The Group of Seven

In the early 1900’s, a few artists met at an Art and Design Company. They all loved travelling and exploring the wilderness of Canada and painting what they saw. Their art was noticeably different from what was popular in their day, and eventually, along with a few other friends, they decided to exhibit their art as a group in Toronto. Consequently, the Group of Seven was officially formed in 1920. This group lasted for about 13 years, changing a bit as members left, or new members joined.

The art of Tom Thompson is often included in the works of the Group of Seven, as he was closely associated with some of them, but he died in 1917 in a canoe accident. He was a wilderness man, and often took the artists on painting trips up into the remote north of Canada.

The following are works of art from the original Group of Seven:

Winter Uplands

The frost that stings like fire upon my cheek,
The loneliness of this forsaken ground,
The long white drift upon whose powdered peak
I sit in the great silence as one bound;
The rippled sheet of snow where the wind blew
Across the open fields for miles ahead;
The far-off city towered and roofed in blue
A tender line upon the western red;
The stars that singly, then in flocks appear,
Like jets of silver from the violet dome,
So wonderful, so many and so near,
And then the golden moon to light me home–
The crunching snowshoes and the stinging air,
And silence, frost, and beauty everywhere.

Archibald Lampman

Notebook Page: Group of Seven

Activity: Paint a landscape like the Group of Seven. You will notice that they greatly simplify features of the landscape using simple shapes and outlines.

What are features of your home landscape? Do you live near the ocean, or the mountains? Maybe there are trees as far as your eye can see. When creating a landscape painting, you want to consider your foreground, midground and background. Your foreground is what is right in front of you, midground is further away, and background is where the land meets the sky. This creates depth in your painting. Some of the ways you can do this are: overlap parts of your picture; paint things in your foreground bigger than your midground, and background smallest of all; use warmer, darker colours for your foreground and lighter, cooler colours for your background.

If you would like to try something fairly simple, try this Landscape Perspective: Deep Space Sparkle.

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