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Paintings of mountains: beyond the Group of Seven

I remember the first time I saw a painting of a mountain, I was about four and it was hanging on our wall. It was a painting by my grandmother, a minimalist palette of blues to grey and white. Heavy oils and palette knife scratches. Then a decade later I had my first experience with paintings of mountains by Group of Seven founder, Lawren Harris, these were much softer looking mountains, they had a modern feel.

Mountain paintings with people

Even though I could appreciate these Canadian landscapes, I had not yet fallen in love with the mountains. Perhaps growing up on an island, where beaches, ocean, and rainforests were my backyard, I never really thought about mountains much.

I recall my first time putting on skis and taking a bus to visit the only ski area on our island, Mount Washington was further North than my hometown of Victoria. Still not a mountain lover, those slopes had my attention as I was first learning to ski down hills.

Even family trips through the mountains from BC to Alberta were lost on me, maybe it was the fighting with my sister, and the weird things my Dad would do and say, not unlike the National Lampoon Vacation films.

It really wasn’t until about 2010 that I really fell for the mountains. Driving from BC to Alberta to deliver paintings to a gallery in Canmore. In winter, these mountains take on a whole new persona, draped in glistening blankets of shiny ice and snow, with the odd bit of rock peaking its way through, these mountains now became animalistic. These mountains were watching me, as I was staring into their folds of shadow and light. It’s as if these mountains were people, and I wanted to paint their portraits. So, I began to paint the character of the mountains and I began to add humans, sometimes staring, and often having silent conversations with these behemoths of the landscape.

Fast forward to my most recent painting, again I have positioned people in the landscape, with the mountain looking on, because sometimes we see mountains and sometimes they see us.

This is ‘The Kiss’ (love in the Rockies)

Mountain paintings

Curated art collections, ready for you to purchase.

In our first article about curated art collections, we talked about the inception of the idea for these iconic art collections, crated and ready for you to purchase.

The first release of ‘BOX SETS’ in March was a great success. A limited time offering to own curated art collections; ready to hang in your home, corporate art collection or office. With the first limited time offering, we presented five distinct hand painted art crates filled with various sizes of important original fine artworks, paintings created by Canadian artist, Brandy Saturley. With the first five crates we offered a range of sizes from small artworks in the 12″ x 12″ size to larger artworks such as 30″ x 40″ and 36″ x 36″. These art collections ranged in price from $3000.00 to $29,000.00.  With this second release of fine art to collect, we are going bigger, not only in the size of artworks available, but in the size of the art collections contained within each crate.

Crate #6 is a stunner! The paintings of Canadian Artist Brandy Saturley, are stories of the landscape told using brush on canvas. These artworks are vivid love letters inspired by Canada and beyond. This crate contains a wealth of art; not only in value, but also in beauty. The ‘Beauty’ collection includes six original fine artworks painted between 2010 and 2017. Artworks included in this collection feature iconic Canadian landscapes such as; views of Lake Louise from Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Babel, Robson and Assiniboine mountains from the Rocky Mountain range, the commemorative Canada150 tulip, the red maple leaf, and red poppies. These paintings are more than your average landscape painting, much more. Employing the artists’ signature vivid and saturated palette and utilizing abstract form and shape, these landscapes tell stories far beyond the landscapes themselves. Offering you, the collector, the ultimate way to invest in an art collection. Pre-selected and ready to hang, with the finest coated hanging wire professionally affixed to the back of each piece. Making collecting original fine art online, easy.

More than landscapes, I am telling visual stories.

“I am continually and obsessively consuming this world and expressing it vividly on canvas, I am not just painting what I see, I am painting the story of what I see. I am continually collecting experiences, spurned by my travels. My excavation of the world around me begins with exploring, I am continually exploring the world, and drinking it all in, through my eyes, ears, nose and tongue. As I move throughout the world, I am continually collecting and re-imagining. I am a storyteller, but not the writing kind, words are not my forte and reading a book can take years. With everything I experience my mind begins to draw, so as reading can inspire thoughts and images in my head, it can also impede me from finishing a chapter as my mind begins to paint.

