The Practical Photograph and the Diminishing Decadence of Descriptions
The gallery has had ample opportunities to reflect upon the advent of photography over the past year. We had a successful show of Richard Henry Trueman photographs of British Columbia and the Rockies from the late 19th century, and more recently we have had an online sale and show of early 20th century photographs called With Train and Grain: Expanding the Canadian Prairies in Photograph. We have also had the opportunity to develop a permanent presence for available historical photographs on our website, including a variety of Western Canadian subjects by numerous photographers.
Upon reflection it is amazing to see how far photography has come in a mere two centuries, especially when compared against other developments spanning thousands of years of art history. Not only is photography a highly respected form of fine art; it has also proven to be integral for documentation and visual aid. Today many photographers take pictures, or use photography in whole or part, with creative aims in mind. From the mid-19th century photographers used early photographic processes to document what they saw around them. Documenting the expansion of the Canadian Pacific Railway line westwards is a good example. Photography is also ever increasingly used as a visual aid, exemplified in the academic and commercial art industry alone through art history textbooks and art catalogues to the images used for online shopping.
The use of photography in daily life, and the art industry more specifically, has come so far it is difficult to imagine picking up an art catalogue or textbook with no photographs for visual reference. Before the widespread use of photography and improved printing techniques, how would an author or cataloguer relay what the art being discussed looked like to readers who haven’t seen the art? Some books and catalogues would include engravings copying paintings being discussed, but this would be far too costly and time consuming for a large or multi-volume catalogue of art. If an author or cataloguer wanted to give a sense of what a picture looked like it, they would simply have to describe it in writing, usually in great detail. Such was the case for picture dealer John Smith’s multi-volume A Catalogue raisonne of the works of the most eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters published in editions between 1829 and 1908 (most of which published in the 1830s).
The need for descriptive cataloguing has diminished nearly to redundancy since photography has been used in book publishing. When one can look at images of paintings the use of lavish and prose-like wording to describe art is no longer necessary, and may even seem like a foreign concept today. However, in 1829 when John Smith embarked upon cataloguing Old Master paintings in private and public collections across Europe wordy descriptions were necessary for the reader to visualize the paintings in the epic catalogue raisonne. In the 19th century cataloguers would have been well practiced at flowery cataloguing; but to today’s readers the style of these entries might seem over-the-top and even comical. I will conclude by leaving you with a selection of entertaining descriptions of Dutch Old Master genre painting entries from A Catalogue raisonne of the works of the most eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters. They attempt to convey the quality, mood, and/ or detail of the paintings being discussed. I hope you find them as amusing as I do!
1. A Pig-sty- of a highly picturesque appearance, in which are three hogs luxuriating in filth. A tub, partly overturned, and other objects, complete a picture which exhibits a faithful transcript of nature.
2. Twelfth Night- The subject is composed of about twenty persons, most of whom are exhilarated with liquor, and are indulging in the gayest excesses of mirth and jollity. Among the various groups may be noticed an old fellow (probably the king of the evening’s amusement), wearing a yellow dress and a napkin round his head, completely inebriated, whom a man and a woman are lifting on a table.
3. A Lady and her Page- This superlative bijoux of art represents the portrait of a lady of singular beauty, about twenty-three years of age; her fair countenance is seen in nearly a front view, and her dark hair is tastefully disposed in curls. She is elegantly attired in a white satin robe….she is attended by a page, habited in the fanciful costume of the period…
4. Villagers Merry-making- The scene of hilarity is represented as passing in front of a house of a picturesque appearance…. Mirth and conviviality prevail throughout the piece.
5. The Angry Man- A gentleman elegantly habited in a yellow jacket, with slashed sleeves, and blue hose; his countenance agitated with anger, and his right hand grasping the hilt of his sword, which he is in the act of drawing from its scabbard.
6. Villagers dancing and regaling- The cheerful scene is passing in front of some cottages occupying the right of the picture, one of which is distinguished by a vine growing luxuriantly over some trellis-work … A social group of four persons may also be noticed under the shade of the trellis-work, and in addition to these are an old man seated near a tilted cart with a jug in his hand, and the mirth-stirring fiddler mounted on a tub. The more distant scenery exhibits a continuation of the village. This most enchanting work of art is dated 1660.
