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Award-Winning Watercolorist Shares Insightful Tips at Demo in Oak Brook Saturday, 6/3/23

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

On Saturday afternoon, June 3, 2023, Thomas Trausch, a master member of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America, among others, gave a well-received demonstration to a packed meeting room at the Oak Brook Public Library. More artwork below...

Painting for 49 years, and loving every minute, Tom, as you might expect, makes painting a picture look easy. Currently, 1400 of his original pieces are in private, corporate and public collections. Even Oprah Winfrey can be numbered among his fans having purchased pieces when he was in the Rush Street Art Fair several years ago. He then delivered them directly to her suite at the Ritz Carlton!

What drives his inspiration besides painting what he likes is continually people watching – wherever he might be --in an airport or dining at a restaurant. He explained that people fascinate him – their gestures, postures, facial expressions – elements he’ll photograph and then later bring to his artwork.

Attending historical re-enactments such as Civil War encampments delivers even more people watching as the re-enactors portray an authentic look back. He prowls the grounds searching for stand-out characters revealing an expression or a demeanor that transcends the others.

During Saturday’s demonstration, Tom passed around two of his sketchbooks. One was filled with pen and ink drawings capturing gestures, body movement and the shapes people create when walking, strolling, sitting, talking. Another sketchbook was in watercolor – done plein air – capturing the people and places he has visited during his many travels with his wife, Gail, who is also an artist.

Tom is a plein air enthusiast and instructor. In his hand-out EN PLEIN AIR 2023, Tom says this about opportunities to paint “en plein air” with him and others.

“There is no better way to learn about color, value and light, than to paint from life, “en plein air”. This will also greatly benefit your larger studio paintings as well. You will learn to observe and make decisions in a timely manner. As we edit nature, we decide what to emphasize and what to leave out. Painting with fellow artists is an opportunity to grow, learn and be inspired.”

These outdoor classes meet Thursdays from 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM rain or shine at the June sites listed below with more locations posted online. For the full schedule through August 31, check his website. Cost is $35 per class.

Upcoming locations this month include:

June 15: Railway Museum, Union IL

June 22: Downtown boat docks, Lake Geneva, WI

June 29: Lucky Break Farm, Elkhorn, WI

Or, email him at

Tom's demo workstation shows his reference photo to the left of his paper.

Tom explained how he created this piece by replacing the subject's cell phone with a letter making it a more poignant image.

From the St. Charles, IL Norris Gallery Watercolor Show, March 2023, Tom poses with his work, LIFE GOES ON, which received an AWARD OF EXCELLENCE.


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