Saturday, 27 October 2012

ALGOMA - Group of Seven Country

Many years ago, back in the early 1900s, a group of seven Canadian artists, aptly called the Group of Seven, placed their brand on the portrayal of the Canadian landscape. They began their explorations deep in southern Ontario in the Toronto area and expanded their wanderings north to what is now known as Algonquin Provincial Park. Following the First World War they explored to the northwest to the La Cloche region now known as Killarney Provincial Park, and then before disbanding to the Algoma region an area that now encompasses several Provincial and Federal parks, namely Lake Superior Provincial Park and Pukaskwa National Park.

The members of the Group of Seven and their contemporary, Tom Thomson, have long since passed, but their art continues to dominate tempting many artists to follow in their footsteps. And, I must confess that I’m one of those artists. Early into my career as an artist I became intrigued by the dynamics of the Group. Try as I did to ignore their accomplishments I eventually succumbed to the romance of their wanderings and have spent a good many years following in their footsteps sketching and painting.

Algoma to the members of the Group of Seven meant anything west of Sudbury, Ontario, to the vast area north of  Lake Superior. It’s interesting to note that the members of the Group were not young men when they undertook to paint this wilderness. They went where the trains could take them, and then camped out and climbed to the top of the hills. Their excursions into the wilderness were generally undertaken during the autumn at which time weather conditions were not the best. They spent but a very few years exploring, but their accomplishments are legendary in the annals of Canadian Art.

Their accomplishments are an impossible act to follow each artist having become a Canadian icon. Art critics have remarked that when it comes to painting the Canadian landscape Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven “have said all”. Still, there are those of us who head out into the wilderness at every chance to sketch and paint the impossible. I suppose that it’s all about the allure to explore places less travelled, and to share in the romance that captured the hearts of the Group of Seven. 

Old Woman River
 - Lake Superior Provincial Park  Pen & Ink Sketch on beige coloured paper

Awausee Trail Outlook-Lake Superior Provincial Park     
Pencil sketch on beige coloured paper

Spruce Island-Lake Superior Provincial Park   
Pencil sketch

Thumbnail Pencil Sketches of Lake Superior  Provincial Park

Island - Pukaskwa National Park    
Pencil Sketch

Pukaskwa National Park    Pencil Sketch

Outlook - Pukaskwa National Park  
Pencil Sketch

Pic Island - Lake Superior  
Pencil Drawing

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