Emily Carr (1871–1945)

Emily Carr was influenced by Fauvism and Impressionism. Fauvism is a group of artists which were formed in the early 20th century, whose work used strong colour and emphasized painterly qualities. Impressionism was a 19th century art movement. It is used to emphasis light in its changing qualities.  She is known as the most important BC artist of her generation.   Her work expresses a spiritual connection to the BC landscape and documents First Nations settlements.

More about Emily:

"A West Coast artist who has been described as “Canada’s Van Gogh.” Born in Victoria, Emily Carr began with few advantages. She studied art in San Francisco, London, and Paris while struggling to fund her education.

Embracing the new modernist style, she came home in 1911 and applied her new skills to her favourite subjects — West Coast rainforests and the villages and artifacts of indigenous peoples. However, Canadian critics and buyers were not ready for her work and she abandoned painting for fifteen years.

It wasn’t until the National Gallery mounted an exhibition of West Coast art in 1927 that she received the attention she deserved. By the time of her death she enjoyed international renown that has outlasted that of her contemporaries."

Source: Canada's History 

First Canadian War Art Program Established in 1943

Alfred Bastien. Canadian Gunners in the Mud, Passchendaele|Canadian War Museum, Ottawa.

Alfred Bastien. Canadian Gunners in the Mud, Passchendaele|Canadian War Museum, Ottawa.

It was in 1943 during the second world war that Canadian war art began to appear. In fact, Canada was the first country to establish a war art program. A man by the name of H.O.McCurry assisted in the establishment of the Program, hiring 30 different Canadian artists serving in the armed forces.  

Despite their restrictive instructions, the new subject matter, and the dangerous surroundings, the war artists produced a remarkable legacy of the conflict. Their paintings range through a variety of styles and plumb the depths of human emotions shared by the 1.1 million who served and who witnessed the deaths of more than 42,000 of their comrades.
— War Museum.ca

After May in 1945, the artists returned to Canada in order to complete collections of artworks based on their prior work.  The military provided studio space for the artists so they were able to depict the reality of conditions during this difficult time.  Various Canadian military artists were commissioned to create works of military activities in Europe, North Africa, on the Pacific and Atlantic, and on the Canadian home front.

War artists who served in the First and Second World War included prominent Canadians like Arthur Lismer, A.Y. Jackson and Frederick Varley, Alex Colville, Lawren P. Harris, Pegi Nicol MacLeod, and Jack Nicols.

Today, there are three War Art Collections:

The Canadian War Memorials of the First World War (1914-18); the Canadian War Records of the Second World War (1939-45); and the post-war Canadian Armed Forces Civilian Artist Program (1968-95). 




Collingwood comic artist: Lynn Johnston

For Better or For Worse is a comic strip by Canadian artist, Lynn Johnston. It originally ran from 1979 to 2008 chronicling the lives of a Canadian family, The Pattersons, and their friends.

Cartoonist Lynn Johnston’s eye for detail and her uncanny sense of what real parents and children struggle with daily are a big part of her success.
— Go Comics

Lynn Johnston was born in Collingwood, Ontario - May 28, 1947.  She is the creator of For Better or For Worse which appears in newspapers across Canada and around the world. The story-line and the characters lead real lives. She was the first woman and first Canadian to win the National Cartoonist Society's Reuben. 

Johnston’s strip was ground-breaking in its adherence to narrative and emotional realism, and its refusal to engage in melodrama, superpowers, or anthropomorphic animals.
— For Better or For Worse

She became the first woman to win the Reuben Award for outstanding cartoonist of the year in 1985 from the Cartoonist Society and in 1988 she became the first woman to be president of this society.  She was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1992 and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1994. Lynn continues to work from her home.

Posted on March 14, 2017 .

Canadian Art & Craft Flourished following World War One

The writings of William Morris inspired artists, craftspeople and designers to flourish and develop their artwork following the First World War. Artists, artisans, and architects worked together in collaborative ventures toward ideals of beauty, simplicity, harmony and utility. Art during this time left a historical footprint representing positive attributions following such a difficult time in history. 

