Who Knew!!!. Noel and Pat were miniaturists before transforming himself into sketcher, painter and local Astoria art mentor.
Here is an excerpt from the Tomas’ page:
Noel & Pat Thomas
In 1974, Noel and Pat Thomas built a dollhouse for Noel’s daughter, not knowing they were embarking on a 36-year career of building miniatures for collectors and museums. By the time of their retirement in 2011, they had created 64 structures, including houses, commercial buildings, out-buildings, and roadside stands, all built in the conventional dollhouse scale of 1/12th or 1″=1′.
Rather than being models, each project is an original Thomas design, based on a specific period of architecture, or a particular full-sized structure. After thirty Victorian structures, their work evolved into the Bungalow style, including three projects based on the Pasadena, CA works of Charles & Henry Greene. Smaller commissions have included European toy shops, a roadside Airplane Cafe, a Maine motor court cabin, and a theater.
The Thomas’s trademark is the aging process–sometimes referred to as “Thomas grunge.” Their houses have a history–a patina of age and weather, along with subtly-detailed evidence of human occupation. Their work is more that of painters than of builders, in that they work to create a “feeling,” an illusion of reality that evokes memories from the viewer. These memories are jogged by such details as broken lattice where a dog might have scratched his way under the house, smudges around doorknobs and stair railings, peeling paint at the back door, and rusted chimney flashing. They taught their techniques in workshops all over the country, as well as for 29 years with the IGMA Guild School in Castine, ME. For 25 years Pat wrote a how-to column on their techniques for various miniature magazines
Both Noel and Pat are Fellows in the International Guild of Miniatures Artisans (IGMA), and lifetime members of the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts Academy of Honor. The Thomases and their work appeared on numerous television programs, including NBC’s Today Show and syndicatedEvening-format shows. Their work has been exhibited in Japan, as well as three miniature museums in the US. Their work has appeared on the cover on the cover of a Hammacher Schlemmer catalog, as well as in such magazines as Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Americana, and Historic Preservation.
“Paris also gave me a renewed look at my own surroundings–the endlessly beautiful world of the river, the ships, our own street corners–of which I will never tire.” …Noel Thomas
Noel is an accomplished watercolor painter, and a signature member of both the American and Northwest Watercolor Societies. Pat is an award-winning poet whose first book, The Woman Who Cries Speaks was published in 2008 by Lost Horse Press. Before miniatures they were in advertising–Noel an art director, and Pat a copywriter.
Watercolors on Yupo
Hadn’t a ninth-grade teacher, a Mrs. B. Johnson, read the tea leaves of his life? Hadn’t she told him to step up, to pursue his talent? “Go to school and be an artist,” she had insisted. Sure, it seemed that everyone could see that the boy could draw, even fellow soldiers. He drew their portraits for $2 each. But years before, while speaking to his favorite teacher, he had asked, “Just where should I go?” Published on November 10, 2005 12:01AM Daily Astorian
“Well,” Mrs. Johnson answered, taking in the boy’s steady steely-blue eyes, “You should go to the Los Angeles Art Center.” So, one afternoon while lying on a cot in the Army barracks, that particular discussion rushed back into his brain. It rushed in like a freight train with a mission. Published on November 10, 2005 12:01AM Daily Astorian
‘Just a year later, Thomas found himself enrolled in that fine institution, enrolled with a double major, illustration and advertising. Thank you, Mrs. B. Johnson. Thank you to every great teacher who shapes a student. Thomas talks about that teacher and other mentors with sincere affection and admiration. The man can flush effusive.’ Published on November 10, 2005 12:01AM Daily Astorian
Noel’s sketches on the covers of Dots ‘N Doodles Sketch books