From the California State University system, to the studios of Disney’s Featured Animation Division, to the base of the Sierra Nevada, Maryann Thomas has spent her life nurturing a tremendous talent and passion for art.
She’ll be sharing her acclaimed watercolor works – many of them inspired by travels to far-flung locales or the views in her own backyard – with residents and visitors when Altrusa International of the Eastern Sierra highlights Thomas as the featured artist at this year’s Art Show and Sale on Oct. 2-3.
The 12th annual event will be held at Floriculture Building at the Tri-County Fairgrounds, coinciding with the Owens Valley Cruisers Fall Colors Car Show and the Laws Railroad Museum Choo-Choo Swap Meet.
Thomas unanimously won “Best of Show” at the October 2009 show for her watercolor painting, “Mt. Basin Sunset.”
Thomas was born in New York and raised in California. In addition to coming from a family of talented artists, Thomas’ innate artistic ability and love of art were recognized early and cultivated. She received art scholarships from both the California State University system and the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and chose to complete her formal art education through the Art Center and graduated in 1984 with Honors in Illustration. Thomas enjoyed a successful freelance illustration career following college, specializing in publishing and advertising and continued to develop her own fine art style.
In 1994 she accepted a position at the Walt Disney Studios Feature Animation Division originally as a background painter and in later years as an art director.
Thomas’ credits include “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “Mulan,” “Fantasia 2000,” “Atlantis,” “Lilo & Stitch II” and the “Princess Stories.” She left Disney in 2007 to focus full time on her passion for creating fine art.
Her work combines the love of outdoors, travel and painting. Although she is accomplished in several mediums and styles, she favors creating landscape watercolor paintings of exotic or alluring far-off locations. Generally looking for outdoor subjects in direct natural light, she “enjoys interpreting the strong design of forms in direct light and shadow.” Thomas went on to say, “My work has a variety of influences, in particular are the early 20th century American artists John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer and Georgia O’Keefe.”
Her meticulous style, choice of subject matter, and exquisite handling of light combine to create beautiful works of art. She currently resides in Bishop, where she has an abundant supply of natural beauty to capture in her paintings.