Tom was born in the Midwest and his family moved to Colorado when he was 11 which was when his love affair with the cowboy began. Tom stalked the wild, wide open places, gravitated toward the ranching scenes, and studied both animals and people.
Art opportunities developed in a parallel line, as he connected with a gifted high school teacher, Jack Frost, of Snowflake, AZ. Frost’s magic formula worked, and upon his graduation, Tom was the proud recipient of a full ride scholarship to Colorado State University. The Fort Collins Campus was the perfect lab for Dorr to continue to experiment with his art. The vet school provided animals and the nearby ranches provided the atmosphere.
Although some of the art professors were “far out,” the landscapes were close-up and Tom thrived. “I worked at many different jobs making an income, but I wasn’t happy,” Dorr says. “My wife, Nancy, really helped me and told me just to pursue the art and we’ll see what happens. She gave me support, and I needed that.” It didn’t hurt Tom’s budding career when in the late 90’s he won first place in oils at the Phippen Memorial Show and at the same time galleries began to sell his paintings as fast as he could bring them in. Best of all, Tom was finally painting cowboys, landscapes, and buildings he saw in his mind.
Happily making a living with his brushes, Dorr is now free to concentrate on preserving the cowboy life on canvas, considering himself as somewhat of a historian. He is adamant about those details and it shows in each piece.