Tuesday, August 31, 2010

AY Jackson


Born in Montreal, Quebec, 03 October 1882
Died in Kleinburg, Ontario, 05 April 1974

“The obedient in art are always the forgotten . . . The country is glorious but its beauties are unknown, and but waiting for a real live artist to splash them onto canvas . . . Chop your own path. Get off the car track.”
(A.Y. Jackson, Montreal, letter to Florence Clement, Berlin, Ontario, 5 March 1913).

A.Y. (Alexander Young) Jackson, a founding and leading member of the Group of Seven, was recognized during his lifetime for his contribution to the development of art in Canada. He travelled widely and painted full-time, primarily landscapes.

A native of Montreal, Jackson studied with William Brymner at the Art Association of Montreal, at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1906, and with Jean-Paul Laurens at the Académie Julien, Paris, in 1907. He painted in Europe frequently between 1906 and 1912. It was his painting The Edge of the Maple Wood (1910) that brought him to the attention of J.E.H. MacDonald and, when it was bought by Lawren Harris, Jackson visited Toronto and met other members of the future Group of Seven. Dr. James MacCallum, co-financier with Harris of Canada’s first purpose-built studio building, sponsored him for a year in 1914. Jackson lived and worked at the Studio Building in Toronto until 1955. He travelled in Canada throughout his career, sketching outdoors and painting in his Toronto studio.

Jackson’s father, an unsuccessful businessman, abandoned his family in 1891, and Jackson worked from the age of twelve at a Montreal lithography company. Having moved to Toronto, in 1914 he shared a studio with Tom Thomson and painted in Algonquin Park, producing The Red Maple that same year. During the First World War he joined the infantry, serving as a war artist in 1917–19. He exhibited with the Group of Seven from 1920 and played a key role in bringing the artists of Montreal and Toronto together. Jackson continued to play an influential role in Canadian art, and from 1943 to 1949 he taught at the Banff School of Fine Arts. Jackson resided in Manotick, near Ottawa, from 1955, but incapacitated in 1968 by a stroke, he moved to Kleinburg, Ontario, and lived there at the McMichael Collection from 1969.

Extracted from Cybermuse. Please click here.
http://archives.cbc.ca/arts_entertainment/visual_arts/topics/754/

Sunday, August 29, 2010

On Dealing with Depression in Painting, by Robert Genn

Morning on the Bay, Fredericks

"If your work depresses you, and depresses you more as you go, you need to get happy. Count your blessings. Count your winnings. Take a few minutes to fly the flag of optimism. I don't know about you, but I often feel I'm getting drunk on a painting. It's better to be a happy drunk than a mean one."

Robert Genn: 'The Painter's' Keys. Please click here for a bi weekly, free subscription.


I am sure that nothing frustrates a painter more than being hung up in 'nowhere land'. You think you know where you are going, but you find yourself off track, and the vision is gone - if it was ever there in the first place.

Speaking for myself, I don't know how many times I have found myself, trying to "work out" a painting by applying different colours, overpainting, adapting to unexpected changes, or impetuously (or maybe even creatively) straying down an uncharted pathway into a work.

Its during these moments of hanging in limbo that the black cloud can descend over the artistic process. My solution is to bide for time. Put the work away and return to it another day. The subconscious mind has a way of dealing with an unfinished painting, in its own time and manner. At worse, maybe the work was never meant to be? If such is the case then the experience itself is never lost.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

How's the Art Scene up There?

I stumbled upon this headline/question, in the Denver Post, after reading the response to it in the Toronto Star. I figured that, any article that would create a response from an arts columnist in another paper must have something going for it. After all, where there's smoke there must be fire. Right?

Ok...here are the two columns. You can check them out.

Denver Post: Click here.
Columnist, Kyle MacMillan.
Toronto Star. Click here. Columnist Murray Whyte.

What set the fire alarms off mamma? Well, first of all Kyle's beginning words in his Denver Column create an automatic knee jerk reaction for many Kanuckistanians.

