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Student of the Columbian Exchange
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My interest, or involvement, with firearms has always been connected with an equal love of the outdoors. When I grew up where everyone in my family hunted, or wore a gun on the job.



I'm trying to explain why I'm putting Tommy Thompson out on a gun forum, he was an avid outdoor kind of guy who spent much of his life knocking around in the Canadian bush, canoeing and jacking around in the boonies, he probably never carried anything other than a banged up 30/30 or a 20 gauge, but he carried a vision of the great wide open I thought you all might enjoy, and some of you might share. Plus I always thought guns are part of the outdoors, they don't belong in theatre booths, protest marches or any other such place, but that's me.



I've always got pleasure from his work, his use of color and brush strokes in his paintings has been compared to that wildeyed Vincent Van Gogh who, himself, was no slouch on a starry night.


The Jack Pine

Thomas John Thompson lived from 1877 to 1917 and grew up in Ontario. His family was a real creative bunch, he learned to play the violin and mandolin from early years as well as drawing and painting. His Dad and a semi famous Uncle were naturalists and he sucked up the natural world from them. He apprenticed in a machine shop, but ended up working in a photo engraving business. But as his canoe trips into Algonquin Provincial Park increased he ended up a wildfire fighter, ranger and guide up there. In 1899 he volunteered for service in the Second Boer War and got turned down cause he failed the physical, same thing happened in 1914 when he tried to enlist in the Canadian Expeditionary Force during WWI.


The West Wind

He used to take these small 12" X 8" panels that would fit inside his backpack and go canoe out back of beyond, camping and fishing and hunting for weeks at a time, living on the land in ways you can't no more. He'd paint up a storm. Coming back he'd make bigger paintings of these images. At the time of his death he left 300 sketches (panels) and 50 full size canvases. Many years ago I went to the Royal Ontario Museum of Art in Toronto, they had about 60 of these small panels, which the displayed over a high doorway in three rows that was really hard to see, thank goodness they had a couple of his full size paintings to look at cause trying to see anything in that block of panels just didn't work and I had faultless eyesight in those days.


The Northern River

While he was never named as one of the Group of Seven (seven Canadian landscape artists who worked their craft at the same time) he is always noted as the patron saint of that art movement, and personally, I think he was the better artist of that wine swilling oil paint spilling group of whack jobs. He's most famous for his paintings; "The Jack Pine", "The West Wind" and "The Northern River"


Autumn Foliage

He died on one of his solo canoe trips, probably fishing from the boat. In them old fashion days when you had to pee you'd stand up in the boat and go over the side. Canoes get tippy when you stand up in them. When they found his drowned body eight days later, his fly was open. But, like so many other things, his death became a mystery. People have claimed German agents killed him, he committed suicide, an angry lover, jealous painter, you name it, did him in.


Moonlight

Anyway I thought maybe some of you would enjoy seeing some of his paintings.


Round Lake Mud Bay

Blue blue windows behind the stars,
Yellow moon on the rise,
Big birds flying across the sky,
Throwing shadows on our eyes.
-Neil Young
 

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Van Gough-esque for sure.
Lovely.
 
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Thanks Richard. Great post, art, and lyrics! It reminds of my times in Canada after high school. Went up there three times. Twice to the Boundary Waters area with my friend. One seven day and one ten day trip. We outfitted in Ely Minnesota but always busted our humps to cross the Canadian border on day one. No restrictions on camping there. As far north as we could go and get back to our pickup point on time. It was awesome! We had good maps and compass to find portages. But you learn quick that everything looks the same on the water. Water, trees, and rocks. Paddled down many a dead end. Not a great testament to our navigation skills I know. Never saw another single soul the whole time till we got back to customs. One things for sure, you’ll be using your pot to pi$$ in. Cause if you go over, or dump that canoe in the middle of a lake. You’re most likely a goner. Alone, and any decent distance from shore, old Tom never stood a chance really. Even in the middle of summer the water is frigid. I’ll never forget the sound of the Loons. Thanks again Richard.


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Thanks Mouche,he certainly capture the essence of the landscape.I had never heard of him but will look out for his work.
 

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Glad you guys liked Mr Thompson’s work. If you google “The Group of Seven” you will find a gang of his contemporaries who practiced the same sort of landscape painting in similiar style who were his friends and after his untimely passing held him as their Patron Saint.
I was drawn to all of them woods bums cause they reminded me of Han Shan and his fellow lunatic zen monks who lived their lives wild & free on Cold Mountain painting their poems and koans on rocks in China’s T’ang Dynasty.
 
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