Kaia Thomas was born in Canoga Park, CA in 1973. When she was a year old, her parents moved from their place in Big Bear to a remote log cabin in the Pacific Northwest. It was here that Kaia developed her love of nature and art as a child. In 1991 she moved with her family to Arizona and going from a log cabin in the Washington rain forest, to the dry southwest desert, was as extreme as it gets for a change in scenery. However, the beauty and magic of the Arizona landscape resonated in the young artist and became a huge influence on her art. Her passion for the southwest landscape is most noticeable in her work today, bringing forth a captivating “sense of place” in her paintings.
Inspired to start painting very young and with strong support from her family, Kaia pursued her art and taught herself with books, videos and befriending experienced artists. One such acquaintance was Canadian based artist Alf Crossley, who in the early 90's showed her his approach to art - not to draw or paint the place or thing, rather find a place to create in so to capture it's mood or essence. This was an eye opening experience for the impressionable young artist. She experimented with this abstract style, gleaning from it the ability to tap into the "essence of place" and to freely express what she felt.
In later years she began taking online courses and workshops. She studied with instructor Phil Starke through the Tucson Art Academy Online, and took plein air workshops with notable landscape painters, Chris Morel and Glenn Renell.
Kaia is now a full-time artist since 2012, and when not painting in her studio located near Bowie, Arizona, you will find her painting on location around the southwest. Although her subject interest relies heavily on the southwest landscape, other interests include figurative, animals, and architecture.
She has participated in several fine art shows and painting events, including the Escalante Canyon Arts Festival, was guest artist at the Maynard Dixon Campout in Utah, was juried into the Miniatures & More show at the Albuquerque Museum of Art, and twice as a finalist in the American Women Artists Annual Online Spring Show. Her work has received top recognition, including 3 Best of Shows, and has been published in Southwest Art Magazine. Her work can be found in multiple public and private collections throughout the United States and abroad. She is a member of OPA, AWA, APAP, SPRAC and WAL. She is the founder of the unofficial group, Cochise County Plein Air Painters, and the current Secretary of the Art League of Willcox.
"Painting is my passion, and what I aim for in my paintings is a sense of place. To somehow capture and convey that unspeakable and nameless beauty that provokes an emotional response in me. There is nothing more rewarding than when a viewer connects with a painting and feels a part of it. I find these inspirations everywhere, sometimes it will be the simplest things that catch my eye. Nature has been, and always will be what excites me most as an artist. It is a deep well of inspiration to draw from."