Thomas Locker (1937−2012) was one of the major American painters of the past century. In a career that spanned almost 60 years, he had over 75 solo exhibitions. His work ranged from the delicate to the monumental, but all had one thing in common: the beauty of the natural world. He had a deep appreciation for the elusive link between the human spirit and the sublime force of nature.
Prior to taking up art and writing full-time, Locker taught at Franklin College and later at Shimer College.
He spent his entire life in service to his two great passions: painting and nature. Through widespread exhibition of his artwork and publication of his illustrated children’s books, Mr. Locker touched the hearts and minds of countless people.
Mr. Locker’s early paintings were poetic landscapes. Dr. Joshua C. Taylor, former director of the National Collection of Fine Arts for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., wrote, "Although Locker’s landscapes are not glimpses of a new Arcadia, the quotation from the past reemphasizes their cerebral play. They call attention less to Nature than to the complex intermingling of perception and thought in the mind of man. Suddenly, seeing becomes thinking, and thinking a delight to the age."
In 1982, Thomas Locker’s career took on a new and even broader dimension. In an effort to connect with a wider audience and educate younger minds, he began work on his first children’s picture book, Where the River Begins. Today, Mr. Locker’s exceptional paintings and illustrations grace the pages of some 30 different books, several of which he also wrote. These unique books have been honored with numerous awards, including the prestigious Christopher Award, the John Burroughs Award, and the New York Times Award for best illustration.
Thomas Locker’s landscapes have a quality all their own. His years of experimentation and research into the glazing techniques and paint chemistry of traditional European painting have enabled him to achieve a new vision of the traditional for a non-traditional age.