Artist Statement

Textures of Emotion

For many artists, nature provides endless subjects to discover. The natural world is never boring unless we don’t notice the details. For many people who have busy lives, every day might look similar if they don’t slow down and pay attention. If you take the time to do this, there will always be a new discovery waiting for you. It’s our presence that allows us to see these distinctions which gives each day uniqueness, much like textures in a painting.

Visual artists use colour, lines, shapes, space and textures to create their own unique works. I have always been attracted to working with texture using the stroke of a brush and pigment to create movement and emotion. What I didn’t know was that my love of using texture for expression would become even more important to me as an artist in a very personal way.

My wife progressively lost her sight over the last ten years and two years ago she became legally blind. When that happened, she told me that while she could not see my work, she could touch it and feel the paint texture with her heart. In that experience, she felt that she could see my painting. She taught me that all our senses can be used to see and that when we see with our heart, anything is possible.

For that reason, using texture has become an even more important part of painting for me so that my wife can continue to enjoy my paintings. My wife’s support and strength has been invaluable to me as an artist, and my hope is that you will share
in our love and joy of the texture of emotion in my work.


Paul Tom was born in Montreal in 1952. His formative years had a major impact on the course of his life as an artist. After the loss of his mother at the tender age of three, Tom’s father moved him and his older brother to Hong Kong at the age of five. He completed his primary and secondary schooling there but, more importantly, found his passion for painting and nature. A lot of solitary time was spent exploring the forests and foothills of  mountains near where he lived. He would play near streams and draw and paint in watercolour as a young teen. The forest became a place of solace and connection for him which was much needed after the loss he had experienced so early in life.

After winning a school art contest, Tom’s father took him for private lessons with professional artist Lee Wai On. His studies were interrupted when his father returned to Canada and Tom was left to live in Hong Kong alone with his brother. He withdrew and lost all interest in his academic school studies. When his brother reported this to his father, the money to pay for art lessons was withdrawn. A few years later Tom ran into his teacher on the street who asked him “Why aren’t you coming for lessons?” After he explained, his teacher told him not to worry about payment and to come back to him anyway. That extended kindness and Mr. Lee's desire to mentor Tom solidified the young teenager’s commitment to pursue art as a profession. He claims that from that moment the only thing he ever wanted to be was an artist.

From 1965 to 1969, Tom studied full-time with Mr. Lee in Hong Kong. Upon his return to Canada, Tom studied visual arts at Cégep du Vieux Montréal from 1972-1975. He then continued his education at Concordia University from 1982-1985, studying and working graphic design. In 2005, he made the commitment to pursue his painting full-time under the continued guidance of his mentor Mr. Lee, who had also moved to Canada. Sadly, in 2018, Mr. Lee passed away which was a significant loss for Tom as they had a close personal and professional relationship. Mr. Lee’s legacy of mentoring and supporting Tom’s journey as an artist lives on, as he pushed Tom to create more abstraction in his work, which is most evident in this current collection of paintings.

In terms of influences, Tom feels that Claude Monet’s work is romantic and expresses emotion with an incredible light quality. Many draw comparisons between the subject matter and style of Monet’s work and Tom’s work. He also cites Gustav Klimt’s pictorial uniqueness as inspiration along with Klimt’s desire to paint as a way of communication over the written or spoken word. This reference rings true to Tom’s reserved personality, incredible work ethic and continuous drive to paint.

Tom is also inspired by Jackson Pollock’s ability to create space in his work between colours that form shapes the viewer can enter and pass through layer by layer. Tom is motivated to create natural environments that people can explore and discover on many levels. The subject matter of choice for Paul is always nature. The attraction for him is that nature contains the whole of creativity and the origins of everything can be found in nature. Tom’s intimate relationship to nature, formed as a young boy, is what drives him to share his passion and connection to the natural world with others through his art.

Selected Exhibitions

2020    Harbour Gallery, Mississauga, ON

2016    Harbour Gallery, Mississauga, ON

2012    Harbour Gallery, Mississauga, ON

2011    Paul Scott Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ

2009    Whistler Village Art Gallery, Whistler, BC 

2008    Harbour Gallery, Mississauga, ON

2007    Galerie d’art Suzanne Robert, Mont-Tremblant, QC 

2006    Harbour Gallery, Mississauga, ON 

2006    Galerie In-VIVO, Montréal, QC

2005    Galerie In-VIVO, Montréal, QC

1988    Galerie France-Martin, Montréal, QC 

1987    Galerie St-Paul, Montréal, QC 

1986    Galerie France-Martin, Montréal, QC 

1983    Galerie l’Alliance, Montréal, QC 

1983    Galerie Être, Montréal, QC 

1972    Université du Québec, Montréal, QC

1971    Youth Festival, Hong Kong, CN

Selected Collections

Amphora Life Insurance Company, St. Michael, BB

Black Creek Investment Management, Toronto, ON

Canadian Chiropractic Protective Association, Toronto, ON

Coach House Shortbread Company, Toronto, ON

Convenient Offices Inc., Mississauga, ON

Edgemere Private Residences, Oakville, ON

Equity Builders, Mississauga, ON

Fauteux, Bruno, Bussière, Leewarden, CPA, Montréal, QC

Gennum Corporation, Burlington, ON

Global Plumbing, Vaughan, ON

Home Trust Company, Toronto, ON

Honsberger Global Investments, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Interiors by Angela Brown, New York, NY

iSource Print Solutions, North York, ON

Jauhal Dental, Mississauga, ON

Kerhoulas Dental, Mississauga, ON

Login Brothers Canada Incorporated, Mississauga, ON

Oakville Medical Centre, Oakville, ON

Peartree Financial Services, Toronto, ON

Pillar & Post Inn & Spa, Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON

Rotherglen School, Oakville, ON

Schnarr Holdings Corporation, Mississauga, ON

Sym-Tech, Richmond Hill, ON

Syra Group Holdings Inc., Mississauga, ON

Visual Thinking International, Mississauga, ON


1989 Guide Vallée, Édition II, Montréal, QC

1988 Investir dans les oeuvres d’art, Louis Bruens F.L. de Martigny, Montréal, QC


© 2021 by PAUL TOM, Montréal, Canada