While Venice Gallery and Studio is tucked away on a side street, the work of our second artist is hidden in plain sight.
“I never bothered to put up a sign,” explained marine and wildlife painter Thomas Krause, instead giving folksy directions to his shop. Go north on Tamiami Trail heading out of Venice. Cross over Roberts Bay. Look for the first building on the right, with signs marked “Live Bait” and “Window Tinting.” If you get to Captain Eddie’s Seafood, you’ve gone too far.
Enter the window tinting store and you’ll see a frame shop. Behind the counter stands Tom Krause, surrounded by his colorful paintings—hung on all the walls, leaning against the counter and propped up behind the counter, too.
Larger-than-life trout, redfish, grouper and mackerel swim in their natural habitats. A family of dolphins seems to float by. Newly hatched sea turtles scurry across the sand. An alligator lurks with just part of his head visible as he approaches peacefully floating lily pads.
Many of Krause’s acrylic paintings, limited edition prints, lithographs and giclees on canvas are of underwater life, as it’s an environment he knows well. An avid scuba diver and fisherman, he photographs marine subjects in their natural habitats. He then uses the photos as references but paints the creatures in poses of his imagination, so the finished results are both realistic and creative.
Krause is at home in the water, and dives and fishes areas from Florida and the Keys to Grand Cayman, Michigan, Canada and Alaska. Not all of his work is of undersea creatures, though. His Florida panther looks as if it might leap off the canvas. A snowy egret spreads its wings. A string of sanderlings pecks for food, while a great blue heron struts through the edge of the surf. His close-up of a coconut palm reveals the intricate layering of the bark and the thick, strong stems of the waving fronds, sheltering a cluster of fruit.
Born in Mt. Clements, Michigan, Krause moved to Florida in 1979. He studied at the Ringling School of Art and Design, where he was often featured in Best of Ringling shows. He earned a degree in illustration from Ringling. After working in the field as a freelancer, however, he soon switched career gears to concentrate on painting.
He has taken workshops from well known Florida wildlife artist John Seerey-Lester, whom Krause considers to be a mentor.
When he’s not painting or framing, Krause travels throughout Florida to show his work at outdoor festivals and boat shows. He is also a guest artist at the Bass Proshop Worldwide Sportsman show.
Stop in and see Krause’s paintings in person or on his website, thomaskrause.com, or you can call him at 941.244.2263.