Mr. Locker’s early paintings were poetic landscapes, which Stuart Preston of the New York Times said, “manage to create the proper impression of dreamy reverie.” Edward Barry of the Chicago Tribune noted, “…a viewer looking at his pictures senses the breathless excitement with which he tries to capture the spun-gold effect of the early morning.” William Wilson of the Los Angeles Times saw the paintings as “magical” and slightly “hallucinatory.” He felt that Locker’s work was “a totally sophisticated experience in which our sense of wonder remains untarnished.” In an art catalogue introduction, Dr. Joshua C. Taylor, former director of the National Collection of Fine Arts for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D. C., wrote, “Although Locker’s landscapes are not glimpses of new Arcadia, the quotation from the past reemphasizes their cerebral play. They call attention less to nature than to the complex intermingling of perception and thought in the mind of man. Suddenly, seeing becomes thinking, and thinking a delight to the age.
In 1982, Thomas Locker’s career took on a new and even broader dimension. In an effort to connect with a wider audience and educate younger minds, he began work on his first children’s picture book. Today, Mr. Locker’s exceptional paintings and illustrations grace the pages of some 30 different books, several of which he also wrote. These unique books have been honored with numerous awards, including the prestigious Christopher Award, the John Burroughs Award, and the New York Times Award for best illustration.