GUEST DOODLEWASH: Architecture of Light

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Today, I’m thrilled to feature one of my absolute favorite artists who was an incredible inspiration to me when I started my watercolor journey and continues to be so today. These master class doodlewashes come to us from the brilliantly talented Thomas W. Schaller in Los Angeles, California (follow him on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Google+!). Or if you like, you can also visit his website for more of his amazing work!

Following a 20-year career in New York City as an architect and architectural artist, Tom now devotes himself full-time to fine artwork in the watercolor medium. He is a two-time recipient of the Hugh Ferriss Memorial Prize , President Emeritus of the American Society of Architectural Illustrators, and a recipient of a Graham Foundation Grant.

Night In The City by Thomas W. Schaller“All art has some story to tell,” Tom says. “And in my work – far more than any specific object or space – it is the narrative of light that is always the focus. While I love to paint cityscapes and buildings, I have found that it is the often abstract dialogue between – and the collision of – the natural and the man-made worlds that makes the most compelling subject matter for me.”

“The fascinating ways in which buildings interact with the sky and the landscapes where they are placed, form countless surprising and beautiful compositions of positive and negative shapes – rich darks and sparkling lights.”

He has authored two books; the best-selling, and AIA award winner, Architecture in Watercolor, and The Art of Architectural Drawing. He is currently at work on his third book, The Architecture of Light – also the title of his recently released video and DVD series by F&W Media Group and Artist Network TV.

“As an architect,” Tom says, “I was trained in the strict Beaux-Arts methods of watercolor application; but as a fine artist, I have grown to love the integration of those formal techniques with the freedom of much looser, less controlled, and expressionistic methods. It is my goal to paint quickly, drawing on emotion and sense memory – finishing a painting all in one go. When finished, I like my watercolors to still look as if they are wet.”

Grand Central Light by Thomas W. SchallerTom is also in great demand around the world as a leading instructor in the field of fine arts. His work has also been included in major exhibitions in Madrid, Turkey, Mexico City, South Korea, Vietnam, Columbia, and more. Examples of his work have recently been added to the permanent collection of the Tchoban Foundation’s Museum for Architectural Drawing in Berlin and the Pacific Arts Foundation in Newport Beach.

His work is collected world-wide and he has been profiled in a great many books, magazines, and other recent publications around the world. A Signature Member of the American Watercolor Society, and the Northwest Watercolor Society, Tom was also recently elected as Artist Member of the California Art Club, and is an active member of many professional arts organizations. He is also a founding member of the group North American Watercolor Artists.

“In many ways,” says Tom. “I see watercolor as a natural extension of the intuitive act of drawing. But rather than using a line formed by pen or pencil, in watercolor, I draw using shapes – shapes of value – shapes of shadow and light.”

You can find his books and DVDs by clicking here. Also, be sure to stay up to date with Tom by following him on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Google+! Thanks so much for being our guest today, Tom, and sharing your wonderful paintings with us! Your work is fantastic and you’re truly an inspiration in the watercolor community!

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
  1. babybluesnowflake 7 years ago


  2. Sarah 7 years ago

    Amazing! 🙂 Thanks for sharing his work.

  3. Sharon Mann 7 years ago

    Absolutely magical, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful artwork, Thomas. And, thank you Charlie for introducing us to Thomas

  4. kirkistan 7 years ago

    Charlie, Thanks for bring this up. I’m going to spend time going through this later today. It looks really, really good.

  5. Sand Salt Moon 7 years ago

    WOW – GUESS STAR THOMAS! Love his work, know it, follow him … awesome watercolorist and “doodlewasher.” What an honor to feature him on your blog, Charlie.

    • Author

      Tom is a wonderful guy as well! He’s been a huge encouragement to me on social media as well (and it can get pretty lonely out there hoping someone will finally retweet! 😊hehe) I’ve been a huge fan since I started this little journey so I was thrilled to finally feature his stunning work!

  6. Kari 7 years ago

    “..all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadows.” from Anna Karenina comes to mind reading this post. Beautiful art work and thank you for this post, Charlie! I will definitely be following!