"Quick, name Canada's most famous artist past or present.
(Very long pause
Come up with anything? It's not easy, is it?"


ok...but when we get beyond the first couple of sentences and the fur on the hackles settle back down Kyle goes on to say, Even though the country is right next door and shares many cultural and historical similarities with us, Americans remain amazingly ignorant of their northern neighbor.

When I read Kyle's column over, I find my head bobbing in agreement. Kyle muses

"If anything stands out historically about Canadian art, it has been a connection to the landscape. Like the United States, Canada is a vast country with a multifaceted geography that has strongly shaped its growth and identity."

I couldn't agree more.Canadian art has been powerfully identified by our link to the landscape - its all part of the old Canadian survival mythos.

Kyle also points out that much of the art seen in the Denver show is part of a shared international aesthetic.

When I read these words, I find myself searching for direction as I prepare the Fredericks Artworks Blog. Is there a defined Canadian art identity?

Certainly the Group of Seven, captured the imagination of Canadians,and presented us with an artistic vision of who we are. But,the influence of the Group of Seven is not as strong as it once was, and the Canadian panorama is shifting. For the most part, its hard to label most of what is produced as Canadian, anymore.

Do today's Canadian artists identify more with universal themes, rather than national themes? Are we influenced more by the broader international landscape than the parochial national one? I would answer, both yes and no. On one hand there will always be a sense of nostalgia in Canadian art: old mills,decaying barns, cedar rail fences, old grain elevators and log cabins being overtaken by forests have a place in our art scene ....but that place is steadily shrinking and being replaced by broader perspectives.


Murray Whyte from the Toronto Star presents a more emotional response:
"Of course, we have to take this for what it is, which is a piece by writer in Denver. Nonetheless, I don't care much for his tone -- as though he were an anthropologist wandering the rain forests of Borneo and coming across a lost tribe. If he spent any time in Berlin, Basel or Frankfurt (or New York, for that matter!) he wouldn't be so surprised; the Canadian presence is more powerful there than it is at home, for heaven's sake.

Whatever the case, the piece is complimentary, smacks of a fair degree of ignorance, particularly for someone whose function is assumably to cover art (ever heard of Jeff Wall? Stan Douglas? General Idea? Michael Snow? Hello?). Which we like, don't we? Then again, when our own museums privilege figures like Anselm Kiefer and Julian Schnabel over our own talent, it's hard to blame anyone for being surprised by Canadian art. And I suppose I have to admit to being less than versed on what Denver has to offer (America, as defined by the twin poles of New York and Los Angeles, somewhat more so). Above all, though, it strikes me that Denver, of all places, oughtn't look down its nose at, well, anyone."


I will be the last person to speak for American art, but if I read Kyle's artile write, that art in the States is drifting into that "shared international aesthetic zone" as well.

Lets push the envelope a bit more.

If art reflects how we see ourselves as a people - is our lack of a dominating national perspective, a reflection on a certain national confusion about who we are and how we see ourselves?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Halifax Exhibit Fetes Alex Colville,90

To help artist Alex Colville mark his 90th birthday, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has mounted a small show celebrating the veteran Canadian artist.

The Halifax gallery assembled a small selection of Colville serigraph prints and preparatory sketches from its permanent collection and unveiled them in a new installation on Tuesday.

"We had a conversation with Dr. Colville, and he was happy to tell us that it was his 90th birthday [coming up], and we were just really excited to do something … to celebrate that momentous marker," AGNS chief curator Sarah Fillmore told CBC News on Tuesday.

The selected prints and sketches "speak to the work that's already on view [nearby, in the gallery], so visitors have a sense of how he constructs his paintings and the extremely mathematical kind of construction that happens in making a painting," Fillmore added.

Colville — born in Toronto on Aug. 24, 1920, but raised and since based in Nova Scotia — has been acclaimed for both portraits and landscapes inspired by his everyday life in Wolfville, as well as for the noted war-art paintings he created during the Second World War.

Fillmore described Colville's magic realist work as "a beautiful and unsettling kind of aesthetic."

"It's a really smart, cerebral, interesting kind of artwork," she said.

The Colville exhibition will continue on display in Halifax until Feb. 20.

This article was extracted from the CBC News website.

