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Of all the visiting artists at the Sedona Summer Colony, Thomas Crouch has been the most obsessive about painting local landscapes. The artist arrived from Columbia, South Carolina, set up a studio in Brady Hall at Verde Valley School, and hasn’t stopped creating since. Crouch studied figurative oil painting, figurative drawing, and art theory at the Lorenzo De Medici School of Art in Florence Italy and obtained a BA in Art Studio from the University of South Carolina. He’s been exhibiting professionally since 2008 and his paintings in private collections span five continents. This summer, while in residence at the Summer Colony, he is adding Sedona to his influences and inspirations. 

While showing his work in San Diego, he began thinking about artist residency opportunities. In a serendipitous moment, before packing up and returning to South Carolina, he received an email announcing the Sedona Summer Colony. He immediately applied, was accepted and made plans to spend his summer connecting with the beautiful Northern Arizona settings. 

As a visual artist who works in mixed media, oils, acrylic, charcoal and watercolors, Crouch decided that during his first experience at an artist’s colony he would focus primarily on oil painting and—as a departure for him—the interpretation of landscapes. 

For the past 17 years he has balanced his day-job as a restaurant chef and his passion for creating visual art. Most recently, Crouch has been working on a series of work that involves blueprints of South Carolina buildings with animals overlaid, using gesso and charcoal. They include wolves, ravens, octopi, elephants, baboons and others. The animals all stare out at the viewer, with references to the built environment  creating a dialog between fundamentally different worlds. 

While in Sedona, Crouch continues working on large canvas paintings of the unique Sedona rock formations and countryside. He was inspired by local artist M.L. Coleman’s, who hosted Sedona Summer Colony artists at a reception in his home and studio under Cathedral Rock. “It’s nice to see how a local artist and a brilliant artist treats this landscape," says Crouch. “This community is so welcoming, friendly, and supportive of creative people and ideas—and it makes me glad to be here."

Sedona Summer Colony is the first artists in residence program Crouch has attended and he plans to continue his journey as artist-in-residence in Upstate New York later this fall. 

"His work is brilliant, poignant and captures an emotional experience relating to Sedona and our environment,” says Eric Holowacz, co-founder of the Sedona Summer Colony. “There is the beautiful aesthetic part, but he also instills a supernatural, otherworldly quality to his images."

Thomas considers painting to be among the earliest and most potent forms of human communication and transferal of ideas. His work certainly  exceeds the boundaries of language, academia and intellect and instead speaks directly to the viewer. Crouch will continue making art in Sedona through August 5, and hopes to return to continue the new inspiration and friendships he has found while at Sedona Summer Colony. 

Learn more about Thomas on his website, http://tcrouch13.wix.com/thomascrouchartist or follow him on Facebook to join him on his journey at: https://www.facebook.com/thomascrouchart.

About the Sedona Summer Colony

From late June to early August, over 125 invited artists-in-residence will be guests at Verde Valley School—provided with housing, meals, excursions, and support for their creative projects. Some of America's most interesting creative producers will interact with Sedona and connect with our community and its undeniable sense of place. We bring them together knowing that other great ideas began in a small, local way. Places like MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Chautauqua, and the Aspen Institutehave all inspired our vision—and our clever plan to position Sedona as a place for diverse, interesting, and significant 21st century cultural production. Eric Holowacz, Executive Director of Sedona Arts Center and Paul Amadio, Head of Verde Valley School are the co-founders of the Sedona Summer Colony.

Follow Kelli Klymenko on Facebook at: http://facebook.com/artistkelliklymenko and on Instagram and Twitter: @kelliklymenko

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