DrawTogether with WendyMac
DrawTogether with WendyMac
#14 Drawing Energy with Alma Thomas

#14 Drawing Energy with Alma Thomas

Color, Positive & Negative Space, Energy, and African American painter Alma Thomas

“Through color, I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness, rather than on man’s inhumanity to man.” - Alma Thomas (1891-1978)

This weeks DrawTogether Podcast is a special one: we learn about the painter Alma Thomas and draw ourselves some ENERGY. Grab your paper and some colors and hit play above. Good news for subscribers: a special interview with the award-winning illustrator LoveIs Wise who illustrated the forthcoming children’s book “Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas” will land in your inbox early next week. And! One DT subscriber will win a copy of the book. Random selection, of course. I’ll include a little DT swag, too.

I’m going share a little about Alma here, and there’s a lot more in the DrawTogether Podcast. You can also listen on Apple Podcasts. Please leave us a review. It really helps us out. <3

Portrait of Alma Thomas © Michael Fischer, 1976. Courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Alma Thomas is just THE BEST. A constant creator, she taught art to kids in Washington DC for 35 years. Only after retiring at 60 did she start seriously painting. Her large, colorful, abstract paintings were inspired by nature, and she was obsessed with space. At 75, she became the first African American woman to have a solo show at the Whitney, and she was the first African American woman to have her work acquired by the White House.

Alma Thomas’ painting Resurrection hanging in the dining room at the White House as the Obama’s host Passover in 2015.

Alma’s creative influence is unparalleled, and her impact profound. While other American artists around her at the time were all hung up on tight lines, she explored the space and light created by nature and process. She let her pencil lines SHOW!

Alma Thomas, Breeze Rustling Through Fall Flowers, 1968. Acrylic on Canvas.

Make no mistake, she was rigorous. She painstakingly planned her composition, and her vibrant color choices were all informed by color theory. But there was a human, experiential influence in her work. You can see and feel her hands. And unlike so many artists of her time - and artists today - she reveled in the experience of beauty, and, considered the creation of beauty a profound (and perhaps political?) act.

Pansies in Washington, by Alma Thomas. Acrylic on Canvas.

Alma said, “I looked at the tree in the window, and that became my inspiration.” I hope today’s podcast and learning a little about Alma Thomas’ beautiful work - her technique and considerations and a little more about her life - encourages us all to look at nature, notice what we see, and create something full of energy.

Don’t forget to subscribe if you want more Alma Thomas and an interview with illustrator LoveIs Wise on her forthcoming kids book about Alma: "Ablaze with Color.”

Pencils Up! Everything is better when we DrawTogether.



ps - an extra big shout out to our DT Podcast editor Amy Standen. Thanks for making every episode shine. Three cheers for Amy!!

1 Comment
DrawTogether with WendyMac
DrawTogether with WendyMac
The world's first drawing podcast! Drawing teacher Wendy Mac offers a bite-sized, no-experience-required interactive art adventure - all you need is a piece of paper and pen. We learn about art and artists and some drawing skills, while building curiosity, confidence and connection. For kids (of all ages.) https://club.drawtogether.studio