I'm Tom Mital... I paint wildlife and my medium is oil on canvas.
For me, inspiration comes from spending a lot of time outdoors... bird watching, fishing, hiking and just wandering around observing wildlife as much as I can.
I'm absolutely fascinated by the birds I paint and the beauty of the natural environments where they live. I'm lucky because I live in Oregon where there's an endless supply of material to work with. Rain forest, desert, ocean shores, mountains, rivers, farms and every other natural setting you can imagine.
For the past several years I have concentrated on painting birds indigenous to Central Oregon. And I'm particularly enamoured with owls, for some reason. I just dig it. There is something silently fierce about them. I think of them as majestic, powerful, fearless and regal. When you hear their calls at night, that’s something special. And if you've ever had a great horned owl fly right over your head, you'll never forget it. They own the night.
I think it's very important to be accurate with my work, so I sweat every little detail. I drive myself nuts sometimes! But attention to detail and capturing the expression, attitude, and surroundings of the animal is what sets my work apart. With each new painting, I try to gain a better understanding of what I am seeing.
I usually start with an idea in my head. Then I set out to shoot my own reference photos, hopefully capturing that one, special moment that I envision. It doesn't always work out because they can be very ellusive, but I love the adventure of it. For the most part, I have been very lucky.
Anytime I see something that piques my interest — be it a rock formation, an old snag, an interesting-looking fence, or whatever — I’ll photograph it and add it to my “morgue” of reference photos. That library is a great source of inspiration for me. Sometimes I even do commissioned pieces straight from those images, or from source photos that my clients provide.
It is my hope that my paintings will bring a better understanding of the subject of each piece. If the painting engages a positive response from the viewer, or connects somehow on some level, then that’s the cool part. When I hear someone say how much they enjoy a piece, relate to it, telling me of their own encounters... That connection empowers me to do more.
I am very proud to be a part of Artists for Consevation because the birds and animals who share our wild spaces deserve our attention. And our financial support! They are important, and key to our very existence. Through art, and through this organiztion, we can raise awareness. Hopefully we can get the viewer to make a connection and appreciate the fact that all wildlife and their respective habitats are important.
I hope to become more involved in conservation and awareness efforts as I progress as an artist. I have in the past donated artwork(s) to the local chapter of the Audubon Society here in central Oregon, the East Cascades Audubon Society, (ECAS), and a few other organizations.