“It’s probably hard for anyone looking at my landscapes today to realize that I was once regarded as a rebel, a dangerous influence; that I’ve been told I was on the verge of insanity, that my painting was nothing but meaningless daubs. Lawren Harris, the man most responsible for drawing the Group of Seven together, was accused of something perilously close to treason – his paintings, said his severest critics, were discouraging immigration.”- A. Y. Jackson
We started our Fall session at Kingsway College School and were inspired by the fall season and the art of the Group of Seven. It is hard today to understand how revolutionary the style of the Group of Seven was at the time they created their artworks.
Students worked hard using liquid watercolour, acrylic paint and many different techniques to create their fall landscapes. They did an amazing job!
“It’s probably hard for anyone looking at my landscapes today to realize that I was once regarded as a rebel, a dangerous influence; that I’ve been told I was on the verge of insanity, that my painting was nothing but meaningless daubs. Lawren Harris, the man most responsible for drawing the Group of Seven together, was accused of something perilously close to treason – his paintings, said his severest critics, were discouraging immigration.” – A.Y. Jackson
Recently we joined a group of mature adults and spent the afternoon creating our own fall landscapes inspired by the the work of the Group of Seven.
The Group of Seven believed that a distinct style of Canadian art should be developed through direct contact with Canada’s rugged wilderness. This style would break from European traditions and reflect an increasingly nationalistic sentiment for its paintings that were inspired by the Canadian landscape. The group of Seven was the first major Canadian art movement.
. . 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.
“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
The beautiful Aurora Borealis inspired our art work today. We learned about a founding member of the Group of Seven, A.Y. Jackson. 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. He formally joined the Group of Seven in 1919 and exhibited with them. Mr. Jackson had a remarkable career and produced many iconic paintings.
To make our own Aurora paintings we used several washes of liquid watercolours to give our sky and lake their beautiful colours. We painted our mountain scape with black acrylic paint and finished with chalk pastels. The paintings really shimmer with energy.