Most of the paintings you see, begin with an idea and a photograph, I begin with a central theme or focal point and then the brush tells me where to go. I do not plan out my paintings from beginning to end, I do not begin with a number of sketches or rigorous blueprint. I have tried creating from sketches, and while they are a great starting point, much like my photos, they are just the point of inception. Once the painting begins, the painting tells me where to go, and it doesn’t always work out, and this allows for innovation. I drink it all in, and then I paint it all out. I make art because it is what I have done my whole life. I never really had a choice in the matter, art chose me and I obliged. My biggest fear is that I will die with all these ideas left in my head, and yet the more art I make, the more I have to make. Art never sleeps and the job of an artist never ends.”

As for the crate that the paintings are safely stored within, it is imbued with it’s own signature artwork.

There are many passionate stories being expressed in this art collection. Below we will highlight each painting with a comment about each piece from the artist.

Here are ‘THE PAINTINGS’ in BOX SET #6:

  1. Poppies For Louise
    painting of Lake Louise with red poppies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A painting of ruby red poppies on the shore of Lake Louise with a signature red canoe, turquoise waters, glaciers and mountain in the background – Canadian flag imposed. A love letter to Lake Louise, this piece is inspired by the composition of the Canadian Flag set against the turquoise blue waters of Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. The red canoe, features the number nine, the most star worn number in professional hockey and the NHL. An ode to Canada, from sea to sky and sport to nature.

2. Patchwork Nation

painting of maple leaf on prairies

A painting of a Canadian Maple Leaf on an aerial view of the prairies and the multicolored crops and lines as seen by air when you fly over Mantioba and Saskatchewan. Canada is a Patchwork Nation and this piece is a re-imagining of the Canadian flag against the abstract aerial view of the prairie crops.

3. Assiniboine

a painting of mount assiniboine

This painting is my representation of Mount Assiniboine, a pyramidal peak mountain on the Great Divide on the BC/Alberta border. This peak is nicknamed, ‘the Matterhorn of the Rockies’, for it’s resemblance to the Matterhorn in the Alps. I imagined Warhol painting these peaks, with his POP Art palette. In total there are 13 peaks in this series, some of the most famous and least known peaks in the Rocky Mountain range from BC to Alberta.

4. Robson

painting of Mount Robson on collectors wall

This painting is my representation of Mt. Robson, it is the most prominent mountain in the Rocky Mountain range and the highest point in the Canadian Rockies. Bordering BC and Alberta, Mt. Robson is awe-inspiring and takes your breath away as you drive into the park and hike to the base of the mountain. In 2010, I found myself on a new journey, this time travelling through the land of giants, the Rocky Mountains of the Western Canadian Landscape. I felt utterly alone in a hauntingly impressive landscape as I watched sunrise paint these snowy peaks, casting shadows and vivid shades of blue, purple, orange, blue-green depending on time of day and position of the sun or moon. From the Group of Seven to Robert Genn, these mountains have romanced many and the love affair continues.

5. Babel

painting of babel hanging on an art collectors wall

Part of the, ‘I See Mountains’ series inspired by peaks in the Canadian Rocky Mountain range from BC to Alberta. Mount Babel is a peak in the Bow Range in Banff, Alberta that bears a resemblance to the tower of From the Group of Seven to Warhol, these mountains have romanced many and the love affair continues.

6. Charity

canadian art painting on a wall

My expression of the Canada150 tulip. The most common meaning for tulips is perfect or deep love. Because tulips are one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring, they can mean rebirth. Victorians often associated tulips with charity, and the Dutch associate tulips with “Thanks” to Canadian soldiers that liberated The Netherlands in World War II.

As for the crate that the paintings are safely stored within, imbued with it’s own signature artwork. As seen below;

art shipping crate storage

This crate safely houses the artworks of BOX SET #6, is painted with a graphic rendering of the painting ‘Poppies For Louise’ which is contained within the crate itself.

On the reverse side of the crate the words, ‘Beauty Day’ emblazon the crate – a common saying in Canada on a beautiful sunny day.

art shipping crate painted with text

Art to talk about for generations to come, view the collections now.

Canadian Artist Collaborations Inspired by Famous Art Collaborations in History

Group of Seven at table

There I was, a young artist beginning art college, excited about all the possibilities of art and romanced by the stories of famous artists’ lives and artists of the past. As a Canadian artist the most famous artist group is perhaps the Group of Seven, created and led by Canadian landscape painter, Lawren Harris. Assembling a number of Canadian painters into a group or club, Harris managed to direct the aesthetic of the group and create the ‘aesthetic of the North, the aesthetic of Canada’. Though not truly a collaboration, the group did create an outcome of a group effort, much like a collaboration achieves.

