Monthly Archives: March 2015

Jack Bush – Abstractions

““Your best work, when you do it, will always upset the general public – they’re always a few years behind you.”

-Jack Bush

Jack Bush was born in Toronto on March 20th, 1909.  His youth was spent in Montreal, and he studied at the Royal Canadian Academy. During the 1930s he ran a commercial art business and by night attended classes at the Ontario College of Art.

He was initially influenced by the Group of Seven, but after seeing the work of the American Abstract Expressionists in New York City, his work changed dramatically.He was a member of Painters Eleven, the group founded by William Ronald in 1953 to promote abstract painting in Canada. Bush was also encouraged by art critic Clement Greenberg, and became associated with the Color Field movement and Post-Painterly Abstraction. Although the Painters Eleven disbanded in 1960, Bush continued to paint and became one of the more successful members from this group.

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Fernand Leger – Faces

“Man needs colour to live; it’s just as necessary an element as fire and water.”

– Fernand Leger

Fernand Léger was born at Argentan, France, on 4 February 1881. Regarded as the forerunner of the up and coming Pop Art style, Fernand Leger was a French painter, sculptor and filmmaker, working in his own form of cubism. He originally trained as an architect, and worked as an architectural draftsman in Paris.

The artists in our class first applied collage elements to watercolour paper and then applied a layer of chalk pastels to colour the background. A simple sketch of a face followed and completed their creations.

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Valentine’s Day Inspiration – All You Need Is Love

“All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need”

– Paul McCartney and John Lennon

Valentine’s Day inspired our heart focussed multi-media pieces. There was a lot of humming and singing in our classrooms as we used liquid watercolours, oil pastels, acrylic paint and stamping techniques to create our art.

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John Howe and Alan Lee – Dragon Inspiration

John Howe was born in 1957 in Vancouver, and grew up in British Columbia He first studied in Strasbourg, France, at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs . He is a book illustrator who became world famous for his work as a conceptual artist for the movie adaptation of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings triliogy. 

Alan Lee  was born in 1947 in Middlesex, England and studied at the Ealing School of Art.  Alan Lee is an illustrator and film designer rendered world famous for his Tolkien illustrations.

Though the two artists collaborated on the Tolkien illustrations, they have become known for certain characters and locations in Middle-Earth.  Their work is typically done with pencil sketches and watercolours. We were inspired by their many dragon creations and created our own…


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Frank Johnston – Winter Trees

 . . higher ever higher we rose till the land below became a beautiful rug, with a somewhat geometric design, of all colours, broken by light ribbons, that were the main highways.”

–       Frank Johnston 

Frank (Franz) Johnston was born in Toronto on June 19, 1888. Right out of high school he began work as a commercial artist at Grip Limited. It was here that he met the founding fathers of the Group of Seven. He exhibited in their first show in 1920. His affiliation with this group was brief and he officially broke away from the group in 1924.

He was a principal of the Winnipeg School of Art and taught at the Ontario College of Art (1927-29). Franz Johnston passed away in 1949, and was buried in the McMichael Canadian Art Collection Burial Grounds in Kleinburg, Ontario.

We were inspired by his painting, Spruce Sentinels and used chalk pastels and fan brushes to create our own pieces.


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