7. A Hurdy-Gurdy Player- A merry fellow, of a florid complexion wearing a black slouched hat, and a dark purplish coloured cloak over a yellowish jacket. He is seated, playing an instrument. The figure in this clever little picture is seen to the middle.
All excerpts extracted from John Smith’s A Catalogue raisonne of the works of the most eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters published in editions between 1829 and 1908
1 and 2. Exhibition posters for Masters Gallery shows featuring historical photography.
3. A historical photograph documenting a Frontier funeral (from a Yukon album)
4. An example of a contemporary art catalogue displaying high resolution colour photographs of the paintings in an exhibition (Masters Gallery Calgary's 30th Anniversary exhibition)
5. Interior title page of a 1908 edition of John Smith's A Catalogue Raisonne of the most eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters.
SOME NOTES ON DRAWINGS
Drawing is a noteworthy medium within the connoisseurship of fine art; being important to both collectors and art historians. Drawings can be an excellent choice for collectors who can frame their collections around the medium or include them to complete the story of a specific artist’s oeuvre. Novice and discerning collectors will recognize that drawings can be a good starting point for an art collection. As works on paper, drawings are often an affordable way of obtaining outstanding examples by highly marketable or historically significant artists whose paintings on panel or canvas sell in the highest, and often less obtainable, league. Furthermore, the medium is often used for sketching in the preliminary stages of an artistic process, and can therefore be used by historians and connoisseurs for research and insight into an artist’s techniques. Drawing can also be intentionally used as the medium of choice for a stand-alone finished work of art, often adding an additional dimension to an artist’s oeuvre.
For Group of Seven artists such as Lawren Harris and A.Y. Jackson, whose drawings have both been published, the medium was frequently used for rapid sketchbook notations en plein air. Their drawings often preceded the popular oil panel sketches that the Group members are known for, and marked the first step towards a finished panel or even canvas. In a publication of Harris’s sketchbook drawings art historian Joan Murray remarked that, “drawings take us some distance into the artistic life of Lawren Harris.” Harris’ sketchbook drawings were intimate and display quick yet accomplished draughtsmanship; which often included notations regarding colour, place or theme as seen in White Mountains, near Sugarloaf, New Hampshire. They were not necessarily intended to be seen by the public. The drawings with notations are an excellent primary source for research and understanding the artists. Well-known artists and friend of Harris noted that “his drawings are a key which open the door to what he was thinking and painting.
Lawren Harris himself understood the importance of drawings in an artist’s career; not just as studies for finished works, but as completed works of art themselves. He wrote an essay in 1945 to accompany his friend Emily Carr’s retrospective exhibition. Within he devoted much attention to her charcoal drawings. He felt that her charcoal drawings held “her widest range of expression and experimentation.” Emily Carr used drawing both as a means to flesh out ideas for the bigger picture and for completed works of art. In her 1990 publication Emily Carr, Doris Shadbolt proclaimed, “drawing was a natural habit with Carr…[and] is an important and relatively little-known body of her work.” Shadbolt stated that Carr produced innumerable drawings for nature in pencil, charcoal, or brush, ranging from small sketchbook drawings… to more developed compositions, like Inside a Forest. Shadbolt mentioned that a group of, “small sketchbooks first in 1929 and 1930 were the basis for a group of studio drawings done at the same time but of a larger format… and on good quality paper,” as seen in Inside a Forest. Like Lawren Harris, Doris Shadbolt insisted upon the importance of Carr’s drawings to “tell us about…[the] inventive artist.”
Another British Columbian artist who is well-known for using meticulously detailed graphite sketches as the first step towards subsequently creating watercolours and then finally canvases, was E.J. Hughes. Like Harris, he would include notations throughout. However, he too was know to use the medium for completed works of art, as seen in his graphite portrait of F.W. Guernsey.
With the credit that scholars have given to drawings, and the real feasibility of adding them to art collections, drawing is clearly a fine art medium that warrants a good look!
