Saturday, 16 November 2013


Art is all about  personal interpretation and never was this made so clear when, with the publication of Jim and Sue Waddington’s book entitled “ IN THE FOOTSTEPS of the Group Of Seven, we were able to compare the actual landscape with the paintings of members of this famous Canadian group of landscape painters. It’s a marvelous book, probably one of the best written about the Group of Seven as it is written in language that everyone can understand, and reveals that the Group’s members simply enjoyed going out into wild places and sketching and painting.  I personally recommend that should you get a chance purchase a copy, or request that your local library obtain a copy.

Personal interpretation is so important when making art. When we try to make a painting look exactly like the subject we’re not making art ,we’re simply exhibiting technical skills. Unfortunately, should there be pressure to earn a living from your art, the artist is often forced to please the market, which for the most part is made up of persons void of art education and simply amazed by work that looks realistic. It’s a hard choice for young artists attempting to survive in a very competitive marketplace.

It’s interesting to note, referring back to the Group Of Seven, that the members were not terribly successful commercially during their lifetimes. It was only following the death of many of the members, and a push by private enterprise that they, and their art, became iconic. Save for Lawren Harris, who was born into wealth and never held a real employment, they all worked at one thing, or another.

Jim and Sue Waddington’s book holds special meaning to a good number of Canada’s contemporary artists. Many of us throughout our careers, having been exposed to the Group Of Seven’s works, have followed in their footsteps hoping to be inspired by the source of their inspiration. The Waddington’s book helps to demystify the Group, and challenges contemporary artists to go beyond the efforts of the Group and to introduce Canadians, the world for that matter, to our amazing natural heritage.

Graphite Field Sketch
Camp Site 77 Killarney Provincial Park

A couple of weeks ago we drove up to the park on a whim, had lunch, made a quick sketch from Camp Site 77, then drove back home. Over 300 miles, but it was worth it. I reiterate that the sketch was a quick sketch simply because the temperature was close to freezing and my fingers were quickly numbed by the intense cold. But, the mere fact that I sat there and experienced the moment, was enough to help to move the sketch to another level back in the studio.

Thumbnail Sketch

Back home a few days later I made a thumbnail sketch on a scrap piece of paper exploring a different interpretation of the scene than the field sketch. 

Detailed Graphite Drawing

I quite love drawing with graphite pencils. 
Here I've played with the landscape a bit taking some liberty with tree placement and  the foreground. 

Small Watercolour Study 5.5"X 8"

There's a lot of detail in this small study. Despite the fact that most of the leaves were off of the trees I've pedalled backwards a bit in time and turned the scene into an autumn landscape. Later, come the winter, I'll take a whack at doing a larger interpretation.

As I've mentioned it's all about personal interpretation!

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