Monthly Archives: January 2018

Inspired by Lawren Harris

 “We were told, quite seriously, that there never would be a Canadian art because we had no art tradition.”

-Lawren Harris

Students were inspired by the work of Canadian painter, Lawren Harris and created their own winter landscapes. They used watercolour techniques as well as acrylic paint and fan brushes to paint their trees.

Lawren Harris was born in Brantford, Ontario on October 23, 1885. He is best known as a member of the Group of Seven who pioneered a distinctly Canadian painting style.

He attended Central Technical School and St. Andrew’s College to study art. From age 19-23 he studied in Berlin.

In 1910 he met J.E.H. MacDonald, and in 1911 they formed the Group of Seven. Harris financed the construction of a studio building in Toronto which would provide fellow artists with cheap or free space where they could live and work.

His landscape paintings were rich in colour and inspired by Toronto, the Georgian Bay and Algoma. He also painted the Canadian Rockies.  During the 1920’s his work became more abstract, especially his stark landscapes of the Canadian Arctic.

He became so popular that he stopped signing and dating his work so that people would judge his works on their own merit and not by the artist.

He died in Vancouver in 1970.

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Inspired by Kim Dorland

“Before I found art, I had no sense of the future. I could have ended up in a dead-end job or even jail, not because I was violent but because I was thoughtless. Then I found this. It is all I wanted.” – Kim Dorland

This Friday we introduced our senior class at KCS to the contemporary Canadian painter Kim Dorland. We were inspired by his painting, After the Party.

Kim Dorland was born in 1974 in Wainright, Alberta. He lives and creates his art in Toronto. In 1998 he earned his BFA at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver and in 2003 he earned his MFA from York University in Toronto.

His interest in art came early in his teens and was quite fascinated with the work of the Group of Seven. He was inspired by the work of Canadian painter, Tom Thomson and one of his sons is named after him.

Dorland’s work uses an impasto style of thick layers of acrylic paint on canvas and fluorescent hues and brushwork that incorporates glass, glitter, glue, feathers and wood.

He spent five months at the McMichael Gallery in 2013 completing a residency to create a body of paintings that were inspired by the galleries collection. What emerged was a fresh take on what it means to be a distinctly Canadian painter.

Dorland prefers to paint on large canvasses, “You don’t see many huge, aggressive, big paintings in Canada,” he says. It has become a part of his signature style.

n 2005, Dorland created The Loner, a portrait of a kid in a heavy metal T-shirt standing behind a tree in an infinite landscape. It was after creating this that he realised that he wanted to tell his own story.

Private and public institutions internationally collect his work including the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Berlin’s Sander Collection,  Musee des beaux-arts de Montreal and many others

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Inspired by AY Jackson

There were dozens of lakes, many of them not on the map. For identification purposes we gave them names. The bright sparkling lakes we named after people we admired… to the swampy ones, all messed up with moose tracks, we gave the names of the critics who disparaged us.

-A. Y. Jackson

Alexander Young Jackson was born on October 3, 1882 in Montreal, Quebec. He was a founding member of the Group of Seven. The Group of Seven was a group of Canadian landscape painters who believed that a style of distinctly Canadian art should be developed through direct contact with Canada’s rugged wilderness.  They were considered bold and innovative because the Canadian wilderness had previously been considered too severe and wild to be painted.

His artistic talent was revealed when Jackson began work at age twelve for a Montreal Lithography (printing) company to help support his mother and five siblings. He took evening classes to train as an artist.

Jackson enlisted in the Canadian Army’s 60th battalion in 1915. Soon after he reached the front he was wounded. While recovering from his injuries his artistic talents were discovered and he was transferred to the Canadian War Records branch as an artist. He later worked for the Canadian War Memorials as an official war artist from 1917 – 1919.

He formally joined the Group of Seven in 1919 and exhibited with them.

He received honorary doctorates from: Queens University, McMaster University, the University of Saskatchewan and the University of British Columbia. He was also made a companion of the Order of Canada for outstanding achievements and excellence.

He died on April 5, 1974.

Art example: Aurora

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Inspired by LeRoy Neiman

“It’s been fun, I’ve had a lucky life…”

– LeRoy Neiman

We started off our Winter session with inspiration from the American artist, LeRoy Neiman who was born on June 8, 1921 in St. Paul, Minnesota.  His father, Charles Runquist, an unskilled laborer, abandoned the family, and his mother, Lydia (Serline) Runquist remarried and LeRoy took the surname of his stepfather.  He was raised in a rough blue-collar  neighborhood and LeRoy described himself as a “street kid.”

He attended a Roman Catholic primary school, where he was always drawing pictures. Starting in adolescence he earned money from local grocers by painting images of fruit, vegetables and meat as sale items, and portraits of the shopkeepers themselves on the windows of their stores. 

 In 1942, Neiman quit school and enlisted in the United States Army. While serving as a cook for four years, with two years of combat in Europe, he painted murals in military kitchens and dining halls.  He also painted stage sets for Red Cross shows under the auspices of the army’s Special Services division. “If nothing else, the army completely confirmed me as an artist, ”.

Following the war, Neiman studied briefly at St. Paul School of Art and then at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago completing his studies in 1950.  He taught there for 10 years  and in 1957, he married Janet Byrne, a student at the school.

Neiman grew famous thanks to television.  Beginning in 1972, Neiman was the official artist of five Olympiads. On camera and viewed by tens of millions of people, Neiman sketched out and completed al fresco paintings of the action and competition.  The television appearances turned Neiman into a media showman, with his expansive handlebar mustache and ever-present Cuban cigar.

He died in New York, June 20, 2012 at the age of 91

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