Monday, March 19, 2012
Lake St. George Quebec by George Heriot
This grand old painting shows an intriguing, classical management of light. I expect, that its a watercolour, since that was the media that the artist, George Heriot was best known for. There is a sort of ornate delicacy in the foreground trees. His work has a masterful layering of tonal values, from the immediate darks to the distant hills where the hills blend into the soft sky The work is patiently executed, and Heriot gives careful attention to small details. You can, for example, see the trunks of the trees along the distant shore of the lake. Because the painting is relatively small , close examination suggests that the people in the foreground may be fishing from a boat. Its not often that I see a painting where the artist uses the sky to funnel the eye downward towards his subject. I'm uncertain who this painting was painted for. Its delicacy and its rolling distant hills and its composition, indicates a controlled and pleasing landscape within which people are comfortably situated. Its far from Tennyson's "Red in fang and claws", world. It was painted in Quebec between 1796 and 1806 and in my mind it seems a little park like. A little too, civilized. And taking this thought a step further, a little too English? It seems to me that its an example where art tells people what they want to think they see in Canada and not what it actually looks like. But, all that aside, I am fascinated by the way he paints with the light, and organizes his work.
Heriot came to Canada in 1792, and returned to the UK, where he attended the University of Edinburgh. His ascendency in the colony peaked at him becoming the Postmaster General for British North America, which he obtained through knowing William Pitt.
Wikipedia says that he likely learned to paint in the picturesque style at Woolwich. Heriot published two books on Canada, The History of Canada, from its first discovery (1804) and Travels Through the Canada, (1807) The latter book is richly decorated with his pictures
The information in the last few paragraphs came from Wikipedia. Please click here. Please note the footnotes giving the sources for the Wikipedia article, at the bottom..
Fredericks-Artworks Blog, copying policy
The Canadian Copyright act, section 29 reports on fairdealing, that it is not an infringement to reproduce someone else's work for research, study, criticism, review or to report. Which pretty much sums up what this site is about. All content sources, be they artists, printed references, and website url's are respectfully identified on this site. http://http//www.canlii.org/en/ca/laws/stat/rsc-1985-c-c-42/latest/rsc-1985-c-c-42.html
A Portrait of the Visual Arts in Canada, is intended to celebrate the richness of Canada's visual arts, and to promote the arts in Canada.
Statement of Intent
I make every effort to credit the sources of information used in this blog and to obtain the permission and cooperation of all the works presented by living artists. I try, as much as possible to use works from public sources eg. national and provincial collections, of deceased artists. If for any reason, any artist disapproves of anything written about them or their work the artist is encouraged to request withdrawal of the content.