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About Thomas...

Artist Statement:
"When people view my efforts I want them to see a painting, not a photograph. I want them to experience a surface made alive with color, texture, and the movement of my hand, yet also feel tethered to the reality that gave birth to the work. Up close, I want my surfaces to explode. From a distance, I want them to optically reassemble into a whole. But most of all, I want my audience to appreciate why I prefer to paint from life – and thus discover our common sense of wonder."
– Thomas Jefferson Kitts
Thomas is both inspired and exhilarated by the way light plays across the landscape and he has devoted most of his life to capturing it in oil. He prefers to work directly from life for its honesty and immediacy, incorporating many alla prima techniques developed by 19th century master painters such as Sargent, Sorolla, and Zorn.

Thomas is a signature member of the Laguna Beach Plein Air Painters Association, an Associate Member of the California Art Club, a member the Oil Painters of America, and the American Impressionist Society. He travels extensively and maintains a distinguished exhibition history which has included the Portland Art Museum, the Laguna Art Museum, the Maritime Museum of Curacao, the Academy Museum of Art in Easton, Maryland, the American Impressionist Society, Oil Painters of America’s National & Regional Exhibitions, Arts for the Parks Top 100, and three New York Art Expos. 

Thomas has also been featured in several issues of PleinAir Magazine and named as an Artist to Watch by The Informed Collector. He is also a multiple Raymar Art and PleinAir Magazine Salon Finalist. Thomas has also been a guest lecturer at three Plein Air Convention & Expos in Monterey, California.

Thomas's work is widely collected throughout North America.

Abbreviated List of Prestigious Collections:

Maryhill Museum of Art, Washington | permanent collection

Fleischer Museum, Arizona | permanent collection

Kaiser Permanente, Oregon | permanent collection

Mariott Corporation, California | permanent collection

Paul Allen Foundation, Oregon | permanent collection

Portland University Club, Oregon | permanent collection

Select List of Museum Exhibitions (2011 - 2016):

Maryhill Museum of Art, Washington

Laguna Art Museum, California

Maritime Museum of Willemstad, Curacao

Academy Museum of Art, Maryland

Curacao Maritime Museum, Curacao, Caribbean

Additional Awards & Recognitions


Best of Show & Museum Acquisition | Pacific Northwest Plein Air

3rd Place | Cape Ann Plein Air


3rd Place | Easels in Fredrick MD

Honorable Mention, QuickDraw | Easels in Fredrick MD

Honorable Mention | American Impressionist Society

Western Regional Exhibition | Oil Painters of America

Demonstration Artist and Lecturer | 4th Annual Plein Air Convention & Expo


Hamilton Family Foundation Award | Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational

Demonstration Artist and Lecturer | 3rd Annual Plein Air Convention & Expo


Artist Choice Award | Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational

QuickDraw Award | Maui Plein Air Painting Invitational

Demonstration Artist and Lecturer | 2nd Annual Plein Air Convention & Expo


Artist in Residency | Portland University Club

National Exhibition | 13th American Society of Impressionists

2nd Place | Los Gatos Plein Air

Raymar Art Competition Finalist

Honorable Mention | 19th Annual Carmel Art Festival

Demonstration Artist and Lecturer | 1st Annual Plein Air Convention & Expo

Raymar Art Competition Finalist

PleinAir Magazine Art Competition Finalist


PleinAir Magazine Art Salon Finalist

National Exhibition | 12th American Society of Impressionists

Best International Artist | Plein Air Curacao

Best New Artist | Plein Air Easton

Raymar Art Competition Finalist

2010 and earlier

Honorable Mention | Telluride Plein Air, Colorado

Carmel Art Festival | 1st Place & Mayor’s Choice, California

Top 100 Artist | Arts for the Parks, National Parks Academy of the Arts, Wyoming

Gold Medal | Art Director’s Club, New York

Silver Medal | Society of Illustrators, New York

Award of Merit | Connecticut Art Director’s Club, Connecticut

Honorable Mention | Society of Publication Designers, New York

Award of Merit | Oregon Art Annual, Oregon

Present and Past Professional Affiliations

Signature Member, Laguna Plein Air Painters Association

Artist Member, American Impressionist Society

Associate Member, California Art Club, California

Artist Member, Oil Painters of America

Associate Member, California Art Club

Instructor, Pacific Northwest College of Art

Artist Member, Society of Illustrators, New York

Art-related Education

Bachelor of Fine Arts, 1984

Kansas City Art Institute,

Kansas City, Missouri

Thomas, painting en plein air in the Columbia Gorge, Oregon

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