To view this article, please click here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pierre Hardy Sees the World Through a Very Big Lens



Here we see Pierre at work at what he does best - creating, very big, murals.

Pierre is presently working on a mural in Burlington, Vermont. As Pierre says, "Everyone loves a parade." To view Pierre's parade mural, please click here.

Please click here to view Pierre's imaginative website.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Meet Pierre Hardy. Muralist Renown.


Pierre Hardy was born in 1961 in Canada’s National Capital, Ottawa. As an emerging artist fascinated by environmental design and architecture, he decided early on to have his art serve a large public by favouring mural art. Even before obtaining his bachelor degree in visual arts from Université du Québec in 1988, he started producing large-scale works on the walls of the cities of Eastern Canada. Since then, he has continued to delight the heart and enchant the eyes of the millions of people who can see his hundred or so outdoor murals in North America and abroad. As the years went by, the subjects of his figurative murals have transformed: to his early trompe-l’oeils succeeded wildlife scenes, allegories and historical recreations. Today, Pierre creates “peoplescapes” on the walls of urban and rural communities, big and small, that call upon his creativity. This concept, his most innovative to date, allows him to showcase people and their history in a mural produced using cutting edge techniques that will ensure its preservation, thus becoming, in turn a significant element of their artistic and cultural heritage.

« Be bold! » Pierre has never forgotten this precious advice given to him by Agnes Evan, artist and professor at the Ottawa School of Art, in 1985. Both theme line and principle, this advice has fed his inspiration and drove him to continually surpass himself. As he says so aptly, “My best mural is always the one I am about to produce!"

Inspired by the post-war French muralists and their works where art and advertising harmoniously combine, Pierre has contributed to the revival of mural art in North America in the 1980s. Among the first to use computer-assisted creation, which he introduced in his university, he was proud to see Development, his first exterior mural, inaugurated in 1985 by Canadian astronaut Marc Garneau, just like he keeps with emotion the letter written to him in 1992 by the apostolic nuncio to Canada praising his vision of Marguerite d’Youville, founding mother of the Grey Nuns, in his mural, A Past to Celebrate… A Future to Fashion, created in Pembroke, Ontario, city of the Congregation’s provincial motherhouse.

Since the beginning of his career, Pierre is a tireless promoter and champion of mural art, a specific form of artistic expression whose conceptual approaches and application techniques are closely intertwined with the dynamic characteristics of the environment we live in. Indeed, murals are two dimensional paintings that require a three-dimensional space in order to find their true essence. Moreover, mural painting involves inherent social obligations and formal strategies that extend beyond the scope of a purely personal vision to a broader form of communication that is often rooted in shared social trends and beliefs. For murals are of public domain, they belong to all who appreciate them: they give a free spirited, wide open access to the imaginary. They are paintings you can touch or be touch by, paintings that are larger than life.

Because murals are a reminder of art’s ability to act as a record of people, place and time, their preservation is of great importance. With his typical pioneer spirit, Pierre keeps abreast of the latest conceptual approaches and state-of-the-art production techniques, and research-development is at the heart of his process. Thus to create his large peoplescapes, he uses cutting-edge image sublimation application on advanced materials. Expert in all application, varnish and finish techniques, he uses since 1990 prefabrication processes adapted to the specific conditions of the sites where the murals will be created.

Pierre makes his technical expertise serve his deepest motivating purpose: the recognition of mural art as a noble and distinct art form. His action in favour of this recognition builds first on the promotion and preservation of the works. The goal is to make them known through all possible means so that they will take their place in society, a recognizable and recognized place for their artistic form as well as for themselves as art objects. It is at his instigation that Yahoo created in 1998 the “muralist” and “mural art” categories in its research engine. Secondly, the major murals produced during the last 30 years are in need of well-deserved conservation and restoration, being dynamic and iconic testimonies of our community histories, and of the evolution and transmission of traditions and knowledge. Knowing our past and capturing our present in images allows us to orient our possible futures. For more than three decades, murals have seen their number multiplied and their popularity grow as strong identity and belonging signs in our contemporary urban environments whose continuous change could sweep us away. Just like we are proud and happy to have found intact the splendid murals of the prehistoric caverns — living messages of our remote and vigorous ancestors —, mural art today, among which the artworks of Pierre Hardy, is and will be a telling sign of the vitally of our vision and the playfulness of our spirit.