1. Lawren Harris White Mountains, near Sugarloaf, New Hampshire, 1935, graphite on paper
2. Emily Carr Inside a Forest charcoal on paper, circa 1929-30, 24.5 x 29 in.
3. E.J. Hughes Portrait of F.W. Guernsey, Stanley Park Fort graphite on paper
CANADIAN ARTISTS IN EUROPE
A great majority of acclaimed Canadian artists throughout the past two centuries have spent time in Europe nurturing their artistic careers. Canadian art throughout the 19th and 20th centuries has always embodied a distinct ‘Canadianness’; whether this is the romantic landscapes of Krieghoff and Kane, Canadian Impressionism, or the more distinct Group of Seven and their followers. However, most important Canadian artists have travelled to Europe to study, and in some cases taken up permanent residency. Particularly in Paris, artists have found a stimulating and supportive environment for developing their artistic careers. Although work executed on Canadian soil and of Canadian subjects might be of greater interest to some, it cannot be overlooked that for many Canadian artists their work in Europe has reflected pivotal periods in their careers.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Canadian artists in Paris would have immersed themselves in an all-encompassing artistic environment. They would spend their days in training at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, the Academie Colarossi or the Academie Julian. They would then spend free time congregating with their peers in the creative climate of the boulevard cafes. At this time, Impressionist and subsequently Post-Impressionist movements were at their heights, and both would have lasting effects on visiting Canadians. William Brymner was the first to go and experience Impressionism first hand. He took much away from this experience, and encouraged his own art students back in Montreal to take post-graduate courses in Europe. Artists who travelled to study in Paris academies or elsewhere in Europe included Blair Bruce, Paul Peel, J.W. Morrice, A.Y. Jackson, Suzor-Cote, Edwin Holgate, Albert Robinson, Clarence Gagnon, Laura Muntz, George Reid, Maurice Cullen, Frank Armington, William Clapp, Helen McNicoll, Emily Carr, and Robert Pilot.
Emily Carr went to study in Paris in 1911. She recalled that her goal was, “…to find out what this “new art” was about.” She also spent time in Brittany at St. Efflam and Concarneau. This marked a notable turning point in her artistic career. She embraced post-impressionistic ideals; letting go of realistic representation in favour of bold colour and dynamic brushwork.
In 1912, shortly after Emily Carr sojourned in France, Edwin Holgate went to Paris to study at the Academie de la Grande Chaumerie. Like Carr, he also visited Concarneau in Brittany to paint. Holgate was in Russia and then back in France during World War One, and returned in 1920 to Paris to resume studying art, this time at the Academie Julian. His mentor was Russian artist Adolph Millman, whose art would have a lasting stylistic impression on Holgate. In 1922, Holgate travelled to the south of France, including the seaside town of Sanaray, before returning to Canada.
While most Canadian artists returned to Canada after a period of study, some artists remained in Europe permanently. James W. Morrice went to Paris in 1890, where he first studied at the Academie Julian and later under tutelage of Barbizon painter Henri Harpignies. Morrice befriended those in artistic circles of the time, easily transitioning into the boulevard café lifestyle. Morrice returned almost yearly to Canada for visits, and associated with Canadian artists when they came to Europe, like Maurice Cullen. He made Paris his permanent home, and sketched around Europe frequently. He travelled around France, Italy and Northern Africa. He visited Dennemont and Antwerp in 1906.
Frank Armington was another Canadian artist who made Paris his permanent home from 1905 to 1939. He first went to Paris to study at the Academie Julian in 1899. After a brief few years back in Canada, moved back to Paris with artist wife Caroline. He is known for his impressionistic rendering of Parisian sites, such as the Jardin des Tulieries.
1. Emily Carr. Portrait of a Woman, Brittany, (France) 1911, watercolour, 14.75 x 11 in.
2. Edwin Holgate. Sanaray (France) 1922, oil on panel, 5.25 x 6.75 in.
3. James W. Morrice. Antwerp (Belgium) 1906, oil on panel, 8.5 x 10.5 in.
4. Frank Armington. Jardin des Tuileries, Paris 1916, oil on canvas, 20 x 24 in.
GRAPHIC ARTS IN CANADA
Graphic Arts is a branch of Fine Arts, to which the term covers a broad range of art forms that are most often two-dimensional. Included under the blanket term ‘graphic arts’ are calligraphy, photography, maps, drawing, painting, printmaking, lithography, typography, serigraphy, and bindery; as well as architectural design. This wide-ranging term also covers graphic design, which in general serves as a means of visual communication.
