Tom Maakestad

Tom Maakestad Studio

"In the early morning or late afternoon I look for expanses and complexities of merging land forms influenced by the light. Seeing is at least half of painting, therefore it is my job to observe my surroundings and fully comprehend the abstract content of a place and make it real. I typically work on a series of 20 to 40 pictures at a time so that I can develop a cohesive body of paintings."

Maakestad describes his work as contemporary expressionism: "An understanding of art history can avoid sentimental traps when looking at other art and constructing my own." Although working with subject matter around the family farm in southern Minnesota, Tom has integrated influences from recent art history. Painters like Deibenkorn, Theibaud, and Hopper inform his approach to seeing landscape.

Oil pastel has been a versatile medium both for Tom's study and finished works. His oil and dry pastels help to resolve compositions while his oil paintings reflect his well recognized style. Elements such as surface treatment, created light and color theory all combine to form these pieces yet they stand on their own as objects to be considered independent of the subject being represented.

Maakestad's father was a well known painter and college art professor so you could say Tom joined the family business. But while strongly influenced at home his particular approach to landscape painting came from the experience of growing up in rural Minnesota and becoming aware of the subtleties of his surroundings. His college work led to landscape painting through strong skill development.

Selected Exhibitions & Awards
Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Exhbition, Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul, MN, 2011
"Travelling Exhibition, US Embassy, Skopje, Macedonia, 2008
"Echoes of Home", US Embassy, Oslo, Norway, 2016
"River Perspectives", Minnesota Marine Art Museum, Winona, MN, 2016
"Works on Paper", Water Works Museum, Miles City, MT, 2016
"Visions of the Flint Hills", Buttonwood Art Space, Kansas City, MO, 2017
Artist in Residence for City of Salzburg, Kunstler Haus, Salzburg, Austria, 2016
"The Raging Red and the Mighty Mississippi", Plains Art Museum, Fargo, ND, 2011
"Above the Farm" , Minnesota Museum of American Art, St. Paul, MN, 2014
"Four Minnesota Landscapes", US Embassy, Oslo, Norway, 2003