Thomas John Thomson was a Canadian artist active in the early 20th century. During his short career he produced roughly 400 oil sketches on small wood panels along with around 50 larger works on canvas. His works consist almost entirely of landscapes depicting trees, skies, lakes, and rivers. His paintings use broad brush strokes and a liberal application of paint to capture the beauty and colour of the Ontario landscape. Thomson's accidental death at 39 by drowning came shortly before the founding of the Group of Seven and is seen as a tragedy for Canadian art.
Raised in rural Ontario, Thomson was born into a large family of farmers and displayed no immediate artistic talent. He worked several jobs before attending a business college, eventually developing skills in penmanship and copperplate writing. At the turn of the 20th century, he was employed in Seattle and Toronto as a pen artist at several different photoengraving firms, including Grip Ltd. There he met those who eventually formed the Group of Seven, including J. E. H. MacDonald, Lawren Harris, Frederick Varley, Franklin Carmichael and Arthur Lismer.