The history of graphic arts and graphic design in Canada suggests many of these art forms have been thriving since the 19th century and into the 20th century. The use of visual communication has been an important factor in the proliferation of many graphic art forms across the country. Historically, we have seen Canadians utilizing and advancing upon innovative and current artistic forms throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
Evidence of this can be found in the pioneer photography of the mid to late 19th century. Professional and amateur photographers headed westward, either by their own intuition or by subsidizing from entrepreneurs such as the railway companies, to document and promote westward expansion. The desire to communicate the vast splendour of Western Canada led photographers to keep up-to-date with leading International industry advancements. They endeavored to keep pace with British and European photographic improvements all within a few decades from the early daguerreotype of the 1850s through albumen printing in the 1870s and 1880s to the silver gelatin printing process in the 1890s. Photographers would often endure harsh climate and terrain in order to best communicate the landscape to prospective visitors to the west.
The work of cartographers can also be considered a form of the graphic arts, and is one that alongside the popularization by Gutenberg of the printed book has permeated into regular use since the early Renaissance in Europe. In Canada the industry of mapmaking has followed suit, and in conjunction with the proliferation of lithography in the 19th century, a more widespread audience would gain access to such art forms. An example of this is a large scale 1889 map of the city of Victoria, which was made using lithography for wider dissemination. This map provides a detailed account of the city streets and surrounding geography. There are street names, accurately rendered buildings, wandering figures, and a delicate atmospheric rendering of the hills and a distant Mount Baker on the horizon. The publishers, Ellis & Co., also were the publishers of Victoria’s major newspaper, The Tribune.
Some graphic art forms like printmaking can serve purely aesthetic purposes. W.J. Phillips’ exquisite colour woodblock prints share more in common with traditional fine art, such as oil paintings or watercolours. The same could be said for the serigraphs that were commercially produced in the mid 20th century in Canada. The Sampson-Matthews Co. and the Marc Graf Company produced silkscreen prints of well-known artists in order to allow for a wider audience for the art. Though arguably, these Canadian silkscreen projects were still intended for widespread visual communication, considering that they were launched as a means for creating public awareness about Canadian artists.
Perhaps the most well known sub-category of graphic arts is graphic design. Graphic design in Canada has kept up with international innovation throughout the history of modern design. Using visual communication for advertisements or for relaying ideas and messages took flight in the 20th century, for Canada included. The English artist and designer William Morris is often credited as the father of modern design. His ideology and style make him a pioneer of the renowned Arts and Crafts movement in art and design. He contributed to the field of graphic design first through dabbling in calligraphy and illumination with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and later with his own typography and the instrumental Kelmscott Press. His illustration, page and book design are the embodiment of Arts and Crafts style, which became prevalent in graphic design in the early 20th century in Britain, Europe and North America. During the opening years of the 20th century, the leading design firms in Canada saw graphic artists working in the popular Arts and Crafts style. This included the design firms of Grip Ltd. and Rous and Mann, where graphic artists very often worked in the Arts and Crafts style. Many of Canada’s most celebrated artists were at some point working at these firms, including most Group of Seven members and Tom Thomson.
Tom Thomson, Quotation from Maurice Maeterlinck, ink of paper (at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection)
The Poster gained rapid popularity worldwide in the early 20th century as a method of visual communication for advertising or propaganda. A staple in the history of graphic design, the poster saw breakthroughs in Germany in the early 20th century, with a fresh new style that utilized few, but bold, colours with a minimal composition in order to easily attract attention. This specific style for posters was called Plakatstil in German. Plakatstil gained popularity worldwide; and Canada was no exception. Akin to the 19th century photographs of the West, bold simple avant-garde posters were designed to entice visitors out west along the railway lines in the 1930s, 1940s and 50s to ski resorts and outdoor adventures. The Canadian ski resort posters of this time are in tune with current International trends in poster design.
Thus, from the 19th century pioneers of historical photography out West, through the prestigious Toronto design firms on the early 20th century, to the avant garde travel posters of the 1940s; Canada has been forefront in the history of modern graphic arts.
1. Bailey & Neelands, Rogers Pass from Glacier House, B.C. circa 1892
2. 2. Ellis & Co., Bird’s Eye View of Victoria, 1889
3. W.J. Phillips, Jack Pine, colour woodblock print, 1940
4. B.C. Binning/ Sampson Matthews Co., Ships in a Classical Calm, serigraph
5. Peter Ewart, Ski Canada, Poster, 1941
Emily Carr is probably the best-known Canadian artist to have depicted Northwest Coast First Nations subject matter. Walter J. Phillips is also well known for his interpretations of the native villages at Alert Bay, Mamalilicoola, and Karlukwees, as seen in a previous blog Sketching Trips: W.J. Phillips out the West Coast. In particular, they both excelled at the depiction of totem poles. However, Carr and Phillips were by no means the only artists to have travelled into the more remote regions of the Pacific Northwest to lend their artistic impressions of the First Nations subject matter they encountered. By the end of the 1920s the popularity of taking sketching trips to the Skeena River Region or the Coast to document the First Nations villages and their totem poles was at a peak. Artists from all over the country and abroad were arriving on sketching pilgrimages of cultural tourism.