For more information, please visit

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Portrait of Mr. George Lengvari, by Paul Rupert



Take a look at this work. Its one of Paul Rupert's many dynamic works, done with his palette knife. For most of us, palette knife art is characterized by the thickness of the paint which has been applied to canvas. But not so with Paul Rupert's work.

The first thing I found myself doing was looking at the softness and delicacy of Paul's application of paint on the subject's coat. Run your eyes over the subject's skin and notice Paul's ability to create blemishes, highlights, age marks and creases. Now, look at the subject's shirt and tie and I am sure you will marvel as I have, at Paul's control in creating exact lines with his knife. About all I can say is..."This is most impressive painting."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Paul Rupert Makes Magic with his Palette Knife


Paul Rupert is a Canadian artist and an elected member of the Canadian Society of Artists. He was born in Ottawa in 1946 and grew up and studied fine art in Montreal. The artist's earliest works were done mainly in charcoal and in ink. However, Paul was into his early teens when he became aware of the dramatic effects which could be achieved by using a palette knife and oil paints. It was not long before the artist realized that he had found a form of expression ideally suited for his personality and talent. Over the years the artist's ability to express himself through this medium have earned Paul Rupert recognition as one of North America’s foremost painters of natural realism and a master of the palette knife. The artist is noted for his oil painting techniques, use of light and reflections and his incredible attention to detail and his ability to capture the mood and feeling of a subject leaves him with few rivals in the art world.
Paul obtained his formal art training at the School of Art and Design of The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, where he studied under the late Arthur Lismer ( Group of Seven ) and at Montreal's Concordia University.
Today, original oil paintings by Paul Rupert are much sought after by galleries, private and corporate collectors around the world. His limited editions are sold by many galleries world wide and his paintings and prints can be found in such noted collections as: The Royal Bank of Canada Collection - IT&T - Mitsui Canada and Japan - The Bank of Montreal - Kraft General Foods - The Claridge Collection - Canadian Airlines - The Government of Alberta - The Government of Ontario - Canada House and Ontario House in London England - The National Gallery - Corby's Distilleries - The International Bankers Club in Hong Kong - The Canadian Embassy Collection in Washington - Molson Breweries - Bombardier - The Montreal Stock Exchange, and many others.

