Tag Archives: group of seven

Love My Job

highschool-group-of-seven-4Had a great day at the Winnipeg Art Gallery last week with a grade nine class from the high school in Steinbach where I used to teach. I had a group of interested and thoughtful young women on my tour of the galleries. None of them had every been to an art gallery before and they loved it! “Could we come back?” they wondered. highschool-group-of-seven-3 They were very impressed by the Group of Seven paintings. They were intrigued by one of Esther Warkov’s whimsical landscapes. They came up with some really original ideas when I asked them to use our trays of manipulatives to create a personal Inuit wall hanging in the Our Land exhibit.highschool-group-of-seven-2They had definite preferences about what they had enjoyed in the galleries and told me which of the works they’d seen they would like to take home and hang in their bedroom and why.
highschool-group-of-seven-5In the afternoon I guided a different group from the same school as they created their own landscapes in the style of the Group of Seven. highschool-group-of-seven-6They were attentive and engaged. highschool-group-of-seven-1Their work illustrates this blog post.
I had such a good time with this group it almost made me sorry I’m not still teaching.

I Love Art

Olympus Inspired Art

The Exquiste Corpse

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Filed under Art, Education, winnipeg art gallery

The Horizon Line

My favorite room right now at the Winnipeg Art Gallery features work by members of Canada’s famous Group of Seven.  Finding the horizon line is one of the activities we do with the children on our tours at the gallery.  Where is the horizon line in each painting?  Where does the earth meet the sky?  

serenity-lake-of-the-woods-1922-frank-johnstonThis painting is mostly sky.  The horizon line is quite low on the canvas.

clouds-lake-superior-by-lawren-harrisHere the horizon line is almost exactly in the middle of the canvas. 

early-snow-tom-thompson-1916And here the horizon line peeks out at the very top near the frame. 

I’ve been thinking that our lives have horizon lines too. We all require a certain amount of  ‘feet on the ground’ practicality about what we need to do to survive and what we can afford to do realistically with the time and money at our disposal. But how does that meet  with our ‘eyes on the sky’ dreams for what we’d really like to do and our visions for creative exploration and success?   It can take some juggling to find the right horizon line for our lives. 

Other posts…….

 Autumn at the  Winnipeg Art Gallery

Men Who Paint

Whale Bone Sculpture

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Filed under Art, winnipeg art gallery

Autumn at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

A trio of brilliant autumn scenes are now on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery along with many other stunning pieces by Canada’s  famous Group of Seven.

october evening AY Jackson

October Evening- A.Y. Jackson- 1934

agawa river lawren harris

Agawa River- Algoma – Lawren Harris- 1935
Lake Superior Arthur Lismer
Sombre Isle of Pic-Lake Superior- Arthur Lismer- 1927

Other posts……….

October Inspiration

Two Diverse Members of the Group of Seven

Men Who Paint


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Men Who Paint- A Modern Day Group of Seven

On my recent visit to Saskatoon I went to an art show displaying the work of the city’s Men Who Paint.  Like the Canadian Group of Seven in the early 1900s this group is made up solely of men. 

The Men Who Paint all have other jobs besides being artists. Paul Trottier is a university administrator, Ken Van Rees is a college professor, Cam Forrester is a golf course executive, Greg Hargarten is a rock musician and Roger Trottier is a curriculum developer and art educator.

Likewise the members of the famous Canadian Group of Seven had other jobs. Many worked for a Toronto design firm and almost all spent time as war artists during World War I.  Arthur Lismer was an art educator, Tom Thompson worked as a fire ranger, James McDonald was the principal of the Ontario College of Art, A.J. Cassion worked for a lithography company and Edward Holgate taught wood engraving. 

The Men Who Paint work outside, painting the beauty of the Canadian landscape as they view it first hand.  They paint their native Saskatchewan but have also been to other places including a painting expedition to Inuvik in Canada’s Northwest Territories. 

The Group of Seven also painted outside. They believed that a distinct kind of Canadian art could be developed by direct contact with nature. 

The Men Who Paint have joint art shows where they display their work together. 

The Group of Seven also staged art shows together featuring work by its members. 

The Men Who Paint have some wonderful paintings done in Algonquin Park.

Algonquin Park was also a favorite painting site of the Group of Seven. 

There is a striking similarity between the Men Who Paint work and the work of the Group of Seven. 

Other posts about art in Saskatoon……….

Pool Project

A Walk in Saskatoon

What Artwork Reminds You of Home?

A Teetotaler and a Dakota Chief Found A City



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A Quick Dip Into the AGO

It looks like an overturned canoe! The Art Gallery of Ontario resembles a glass canoe that has been turned upside down. The facade of the building was designed by architect Frank Gehry and was completed in 2008. It has probably been nearly twenty years since we last visited the gallery. We managed to fit in about two and a half hours there Friday afternoon. It wasn’t nearly enough! 

We started with the Evan Penny exhibition. I had seen Penny’s work many years ago at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon. I remember being impressed with his life -like enormous faces that showed every blemish, age spot and hair in such realistic fashion.

I watched a video and read an illustrated story board that explained the multi-stage process Penny uses to create his work. He gets his ideas and images from live models, photographs and his imagination.