During this period, Canadian artists and designers began articulating their goals in new periodicals, and formed different multidisciplinary societies and clubs.  This period, when Canada began its transformation from a fragmented colony to a booming agricultural and industrial nation, is documented in an exhibit of Canadian art dating back from after the last spike was drawn in 1886.  

The exhibition celebrates Art from 1890 - 1918.  To take a virtual tour of this exhibition, visit Artists, Architects and Artisans: Canadian Art 1890–1918.

It created an epoch in art!
— Leo Braudy, a USC professor of English and author of From Chivalry to Terrorism: War and the Changing Nature of Masculinity.


Posted on March 8, 2017 .

Photography Studio - 1856 - 1936

Image Rights Statement: This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License Image Rights Holder: McCord Museum

Image Rights Statement: This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License

Image Rights Holder: McCord Museum

The History of Notman's Photographic Studio - founded in 1856: 

"The Notman photographic studio was founded in 1856 by William Notman. During its 78 years in operation, the studio and the personal history of its founder, William Notman, were closely linked.

William Notman was born in Paisley, Scotland, on 8 March 1826. After finishing his studies he began his career in business by working in the family firm. But when it ran into financial difficulties William Notman decided to move to Montréal. When he arrived, the city was buzzing with activity, so in 1856 Notman opened his own photography studio. A short time later, James Hodges, the engineer for the Grand Trunk Railway, asked Notman to photograph the stages in the construction of the Victoria Bridge. In 1860, Notman photographed the Prince of Wales during his visit to Montréal, then placed over 350 of the photographs into a maple box. This box was presented to the Prince of Wales by the Canadian government, an honour that earned Notman the title of "Photographer to the Queen."

Also in 1860, Notman took part in the founding of the Art Association of Montreal, and the association's very first meeting was held in Notman's Bleury Street studio. The studio flourished and by 1874 it had 55 employees. At one time Notman employed as many as six or eight photographers, and by the end of his 35-year career he had provided work for more than 40 photographers. Notman also employed artistic painters; they made it possible for him to offer customers hand-painted full-scale portraits. Notman's photographers immortalized the most influencial men and women of the day, the most beautiful panoramas, the wildest and the most developed regions in the country, the latest technological advances and First Nations peoples.

Notman exploited the commercial potential of photography to the fullest, offering his customers a wide variety of products. The studio and its support staff developed tools that enabled them to identify the subject of any photograph taken by the studio. For example, all of the information on a customer or a subject was filed in an album along with a print of the photograph. In its 78 years of existence, the studio produced more than 200 of these albums. In addition, staff members recorded in alphabetical order in large books the name of everyone who sat for a photo.

The Notman studio also produced numerous composite photographs, a format whose commercial potential by far exceeded that for single-subject photographs. Composites were made up of individual photos glued to a painted background and then photographed for sale to individuals. Whenever Notman published a collection or won a prize, the Studio benefited from the ensuing publicity. Between 1865 and 1868 Notman published Portraits of British Americans with biographical sketches and collaborated with the author W. George Beers in producing three portfolios of sports photographs. Notman also received medals at the world exhibition in Montréal in 1860, in London in 1862, in Paris in 1867 and 1878, in Australia in 1877 and again in London in 1886.

William Notman married Alice M. Woodwark on 15 June 1853, and they had seven children, including three sons who later worked at the Notman studio. Notman continued taking photographs until his death in 1891. Two of his sons then ran the business, William McFarlane, from 1891 until his death in 1913, and Charles Frederick, from 1894 to 1935, when he sold it to Associated Screen News."


150 Years of Canadian Art


Important Moments in 1933 - Canadian Art History

Photo Source: Artfest Ontario - Write Way Communications/Photography

Photo Source: Artfest Ontario - Write Way Communications/Photography

What was happening in Canada in 1933?

