Monday, January 30, 2012

Spotlight on Henri Rousseau

Self Portrait Of The Artist With A Lamp
Today, Budding Artists is thrilled to introduce Henri Rousseau. This French Post-Impressionist painter was born May 21st, 1844 in Laval, France. He was the son of a tinsmith and familiar with hard economic times during his early years. After the death of his father in 1868, he moved to Paris and became a government official. His position as tax collector enabled him to support his widowed mother,wife, family of six children and himself, although it left little time for artistic endeavors. In fact, it wasn't until he was in his forties that he turned to painting as a form of expression.

Sleeping Gypsy
So when Rousseau did finally embrace the life of a painter at the turn of the twentieth century, he came to it without any of the formal training that so many of his peers enjoyed at that time.  Hence, while he displayed many of his paintings in the Salon des Independants, he was often the focus of regular criticisms from the artists of the day. There were many that considered his artwork primitive and naive, but that did not prevent him from creating over 100 paintings, as well as influencing a whole new generation of artists.

The Snake Charmer
In fact, Pablo Picasso was said to have come across some of Rousseau's paintings being sold on the street, only to seek out the artist to meet with the genius behind them. Rousseau was also commissioned by artist Robert Delaunay's mother to paint "The Snake Charmer". And it seemed more than chance that his paintings were displayed near Matisse in what has since become known as the first showing of the "Fauves".

Tiger in a Tropical Storm Surprised
Throughout Rousseau's career, jungle scenes often dominated his canvases. This coming Saturday, February 4th Budding Artists will look at these scenes and many others to get a better look at the style and skill of this Post-Impressionistic painter. Through 90 minutes of games, art history and hands on practice, we will be running the next in our Masters Series of Kids Art Workshops at the Western Fair Farmer's Market at 10am and 1pm. Contact us today to book a space for your child to explore this vanguard artist.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Group of Seven Artwork

During our Crafting the Masters workshop this past weekend, our young artists created artwork in the style of the Group of Seven. We focussed on landscapes and we used coloured tape to create masterpieces. We didn't have all the colours needed so we used sharpies and coloured regular masking tape. I think the kids did an awesome job!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Spotlight on The Group Of Seven

Algoma Sketch II - Lawren Harris

It is almost impossible to think of the Canadian art scene and not immediately have the Group Of Seven come to mind. Iconic images of the Canadian landscape form the backdrop to this incredibly successful group of artists that changed the face of art and Canadian's place in it. In fact, the Group of Seven heralded Canada's first National art scene via the creativity from seven Canadian painters that are still cherished to this day. And who were the first members of this distinguished group? None other than Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, J.E.H. MacDonald, Arthur Lismer and Frederick Varley.

Autumn Foliage - Tom Thomson
The founding gentlemen of the Group of Seven began to meet around 1913 in Toronto, Ontario. Another artist by the name of Tom Thomson joined these original members in discussing their painting and art theories. They began to meet at a studio in Rosedale and travelled throughout Ontario sketching landscapes. Algonquin Park, Algoma and the Muskoka region were favourite locations and inspired the vast majority of the artist's brushes. Sadly in 1917, Thomson died in a mysterious accident doing one of the things that he loved best: canoeing in Algonquin Park.

The White Pine - A.J. Casson
While this loss, along with the disruption from World War I, temporarily prevented the group from moving forward, the artists were not deterred. They reunited after the war and by 1920 officially labelled themselves as the "Group of Seven" and launched their first public exhibition. With the unwavering support from the National Gallery, these fresh new artists challenged the art scene of the day, introducing hitherto unfashionable landscape scenes. It was also at this time that Frank Johnston left the group, to be replaced by A.J. Casson.

Northern Tundra - Franklin Carmichael
Over the next decade, the Group of Seven gained in strength and breadth. They expanded their inspiration area, moving into landscapes across Canada from British Columbia to Quebec, Nova Scotia and even the Arctic. Their influence permeated the Canadian art scene and drew attention from other artists such as Emily Carr, Edwin Holgate and LeMoine Fitzgerald. By 1932, the members felt that it was no longer necessary to continue as a group and formerly disbanded. A new group, called the Canadian Group of Painters, was formed encompassing a wider range of artists, but still maintained the Group of Seven's original appeal and skill.

The Red Maple - A.Y. Jackson
Over the 13 years that the Group of Seven existed, this collection of intrepid artists challenged a fledgling art scene of a new nation. Where landscapes had previously been disparaged by Canadians, these forward thinking painters rebelled against the conservative art scene that previously had its focus on imitating other art styles. They took the Canadian landscape and pushed it into a revered spot, where nature was the ultimate canvas. Their influence to the Canadian art scene was so complete, that today they are considered the pinnacle of the Canadian image and examples of their paintings can be found in almost every art gallery across the country.

A September Gale Georgian Bay - Arthur Lismur
This coming weekend, Budding Artists will be taking an indepth look at the style and colours that helped to define these landscape artists as distinctly Canadian. Join us Saturday January 28th at 10am or 1pm for 90 minutes of art history, games, and fun at the Western Fair Farmer's Market, as we focus on the distinctly Canadian style from our Master Artists of the week: the Group of Seven.

Call today to book your child's spot!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Spotlight on Emily Carr

Emily Carr was born in Victoria, British Columbia on December 13th, 1871. She grew up on beautiful Vancouver Island, on the Western edge of Canada, surrounded by mountains, the ocean, trees and a proper English upbringing by her parents Richard and Emily Saunders Carr. The second youngest of six children, she struggled to keep up with her parent's strict religious teachings, instead preferring to  dabble in her artistic interests.

Autumn Woods 1911
It wasn't until after Carr's parents passed away that she was able to truly delve into her artistic passion. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute from 1890-1892, then returned to her beloved Vancouver Island. The landscape around here and the native people who dwelt there would prove to be a powerful influence to her art from early on. It was not just simple landscape prints that she was creating though. She was drawn to the spirit of the peoples and the land that they shared. Her first trip up the Western coast would have a profound effect on her artwork for the rest of her life.

In 1899, she travelled to London, England to attend the Westminster School of Art. She returned to Canada in 1904 a little wiser, but still feeling like there was something that she was missing in the watercolour paintings she was creating. By 1910, she returned to Europe, this time heading to Paris and an art scene that held the likes of Picasso, Braque, Cubism, Post Impressionism and Fauvism. She studied at the Académie Colarossi and met Harry Gibb, who had a large effect on her vision and style. She returned to British Columbia in 1912 with a new vision and a much brighter colour palette in her paintings.

Indian Church
Sadly, her vision and painting became dormant upon returning home. She spent the next 15 years running a boarding house and the lack of a modern art scene on the West Coast left her disillusioned. It wasn't until 1927, when she was contacted by the National Gallery of Canada to participate in an exhibit of West Coast Aboriginal art that her artistic career came to life again. She was introduced to members of the Group of Seven and quickly became an honorary member. In fact, Lawren Harris became a mentor, supporter and dear friend that reinvigorated her painting and spirit of life.

Odds & Ends
Carr's renewed interest in art spurred the vast majority of her recognized pieces today. Totem Poles, trees and Native scenes dominated her canvasses throughout her career, but never more prevalently than during this period. Her mediums spanned charcoal, watercolour, oils and even ran to the written word with several books published in the last few years of her life. On March  2nd, 1945 Carr passed away, but not before leaving her mark on the Canadian art scene, as well as on the world stage of post-impressionistic art.