The Art of Tom Y. Sprague TY Sprague Art TY Sprague Art Gallery About the Artist The Art of Tom Y. Sprague
Artist Statement

In the theatre the curtain opens to reveal characters placed in an environment. This moment often elicits a palpable excitement. The visual elements of this moment are signs that draw the audience into the play.

The moments I create in my paintings float in the mysterious "NOW,"encouraging the viewer to be drawn into the existence of the painting's inhabitant.  Like a stage manager, I include props or clues for the audience. For example, a window or door is a symbol of a shield, which we may place between private and public, safety and peril.  Our choice of opened or closed says something about how we perceive our world.  Over time, as the viewer gazes at the painting, they imaginatively fill in the past and future surrounding that moment of "NOW,"  each person contributing their own details to reach their own interpretation.  At that point, the creation becomes OURS, a collaboration of imaginations. Enjoy looking at the paintings on my website, or at any of my galleries or shows.  Feel free to contact me if I can help you make one or more of these images OURS.

The Elements Involved

A door, gate, window or shutter on the first, second or third floor separates a dweller from the distractions of past and future and from good or evil, giving them the choice to close or leave open that veil, to face or hide from the corrupt distractions of the world beyond the fourth wall of the set.

My figures are chosen to blend or contrast the environment. They are young or old, strong or vulnerable. I often attempt to immerse them in a shell or nest, which confines or guards them. The juxtaposition of figure and environment heightens the peace or anxiety the contemplation or desire, even the solitude or adventure of the play.

Viewer added autobiographical details, imagined incidents of past and future circumstance, either good or evil. The viewer's personal involvement in the painting (Play).

Process: How I Paint

When I travel, I walk looking for suitable subjects. I know when I've found a suitable scene. I experience the same excitement the theatre audience feels at the opening curtain. My imagination begins to construct with my own personal bias the drama I wish to depict. I take photos, later I sketch what the photo cannot explain. I look for figures in a scrapbook or sketchbook.

I collect props; I dress the setting with props and figures, usually in a small sketch. Then, with chalk and charcoal, I lay out the basics on the canvas. When the composition is satisfactory, I lay down with a knife a compound or paste for the Impasto areas.

Then, I paint in as dark a tone as suitable for all the shadow. From there, I increasingly add lighter and brighter color (acrylic or oil) with finer detail. Finally (with only the detail I feel is warranted) I complete the Figure(s).

Contact the Artist

Tom Y. Sprague

1293 Heatherdowns Drive
Defiance, OH  43512

Studio Phone  419-782-3827

Mobile Phone  419-789-0329



Contact the Artist

Tom Y. Sprague

1293 Heatherdowns Drive
Defiance, OH  43512

Studio Phone  419-782-3827
Mobile Phone  419-789-0329

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Some Related Links

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What People Say

Your painting:  "Chiavenna Quitin' Time" has been hanging up and receiving rave compliments for nearly two years now. We are LOVING the painting and having so much fun explaining the story behind it to all who ask and compliment us on it.
Bill & Bonnie Gaeth, Naperville, Illinois

The painting, "Gilbert Quartet" is well-suited to our music room — the "heart of our home."  The depth of the painting and the juxtaposition of the instruments attracted me to this painting
Paul & Daria Sulpizio, Ohio

The pair of paintings we purchased last year have become a part of our home. We like to share the personal story of your discovery of the place they represent. We always enjoy exchanging travel stories with others.
Rita & Jim Meirer, Ohio

Your painting of the Northern Italian Highlights is THE most beautiful, meaningful, amazing surprise ever!!!! Thank you so much for creating it for us. It is on our wall. We decided to keep it in Vermont as a bridge to our Italiana life. You really captured it....and me. You are so talented.
Peg & Angelo Dorta, Vermont


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