David Thomas

In 2012 I retired after 29 years as Head of Art at Peter Symonds Sixth Form College. Retirement has given me the time to pursue my passion as a landscape painter.

I work directly from nature en- plein air, primarily with oils because of the substantive feel to the body of the paint and the intensity of its colour. I like the subtle contrasts you can get with transparent and opaque colour. And the feel of the paint as you push it and model the surface into your subject.


Landscape painting is a method that expresses my inner response and feelings for nature. I look for connections between things: how one colour flows into another, forms engage and separate, how one point influences another. I love working with light and the way it changes a scene throughout the day. The different shadows and patterns it makes and the way it can completely change colours from one moment to another depending on the time of day or even the season you see it in.


The ever changing character of the Hampshire landscape is a wonderful challenge to any painter. Every week I venture out with canvas, easel and oils to respond to the possibilities of different locations. My current interest is the Clarendon Way, a walk between Winchester and Salisbury and I have started to paint specific views at different times of the day through the changing seasons. The results are an on-going visual diary of experience.


Art history has played an important role and remains an inspiration in my work, notably the landscapes of Constable and Turner. I am always conscious as I work of Cezanne’s structural lessons and his notion that “painting from nature is not copying the object, but realizing ones sensations”.