The unique palette knife oil paintings of artist Paul Rupert are simply beyond description. The crisp realism style and intimate feelings portrayed by this incredible artist combine to create subjects in oil displaying this artist's ability to handle a diverse range of subjects. The artist has painted children including his own, in landscape and seascape scenes and has been commissioned by numerous corporations wishing to acquire his magical street scenes. His recent golf landscapes have received much acclaim across North America - whether it’s the mist hanging over the pines behind a green or the mirrored look of a water hazard, the artist’s ability painting light and painting reflections captures the feelings of golf’s most picturesque moments and is completely unsurpassed.
Paul was selected to capture some of The Royal Montreal Golf Club’s famous golf holes for the last two RCGA Canadian Opens held there. His limited edition golf prints have been quick sellouts and recent portraits of LPGA touring pros and some PGA teaching pros, have met with much acclaim. Because of Paul’s amazing ability to capture the character and feeling and natural beauty of the many courses he has painted, Paul Rupert has been commissioned to paint for many of North America’s best known and most beautiful golf courses including, The Shaughnessy Golf Club in Vancouver, Nicklaus North, The Chateau Whistler and The Whistler Golf Club, The Country Club at Brookline - site of the last U.S. Ryder Cup and the new Challenger golf course built by Bombardier in Montreal. The artist was also selected by the ‘Vancouver Arts Umbrella Group’ as their 'artist on the green' in support of the arts throughout British Columbia and the artist's portrait work has received much acclaim in recent years.
Montreal artist Paul Rupert has had numerous 'One Man' shows - all of which have been virtual sellouts and his originals when available, can be found in galleries in the United States and Canada.
"The selection of subjects to paint varies with my mood. In recent years I have incorporated more figures into my work and have found tremendous satisfaction in working studies of my children into landscape and marine settings. Lighting, atmosphere, water and reflection, an interesting composition, all attract me to a particular subject and are key elements in my paintings. Even sounds and smells create a desire to capture certain subjects on canvas. I feel my approach to painting is an emotional rather than a philosophical one.
I begin an oil painting with a final detailed drawing in pencil directly on canvas. This finished sketch is usually the product of a number of other sketches or even a smaller painting of the subject. By the time I have completed the final on-canvas drawing, I have also mentally worked through the application of paint to the canvas and know pretty well the direction I want the final painting to take. Some fine tuning of the canvas drawing is done with the knife as the paint is applied. The mood or atmosphere and highlighted areas have been worked out with the colors and their values during the drawing stages. Often I find myself completing a large area of the canvas with the sole purpose of highlighting another relatively small area of that canvas. These highlighted areas - a tiny spot of light burning through the leaves in a woods, or merely a small puddle on a forest path, are often the stimulus for the entire canvas.
The knife, for me, is the perfect tool in the execution of my oils on canvas. It allows the application of pure color and gives clean definition to a high contrast subject and I find it more spontaneous than a brush. The palette knife can be used merely to stain or scrape the canvas when working out a subject of muted tones - such as a mist shrouded city skyline or a fogbound fishing trawler. I find that with having worked with a knife for over twenty five years, it has become an extension of my right hand. The composition of my painting is constantly being fine-tuned from the initial sketching through the finished oil. The balancing of my composition is of tremendous importance to me. A good balance in composition results in a painting that is both relaxing and yet stimulating to look at. I strive for a finished work that is easy to view while provoking feelings of intimacy and calm."... Paul Rupert.

To visit Paul's website to learn more about his work and style, please click here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

How's This for a Unique Visual Art Form?



Canadian Body Painting Festival
Nanaimo BC
August 31-September 5th

picture extracted from the Toronto Star
Please click here to read an article by Jeremy Ferguson on this event.
Please click here to link to the Body Painting website.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mouseland



Tommy Douglas was the premier of the province of Saskatchewan and during this period, his government brought in the first socialized Medicare programme in North America.

This You Tube Video, presents one of Tommy Douglas's most famous speeches.
I present it on this blog, not because of the political statement it makes, but because the of the power of animation to present poltical ideas.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Gargoyles: Toronto's Old City Hall


Regretably, I haven't had much success finding the gargoyles mentioned in the article below, (from the archives of Toronto's City Hall) so I captured a picture of the gargoyles from the old city hall clock tower. If any reader can locate pictures of the two gargoyles from the column below, I would be more then pleased to present them to our readers.



The Return of the Gargoyles

When Old City Hall opened in 1899, it contained two large (5 feet high) grotesques, located at the foot of the main staircase. These elaborate pieces of wrought iron, each in the form of a griffin or other mythical beast, were produced by the Toronto Fence and Ornamental Iron Works.

The grotesques remained at Old City Hall until 1947. In that year, they were removed during renovations for the installation of the war memorial. The grotesques remained unclaimed and unwanted, until Henry Dobson Antiques Ltd., purchased them.

In an effort to return the works to the Toronto public domain, the Metropolitan Corporation bought the grotesques in the late 1980s. In commemoration of Old City Hall's 100th anniversary, the grotesques have been restored.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Renown Realist Artist Len Gibbs Dies




Len Gibbs fought the big fight against cancer for almost 10 years and died last week. He earned his place in this artist's mind not just for his paintings but the way in which he played out his life. He was the personification of an Albertan Individualist, he spoke with a drawl and he could come up with some great quotes.
Len was one of those artists who was well known in Western Canada, and arguably should have had a greater national appeal than he had. He didn't paint a lot, but what he painted he did well. And, it is said that because he was a realist, his works didn't gain the kind of notice they deserved. Nonetheless, there are those who love realism and those who were strongly attracted to his love of painting, character defined faces.

Len was a self taught artist who painted in acrylics on masonite and in watercolours.

