Alan Thompson was born in Hyde, Cheshire in 1940. He studied at The Regional College of Art, Manchester from 1957 to 1961, obtaining N.D.D. in Painting and D.A.
In The Regional College of Art, Thompson studied painting under Harry Rutherford, Ian Grant, Harold Williamson, Douglas Dyson, Morgan Hewinson and Fred Dean. He also met Geoffrey Key, whom he later exhibited with occasionally in Manchester and various venues in the North West along with Trevor Grimshaw, who he met some years later.
'Since leaving College, I have taught part time in various colleges and further education centers while continuing to paint. Since 1989, I have been painting full time. I work from observation, mainly from landscape and still life.
I have been a member of Manchester Academy and have had work in The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and in the Royal Scottish Academy. I have studied other painters a great deal over the years in order to find a painterly means by which to best express the harmonies and rhythms in nature as simple and directly as possible, reduced to essentials, stripped of all irrelevant matter.
I work directly from observation and am not interested in the light effects of a passing moment or in literary connotations, but in the question of form and structure used to try to give expression to the enduring features of the natural world and not be merely decorative'.
— Alan James Thompson