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The Spiritual Hues

November 14, 2010

"Iris in My Garden" For sale $150.00

In the early 1900s, while the painters in Europe were busy creating a new World view on the creating and production of art, there was a small group of Canadian painters that were also busy making changes of their own.  These painters became know as the Group of Seven.

I have long admired the vision and talent of Canada’s Group of Seven.  Each member of the Group had his own vision and fearlessly developed his uniqueness over time and over the vastness of this grand Country.

I definitely have ‘favourites’ within the group and on any given day, my ‘most favourite’ can be different than it was the day before.  Today, and in fact for the last year or so, my ‘most favourite’ painter in the group has been Frederick Varley.  It is said that Varley was the romantic of the Group.  Varley was a master portrait painter and master draughtsman.  I think that Varley came to Canada from England at the age of 23 or so.  He was introduced to the wilds of Ontario by another member of the Group, Tom Thomson (my previous favourite of the Group).  His first landscapes of Algonquin Park in Norther Ontario are utterly breath-taking but it is his paintings of British Columbia that I have been fixated on most recently.

It is said that Varley valued colours for their mystical qualities.  Blue, gold, violet and green, he said, were the spiritual hues and these are often dominant in his pictures, even his portraits ( The McMichael Canadian Collection 1976).  I have come to appreciate that statement and am inclined to agree with Varley.  These are the colours of the natural world around us.

For me red and orange are root colours that, in nature, largely supply accent to her peaceful palette of ‘spiritual hues’.  This is not to say that these four hues; blue, gold, violet and green, can not make a powerful statement as do the colours, red and orange.    These hues can be intense or can be grayed down and subdued.  But, any combination of these four, can bring life into the subject being painted from flesh tones to landscapes to the fur on your favourite pet.

The painting that I have attached (above) shows some success using these four ‘spiritual’ hues.  If you check out my one-a-day paintings on my website , you will see that I have unconsciously used the magic four for some time now.  I suppose the ‘seed’  of their effectiveness was planted in my mind and my brush simply followed.

Here is another from that series.

"How Sweet It Is!" For Sale: $150

Thank you Frederick Varley!!

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