Andy Warhol Basquiat Collaboration

Back to that art history class. Art history classes begin with the ancient, European Art, which mystifies and romanticizes the artist life. Ancient art and specifically paintings were based on technique, craftsmanship and knowledge. Fast forward to the 1950’s and early 60’s of the New York City art world, a movement which challenged the traditions of fine art by including imagery from popular and mass culture. This movement included many artist collaborations, which saw artist’s paint together and even on the same canvas, imagine two artists painting in opposite, yet complimentary styles, on the same canvas. Inconceivable!

Most famous is perhaps the collaborative pop art meets street art paintings of Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat, where a famous Warhol took a less famous Basquiat under his wing and painted together on the same canvas in his studio. Even though some critics didn’t appreciate Basquiat and Warhol‘s relationship — some claiming that Basquiat was a fame-hungry leech trying to ride on Warhol’s reputation while others stating that Warhol was an opportunist who was using Basquiat’s talent for his own ends, the truth seems to show that the relationship was genuine, if fraught with frustrations.  Whether intentionally exploitative of Warhol or not, it is true that the young Basquiat felt deeply for the man, and created masterpieces with his idol.

Douglas Coupland Vancouver Art GalleryFast forward to artists in Canada in the 20th century, and one in particular, Douglas Coupland. For his major solo exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2014, ‘everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything’. Often incorporating everyday materials and objects such as plastic lids, children’s toys, pencils and books, Coupland’s work and installations require a collaborative effort with everyday people, asking them to participate through collecting and sending him items to include in his pop culture creations.

Collaborative art is an interesting phenomenon, I mean we are artists, we are very independent with singular signature visions of what we want to create, so how can visual artists collaborate? If you look at the musicians, collaboration is important in their process and often better when one or more are together, such as the case with Lennon and McCartney and the Beatles. Collaboration made these artists better and stronger as they riffed off each other and pushed each other forward. Prior to the establishment of formal artistic training schools, the close bond between artists was often forged in the studio or the gallery. The sense of camaraderie – as well as competition – between artists presented opportunity for them to learn, and steal, from one another – collaboration can create better art through outcomes you cannot control.

So what is collaboration in terms of art? is it teamwork? The key difference between teamwork and collaboration is that in teamwork, a group of people perform their individual roles to contribute to the achievement of a goal whereas in collaboration, all individuals are partners that share work as well as ideas and insights to achieve a common objective.

In the footsteps of past artist collaborations and famous artist collaborators I came to create two collaborations in art. The first began in 2014, shortly after I visited the Douglas Coupland exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The People of Canada Portrait Project, a collaborative portrait painting project, between myself and everyday Canadians. Through photos submitted by Canadians, I paint portraits based on the stories they share with me about their lives as Canadians.

For the project, I used social media and the internet as a tool for connecting to a diverse audience of subjects. I never know what photo will grab my attention and you never know what the backstory will be, but the photo has to ‘grab’ me, I have to be invested in the subjects I will paint. The original images selected as reference points for portraits are displayed in a stream on the project’s website (Peopleofcanada.ca). Through interviews, process photos, and short films the original subjects of the photographs become part of the project’s archive, material for future excavation into how people define themselves as Canadian. By choosing their own photographs, my subjects participate in their own self-representation. Yet they also cede control as I invent a landscape intended to amplify the relationship between the people and landscapes depicted.

As this Canadian portrait project continues to grow and evolve, the project guidelines I set forth in the beginning have also evolved, because of the collaborative experience.

The second collaboration I am currently working on, is inspired by the tradition of landscape painting in Canada, and the Group of Seven. In 2017, I began collaborating with anotherCanadian artist collaboration Canadian painter, based in Calgary, Alberta. The idea: paint mountain peaks on the provincial border of Alberta and British Columbia (the border that divides us as artists) Painting mountains on the continental divide, the painting begins in one artists’ studio in Calgary, and the painting is completed in the other artists’ studio in Victoria.  Inspired by famous collaborations of art history past, such as Warhol and Basquiat, Johns and Rauschenberg, and Rivera & Kahlo – this was going to be interesting as in our case we live 1059KM apart, a 13 hour drive and a ferry boat. Each painting rendered in brushstrokes from each artist. Each painting a collaborative effort and celebration of two styles, creating a new language, expressing a combined love of the Rockies. Beyond the borders of the paintings, and beyond the borders that divide two provinces that have been locked into a political battle over a pipeline. Moving us beyond the borders of our differences, and bringing us together, over art. In honour of Group of Seven luminary, Lawren Harris, we selected a name under which to paint, and the Mountain Forms Collective is born.

