Tom Forrestall – Open to Surprise



By Kate Watson

In 2007, when Tom Forrestall spent several weeks painting at the Vatican, the guards weren’t quite sure what to make of him.

They’d ask, “Where will you be painting today?” The answer was always, “I won’t know until I see it.”

That’s because Forrestall –a celebrated artist and long-time resident of Dartmouth– seeks to be open to the unexpected when he’s painting on location. He sees it as an opportunity to experience something new, and to let his surroundings surprise him.

Forrestall will be taking this same approach when he embarks on a three-week painting adventure to Malta in April.

He and his daughter Monica, who is a journalist, have been invited by the Maltese Tourism Authority to chronicle the beauty of Malta through paintings and articles.

“We’re imagining an exhibit called something like ‘18 Days/7,000 Years of Malta’ with related watercolours and writing,” says Forrestall.

The exhibit will travel from Malta to New York and Washington.

In 2010, Forrestall undertook a similar journey to Israel with his son Frank, a filmmaker. That trip resulted in a series of 24 watercolour paintings and a short documentary called Tom Forrestall – 35 Days in Israel , which can be viewed here.

The paintings created in Malta will carry a little of their birthplace with them across the sea.

“I like to use a little soil at my feet when I’m painting,” says Forrestall. “It’s like a relic in the work.”