San Francisco native Thomas Wood grew up in a house filled with paintings and sculpture, and art was a frequent topic of conversation. His parents, Mireille and Phil Wood, were artists, as was his grandfather Gottardo Piazzoni. Other inspiring artists in his family include his cousin Russ Chatham and great-uncle Maurice del Mué. They were all great practitioners of landscape painting as well as other kinds of art.
He began painting when he was around eight at the family's ranch in Carmel Valley, when his parents set him up with easel, sketch box, brushes and oil paints.
He painted the oaks and grassy hills and brushy canyons. There was a freedom and excitement in going out into nature and trying to paint what he was seeing. It was fascinating to him that he could create an interpretation, a version of reality that, though often faulty and disappointing, sometimes captured something satisfying and true.
As teenagers, he and his cousin Russ painted small sketches during summers. They would tack their paintings onto the wall of the ranch house porch – an impromptu rural art gallery.
Earning a B.A. (University of California Berkeley) and an M.A. (San Francisco State University) in English, he taught college composition and literature for several years in New York and California. He also worked in educational media and photography, and was active in theater and music.
In the 1980s he decided to make art his vocation, and has since exhibited professionally in numerous successful one-man and group shows. His paintings hang in many private collections.
He lives in Marin County, north of San Francisco.