Already by the late 19th century in Europe and North America, there existed the concept of documenting the art, culture and customs of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere. This was in response to the prevailing perception that indigenous cultures were both threatened and in decline. In the Pacific Northwest, this was made manifest by the visible decline of the totem pole. The consensus amongst anthropologists, government bodies, and interested parties was that raising awareness about First Nations communities through the proliferation of art and literature would lead to cultural tourism to these communities; and thus, ultimately towards official support for the restoration and preservation of First Nations traditions. In Canada, none supported this notion more fervently than the anthropologist, Marius Barbeau.
Marius Barbeau believed that both exposure and tourism were the key paths to the preservation of First Nations art and culture. Barbeau and artist Langdon Kihn teamed up with publicists of the Canadian National Railway to promote cultural tourism in British Columbia. There was eventual further collaboration with Indian Affairs and the government; whereby and a Totem Pole Restoration Programme was established. It focused on restoring the totem poles of well-travelled tourist routes. Curiously, the restored totem poles were often repositioned in order to face tourist paths more directly. Barbeau travelled with Kihn and later with other artists such as A.Y. Jackson, Edwin Holgate, and Anne Savage to the Skeena River region to document the totem poles of First Nations communities. He published detailed reference guides of the totem poles in the region, and assisted the Canadian National Railway making promotional materials. He ultimately was instrumental in organizing the 1927 National Gallery exhibition Canadian West Coast Art: Native and Modern with director Eric Brown. Artists who had made a name for themselves at the time desired to be included in this new movement that elevated the importance of native art in shaping a nationalist art for Canada. The continual use of totem poles as subject matter in Canadian western art is now historically interesting in it’s own right.
Although the late 1920s was a peak time for artists travelling to sketch the totem poles of the Pacific Northwest, it is worth noting that artists were exploring and rendering the indigenous inhabitants of British Columbia as far back as the late 18th century through the opening years of the 20th century. The Victoria-based photographer Richard Maynard accompanied ethnologists to the Queen Charlotte Islands in 1884 and documented villages and individual totem poles in his photographs. Emily Carr first travelled to an Indian Reserve at Ucuelet in 1898 and again in 1904; and continued to travel to Alert Bay and Alaska in 1907 and the Skeena River in 1912. The explorer artist Frederic Marlett Bell-Smith painted at Alert Bay in circa 1909.
Photo Credits: 1. Emily Carr, Modern Indian Graves, circa 1932, oil on canvas, 22.75 x 28.75 in.
2. W.J. Phillips, Venus and the Priest, 1930, colour woodblock print 3. Lowrie Warrener, Heat, Skeena Valley, BC, 1931, oil on panel 4. A photograph of totem poles and building facades at Alert Bay, 1919 5. The cover of Marius Barbeau's totem pole reference 6. Richard Maynard, Masset, photograph 7. Frederic Marlett Bell-Smith, Alert Bay circa 1909, oil on board, 9 x 18 in.
INSIDE THE SHOW AND BEHIND THE ART: W.J. Phillips in the West
W.J. Phillips in the West includes nearly sixty works of art, including watercolours, colour woodblock prints and wood engravings. Phillips sketched across Western Canada and is particularly known for his watercolours and woodblock prints depicting Lake of the Woods, Lake Winnipeg and rural Manitoba, the Rocky Mountains, and the Pacific Northwest Coast. The show incorporates works from all of these regions; and ranging in date from circa 1912 before he left England to 1952 on the Sunshine Coast.
