I have been following Canadian History Magazine since I finished the research for my upcoming book on the abandoned house series. Today, they posted this video from Canada’s National Film Board. Watching this video was like discovering buried treasure or a lost art horde; a horde containing the artistic process of a national treasure – A.Y. Jackson.
For many of us, the only way to try to understand the artist behind early 20th century work is to pore over their paintings hanging on museum and gallery walls or read their biographies. Those who studied in classes and workshops with the likes of Carmichael, Varley, Lismer and Jackson are mostly in their 70’s and 80’s or long gone, leaving subsequent generations to piece fragmented ideas together like in a game of broken telephone. The thought that their process would be preserved on film or video was far from the ubiquitous idea that it is today.
Except sometimes we get lucky.
This 1941 film is a documentary that follows A.Y. Jackson to Killarney and Quebec. It records canoe trips, the creation of sketches on bare birch panels to the studio paintings being created at the famous Studio Building.
If you are interested in art and the Canadian Group of Seven, you must watch this amazing and rare glimpse into the inspiration and process of one of our most iconic painters.