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Afternoon, Algonquin (1938) E-mail
Written by Michael LeBlanc   
Afternoon Algonquin :: 1938, 1324 x 1003 cm, McLauglin Gallery, Oshawa

It was during the early sketching trips to the area around Algonquin Park that Eric was impressed by the shapes of the limestone rocks, some of which he took back to his Toronto studio. He combined this experience with other observations and created his first major painting, called “Afternoon, Algonquin” after the large nature preserve in the heart of northern Ontario. “Afternoon,” which is currently in the R. McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ontario is a somber work which depicts an assemblage of abstract natural shapes by a lake on a cold, windless fall day. Compared with his brightly coloured illustrations and covers at the same time, the painting seems lifeless and overwrought. However, this painting is important because it reveals something about Eric’s innate inquisitiveness:

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Welsh Landscape E-mail
Written by Michael LeBlanc   
Welsh Landscape, 1936, 64 x 79 cm :: Collection of Margaret Bridgman
This is by far my favourite of Eric's landscapes: Welsh Landscape; painted in 1936. It resides in the collection of Margaret Bridgman. Margaret is Eric's niece; she's been one of the biggest supporters in the Eric Aldwinckle biography project.

Although it is my favourite, I'm a bit perplexed by this piece. There is no indication that he had left Canada before the war, so I am not convinced it actually represents the Welsh countryside. Although he lived in Wales from 1919 to 1923, I am not of the inclination to believe that Eric had painted this from memory, or from a photograph. Rather than question the date, I suggest that the picture is drawn from a location in Ontario, and he titled the painting “Welsh Landscape” because it triggered a childhood memory.

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Nothing Uninteresting

The Work and Life of Eric Aldwinckle

By Michael B. LeBlanc

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Being a sensible man he did not ask what the painting I had in mind was. His assisting officer, not being a sensible man, did. I had feared this.

This was the man who had tried to get me to paint the Headquarters building in London. This was the man who had asked me to draw an ancient archway in London for one of his higher officials who was living above it and liked its history, and had whispered in my ear it would “do me good.”

This was the man who had suggested interesting subjects like “bomber command mess on Christmas eve” because he had never seen bomber command mess on Christmas eve.

-Eric Aldwinckle, 1944