My “Global Warming Cycle” Series

My “Global Warming Cycle” series of paintings began in 2005 when I was a grad student at CSULB and preparing for my Master’s Exhibition at their student art galleries. The subject matter became more important to me, and I wanted to direct my art work towards what is now recognized as the greatest threat to man and nature, and to raise public consciousness about it. My goal then was to raise public consciousness about climate change through these paintings, as well as make paintings that have conceptual significance as well as developing a new abstract style for me.

NASA average atmospheric temperature changes in the north polar region, based on 20 years of atmospheric measurement data, 1996

My approach came from my own profession as an aerospace systems engineer, particularly directed towards early warning satellite design/development for passive-infrared, space-based sensor systems. I was well acquainted with infrared atmospheric physics and IR technologies used to detect and discriminate ICBM missile plumes emitting carbon-dioxide plumes from the natural infrared structure of the earth when viewing it from space. NASA research into climate change included earth weather history and prediction modeling, summarized in earth maps as the above. Thus, my painting approach derives from abstract mapping of the earth. As my basic design format, I selected the “circle in a square”, and developed my own imagined global weather scenarios. An early example of one of my paintings is shown below. Four of my paintings of this series were accepted in a show at the Peter Blake Art Gallery in Costa Mesa (now defunct) in 2009, and the show reviewed in the Orange County Weekly newspaper (now also defunct).

“GWC #1″ 24″ x 24”, Acrylic on panel, Thom Wright, 2006

Of course back in 2006, abstract mapping may have been more appropriate for a public that had little interest or recognition of global warming. As the science improved and as earth weather became hotter and more violent, the public and many world governments began to experience the connection of increasing greenhouse gases with climate changes. Later as public awareness grew, my paintings changed purpose and direction. Below presents one of my abstract paintings from 2009. The combination of large, graphic text “GCC” and the sequential images of the earth changing with time present the future choices for man in acting early versus too late with different outcomes. This painting was accepted into the “Made in California” juried Exhibition at the City of Brea Art Gallery in 2009.

“Global Climate Change #2″, Acrylic on canvas, 48″ x 60”, Thom Wright, 2009

In 2017 I returned to abstract figurative painting, which was my initial direction when I was accepted to the graduate art program at CLULB in 2004. The painting below shows one painting that was accepted in the Special Exhibition “Nature Prevails”, showing art works by members of the non-profit artist group, Southern California Artists, Inc., and held at the BC Art Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA. This painting shows female goddess representing mankind and dumping oil-spill pollution into the earth’s oceans, symbolizing our continuing and increasing, toxic, and greenhouse emissions production and its subsequent virulent effects on the oceans, atmosphere and on all life on earth.

“Man Versus Nature”, 48″ x 40″, Acrylic on canvas, Thom Wright, 2010

During the last decade, I made several more additions and changes to my approach addressing climate change. I will be presenting these as I add them to my art website in the coming months.

The latest painting in this “Global Warming Cycle” series was made this month during the stay-in period of the corona-virus. I combined themes from these two global threats to man into one small painting. We now live in the age of multiple, simultaneous global threats, one caused by human activity with the rise of the Industrial Revolution and the growth of human population, and one caused by a mutated microcosm virus. Titled “Polar Contact Tracing”, it uses my abstract mapping design (circle in a square with mixed media). It probably will be used again by me and other artists facing future multiple global threats.

“Polar Contact Tracing” 16″ x 16″, Mixed Media on panel, Thom Wright, 2020

In this summary of this painting series, I have neglected to cover my aesthetics and painting processes. For now, this overview hopefully generates interest for the viewers, both for this series and three others to be presented.

Welcome to my Art Website

Three years after I lost my art website to a hacking problem, I have now rebuilt it using the latest WordPress software. There is a Blog page now too, and I have upgraded the site to an e-commerce capability that offers my art work posted for sale. This Blog also serves as a forum for posting more about the why and the purpose of my art making. As I add more of my painting and printmaking series, I will be adding background and supporting information here. Each series will be easily and separately reachable within a few clicks from the Homepage. The Homepage is a static page that has the first level of access to this “Art Blog” page, to my “About the Artist” page, to my “Contact the Artist” page, and to the “Art Portfolio” page that then accesses all of the painting and print pages.

Visitors can learn more about me on my “About the Artist” page, which has my Artist Bio and and a short Artist Resume covering the last six years of my 45 years of art making. I include a self-portrait below, made in 2019, that exemplifies my abstract expressionist style of painting on paper.

“Self Portrait Study”, ink, acrylic and paper collage on paper,
20″ x 16″, Thom Wright, 2019

My first painting series is actually my latest work, made in 2019 – 2020, titled “In Balance with Nature”. I include my Art Statement here for this series and an example of this work on paper below:



By Thom Wright   2020

This painting series continues with my work addressing Climate Change and how to philosophically aim at the heart of the most basic issue – mankind coming to terms with the need to find limits in its conquest of nature.  Only then can the entire planet seek a common goal of reducing green-house gas emissions sufficient to cap the total to a level that keeps the earth within an average of 2K increase that climatologists say is a maximum.  Thus, my artistic concerns are not about showing the horror of the consequences of a hotter earth, but a new focus on recognizing the necessity of survival of both man and nature.  In my art making I turn this direction into an allegory of making an abstract composition with the quality of balance in its elements – space, form, color, light and movement.  I strive to make abstract paintings that present this kind of balance, which is usually difficult to attain.  For Modern and Post-Modern painting, these concerns are of the utmost importance.  Similarly, civilization needs to accept this goal in its local and global economics to make it happen.

“In Balance with Nature #7″, 15″ x 22.5”, Acrylic and ink on rag watercolor paper, 2019, Thom Wright

My long background in watercolor painting done in my first twenty years shows up as my love of transparent color, soft edge shapes, combining shape and line, and bold and light uses of color. Looking at my composition also shows my formal approach to design that combines geometric and organic shapes, strong rhythms of shape, line and color, and influences from American and European Modernist and Contemporary painters. And hopefully, this work shows my long-learned lessons in painting in some very good art schools, especially Orange Coast College and Cal State University Long Beach.

With this simple beginning, I relaunch my art website and this Art Blog – Thom

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