Whimsical Woodblock Exhibit in Redding


Shasta Lake resident W.R. “Woody” Thomson is opening an art exhibit with his whimsical approach to woodblock prints at The Vintage Wine Bar & Restaurant, 1790 Market St., Redding. The show opens Friday, November 15 and runs until December 11th.

Woody has been busy since his last exhibit at the Red Bluff Art Gallery. His collection of woodblock prints has doubled. He has also been creating new paintings on canvas that depict rural life, farms and ranches.  And he has a new book coming out that showcases his work.


His new paintings are an explosion of color, whereas his woodblock prints remain largely in Black and White. But his whimsical approach to his subjects in the woodblock prints transcends the need for more color with humorous twists of word meanings and hints at deeper philosophical questions.

Sometimes the humor is very clear, as in pieces like his “Bull Fighter” and “Buffalo Wings”, other times it invokes much more thought in the viewer.

His new paintings also seem to be split between those that simply depict the beauty of ranch living and farm life and other paintings that tell a much more complicated story. ”In Silence”, one of his latest paintings depicts a sleeping nun, one who has taken a vow of silence. The color in the painting reflects the sparse surroundings and modest living of the nun, but the shapes seem to convey the feeling of hidden energy in the subject. It is a painting that deserves a second look.

“Buffalo Wings,” on the other hand, shows a buffalo with wings. You get the idea right away.

Woody also has a new book coming out this month. Selected Works of Art by W.R. Thomson is being published by Blue Oaks Arts and will be available for review and purchase on the website       www.WoodyThomson.com

“Woody” got his nickname during a twenty-five year career teaching Fine arts and Crafts in Santa Barbara County. He now lives in Shasta Lake City, where he currently works at his art studio.

Woodcut art (or xylography)is one of the oldest methods of making prints from a relief surface, dating back to the 5th Century.  The technique involves cutting into a piece of wood. The surfaces that will eventually form the image are left level, while the rest of the wood is removed by “gouging” with a sharp tool. Thomson uses pine to make his prints.

Thomson was born in New Haven, Connecticut. At the age of five his family moved to California. He has been an artist/craftsman since early childhood. Much of his artistry is self-taught, although he has studied under a number of artist and craftsman namely: Bill Richardson, Phil Cornellius, Bill Bockus, Nat Fast and George Monreau who influenced him when he was developing his style and techniques.

The exhibition at the Vintage is a mix of paintings and woodcut prints.

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