Thomas Wood filled a gallery with plein air work this year, and the results were quite a handful. For this show, Wood was required to dramatically change the scale upon which he worked. His piece for a recent show at Gallery Route One in Point Reyes Station, California, called for paintings less than 2 inches wide.

Wood holding his box entry

Wood was selected by lottery to join 149 other artists for participation in “The Box Show,” an annual exhibition in which all participants are given wooden boxes to incorporate into a piece of artwork. Some keep the basic structure of the box, others cut the box up and use parts of it. Some of the artists are fine artists, some are people in other creative fields. There’s a waiting list to participate; Wood’s name was pulled this year.

“Morning, Deer Island,” by Thomas Wood, oil, 16 x 20 in.

“Grasslands & Oaks,” by Thomas Wood, oil, 12 x 16 in.

“I thought, ‘I’m a painter, so maybe I’ll do a painting, paint the box,'” recalls Wood. “But then I got the idea of a miniature gallery. I decided to do it as a straight idea. I took tiny little balsa wood boards, went out into the field — instead of a usual-size painting, I had a couple of little tiny boards affixed to the back of my sketchbook. Using smaller brushes, I did what I normally do, and I was surprised that the results came out pretty well.”

Another view of Wood’s “Gallery”

“Douglas Firs on a Golf Course, Arnold, CA,” by Thomas Wood, oil, 7 x 9 in.

The largest painting in Wood’s box construction is 1 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches. The other paintings are 1 x 1 1/2 inches. The artist bought tiny doll lights at a craft store to complete the gallery look. Wood took pictures of the box and sent them to friends; some of them thought it was a real gallery scene and complimented him on his show. Others thought it was created completely in the digital realm.

“Olema Valley, Winter,” by Thomas Wood oil, 12 x 16 in. 

The boxes will be view until September 8. A silent auction runs during the show, and on the final day, a live auction finishes the sales. The event is a fundraiser, with all the money going to Gallery Route One, an artist-run, community-based, rural exhibition space. “It was a lark, it was fun, and it was also real,” says Wood.



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