Our Inspiration – The Group of Seven & Tom Thomson

Oxtongue Lake is the home of the many of the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson painting sites.  

“our art is founded on a long and growing love and understanding of the North in an ever clearer experience of oneness with the informing spirit of the whole land and a strange brooding sense of Mother Nature… Quote from Lawren Harris, founding member of The Group of Seven

Lawren Harris
Arthur Lismer, Member of the Group of Seven In the spring of 1914, Arthur Lismer traveled for the first time to Algonquin Park, in Ontario, at the invitation of Tom Thomson. In a letter that spring to his wife, Esther, Lismer had this to say of what the Group of Seven would eventually call an “adventure in paint” in Algonquin Park. “The first night spent in the North and the thrilling days after were turning points in my life…the bush, the trails, lakes, waterfalls…moving camp from one wonderful lake to another…portage and tent pitching, fishing and sketching…and above all. The companionship of a great individual, a wonder with canoe, axe and fish line.” On the shores of Canoe Lake at the headwaters of the Oxtongue River, Lismer captured the warm sunlight and ever-changing colours of fall in “The Guide’s Home, Algonquin.” Today, the original of that painting hangs in the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Frederick H. Varley, Member of the Group of Seven In October, 1914, Varley went on his one and only trip to Algonquin Park at the invitation of Tom Thomson. On that trip, he found much time to sketch and paint along the shores of Canoe Lake, at the headwaters of the Oxtongue River. On a beautiful day that fall, Varley combined both his portrait and landscape skills to paint his wife, Maud, on the shores of Canoe Lake. Varley titled that work “Indian Summer”. Today, the original of that painting is part of a Private Collection. Other works of art done by Varley can, however, be seen at the Varley Art Gallery of Markham, Ontario, Canada.
“In his depiction of the more settled areas of southern Ontario, A.J. Casson was deliberately seeking out subject matter that set his work apart from the preferred material of other Group of Seven members. Alfred Casson’s strong design background shaped a unique painting style, characterized by graceful lines and carefully considered compositions. With the passing of time his style underwent a subtle change in which pattern became an essential element in his work. In addition to his dedication to excellence in his own work, A.J. Casson was instrumental in the formation of important Canadian art organizations such as the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour, the Canadian Group of Painters and the WWII War Artists Program. There can be no doubt that over a long career, which spanned much of the 20th Century, Alfred Joseph Casson left an indelible mark on the Canadian art landscape.” Courtesy: Mayberry Fine Art, Toronto, Ontario
In the fall of 1914, having completed painting “The Red Maple”, which A. Y. Jackson sketched on a canoeing trip with Tom Thomson on the Oxtongue River, Jackson prepared to go to war.
“Autumn Foliage,” 1917, by Tom Thomson “just now the maples are about all stripped of leaves but the birches are very rich in colour. We are all working away but the best I can do does not do the place much justice in the way of beauty.” Tom Thomson Above quote is taken from a letter Thomson sent to Dr. MacCallum on October 6, 1914