Friday, January 18, 2019

Dramatic Landscapes

A note to members of City Daily Photo: the theme day for the first of February is White. For my take on that theme, I can only borrow a phrase and say, Brace yourselves. Winter is coming. 

Carrying on with this visit to the National Gallery, The Group of Seven was a collection of landscape artists who actively exhibited together from 1920- 1933. There were ten of them in all, as members came and went, and a couple of other prominent Canadian artists, Tom Thomson and Emily Carr, are often associated with them. Thomson, whose death came before the foundation of the group, was a significant influence on them. Many of their works can be found here at the National Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the McMichael gallery, and other places across Canada. The artists would often take small sketch canvases out in the field to capture what they saw, transferring and adapting thier ideas onto larger canvases in their studios over the winters.

J.E.H. MacDonald was one of the founders, and this 1915 painting, Snowbound, reflects the influences of a Swedish artist, Gustaf Fjaestad, who was known in Europe for his depictions of winter. MacDonald captures the nuances of colour and light in the snowy landscape.

Nearby is a large gallery space, named for a donor, with a traditional birchbark Indigenous canoe at its heart and works of the Group of Seven and other artists around it.

A.Y. Jackson, another member of the Group, painted March Storm, Georgian Bay in 1920.

Here we have another perspective of this space. There are enough assembled paintings on that wall that it is easier to place brochures with the painting names and artists at either end, as opposed to the usual panel beside one.  They make for quite a sight against the canoe in the foreground.

Here we have another MacDonald. The Solemn Land is a 1921 oil painting depicting the Montreal River valley in the Algoma region of northern Ontario. The accompanying panel notes that Algoma was a particular interest for MacDonald, and that Jackson had said, "I always think of Algoma as MacDonald's country."

Arthur Lismer was another member of the Group. This 1921 oil painting is titled A September Gale, Georgian Bay, and true to the motif of the Group, the aim is to not only show what a place looked like, but how it felt.

Here we see another angle of the space.

Lawren Harris was another member of the Group. This 1921 oil painting is Beaver Pond. Harris had an interest in how the beaver altered its surroundings, and depicts a scene at Birch Lake in Algoma.

Pine Island, Georgian Bay is the title of this painting developed between 1914-16. Tom Thomson, who met his end by drowning in Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park in 1917, painted this over that period of time, his own style evolving. The lone pine motif was something that he would use from time to time in his art, which I'll show again tomorrow.

For today I finish off with another Jackson. November is the simple title of this 1922 oil painting, depicting a place in the Algoma region in late fall.


  1. Impressive. I´d never had a vivid mind like that to just take a scetch and finish the artwork later like that!
    I´ve never seen paintings on a colored wall, either.

  2. I guess like us in Australia you have iconic artists who have captured the spirit of the landscape. Here the early artists had a lot of trouble seeing eucalyptus trees and our strong light like it really is ... to capture our reality was to create a painting that was not acceptable to ther sensibilities of a good painting.

  3. A wonderful collection of interesting landscape paintings. In Australia, we had the Heidelberg School of artists, a group of 19th century Australian painters who worked in 'artist camps' in rural areas and exhibited together in the late 1880s and early 1890s. Signs are dotted round my Mornington Peninsula + the Bellarine Peninsula where these particular artists painted certain landscapes. And there is a Heidelberg trail for 40km, including 57 signs, aligning landscape painting and reality.The trail travels through Melbourne's northeast, Heidelberg, the Yarra Valley and the Dandenong Ranges

  4. Oh for the days when people could paint simple pictures of what they saw before them! I really appreciate these.

  5. ...that canoe is a work of art.

  6. I am fortunate enough to have seen the Group of Seven's paintings both in the Art Gallery of Ontario and the McMichael gallery when I stayed with my brother in Mississauga.
    Love the painting by J.E.H. MacDonald - capturing snow is one of the most difficult genres to capture successfully in painting, and not many artists are able to achieve it.

  7. Interesting! Thanks for all the information provided! Nice weekend!

  8. Hello, I love the canoe and the artwork. Beautiful landscapes! Enjoy your day and have a happy weekend.

  9. What a great show you give us today. The work with birch bark is amazing.


  10. Impressive art work. Now winter is coming closer, I prefer the snowy landscape.

  11. I love the way they have presented the work of 'The Group of Seven' such a perfect space, the canoe a brilliant touch ✨

  12. The Group of Seven is of course so iconically Canadian. If ever you have a chance to visit the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg, ON it is well worth while. I have a friend who owns an original AY Jackson.

