Take A Hike
Landscape artist inspired by love of outdoors
By Jessica Laskey
Few painters can make you feel like you’re really there. But stare at one of Tom Sorensen’s landscapes and you can almost feel the Santa Cruz wind ruffling your hair, smell the damp earth after a rain in Montgomery Woods, hear the surf crash against the shore below Pigeon Point.
Sorensen, hiker and outdoorsman, enjoys capturing beautiful places he visits. Oil paint and canvas are how he documents “grand views” from his travels.
“I’ve always been into hiking and enjoy being out in nature—it’s very restorative,” says the retired respiratory therapist. “Any time my mood is not good, if I get out and go for a hike, it makes me feel better.”
The Southern California native moved to Sacramento in 1982 to cash in on the local real estate market as a house flipper. His new location was the perfect outlet for his innate creativity and a fine location for his love of the outdoors.
As he got older, it became harder to climb under houses and onto roofs. Sorensen decided to switch careers. A friend of a friend who worked in respiratory therapy got Sorensen interested in the discipline. He enrolled at San Joaquin Valley College and later went to work as a respiratory therapist at John Muir Health medical center in Concord.
On days off, he visited the Parsons Gallery in Benicia. He got to know artist and owner Bill Parsons, who brought Sorensen back to his childhood love of art through oil painting.
Now 67 and retired, Sorensen spends more time traveling and working in his home studio on the border of Sacramento and Carmichael. He paints for two or three hours every day when he’s not hiking. He works from photographs snapped with his iPhone, deploying his creativity.
“That’s the thing about art—you can take something in a photograph and make it your own thing,” Sorensen says. “If you took a photo of a mountain but the weather wasn’t good that day, you can change the weather. I’ll even incorporate several different photos into a single scene, the sunset from one photo, the foreground from another, a mountain from another, and put them together.”
For Sorensen, reflections in water and details are “kind of my specialty.” Blades of grass along a trail, feathers on an eagle’s wing, snow-kissed fur on a fox, moss on a river rock, all executed with precision that brings Sorensen’s paintings to life. It’s no surprise the artist can “lose myself easily when I start painting. I lose track of time.”
Sorensen sells paintings at festivals up and down the coast and has won several awards, including an Award of Merit at the 2019 California State Fair. No matter the accolades, Sorensen does it for the love of the art form and the great outdoors.
“There’s lots of beauty out there to see,” he says.
For information, visit sorensenfineart.com.
Jessica Laskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.