Thomas De Vany Forrestall, C.M., O.N.S., B.F.A. LL.D., RCA, is among the foremost realist painters in Canada. Tom Forrestall’s compelling images are compilations from memory which he painstakingly executes in his studio over the span of several months. These sustained works often expand on ideas that he conceives while painting in watercolour. Forrestall’s watercolours are quick, immediate works painted "en plein air", whereas his egg temperas are careful, deliberate creations from his imagination. In his characteristically humble way, Tom Forrestall describes his tempera paintings as "bits and pieces" taken from "here and there" and put together in such a way that approaches his vision somewhere in "the mind's eye." Co-founder of the iconic Group of Seven, A.Y. Jackson once said, "He takes commonplace things and gives them distinction." Tom Forrestall's paintings have a sense of arrested motion, minutely observed. Tom Forrestall says that he is more interested in painting ideas into the work than just painting objects for their own sake. His paintings depict what he calls "the creeping in of human fallibility."
Tom Forrestall was inspired by a range of figurative painters, including the early iconographers of Christian Orthodoxy, the Dutch Masters and one of the most admired Italian painters of the twentieth century, Giorgio Morandi. Tom Forrestall chooses unconventional shapes for his egg temperas while he rejects the more familiar rectangle. These “shaped paintings" begin their journey as quick sketches, simple outlines in Tom Forrestall's sketchbook, which are fabricated into panels by a local artisan. The panel for one of Tom Forrestall's paintings titled, "Fisherman's Dogs", sat for 40 years in the artist's studio until the concept for this painting came to fruition with the composition of four dogs gazing outwards into the open sea.
Tom Forrestall's work is held by some of the most prestigious collections around the world including The National Gallery of Canada. The Governor General of Canada described Tom Forrestall's contribution to the arts: "Known throughout the Halifax-Dartmouth area as a generous donor of his time and great talents to many worthwhile projects, [Forrestall] is celebrated across the country as the artist credited with capturing the Maritime soul in his paintings."
The National Gallery of Canada; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; Beaverbrook Art Gallery; Owens Art Gallery; Dalhousie Art Gallery; Art Gallery of Ontario; Art Gallery of Mississauga; Art Gallery of Hamilton; Art Gallery of Windsor; Winnipeg Art Gallery; MacKenzie Art Gallery; University of Lethbridge Art Gallery; National Gallery of Hungary; Musee d'art contemporain; Canada Council Art Bank; Rideau Hall; National Capital Commission; The Senate of Canada; Nova Scotia Legislature; New Brunswick Legislature; Mount St. Vincent University; King's College; Mount Allison University; Acadia University; University of New Brunswick; Concordia University; Memorial University; Confederation Center; New Brunswick Museum; CFB Halifax Officers' Mess; Peerless Carpet Corporation; Royal Bank of Canada; Bank of Nova Scotia; Bank of Montreal; Esso Resources; Irving Oil; McCain Foods; Readers Digest; The Ondaatje Corporation; Toronto City Hall; The Pasha of Marrakesh; Empire Corporation; Dominion Foundries; K & D Industries; Newfoundland Corporation; Public Works Canada; Atlantic School of Theology; Via Rail; Archdiocese of Halifax; Sun life Insurance; Mitsui Corporation; Midland Walwyn Capital; RCMP; IWK Health Centre; John F. Kennedy Library; Pierre Elliott Trudeau