A Sense of National Identity


Oh heck.  While I’m on a Canadian pride kick…I better share my favourite Group of Seven painting with you too.  This one is called “White Pine” by AJ Casson (painted in 1957). 

The Group of Seven was an Ontario-based group of Canadian landscape painters that banded together in a somewhat piece-meal fashion during the roaring 20’s.  The group consisted of the following members:

-Franklin Carmichael

-AJ Casson

-Lawren Harris

-Frank Johnston

-Arthur Lismer

-JEH MacDonald

-Fred Varley

and unofficially….Tom Thomson (one of my favourite artists of the group).

Interestingly enough, Emily Carr (an amazing female artist in her own right) was greatly influenced by this group as well.  Emily’s “Big Raven” has to be one my favourite pieces:

[“Big Raven” by Emily Carr]

One of the most fascinating aspects of The Group Seven was that of their one of their missions; they had intended to paint their way across Canada, documenting the various landscapes of our great country from the East to the West coasts, and on, to the North.  Quite a grand task and daunting task, as any good Canadian outdoorsperson would attest too.  Blood-hungry mosquitoes, thick swamps, massive swaths of forest and cold patches of lonely tundra were just a few of the obstacles that these intrepid painters were up against during their mission (less than ideal “studio conditions” for any artist).  

Despite all of these challenges, the artists perservered for many years, painting their vision as they scrambled about on the land.  The culminating result of their work and dedication proved to be a priceless contribution to Canadian culture.  The devotion of such men and women artists helped us to define our nation as a beautiful land, teeming with wondrous landscapes.  Anyway, a very good book documenting this span of artistic work and general contribution of these artists to the Canadian art scene is, “The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson” by David Silcox…(a bit of a pricey splurge at about $80 CDN, but a MUST for any fan of this band of important Canadian artists).  Hardcore bookies might be interested in this bit of info….ISBN 1-55297-605-X.

As an historical powerhouse, The Group of Seven remains a highly influential source of inspiration for many Canadian landscape artists.  Here’s a little more eye candy for you, if you didn’t get enough of Casson’s or Carr’s work:


 [“Lake and Mountains” by Lawren Harris]


[“The Jack Pine” by Tom Thomson] 

Happy artsy morning to you from your Canadian mermaid.


4 responses to “A Sense of National Identity

  1. Well that was certainly an interesting post. This is my first time learning about the Group of Seven. I especially like the first painting you posted – very two-dimensional, yet with some depth. Also, I love the color palette a lot. Oh, and it was painted in the year of my birth which of course makes it an antique! Ha!

    You are not an antique! You are a fine vintage! [at least, that’s what I like to think of myself as I age anyways…!]. Lol! I love this group of artists…I’m glad you were able to appreciate them too (yes…the first painting is one of my faves, and the colour palette certainly is rather pleasing). For a country as young as Canada, these artists have certainly placed contemporary Canadian art on the map so-to-speak. Our country hasn’t had the benefit of thousands of years of art (not counting Aboriginal art/crafts etc.) and we obviously lack the Da Vinci’s, Waterhouse’s, Klee’s, Dali’s, Constable’s. The work is clearly Canadian and I am rather proud of the talent of these artists. I might have to do some more digging and explore some other Canadian artists too….to present in this blog. Might be interesting. xoxo

  2. I share your love of this inspirational body of work from pioneer Tom Thomson, and subsequently the Group of Seven. Thank you for sharing it with others as well. I invite you to see my artwork on wordpress (lazarusi.wordpress.com), and perhaps you’ll see a kindred connection…?
    Thank you,

  3. Hi Lazarus – Thank you for stopping by and visiting my little Group of Seven tribute. As a Canadian, I am extremely proud of this amazingly talented band of spirited artists. I think these artists depict the wildness and beauty of this great land. I will visit your site and take a gander at your work – thank you for the invite!

  4. Pingback: I’m a Patriot « Ramblings From the Mermaid Tavern

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