Len, on donating his paintings to charity:

"It always intrigues why artists, who 'live on a bottle of Chianti and a piece of cheese in an attic' are expected to dip into their meagre livelihood and hand over art." 'You might as well ask a panhandler to donate,'

On dying:

"I figure everyone is going to die. The rest is curiosity. I know how. I just don't know when." Or, as he drawled on: "I tell you one thing -- no more cheap scotch, it's Glenlivet from now on."

To read his obtituary, written by Jim Gibson, in the Victoria Times Colonist.please click here

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On the Trail of Two Paintings



This CBC video examines the quest to identify the veracity of this Tom Thomson work.

True Thomson or flat-out fake?
Broadcast Date: Dec. 5, 1989

Buying and selling fine art isn't for the faint of heart. Dealer David Mitchell has paid $80,000 for what he believes is a genuine Tom Thomson sketch. He bought it from two elderly sisters who say their mother purchased it in the 1920s. But another art dealer is skeptical, and his doubt means Mitchell has been unable to sell the painting. The CBC's Nancy Wilson delves into the mystery as Mitchell attempts to authenticate the unsigned work.


Source: The Journal, The CBC Digital Archives Website.Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Follow up:
Landscape with Snow and Northern Mist was auctioned by Heffel Fine Arts.
It seems that the questionable reputation of the work had a profound impact on its market worth. Nobody bought the paintings.


Click here.

See also, the Canadian Conservation Authority. Click here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tom Thomson's flat and soiled sketches



A peculiarity on a number of Thomson's sketches is a flattening of the tops of paint impasto, visible in the Northern Spring. The flattened patches of the most raised portions of the paint are often , soiled and occasionally include debris such as wood. Thomson seeems to have been aware of the dangers of stacking his sketches as he wrote in a letter of 1915; "Will send some sketches down in a day or so and would ask if you would unpack them and spread them around in the shack, as I am afraid they will stick together a great deal."


Anne Ruggles

Text: Tom Thomson 1877-1917
co published by the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada
isbn: 1-55054-898-0
pg 150

copied according to the terms of the copyright act as identified at the bottom of this blog.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Monday's the Day

Monday marks the day of my return to the art blog. I have my computer home now, and will spend time Monday preparing the next set of blog entries. So, if all goes according to plan, Tuesday should see the restoration of the Fredericks Artworks blog.

Thank you for your patience and it is good to be back online. Strange, how this technology is. It has become apparent to me, how much my life revolves around my computer. Internet provides fulfillment for so many diverse parts of my life.

All is well, the world revolves as it should in its own time and manner, and life is good. The FA Blog will be back on track, within a few days, barring any unforseen collision with fate.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hopefully: One More Day

I trust that I will receive my call today telling me that my laptop computer has been repaired and is ready to be picked up.

Please accept my apologies for my lengthy period of absence from producing the FA blog.

With any kind of luck, we will have it back and running Saturday.

Fredericks

Monday, August 9, 2010

Persisting Computer Issues

Dear Readers:

I discovered when attempted to download a new Anti Virus programme that it would not function if I had other anti spyware programmes. So I dumped a newly paid for PC spyware programme and did a reinstall, but my computer locked up on ne.
I am writing this entry from another computer but will not be able to do a new blog entry until clearing up this problem. So, its a trip to the Computer Geeks shop and it may be a couple of days before the blog sees the light of day.

Fredeicks.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Technical Problems

Due to technical problems downloading an anti virus programme, today's blog entry has been interrupted. At best it may be delayed for several hours. At worst today's entry may not possible.

My apologies.
Fredericks

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Gilbert Stuart Newton



Gilbert Stuart Newton, Yorick and the Grisette
Tate Gallery, London England.

