lectured about his work across the country as well as in Greece, Wales, and England.
He is represented by T. H. Brennen Fine Art in Scottsdale, AZ; Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia, PA; Groveland Gallery in Minneapolis, MN; and Meibohm Fine Arts in East Aurora, NY.
Visit his website.
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Last updated: January 7, 2020