Charlie Russell and his Characters by Andy Thomas
Tell Me More
Andy Thomas painted this piece specifically for the 2008 C.M. Russell Museum Show and Auction. The painting (a 36" x 48" oil on canvas) sold for a record $180,000 at auction and was the "talk" of the show. Former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway was active in the bidding, but failed in his attempt to have the winning bid.
Just as Russell is well-known for the narrative in his paintings, Andy Thomas is highly esteemed for his storytelling. This piece is a particularly good example. Charlie Russell shows off his newest creation to friends at his favorite watering hole, and his friends, all character themselves from an assortment of Russell paintings, crowd around to admire, and maybe critique, his work.
THE TIME is the mid 1890s before Russell married Nancy. At this time, he often sold or traded his paintings to the saloons. When married, Nancy put the artist on a new marketing path.
THE PLACE is the Mint Saloon.
THE COWBOYS faces and clothing were taken from many Russell paintings.
THE WOMAN came from the watercolor, "Just a Little Pleasure"
THE INDIAN shows up in several Russell paintings including "Joe Kipp's Trading Post.
THE CHARACTER ON THE FAR RIGHT was the shooter in his painting "The Tenderfoot".
The bartender did not appear in any Russell paintings, but rather makes his first appearance in this Thomas painting.
About The Artist
Andy Thomas is not only an immensely talented painter, but also a storyteller with the images he creates. His subject matter consists of a variety of images from historical events to intimate moments of everyday life. The artist’s desire to create is funneled into the area of painting realism that ranges from very loose to very tight. Thomas’s medium is primarily oil, but he also works in watercolor, pen and ink, charcoal, pencil, and ink wash. He is also a very accomplished sculptor.
Primarily self-taught, Thomas began his professional art career in 1991 after sixteen years with a major advertising agency. In his studio, the artist creates his unique paintings that tell their "stories.” Thomas says, "I never consciously ponder elements of design or principals of design…I rely on my sketches to refine a value scheme as a starting point. They also help me visualize the completed painting and consider light, painting technique, subject or object importance, and other considerations. The viewer’s eye-path is a big influence on the composition at this point and all through the painting process.” Thomas’s style has been compared to Russell and Remington, and artist says he also has been influenced by Howard Pyle, Richard Schmid, Norman Rockwell, and others.
Many of Thomas’s historical images have been used in books and as book covers, and his various paintings also have been featured in numerous magazines. The artist’s original works are in many private and corporate collections and also in the permanent collections of museums around the country.
Thomas exhibits in several shows annually, the most recent being the 2006 C. M. Russell Art Auction where he sold eight original paintings. The artist also enjoys judging art shows and teaching children and adult painting classes. He is a talented writer and published a book containing over 100 color images of his work, along with stories written by him.
The artist is a member of the famed Salmagundi Club in New York, The Portrait Society of America, and other art organizations. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Missouri Southern State University with a BS in Marketing Management.