Stuart Newton is one of those lucky artists who are claimed by three nations as their own. He was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1797 before Canada became a country, and he died in Wimbledon in England in 1835, subsequently he is called "British", and his works can be found in the Royal Academy of Arts in London, England.(He lived most of his life in England)

After his father died, his mother moved with her children to Boston and with that the Americans get their chance to claim him as their own. He studied for a year in Italy, but it seems that the Italians passed on their opportunity to claim him. Maybe he couldn't speak Italian well enough. Who really knows? Anyway, all these comments were pulled from the article below. And, in case you are reading this from another country, it would be remiss of me not to correct Half-fax. Mercy no. His birth was not done by halves and it was long before the creation of the fax machine. Nova Scotians can rest easy for he was born in their capital city of Halifax.


NEWTON, Gilbert Stuart, artist, born in Half-fax, Nova Scotia, 20 September, 1797 ; died in Wimbledon, England, 5 August, 1835. His father, Edward, was British collector of customs at Halifax; his mother was the daughter of a Scottish loyalist named Stuart, who fled from Rhode Island to Halifax, and thence to England, at the beginning of the Revolution. After the father's death Mrs. Newton removed with her family to the neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, about 1803. Gilbert left Boston when yet a youth and went to Italy, where he studied a year. He had painted some pictures and portraits before leaving home which excited attention and were thought very promising, and while in Italy he produced a portrait of an official which was much admired, but he decided to go to England. In Paris, on his way, he met Washington Allston, Sir David Wilkie, and Charles R. Leslie, and returned with Leslie to England. He was admitted as a student at the Royal academy, elected an associate in 1828, and an academician in 1831. His career in England was one of brilliant success. Upon his first arrival in that country he and Washington Irving had lodgings together in Langham place. Irving writes in 1824 to Leslie: " When you see Newton, remember me affectionately to him. I often look back with fondness and regret to the times we lived together in London in a delightful community of thought and feeling, struggling our way onward in the world, but cheering and encouraging each other. I find nothing to supply the place of that heartfelt fellowship." In 1831 Mr. Newton was ill, and, as his physician urged his taking a voyage, he sailed for the United States in October of that year. The following August he married in Boston, and he returned to England with his wife in October, 1832. Nearly three years later he died, leaving his widow and one daughter. He was buried in the cemetery of the village church at Wimbledon. A monument, executed by Sir Francis Chantry, was raised to him by a few of his fellow-academicians, bearing the inscription : " To Gilbert Stuart Newton this monument is raised by a few friends who admired him as an artist and loved him as a man." What is to be said of Mr. Newton as a man may be read in the letters of Leslie and Washington Irving that are quoted in the " History of the Arts of Design," in a notice of Mr. Newton by William Dunlap. Dunlap shows some irritation that Newton should have considered himself an Englishman, but he was certainly such by birth and parentage, and his whole career was in England. He took to portraiture at first, mainly, it appears, because he disliked the labor of study required for effective genre painting, in which direction his greatest talent lay. The remonstrances of his friends, however, particularly Washington Irving, had their effect, and he soon afterward produced his first subject picture, "A Poet Reading his Verses to an Impatient Gallant." He had an extraordinary eye for color, and possessed considerable humor, excelling particularly in the illustration of scenes from Molidre, "Gil Blas," etc. Besides portraits, he painted about sixty pictures, including "Falstaff escaping in the Buck-Basket," "Girl at her Devotions," "The Adieu," "The Dull Lecture," " The Duenna," "The Late Player," in the New York historical society's rooms, and "The Trunk Scene in 'Cymbeline.'" Many of them have been engraved. His portraits include likenesses of Sir Walter Scott at Abbotsford, Thomas Moore, Sydney Smith, Henry Hallam, and Washington Irving. While Mr. Newton was in this country in 1831-'2 he painted eight small portraits. His "Dull Lectare" is in the Lenox library, New York city. Washington Irving described this picture, at the request of the artist, in these lines: " Frostie age, frostie age, Vain all your learning! Drowsie page, drowsie page, Evermore turning!Young head no lore will heed, Young heart's a reckless rover;Young beautie, while you read, Sleeping, dreams of absent lover."

To view the source of this article on Famous Americans net please click here
.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Strange but True

We all know that the last supper painted Christ and his apostles sitting at a table, wheras in the middle eastern cultures, people eat while sitting on a floor. But did you know that the last supper has grown bigger and bigger in size over the years?