The art of collaboration is truly one that requires patience, an openness to learning no matter your level of experience and expertise (leave your ego at the door) respect of your collaborators, working as a team to achieve something bigger than yourself, the creation of a new community in which to grow and propagate your ideas and the unique experience of creating something important, together. For if it is important to you, it is important to make it heard in any way you can conceive!

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley

Women in Canadian Art – Celebrating International Women’s Day

For many of us our first mentors are our parents. As our world’s grow and change we look to our teachers, our elders and the heroes and heroines in the stories we read and even see on the movie screens. For me, my first mentor in art was my mother, an artist herself as was my grandmother. As my interest in the Arts grew, so did my investigation into those who came before me, and those whose work I admire. From that first art teacher in high school to my instructors in college, there were many women who paved the way and nudged me forward into a career as a professional visual artist. To celebrate International Women’s Day, here are five women artists, who inspired me to add my voice to the Canadian Art landscape.

Emily Carr – the first woman artist who captured my attention was Emily Carr. I was born in the city that was the final home of the iconic female painter who was an adventurous and independent spirit. Her home now a museum called ‘Emily Carr House’ on Government Street in Victoria BC. Emily Carr was one of the first painters in Canada to adopt a Modernist painting style, Carr did not receive widespread recognition for her work until late in life. Carr had a very ‘rough’ life and was thought to be somewhat crazy by her Victorian neighbors. I recall my uncle telling a story of walking around the neighborhood and passing Carr’s house, he was just a little boy and recalls how badly she was treated by passersby. She was known to keep a monkey as a pet and would often trade paintings for handiwork around her home. The subject matter of her painting shifted from aboriginal themes to landscapes—forest scenes in particular. As a writer, Carr was one of the earliest chroniclers of life in British Columbia. The Canadian Encyclopedia describes her as a “Canadian icon”. Lawren Harris says of her: “The work of Emily Carr and the circumstances in which it was achieved are unique in Canada. She was a passionate, powerful and creatively determined individual who turned fully to her beloved woods and skies and Native Villages. From the earliest work of her girlhood and on into the work of her last years, in hundreds of paintings and sketches, there unfolds the inner story of a vital adventure, full of intense struggle to achieve and the reward of the living embodiment in paint of her love.” The Indian Church(renamed Church at Yuquot Village in 2018 by the Art Gallery of Ontario) 1929.  Group of Seven artist Lawren Harris bought the painting to showcase it in his dining room, and called it Carr’s best work.

International women's day

Prudence Heward – I first enjoyed a Heward original portrait up close and personal at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. I was struck by her provocative depictions of the everyday woman, against soft and idealized backgrounds. Her palette choices were bold as were her strokes. I am drawn to the simplicity and abstract quality of the forms in the background juxtaposed with the more realistic portraits in the foreground. Heward was a frail child and she suffered from asthma her whole life, the frequent attacks forcing her to cease painting for various lengths of time. This part of her story I could relate to very well, as I too suffered with childhood asthma and experienced many hospital visits and sick days for the first 25 years of my life. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I find myself drawn to her brooding portraits. Her work inspired some of my choices when painting the portraits for the People of Canada Portrait Project. She was a member of the Beaver Hall Group and a co-founder of the Canadian Group of Painters and the Contemporary Arts Society. This is ‘Rollande’ painted in 1929 – National Gallery of Canada collection.

PrudenceHeward_Rollande_CanadianArtBlog

Molly Lamb Bobak – Bobak was a Canadian teacher, writer, printmaker and painter working in oils and watercolours. During World War II, she was the first Canadian woman artist to be sent overseas to document Canada’s war effort, and in particular, the work of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps, as one of Canada’s war artists.  In one of the first generations of Canadian women who earned their livings as artists, Bobak became known for her paintings, drawings, and watercolours. For her role in the Second World War and many other accomplishments she was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1973 and presented with the Order of Canada. I must admit I was not that familiar with Bobak’s work as Canada’s war arist, Alex Colville eclipsed any other work of the time. Bobak’s work is sublimely feminine and energetic, there is much movement in her work much like the impressionists, looking at her work is more like taking in a film at the cinema than staring at a sedentary 2-dimensional canvas.