The next step is for Penny to make a clay model and then he uses rubber, resin, glass fibre and plaster to create a silicon covering which he moulds over the clay model. 

He removes the inner clay model and then paints the silicon figure. He sculpts and paints the eyes and ears and implants every hair one by one onto his figures. Implanting the hair alone can take hundreds of hours. He uses a mixture of yak hair, horse hair, human hair and mohair.

Libby Faux, the model for this image is a friend of Penny’s. Faux is French for forgery. Are all images of ourselves manipulated? Are they a kind of forgery or false view of who we really are? 

I was particularly intrigued with Penny’s No One In Particular series. These images have titles like Old, Young, Fat and Female and while he calls them No One In Particular they each look like someone in particular, someone special and distinct whom Penny has created in minute detail. Penny composed the images from multiple sources taking details from magazine and newspaper photos, his imagination and people he may have seen on the street. So while they look like unique individuals they don’t really exist.

It was hard to leave the Penny exhibition but our time was limited so I moved on to the floor that featured Canadian artists. What a glut of pieces here. At the Winnipeg Art Gallery where I work as a tour guide we have one Cornelius Krieghoff work on display. 

The Art Gallery of Ontario has four rooms filled with Krieghoff’s work. I didn’t count them but I’m sure there were over a hundred and fifty of his paintings on the walls.

We have a few Lawren Harris works on view at the Winnipeg Art Gallery but at the Art Gallery of Ontario all four walls of a huge rectangular room are covered with his paintings. 

I liked the room where they had placed a large collection of works by Canadian artists during the 1920’s. Some sections of the room were painted light gray and these walls displayed works by the famous Group of Seven. However there were also dark gray sections of wall and they displayed works by other artists painting at the same time who were inspired by the Group of Seven or who painted very differently from the Group of Seven.  Emily Carr for example couldn’t be admitted to the Group of Seven because she was a woman. 

One thing that is different at the Art Gallery of Ontario from the Winnipeg Art Gallery is that in many of the galleries at the AGO the paintings don’t have title cards or labels. There are guide books in these  rooms that have diagrams showing you the names and artists. However if other patrons are using these books you are left without any knowledge of what a painting is called or who painted it. Sometimes this is good because it allows you to use your imagination to guess what the painting might be titled and who the artist is; but overall I found it frustrating. 

We really just got a chance to dip briefly into the Art Gallery of Ontario. I’d like to go back to see the rest of the work and take some guided tours to learn more about the huge collection. 

You might want to check out………

Two Diverse Members of the Group of Seven

Big Mother- An Unusual Sculpture

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Filed under Art, Canada, Culture, Toronto

Two Diverse Members of the Group of Seven

One of the most popular school tours we give at the Winnipeg Art Gallery is about Canada’s famous Group of Seven painters.

Poplar Woods by Fitzgerald

This is Poplar Woods by Lionel Fitzgerald the only Winnipeg and western member of the Group of Seven. 

These artists formed a cooperative group in the 1920’s and 1930’s. They wanted to paint the Canadian landscape in a unique way, in a style that would be very different from the way European artists painted landscapes. The group wasn’t made up of exactly seven people all the time.

Members came and went, and some who were never officially members, like female artist Emily Carr, did work compatible with the mission and style of the group.  

A September Gale by Arthur Lismer

This painting was done by Arthur Lismer, who was born in a British factory town to a family with a working class income. His family was very proud of him especially when he won a scholarship to an art high school. Lismer had to work very hard to keep up his grades while working at a part-time job to help pay his living expenses. After high school he won a scholarship to study art in Belgium. 

Agawa River by Lawren Harris at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

This painting was done by another member of the Group of Seven, Lawren Harris. He was born in Ontario into a very wealthy family, who had amassed a fortune making and selling farm equipment. Lawren’s mother encouraged his creativity and sent him to an expensive boarding school where he didn’t study much because he preferred sports like swimming and tennis. When he graduated his family paid for him to study art in Berlin, Germany. 

Arthur Lismer came to Canada in 1911 because he couldn’t find a job in England and went to work for a design company in Toronto. He was an official war artist during World War I. He would have liked to paint more but had to squeeze in time to paint while working to support himself. A key member of the Group of Seven he is credited with coming up with their name.  He was passionate about art education and taught at art schools in Canada and abroad. He wrote books about teaching art to students and ran art education programs at several different Canadian art galleries. 

When Lawren Harris was tired of European living he came back to Canada in 1908.  He was only in the army for a short time in World War I and then had to leave for medical reasons. He is known as the leader and founder of The Group of Seven. He had lots of time to paint since he lived off his inheritance. Painting was a spiritual experience for him. He felt that through his art he became a better person.  

Lawren Harris and Arthur Lismer led very different lives and produced art work that is noticeably different; but they were both members of the Group of Seven and they both created unique Canadian landscapes that helped carve out a distinctive place in the international art world for  Canadian artists and art. 

 If you enjoyed this post you might also like………..

Landscapes for the End of Time

The Dark Side of William Kurelek

Norman Rockwell Exhibit- Winnipeg Art Gallery

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