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Hoffmann Bio

Tom Hoffmann


Tom Hoffmann began painting in watercolor more than 50 years ago. His formal training consists only of one class in 1965 taught by Carl Schmalz. Tom’s extensive teaching experience includes every grade from kindergarten to the university level. Most recently, for the past 12 years, he has taught three levels of watercolor painting at Gage Academy in Seattle, Washington. Tom’s paintings have been shown in numerous regional museums, including Seattle, Tacoma, Whatcom, Frye, Henry, and Cascadia. He lives and works in Seattle. In 2012, he published a book, titled “Watercolor Painting: A Comprehensive Approach to Mastering the Medium.”

Initially painting in a more representational style, Tom has increasingly shifted toward abstraction. He argues that, at the deepest level, there is no difference between his most realistic work and his most abstract – they are both, ultimately, about the paint. This shift toward abstraction has allowed him to paint more loosely, giving as much control as possible back to the paint itself.

Through the painting process, Tom forms a deep connection with his environment by distilling its complexity down to an essential few washes and strokes. His goal is to communicate his understanding of each subject, but, more importantly, he believes nothing is more important than the richness of the watercolor. This emphasis on color and form leaves most of the work up to the viewer, and Tom believes the pleasure of interpretation should be available to all who stand in front of his paintings.

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