  • Twenty-eight artists from across the country form the Canadian Group of Painters to succeed the defunct Group of Seven.
  • Although centered in Toronto, the CGP's first show of "art with a national character" is held in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
  • An experimental School of Fine Arts is founded in Banff, Alta., evolving into the influential Banff Centre for Continuing Education.
  • Frederick Varley and Jock Macdonald found the British Columbia College of Arts in Vancouver. The Graphic Arts Club changes its name to the Canadian Society of Graphic Art.
  • Some members of the Sculptors' Society of Canada -- especially the influential women Loring, Wyle, and Wyn Wood -- resign from the Ontario Society of Artists, which they felt gave insufficient support to sculpture.
  • The Canadian Handicrafts Guild forms an Indian Committee to support traditional Indian crafts. Lester D. Longman is appointed Special Carnegie Lecturer in the history and appreciation of art at McMaster University in Hamilton, making his the first such university appointment in Canada. Negotiations for a similar appointment begin at Queen's University in Kingston.
  • Edith Hallett Bethune wins a Diploma for Exceptional Photographic Art at the Chicago World's Fair.

Source: The University of British Columbia - faculty of Creative & Clinical studies

Read more about Important Moments in Canadian History from 1991 - 1945. 


Posted on March 1, 2017 .

Jean-Paul Riopelle - 1923 - 2002

Jean Paul Riopelle (1923-2002), Photographed in his Paris Atelier Photographer: Karsh, Yousuf

Jean Paul Riopelle (1923-2002), Photographed in his Paris Atelier

Photographer: Karsh, Yousuf

Jean-Paul Riopelle pioneered a particular style of painting where he used large quantities of different colours of paints (mostly oil) to apply thickly to his canvas with a trowel. Jean-Paul Riopelle, CC GOQ was from Quebec, Canada.Works such as Pavane (1954) and The Wheel II (1956) represent this technique. For Riopelle, the following years brought him much success and he quickly became a big part of the Parisian cultural scene. He became one of the most internationally celebrated Canadian painters of the twentieth century.

"In the 1960s, Riopelle renewed his ties to Canada. Exhibitions were held at the National Gallery of Canada (1963), and the Musée du Quebec held a retrospective in 1967. In the early 1970s, he built a home and studio in the Laurentians. From 1974 he divided his time between St. Marguerite in Quebec, and Saint-Cyr-en-Arthies in France. Riopelle participated in his last exhibition in 1996. From 1994 until his death, he maintained homes in both St. Marguerite and Isle-aux-Grues, Quebec." - Soucre: National Gallery of Canada

Jean-Paul Riopelle was known for his abstract expressionist work and was likely the 'greatest exponent' of abstract art!. Aside from his abstract painting, Jean-Paul was also a graphic artist and sculptor. 

In 1962 he represented Canada at the Venice Biennale, where he won the UNESCO prize.

Jean-Paul was influenced by traditional representational art, particularly - landscape painting - which he soon abandoned, due to the prominent influence of the Canadian artist, Paul-Emile Borduas (1905-60), who steered him toward non-objective art. 

More about Jean-Paul:

  • Artworks: La Joute, Six owls, Composition III, La Cime de L'Herve, Hommage à Aimé et Marguerite Maegh, + more
  • Birthplace: Montreal, Canada
  • Associated periods or movements: Lyrical abstraction
  • Nationality: Canada
  • Art Forms: Painting

To view Jean-Paul Riopelles collections, click here.  

Haida - Totem Art/Crafts

The Haida Gwaii: a North American native culture, settled in the Queen Charlotte Islands and Alaska area in Canada over 8,000 years ago.  They are known for their outstanding craftsmanship through their historic Totem Pole construction, paintings and tatoos.  

The Haida Gwaii were the first inhabitants of the region and their survival depended on excellent stewardship of the land. The hand carved totem poles, paintings, and personal tattoo art clearly reflected their respect for the land.

Photo Source: Display, Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia

Photo Source: Display, Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia

It's unfortunate that much of the early Haida art work and history of this culture was destroyed. 