    • Author

      Yay, Kari! ❤️😃I want sure if everyone already knew of Tom’s work! Definitely follow him everywhere, it’s so inspiring to see what he makes.

  7. Catherine Johnson 7 years ago

    Wow they are stunning!

  8. Wow, really amazing! I especially love the one where you are looking down from above and the street is lit up. beautiful!

    • Author

      Yeah, the way he renders light and shadow is incredible. It’s so cinematic and powerful. Glad you liked this feature, Eileen! 😃

  9. ewodrich 7 years ago

    This art is absolutely amazing! He has that loose washy quality I wish I could do, while still maintaining the integrity of the architecture. I’m so glad you featured his work so I could see it!

    • Author

      Yay! So happy you saw this! And me too! I want to paint like this!! Hehe…Definitely check out his books and DVDs. It’s such a fabulous style, isn’t it?!

  10. Teresa Robeson 7 years ago

    I’ve been following him on Facebook for a long time! He does such incredible work. I need to get his books as, I’ve mentioned before, I suck at architectural art. 🙂

    I don’t know why your post wouldn’t show in my Reader. Luckily, I get email notifications. I would hate to have missed this one!

    • Author

      Ugh…that Reader will be the death of me…it just does that sometimes. To other’s posts as well. Glad you found it! 😃 Yeah… awesome stuff huh? I have asked for all of Tom’s books/DVDs for Christmas, so we’ll see if Philippe gets them for me! 😊Hehe

  11. Damita M-S 7 years ago

    All I can say is beautiful and breathtaking!

  12. Sabiscuit 7 years ago

    Juicy and stunning. The first one packs a punch. Very nice. x

  13. ValentinaHay 7 years ago

    The first one seems like something out of a dream. Absolutely breathtaking!
    All your posts are awesome!

    • Author

      Tom’s work is amazing…I’m pretty much just stunned each time one of his pieces show up in my various social feeds. Glad you like these posts!!! 😃💕

  14. waynejacques 7 years ago

    Tom does amazing work and is a super nice guy. I have had the pleasure of being in the American Society of Architectural Illustrators and I attended one of his workshops last spring.

    • Author

      That’s awesome Wayne! 😃😃Yeah… he seems like a super nice guy. One day I’ll have to take one of his workshops!

  15. Tori 7 years ago

    Tom’s paintings are totally stunning. Thank you for bringing them to my attention, I’m off now to check out some more of his work!

  16. artandmoondreams 7 years ago

    Extraordinary. Love his artwork. His use of light and shadow is masterful and breathtaking. Thank you for a magical feature Charlie.

    • Author

      Thanks Haunani! 😃❤️I was super happy to feature him as he’s been a long time fave of mine (well…at least for this past 120 days or so since I started painting…hehe)

  17. Now these are incredible!! What a talent – thanks for sharing!

  18. Snehal Kank 7 years ago

    Amazing work! Thanks a ton Charlie 👍🏼

  19. Rachel Murphree 7 years ago

    OHH, Charlie, a celebrity guest! I know of his work, have read some articles about him, and just LOVE IT! thanks so much for having him be a guest. Many of those paintings I haven’t seen before. I just saw that he is coming to Tucson in February to do a workshop with that group.

  20. Subash Sachidananda 7 years ago

    “Master class” seems like the perfect word you used to describe this Charlie! Thank you for featuring these stunning art pieces 🙂

  21. grahammcquade 7 years ago

    Beautiful use of well thought out washes mixed on the paper and kept simple – in the end its so much more effective than laborious detail.

  22. […] I am an avid fan of John Singer Sargent and in contemporaries I follow Alvaro Castagnet, Dusan Djukaric and former Guest Doodlewash artist, Thomas Schaller. […]

  23. […] at only perfect renditions all the time and I started including looser artists like Angela Fehr, Thomas Schaller, and Eudes Correia. I have to really concentrate to do loose work, but most consistently, it ends […]

  24. […] have been inspired by many modern day artists and two years ago I did a workshop with the acclaimed watercolour artist Thomas Schaller who is a master of creating light in paintings. From him, I learnt a great deal and feel my […]

  25. heila 2 years ago

    Wow, amazing!

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