Object Name: Painting
Title: Bouncing Ball
Artist/Maker: Forrestall, Tom DeVany
Date of Object, To: 19820807
Material: Paint, watercolour; Paper
Description: A marble or ball is mid air over the surface of a table or counter.
Narrative: Tom DeVany Forrestall was born in Middleton, Annapolis, Nova Scotia on March 11, 1936. He is a famous Canadian painter who studied with Christopher Pratt under the direction of Alex Colville, at Mount Allison University, in the later 1950s. Colville went against the trends in modern art, which were mostly abstract in Canada, at that time. His partiality toward detailed photographic realism in painting influenced the practice of Forrestall, Pratt, and also, D.P. Brown. Alex Colville shared information on the medium of egg tempera and Forrestall began to use it in his own practice. The artist mixes egg yolks, water, and paint pigment to make their paint. Alden Nowlan wrote this poem about Forrestall; it is a terrific example of the high realist approach that Forrestall practices with egg tempera: 'What did you do today?' / 'I looked at windfalls,' answers / Meister Tom, the last surviving / mystical plowboy in all Amerikay. / Because, God knows, to admire apples / is day's occupation enough, / the painting / merely the celebration / of the act. / Another time: / 'I wouldn't mind / doing something like that.' He points out a canvas / by somebody else. 'But I can't treat / an acre of land as if it were nothing / but a swish' and he waves his arm- / 'but a swish of green.' / Not stating / a position so much as admitting to / a peccadillo, this meister Tom who makes / a separate portrait of each blade of grass. Nowlan described Forrestall's painting technique; Forrestall does not describe a scene with as few brush strokes as he can, but layers many small brush strokes to make a detailed description of his subject matter. His objective, as he wrote, is to make: 'A truer realism that comes from within'. Forrestall paints with extreme detail in his egg tempera works. As a native to the Maritimes, he is concerned with knowing and painting the natural world, and the presence of humans in it. His images are sometimes barren and quiet, yet thousands and thousands of tiny paint brush strokes can be seen. Cut lumber, open fields, skies, old houses, factories, vehicles, and family, are some of the things that Forrestall paints. He is concerned with roots—the places he has known and the people he has known. His watercolour paintings are treated differently and serve different purposes. Forrestall makes many watercolour sketches, outdoors and indoors, by observing what he sees. Typically, these paintings are a swift process that is gestural and immediate. They are sometimes used as studies for his larger egg tempera works, and often are not transferred into egg tempera. Forrestall's egg tempera paintings can come from his mind—he pieces together different imagery to make a whole image. His paintings are made on traditional and non-traditional surfaces. Forrestall makes circular, triangular, oval, square, and oddly shaped canvases. After graduating from Mount Allison University in 1958, Forrestall travelled to Europe as one of the first artists to receive a Canada Council grant. When he returned he worked as an assistant curator at the Beaverbrook Art Galley in 1959. In 1960 he devoted himself entirely to his art practice. Natalie Leblanc, Forrestall's late wife, was a primary reason for Forrestall to paint. He wrote in a book that he published in 1976 that, 'Without Natalie I would not bother to really paint, to paint with reason, or to live. The land is my inspiration to paint, but Natalie is my reason.' They had six children together and raised them in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Forrestall has had incredible success because of his talent, and is in collections across North America and in Europe. He is represented at the Fog Forest Gallery in Sackville, Gallery 78 in Fredericton, Kinsman Robinson Galleries in Toronto, and Masters Gallery in Calgary.
Marks/Labels: Written on front underneath in pencil: Tom Forrestall Macdonald Museum Aug. 7, 1982 Bouncing Ball
Dimensions: 32 x 48 (cm) (ht x wi)
Institution: Annapolis Valley Macdonald Museum. Middleton, Nova Scotia
Accession Number: 87.0145.0001
Category: Communication Artifacts