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Thomson's Afternoon: Algonquin Park – The Studio Painting, 1914

in Art

This is the studio painting based on the sketch - an exceptional work the highlights the differences that can be found between plein air and the studio. 

The sky is more stylized and the stratocumulus emphasized. The marginal skyscape was converted into a solid landscape with a much higher horizon as well. The sky is  much more convective than it should be given the late afternoon time period over a cold snow surface. With a northwesterly flow in late winter, there is little chance for really convective lake effect cloud like that depicted over Algonquin. This is for two reasons:

• Georgian Bay will be very cold and possibly frozen over and

• Westerly winds are required to bring snowsqualls off Georgian Bay.

However, the cloud is still comprised of stratocumulus streets aligned with the wind. 

Art historians have suggested that Tom included the shadow of himself painting in the middle right of the studio version of this painting. That could very well be the case. Perhaps the act of Tom goofing around and painting his shadow in the final work was recorded somewhere although I have yet to find any concrete mention of that. There was no shadow in that location of the plein air painting. Artists can also have a sense of humour and just maybe this is an example of Tom’s funny bone. We also have "artistic licence" to do pretty much as we please. 

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