MollyLambBobak_canadawarartist

Mary Pratt – Pratt is an icon of Canadian realism. Her paintings of everyday domestic life make you feel like you are in your grandmothers kitchen watching her work. Her hyperealist paintings of fruit are overflowing with juicy realism, ready for plucking and eating right off the canvas. An internationally-recognized Newfoundland-based Canadian artist, Pratt recently passed away at the age of 83. Canadian film maker Kenneth Harvey is currently working on a film about her. The way she captures the light in her paintings, it’s electric and brings feelings of being in my mother’s kitchen watching her bake while waiting patiently to lick the spoon. Pratt attended Mount Allison University, studying Fine Arts under Alex Colville, Ted Pulford, and Lawren P. Harris.

International Women's Day

Myfanwy Pavelic – also hailing from my hometown of Victoria BC, Pavelic was known for her portraiture. Born in Victoria, British Columbia to an upper-class family, her first interests in fine art came after meeting with Emily Carr on Vancouver Island who later gave a brief series of instruction to Pavelic. I recall her portrait of Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, father of our current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. A copy of the award-winning portrait hangs in my Giclee print makers shop in Vancouver BC, Zhee Clay Fine Arts. The painting went on to be featured on a Canada Post postage stamp in 2000 after his passing. She was one of the few Canadian artists to be shown at the National Portrait Gallery in London, and her official portrait of Trudeau was unveiled in the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa in 1985.

pierretrudeau_myfawnypavelic

A remarkable group of women, from all walks of life, who painted from their distinctly Canadian perspective, they leave quite the legacy for those of us who are working to fill their shoes and lead the next generation of Canadian artists. Here are a few contemporary paintings created by a woman in Canadian Art.

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley

Portrait of A Landscape: re-framing traditional landscape painting in Canada

Being a Canadian artist means you grow up with the images of Canada as painted by the Group of Seven. 

Whether the landscapes, forests and farms of southern Ontario as painted by A.J. Casson, or  A.Y. Jackson’s Georgian Bay, the grandeur of the rocky mountains as imagined by Lawren Harris, or the raw beauty and Autumn hues of Algonquin park as depicted by the People’s artist, Tom Thomson. The Group of Seven burnished the idea of the Canadian landscape onto our brains, seeping deep into our hearts. I was always drawn to the icy blue palette, idealized forms and light captured in the paintings of Lawren Harris. I was always particularly drawn to his paintings of mountains.

landscape painting in canada

Mountain Forms, 1926, Lawren Harris

As a Canadian painter looking to create my own distinct artist voice on canvas I began to study the works of the world renowned American painter, Georgia O’Keeffe.

Lake George New York, 1926, Georgia O’Keeffe

Famous for her depictions of New Mexico landscapes and still life of flowers and skulls, I began to find similarities between the mountain paintings of Harris and the landscape paintings of O’Keeffe. Both with their precisionist style, idealized forms, and feminine palettes; my affinity for the works of these two painters is leading me down a new path of re-framing the Canadian landscape in painting.

Pelvis with Distance, 1943, Georgia O’Keeffe

landscape painting in canada

North Shore Lake Superior, 1926, Lawren Harris

A landscape as it is, is something to be appreciated, perhaps captured on camera, but nature is perfection and it has never been my interest to paint the landscape as it appears. I am drawn to the details found within the landscape, the story of the landscape is what interests me most, and it is the story I endeavor to tell on canvas. Our connection to the Earth and to nature, this is something I feel in my bones and want to express on canvas.

reframinglandscapepainting

With this new series of paintings inspired by the landscape I am taking distinct elements of the landscape, symbols of the land and nature that surrounds and re-framing the elements on canvas, in portrait orientation.

landscape painting canada

I began 2018 having just returned home form a trip to Maui, Hawaii where I enjoyed the rainforest, landscapes and tracing Georgia O’Keeffe’s footsteps on the island. The first painting of 2018 is an homage to O’Keeffe and inspired by Maui and the Iao Valley.

reframing landscape painting

I guess you could say I am building contemporary portraits of the landscape, and I am excited to see what comes next.

Sincerely Yours,

Brandy Saturley