"The authors of the study, Brian Wansink and his brother, Craig Wansink, analyzed 52 depictions of the Last Supper—from a sixth-century mosaic to a 1996 photograph by Renee Cox in which the nude artist sits in for Christ—and concluded that the food portions became increasingly generous over time, with the main dish expanding by 69 percent, the bread portions by 23 percent, and the plates swelling in size by 66 percent. The report was picked up by the press around the world."

This item came from Robert Genn's, 'The Painter's Post.' Please click here to be taken to the post.

Tom Thompson: West Wind Revisited


The West Wind




The Jack Pine

First of all, allow me to say that there has been some ambiguity on my part between Thompson's painting of 'Jack Pine' and 'West Wind'.

I did a bit of digging and learned that I called the picture that I had posted a few entries back 'The West Wind'. In fact - it is 'The Jack Pine.' My confusion between the two, may be excused because both paintings are similar.

Thompson's Jack Pine, is a much more controlled painting. Click on the picture, to enlarge it and take a careful look at his brush work. The strokes are carefully and intentionally exacted. Look at the sky, and the rocks, and the foliage. It is interesting to notice that while this picture, captures that wild feeling of the northern setting, it is achieved through technique. Its much more a head job than a heart work, like 'The West Wind'.

Charles Hill, in the book 'Tom Thomson', writes of the Jack Pine.

"The decorative character is emphasized by its almost square format. Land, water and sky are painted in parallel bands, similar to his treatment of the rocks in his spring sketch, "Spring Foliage on the Muskoka River. The more formal construction Thomson derived from Lawren Harris's recent paintings."

Its interesting to read J.E.H. MacDonald's critiquing about the West Wind.

"The trunk of the tree is unmodulated and outlined in a darker colour and the foreground rocks are blocked in a schematic way, while the sky and water are treated with a feathery touch. The despairity in treatment creates a disturbing tension but in its directness and boldness of conception it surges with energy."

Text: Tom Thomson 1877-1917
pp. 140-141
Essays by Charles Hill, Dennis Reid, and John Wadland. Edited by Joan Murray.
co publishers: Art Gallery of Ontario and National Gallery of Canada
NE249.TSA4 2002 759.11 C2002.910152-2

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Modern Mona Lisa Portrait Draws Attention in London England



Murray Whyte, visual arts writer for the Toronto Star, writes another intriquing article. This one features Shaun Downey, a Toronto photographer, who saw a strange beauty, in 17-year-old Dearbhail Bracken-Roche.

Downey entered this portrait in the annual Portrait Award competition at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England, and with that the picture took on a new life of its own capturing - a lot - of attention.

Please click here to read Murray's interesting article.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Shary Boyle's Award Winning Work, Goes on Three City Tour


Toronto's Shary Boyle, who challenges preconceptions of beauty in her sculptures, paintings and art installations, will have major exhibits of her work in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
The show is a recognition of her 2009 win of the Iskowitz Prize, which goes to an artist who has made a significant contribution to Canadian art.


Extract from CBC Arts News. Click here to read the complete article.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Human Side of Toronto



We've seen a lot of the hard face of Toronto lately, following the G20 street riots.
Tina Picard, takes us into a more human side - the face of Toronto, after the police and the world leaders and the rioters have gone home.

Tina writes on her website:

I try to go further when I take pictures of strangers. I talk to them and make them talk to me about themselves. I take the picture while being a little bit of their life with a connection on a certain level. I chose strangers not for their outside beauty, but more for their outside glow, the emotions they express without even speaking.


Please click here to be taken to Tina's website.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Robert Genn - Master of Colour and Design



Robert Genn is one of Canada's foremost artists. He is an undisputed master of colour and design.

I found this painting and the following comment, written by Diane Mize in Empty Easel.com.

The overall bluish tone unifies, while purplish-red accents bring harmony throughout. Repeating greens set the visual path and give rise to rhythm. Emphasis results from the highlights in the water contrasting with the surrounding blue and dark gray rocks.


To see the Empty Easel page, this extract was taken from, please click here.

Readers are invited to subscribe to Robert's bi-weekly 'Painter's Keys, Newsletter. Click here.

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