Tom Perkinson was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was raised in the country, and developed a love for the natural landscape. He discovered that he had a talent for art while in elementary school. Art quickly became his passion. During high school he studied at John Herron Institute of Art in Indianapolis. After high school, he studied at the Chicago Academy of Art.
He left Indiana to pursue an undergraduate degree at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Each year while attending university, he was invited to stage an annual exhibit of his work. His early work focused on the landscape, but also included still-lifes and city scenes. At that time, his favorite artists were the early painters of southern Indiana who painted the landscape in which he grew up; painters like T. C. Steele, Vawter, Schultze, and Forsythe.
Upon graduation, he moved to New Mexico to pursue his Master's Degree in Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico. During his thesis studies, he focused on creating large-scale works that had a foundation in Surrealism, using detailed and highly rendered images. It was a critically important time in the artist's development, as his work matured and his commitment deepened. And, he continued to paint the landscape, which now reflected his new fascination with southwestern imagery. He found that the drama of light and shadow, and the mystery that characterizes the geography of New Mexico, held great appeal to him. He recognized that he had found an infinite source of inspiration in the panorama of the southwest landscape. His paintings reflect his skill and mastery of this challenging medium, watercolor.
After receiving his Master's Degree in 1968, he taught art at the University of New Mexico for two years. In 1970, he committed his life to painting full time. His work is included in private and public collections across the globe, and he is represented in the collections of many museums, including the Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe; the University Art Museum, Albuquerque; and the Eiteljorg Museum of Western Art in Indianapolis. He has lived in New Mexico for most of his life. His work is included in the May 2006 book titled "Landscapes of New Mexico, Paintings From the Land of Enchantment", authors Suzan Campbell and Suzanne Deats, published by Fresco Fine Art Publications LLC.