The work that sparked the idea for the show W.J. Phillips in the West was the watercolour Sointula. Phillips documented his travels to the Pacific Northwest extensively, as seen in the previous blog Sketching Trips: Walter J. Phillips on the West Coast; but he makes far more mention of his first encounters with the art and life of the native peoples to which he was previously unacquainted. Phillips relayed one story about being on the beaches of Sointula when visiting his sister Edith on Malcolm Island; however this tale also recounts his finding a native carving washed ashore. The watercolour Sointula depicts burned trees before a vast vista over the village and across Broughton Straight to Vancouver Island. The burned trees were the result of a forest fire that took place on Malcolm Island in 1925, decimating the upper areas of the island. The village was at huge risk of being engulfed in flames, as can be seen in a 1925 photograph of the fire below. Two years later when Phillips visited the island the effects of the fire could still be seen through the masses of burned trees above the town. The photograph below was taken in 1927 and gives an indication of how well Phillips’ was able to express the vibrant green of the newly grown grass juxtaposed against the wall of burned trees above. It also gives us a glimpse at what Phillips would have seen through is own eyes as he looked out across Broughton Straight.
With thanks to to the Sointula Museum for there assistance with the history of Sointula and for providing the historical photographs of the fire of 1925 and Sointula in 1927 with thanks to Doris Wirta and Lee Anderson.
SKETCHING TRIPS: Walter J. Phillips on the West Coast
Canadian Landscape artists have been making sketching pilgrimages throughout the 20th century, often travelling deep into treacherous terrain to find the perfect subject matter. A selection of the more legendary Canadian sketching grounds include Quebec’s Beaupré, Charlevoix County, and the Laurentians; Ontario’s Algonquin Park, Algoma, and Lake of the Woods; the Rocky Mountains, and the coastal Indian villages of British Columbia. These regions each offer their own characteristic attractiveness; but in order for an artist to capture the essence of the land they often must deal with challenging climates and topography. We can marvel at the beauty of an artists’ end product, but all to often the means to the end are forgotten. What mirth or misery did artists encounter before achieving depictions of the perfect light falling on a mountainous glacier, or the early morning hoarfrost glistening on the branches of trees? We may never know what some artists experienced on their travels, but fortuitously many artists wrote firsthand accounts of their voyages. These accounts allow us at least some awareness of the activity behind the finished art. Some artists' sketching trips may have been more rugged or rustic than others, but all have an interesting story to tell about their experiences; whether it be Lawren Harris in the Arctic, A.Y. Jackson in Quebec, or Emily Carr on Vancouver Island. One well-known Canadian artist who relayed his experiences was Walter J. Phillips. Phillips is one of Canada’s most accomplished printmakers and watercolourists, but he was also an extremely accomplished and entertaining writer. The following gives some insight into Phillips’ first sketching trip to the coastal villages of British Columbia in his own words. His account of the trip is compiled in Phillips in Print: The Selected Writings of Walter J. Phillips On Canadian Nature and Art from Phillips’ newspaper column in The Winnipeg Tribune and his publication Wet Paint.
Phillips and his brother embarked upon his sketching trip by renting a 30 ft. gas boat named the Ludo. Phillips wrote, “I am on the British Columbia coast for a definitive purpose. I am here on a sketching trip, that is, to gather material for possible easel pictures, dignified or otherwise.” They went up past Jervis Inlet, stopping first to visit a friend at Sakinaw Lake and then proceeding on to their lodgings at Alert Bay on Cormorant Island. Phillips describes Alert Bay as a “picturesque town,” and the view looking down Johnstone Strait from his rented house at the Eastern tip of the Island as “forever changing colour and shape with the mood of the weather.” At this stage they hired a smaller boat called the Anne, which with its kitchen, lounge and bedroom did not appear completely devoid of creature comforts. After a less than impressive visit to Tsatsisnukomi, Phillips arrived next to Mamalilicoola, where he considered the “surroundings beautiful,... [and the] village strongly attractive.” Phillips wrote about Mamalilicoola: “I found material for several days sketching: the outlook across the bay, with interesting foregrounds, views along the street, and from the beach.” He wrote, “the humidity of the air produced wonderful tones od blue in every background and a range of soft harmonies which never occur in the mountains or in the prairies… as pure landscape it is the finest I have been privileged to see.” Phillips next moved to the village of Karlukwees, calling it “more interesting than the others,” and claiming that it, “provided many subjects for painting” and “In fact, never have I seen a more delectable sketching ground,” he says. These marvelous simple statements relate to some of Phillips’ most cherished West Coast watercolours and woodblock prints- both colour and monochrome.
: W.J. Phillips, Siwash House Posts, 1928, colour woodblock print, 8 x 6.25 in.