This special set of Tom Thomson sketches represents some of the most iconic landscapes of Canada, capturing the seasons and spectacular scenery within Algonquin Provincial Park. Save $300 when purchasing the set together.
Read the story behind the painting >
As soon as warmer spring weather arrived, Thomson would leave his city studio to explore the landscapes of Algonquin Park, camping, fishing and making sketches.
This sketch shows exactly this time of the year; the ice in the river breaking up, and the drab landscape just beginning to come back to life under a sunny, vibrantly blue cloudless sky.
Preparing his pulp boards with a layer of ochre paint provided the general tone for the richly glowering sunset, but there would have been a special need to work rapidly to capture such an effect without muddying the colors.
Sunset Sky also shows him experimenting with an array of tints, from burnt orange to pale blue-green, which many painters would shy away from.
Thomson typically began sketches by setting the principal forms, usually starting with the most complex structural element of the composition, which clearly drew him. After roughing in the tree he would have then began to paint the swollen river, working from the far bank to the near, before working up to the edges of the tree, with mostly horizontal brush strokes.
Finally, he would have worked on the far bank and the sky before putting in the foreground and reworking the tree trunk and branches.
This scene would have been massed in quickly and strategically, with the overall forms of the sky and landscape put in almost as a backdrop for the finishing.
The final stage involved the escalation of luminosity and intensification of color and tone within the overall forms: one of the last touches is the fat slab of yellow directly above the hill, made just after the hill itself was reworked as more intensely purple.
The use of rich slides of intensely chromatic opaque stiff paint meant that Thomson could work with control to adjust hue and without muddying his work. Final tiny strokes notch in the conifers along the hill line in the center, giving a sense of scale.
Born in Ontario in 1877, Tom Thomson was arguably the most popular and most influential Canadian artist of the early twentieth century, and widely acknowledged as an inspiration for what became the Group of Seven.
Thomson's sketches appear frank and spontaneous, but they are deliberate, considered objects. Simply choosing a painting spot, where to sit, and setting the height of a horizon involves composition and design decisions. The choice of support, its smoothness and preparation, and even air temperature all have a bearing on how easily the paint adhered, and which size and type of brush would produce which effect – these factors all influence the appearance of the sketch.
Canada’s landscape was the focus of his career, capturing transient moments of light and atmosphere, rapidly sketching in oil as he explored his way around Algonquin Park and other areas of natural beauty. In some cases, he would develop these sketches into full-blown celebrations of nature.
Add your own finishing touch to your Thomson collection with a choice of three premium Larson-Juhl frames:
Finish: Gold - Width: 3" - Height: 1 3.8"
Finish: Dark Wood - Width: 2.5" - Height: 1.375"
Finish: Gold - Width: 1.375" - Height: 2"
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