  13. I like the Group's works, on the whole.
    I find it hard to photograph snow properly.

  14. Beautiful exhibit. The canoes fit well with the art atmosphere. The emotions of the Group of Seven's paintings bring out the landscape experience, that be there vibe.

  15. @Iris: the Gallery has a good number of their original sketches in the collection too. They're small boards with quick strokes, but you very much see their styles.

    @Joan: part of great art is pushing the boundaries beyond what was previously expected.

    @Gemma: that does not surprise me. Artists often find themselves working together like that.

    @John: so do I.

    @Tom: that it is.

    @Rosemary: I have been to both galleries, though it has been years now.

    @Ella: you're welcome.

    @Eileen: thank you!

    @Francisco: thanks!

    @Janis: that it is.

    @Jan: admittedly we've had winter going on for a couple of months.

    @Anvilcloud: definitely!

    @Grace: I agree.

    @David: I have been there. I wouldn't know what to do with an original work by any of the Group. I'd probably have it displayed in a place like this.

    @Jennifer: they were exceptional artists.

    @Maywyn: they really caught not just how a place looked, but how it felt.

  16. I really enjoyed this series of pictures. The canoe is really beautiful. :-)

  17. These paintings feel like part of our Canadian DNA.

  18. Hello William!
    Wonderful pictures and great exhibition .
    Beautiful artwork and amazing landscapes!
    Thank you for sharing! Have a lovely weekend!

  19. Thank you so much for introducing me to these wonderful works of art, and the Group of 7. Unfortunately my Art History classes (in the 80s) didn't include any Canadian artists. There are certainly some new and amazing ideas being portrayed by them.

  20. It's good that some of thee paintings are sent around the country to be shown in smaller museums.

  21. @DJan: it is indeed.

    @RedPat: I agree with that.

    @Dimi: you're welcome.

    @Barbara: the Group of Seven are big in the Canadian art story. I always enjoy seeing their work.

    @Red: I know there are some of them in western galleries. There are even some in the Ottawa Art Gallery, which is associated with the city. I have to get in there again sometime soon. I haven't featured it since they opened up in new quarters.

  22. i would love to try those boat out ... so cool. very cool art. nice technique!! ( ;

  23. Impressive paintings, William !

  24. The paintings are absolutely beautiful. Thanks for showing them, William.

  25. @Sharon: that it is.

    @Beth: I don't think the Gallery would appreciate someone climbing into the canoe!

    @Karl: that they are.

    @Marie: it's great!

    @Bill: you're welcome.

  26. Beautiful paintings! I like the ones without the snow better... ;-)... probably because of the weather!

    The canoe is impressive!

  27. Oh, man! You know how I feel about canoes!

  28. A great setting for this art. And the art is a wonderful background for the canoe.

  29. Great series of wintry scene ~ tis winter ^_^

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  30. Wonderful to see all these amazing paintings. Thanks for sharing these with us.

  31. Very nice paintings ! I went yesterday to a van Gogh 3D exhibition, very special !!

  32. I would enjoy this impressive exhibit.

  33. Really! Love all of it. The canoe makes it

  34. Thank you for all your photographs William.
    So lovely to see all of the paintings and the canoe is certainly a work of art too.

    All the best Jan

  35. I like the displaying of the canoe amongst the paintings:)

  36. I am so excited you posted this, William and I will be linking to it when I have my post on the Group of Seven guitar project, which was at Canada House in London. Seven Luthiers each designed a guitar inspired by one of the Group of Seven artists. The guitars were fabulous but oh, look at those wonderful paintings!

  37. @Sandi: but snow is a good thing!

    @Revrunner: this one's a beauty.

    @Kay: it really is.

    @Carol: winter indeed!

    @Denise: you're welcome.

    @Gattina: that I saw!

    @Nancy: it's an extraordinary gallery.

    @Cloudia: it does indeed.

    @Jan: I agree.

    @Rosie: so do I.

    @Jeanie: thank you!