Tom Browning Biography
The career of artist Tom Browning took a new direction in 1984 when he married and
moved to a farmhouse surrounded by more than 100 acres of meadows, forests, and orchards.
Up until then, Browning had been an artist known mostly for his paintings of cowboys
and wildlife. "Marriage, he believes, "has a tendency of softening things." When his
life changed, so did his art, and he began painting women and children who are timeless in
their appearance. Instead of emphasizing specific details, Browning paints features that are
suggestive as to form, light, and shade. His art appeals to us on an emotional level, not
because it reminds us of a particular people, but because it reminds us of particular memories.
"I'm not making a statement about the subject, but rather, I'm trying to get an
effect. I want the painting to be convincing. Somehow, there is a certain emotional
quality that comes across. I'm not conscious of it or trying to put it in, but I'm
told it comes across," he explains.
Browning grew up in the small farming community of Ontario, Oregon, where, as a boy, he
loved to draw horses, cowboys, and Indians. His earliest memories revolve around waiting
to be creative in some way, and all of his time was spent drawing.
In high school he began to experiment with different media, including oils. Now his
preferred medium is using a palette knife. Browning went on to study art at the University
of Oregon before going off on his own, supporting himself with a variety of jobs
while experimenting with pen and ink scratchboard drawings. The demand for his wildlife
drawings grew, enabling him to pursue his art career full time.
Experimentation with watercolors came next, and Browning turned from wildlife back to his
old favorites, cowboys and horses, which proved to be as popular with collectors as
they had been with him as a boy. But, not content to be categorized exclusively as a Western
artist, he again branched out, painting landscapes and stil lifes, subjects he still
loves to paint. He also returned to oils which gave him the vibrant effects that he sought
without the use of a lot of detail. "I am always striving for change, for improvement,"
His palette filled with soft colors, his backgrounds muted. Browning concentrates on what
he considers the more important elements in his paintings. Golden skin tones reflect the
light source which they bask. They draw us into the warmth of those quiet moments shared
by a mother and child. In Browning's first release from Mill Pond Press, a young mother
reads to the baby on her lap. In other paintings by this intuitive artist, a certain
emotional quality comes across in his portraits of a mother and daughter sharing a
quiet moment; a little girl, reading to her doll, and a child at the seashore discovering
the gentle caress of waves on warm sand for the first time. The tender scenes Tom Browning
paints glow with life and with love.
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