They had been decimated by epidemics, converted by missionaries, pushed off their land by settlers, and finally herded onto reservations by the government. Little of the Indian culture remains today.
— Marion Pearsall

Whale Symbolism in Haida Totem Poles: Ruler of His own Underwater City; lives with noble supernatural beings there; hates Thunderbirds; some turn into Wolves.

Small totem poles such as the one in the photo were carved for sale between the years 1910 and 1950, during the time when the Potlach ceremonial celebration - incorporating traditions of sharing and gift giving, was banned by law.  The Potlach ban was dropped later on in 1951. While carving large poles, masks and other activities associated with potlatching declined during this difficult time, artists produced many smaller poles, in hopes of keeping the artistic traditions alive.

Read more about the Haidai Gwaii Culture and their magnificent craftsmanship here.  To view more of Haida Gwaii craftsmanship and artwork, click the following link - First Peoples of Canada.


Beardy Jackson - An Inspirational Storyteller

Beardy Jackson was a Native Canadian artist who told stories through his work. He came from the Native tribe - Anishinaabe, and his vibrant works represent various scenes and 'spiritual concepts' depicted from the holy stories of his Anishinaabe people. He was a member of The Indian Group of Seven that were recognized and accepted in 1973.

Beardy Jackson - Photo Source - Gallery One One One

Beardy Jackson - Photo Source - Gallery One One One

In 1973 several aboriginal artists under the monitor Professional Native Indian Artists Incorporation (PNIAI) got together in Winnipeg. Jackson Beardy, Alex Janvier and Daphne Odjig pooled their talents together for an exhibition of their work at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
The show was called, Treaty Numbers 23, 287, 1171, and was groundbreaking.
— Frank Larue

"He had a distinctive graphic style characterized by flat areas of warm colours and curving ribbons of paint. His early work often narrated legends but as his art and his vision matured he explored the natural balances in nature, regeneration and growth, and the interdependence of all things. Some works were rendered on birchbark or beaver skins rather than canvas." Source: Native Art in Canada.

Source: http://www.ammsa.com/content/jackson-beardy-footprints

Art Studio - http://bearclawgallery.com/artists/jackson-beardy/


William Daniel Blatchly ~ 1838 - 1903

William Daniel Blachly was an artist of many genres dabbling in Print Art, Drawing Art and a unique Painting Technique

William Daniel Blatchly - Canadian Artist

William Daniel Blatchly - Canadian Artist


Nationality: Canada

Occupation or Profession: Painters

Uses technique(s): Print (Art Technique), Drawing (Art Technique), Painting (Art Technique)

Links to other authorities: 

Illustrator of: 

Posted on February 23, 2017 .

Horatio Walker - Painter, 1858 - 1938

Horatio Walker was an admirable Canadian painter who sold his works of art commercially up until his death in 1938. His work depicted picturesque scenes of Canadian rural life.  Working strictly with oils and watercolours, Horatio was highly influenced by the French Barbizon school of painting.

Read more about Horatio Walker here

Painting - Horatio Walker

Painting - Horatio Walker

Walker, Horatio

Date of Birth: 1858-05-12
Place of Birth: Listowel
Date of Death: 1938-09-27
Place of Death: Sainte-Pétronille
Gender: Male
Nationality: Canada
Occupation or Profession: Painters
Uses technique(s): Painting (Art Technique)
Links to other authorities: 

For additional information see: 

Inuit Art by: Pitseolak Ashoona ~ 1904 - 1983

1967 - Innukshuk Builders by: Pitseolak Place of Creation: Cape Dorset Dimension: 55.9 x 66.7 cm; image: 39.4 x 47 cm maximum irregular Material Description: stonecut in green, orange and black on laid paper Cultural Association(s): Canadian culture

1967 - Innukshuk Builders by: Pitseolak

Place of Creation: Cape Dorset

Dimension: 55.9 x 66.7 cm; image: 39.4 x 47 cm maximum irregular

Material Description: stonecut in green, orange and black on laid paper

Cultural Association(s): Canadian culture

Biography of Pitseolak Ashoona

In Inuktitut, the language of Inuit, "pitseolak" means sea pigeon, and the artist liked to say, "When I see pitseolaks over the sea, I say, 'There go those lovely birds - that's me flying.'" These words are an eloquent testimony to the vivaciousness and zest that marked the life and work of this artist, Pitseolak.

