Wednesday, 18 June 2014


Acrylic Painting by Sea Dean 
4" x 4" on canvas panel

To view my Gallery please visit Daily Paintworks

I'm no longer crazy about traveling with all the problems of security, luggage limits, expense and wear and tear, not to mention that I seem to get a cold every time I'm in the air for long. However that hasn't diminished my love of flight. It's magic to me. I probably got this from my father who was crazy about flying and carved beautiful planes when he was a lad, which he hung from his bedroom ceiling. It's a shame they had gone before I came on the scene, but I've heard about them.

This was taken from "What greets the eye when you look back at the pilot" 1918 by Frank Johnston. Johnston was the most commercial of the Group of Seven and one of the few that did well financially in his lifetime. Some would say he "sold out" I say he was using his talent to gain financial freedom

In the early 20th century, flight was all the rage, so I can see why Johnston chose the subject. Pilots were returning from the first world war and setting up barn storming events which were highly popular. Wing walkers risked their lives to entertain. I had to paint the image as soon as I saw it because of the interesting composition and the feeling of adventure it imbues. I also think the pilot was female, which is very appealing to me. It was the time of ground breaking emancipation and brave women. Look at the way that plane is held together with string!

Group of Seven Group Photo
Far left - Frederick Varley,
Front - A. Y. Jackson,
Farthest back - Lawren Harris
Fifth from left - Frank Johnston
Sixth from left - Arthur Lismer
Far right - J. E. H. MacDonald
Man with pipe - Barker Fairley (not a GO7 member)
Image of Group of Seven Artists taken at the Arts and Letters Club Toronto in 1920


Frank Johnston was born 19 June 1888. He was a Canadian artist and although he socialized with the Group of Seven artists he only exhibited with them once. He was an eager participant in Group activities, joining all the Algoma trips except the last. He was quite prolific, contributing sixty paintings, to the 1919 Algoma show, more than any other artist. A few months later he held a large one-man show of 200 paintings at T. Eaton Galleries.

Unlike Harris and MacDonald, Johnston used tempera which gave his work a different appearance. His early landscapes stood apart from the other members of the Group of Seven, being more concerned with texture than the scene he was depicting. Johnston's style became increasingly realistic as he matured and he was particular fascinated with the qualities of light reflecting on snow. This theme recurred in large narrative paintings of the 1930s and 1940s as well as his more intimate scenes. 

In the fall of 1921, Johnston became Principal of the Winnipeg School of Art, where he held the largest show the city had ever seen. He chose to exhibit in department store art galleries and his work became more decorative and commercial. He held solo exhibitions from 1920 and his work had a large public following. In 1924, he officially resigned from the Group of Seven, claiming that he preferred solo exhibitions. Unlike many Canadian artists, Johnston was able to achieve considerable financial success in his lifetime.

He died July 19, 1949, a month after his 61st birthday.

The Group of Seven 

Sometimes known as the Algonquin School. Canadian landscape painters 1920 - 1933, original members.
Franklin Carmichael (1890–1945),
Lawren Harris (1885–1970),
A. Y. Jackson (1882–1972),
Frank Johnston (1888–1949),
Arthur Lismer (1885–1969),
J. E. H. MacDonald (1873–1932), and
Frederick Varley (1881–1969). Later,
A. J. Casson (1898–1992) was invited to join in 1926;
Edwin Holgate (1892–1977) became a member in 1930; and
LeMoine Fitzgerald (1890–1956) joined in 1932.

Two other artists commonly associated with the group are

Tom Thomson (1877–1917) Although he died before its official formation, Thomson had a significant influence on the group. In his essay "The Story of the Group of Seven", Lawren Harris wrote that Thomson was "a part of the movement before we pinned a label on it"; Thomson's paintings "The West Wind" and "The Jack Pine" are two of the group's most iconic pieces.

Emily Carr (1871-1945) was also closely associated with the Group of Seven, though was never an official member. Believing that a distinct Canadian art could be developed through direct contact with nature, The Group of Seven is most famous for its paintings inspired by the Canadian landscape, and initiated the first major Canadian national art movement. The Group was succeeded by the Canadian Group of Painters in the 1930s, which did include female members.

My apologies to those that received part of the blog yesterday. It got away from me. You may have missed my painting of the Eiffel Tower, so be sure to check my gallery of yesterday's blog below.

Cat # 14123 Looking Back