After her husband’s death at Nettilling Lake, in the interior of Baffin Island, Pitseolak and her six children (she bore seventeen in all) made a journey of two hundred kilometres to Cape Dorset.

Determined to provide for her family herself, she earned a meagre living from her sewing, and was aided by family members; in fact, it was with the encouragement of her cousin Kiakshuk that she first ventured to do some drawings for the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative’s print studio, founded in the early 60s. This marked the beginning of a productive career that extended over the next 25 years. Pitseolak left thousands of drawings, including more than 200 that have been made into prints.

Source: National Gallery of Canada

Marcel Barbeau - Painter/Sculptor - 1925 - 2016

Photo of Marcel Barbeau in his Montreal studio by Martin Lipman for the Canada Council for the Arts.

Photo of Marcel Barbeau in his Montreal studio by Martin Lipman for the Canada Council for the Arts.

I do not look for beauty, I attempt to produce a painting that is vibrant.

On January 2nd, just last year, Marcel Barbeau sadly passed away. He was 90 years old. Over the course of his successful artistic career, his work had taken a variety of directions as he continually responded to his creative impulse and a desire to exceed the limits of a given form.  

His works are vivid, involve various strokes and he was one of the first non-figurative painters in Canada. He created an astounding four-thousand-plus artworks.  Read more about Marcel here. 

Marcel Barbeau Source: http://www.ngcmagazine.ca/artists/the-proust-questionnaire-marcel-barbeau

Marcel Barbeau

Source: http://www.ngcmagazine.ca/artists/the-proust-questionnaire-marcel-barbeau

Marcel Barbeau's Art held by the following Canadian art galleries:

Art Gallery of Ontario
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
National Gallery of Canada


Canadian Heritage Information Network

Canadian Art Foundation



Biography of Peterborough Artist, Norman Knott ~ 1945 - 2003

"Norman Knott was a Native artist who was born on the Curve Lake Reserve, just north of Peterborough, Ontario in 1945. He lived in a small quiet community all his life and resided there with his wife and three children. The knowledge he acquired there allowed him to create meaningful and colourful paintings.

Norman’s paintings appear to be caught between his background myths and contemporary realistic styles. His closeness to nature, as well as a keen eye and steady hand gave the figures in his paintings a realist outline; his Ojibwe background adds an inner touch of symbolism. Although his style was different, his art has put him in a class with such renowned artists as Robert Bateman and Michael Bumas. It is this unique style that gave him a wide range of popularity outside the Kawartha’s, including art dealers and collectors from across Canada, United States, Great Britain, Germany and Australia.

As well as being recognized as a successful Canadian Artist, Norman was also known for his generosity and kindness towards colleagues and friends. In 1992, Norman Knott donated three of his paintings to the Echoes of a Proud Nation’s Pow Wow Committee. The committee felt that one of the paintings, which contained a Turtle, was something special and decided to adopt it as the official logo for it’s Pow Wow. Norman was both pleased and honoured with this decision."

Source: Norman Knott

Posted on February 8, 2017 .

Clarence Gagnon, Painter - 1881 - 1942

Artist or Maker: Gagnon, Clarence Date: 1909 Width: 15 cm Height: 20.5 cm Cultural Association(s): Canadian culture  

Artist or Maker: Gagnon, Clarence
Date: 1909
Width: 15 cm
Height: 20.5 cm
Cultural Association(s): Canadian culture

Clarence Gagnon is best known for his rural Quebec landscape paintings and the illustrations he created for Louise Hémon’s novel, Maria Chapdelaine.

It was not the over-sensitivity of the misunderstood that made me move to Paris....Over there, I paint only Canadian subjects, I dream only of Canada. The motif remains fixed in my mind, and I don’t allow myself to be captivated by the charms of a new landscape. In Switzerland, Scandinavia-everywhere, I recall my French Canada.
— Clarence Gagnon

Read Clarence Gagnon's biography here.

First Official War Artist - Will Ogilvie - 1901 - 1989

Ogilvie, Will (South African/Canadian, 1901–1989)


Convoy In Caen.

Will Ogilvie was a commercial artist, painter, and educator.  He was recognized for being the first official Canadian war artist, noted for creating images of war while he was under fire. He was a member of the Canadian Group of Painters and the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour.

Read more about Will Ogilvie in Canada's Military Magazine - Legion. 

Source: National Gallery of Canada

Posted on February 6, 2017 .

National Gallery of Canada - Established in 1880

Established in 1880, The National Gallery of Canada has played a pivotal role with Canada's thriving art culture.  With a foremost mission to provide the best access to works of art for all Canadians, the gallery maintains Canada's premier collection of Indigenous, American, and Asian art, as well as a selection of European Art dating back to the 14th century from the 21st.  

In 1934 The National Gallery arranged the first Canadian International Salon of Photographic Art and just two years ago, in 2015, the Gallery founded the Canadian Photography Institute which is a global multidisciplinary research center dedicated to the history, evolution and future of photography.  

For more information, visit the gallery's website -  http://www.gallery.ca/en/ and please feel free to follow them on Twitter.

Photographer, James William Topley ~ 1845 - 1930

Photo: James William Topley

Photo: James William Topley

Photo: James William Topley

Photo: James William Topley

Born February 13th, 1945, James William Topley was a well-known Canadian photographer recognized for his portraiture of Canadian politics. He was also a business partner of William Notman, in which he took over his studio (Notman's)  in Ottawa in 1872. 

Read more about James Topley here.  

Photographer - Topley, William James

Date of Birth: 1845-02-13
Place of Birth: Montreal
Date of Death: 1930-11-16
Place of Death: Vancouver
Gender: Male
Nationality: Canada
Occupation or Profession: Photographers

Image Rights Holder

Photo Credentials


Posted on February 1, 2017 .

Collingwood Painter Brian Jones depicted people in motion!

Painting: Brian Jones, Artist/Painter

Painting: Brian Jones, Artist/Painter

Brain was known for painting the movement of people during the 50's and 60's up until just before his death in 2008. His work was bright and colourful and portrayed a strong narrative touching on subtle humour.  He was a local to Collingwood and initially worked as a photo-realist.

When Brian passed away, his wife Suzanne donated many of his art supplies and equipment to the Artventure Studio and the Magic of Children in the Arts. We still use them daily- including his easel, art cabinet, electric pencil sharpener and more. Brian had a passion for collecting antique toys and oddities. His work had a childlike quality, perhaps that is why he was so supportive of our children's art.

Born in 1950, Brian a was well a-known artist. He did the most whimsical, evocative and brightly coloured paintings and, a pretty impressive Bubbles impersonation! From 1975 to 2006, Brian produced a solo exhibition every eighteen months in Toronto. He has won many grants and awards, including the Queen's Silver Jubilee award in 1977; OSA Best Oil Award, 1985, and the “Young Achievers” National Award 1982. 

By streamlining the figure, adding brighter colours and simplifying his shapes in a more abstract format, Jones developed what would eventually be called his “Neighbours” style.
— Loch Gallery

Brian Jones is featured in a selection of major public collections:

Canada Council Art Bank, Museum London, McIntosh Gallery University of Western Ontario, Confederation Art Gallery, Province of Ontario, City of Toronto Archives and in Corporate and Private Collections throughout Canada, the US and Europe.

Source: http://www.lochgallery.com/artist/brian-jones 

Posted on January 29, 2017 .