War Art

Sketchbook brings soldiers to life
Front Lines, War Art

Sketchbook brings soldiers to life

Richard Johnson is an old-school war artist. He’s walked the hard miles in Iraq and Afghanistan, shunning the camera for pencil and sketchbook, speedily yet meticulously recording soldiers at war and peace in shades of grey. Born in Scotland and now living in Maryland, the man technically known as a news illustrator has taken the art of war back to its roots, drawing for the Detroit Free Press in Iraq, The National Post in Afghanistan, the United Nations in Africa and for the Washington Post, where he was graphics editor. His work has toured the United States, it is in the permanent collections of Washington’s Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia and now it is part of a military-themed art exhibition at the Canadian W...
Brian Lorimer
War Art

Brian Lorimer

Brian Lorimer paints big, vivid pictures and for the last two years he has dedicated himself to capturing and commemorating the First World War. He has titled this newest series Project Remembrance and it was completed just in time for the centenary.   Lorimer was born in Belleville, Ont., in 1961, studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design for three years and a decade later founded a studio focusing on mural design. He sold the business in 2002 and concentrated on his art. This artist has painted works as large as 76 feet long and Project Remembrance continues the tradition. It is made up of 36 canvases, most measuring five feet by six feet. But, it wasn’t enough to simply paint the war, the artist wanted to experience life in the trenches, albeit without the rats and artillery. ...
Bruce Stewart
War Art

Bruce Stewart

Inspiration can come from the strangest places. For Ottawa artist Bruce Stewart the idea to paint the military ran down his street three years ago. He explains, “I live...across from the rehab centre and...this great, big guy on two metal legs came jogging down my street and he ran past me... I sorta shook my head and said that’s Afghanistan... I have to do something about it. So I started doing something about it.” Stewart created a series of five paintings titled Road Walkers, using colours and patterns from the military camouflage from Afghanistan to paint the figures and backgrounds. This artist is a traditionalist, and still mixes much of his paint by hand, using earth pigments and oils. Throughout this series he used a pea-soup coloured palette which is evocative of the chlor...
Canada's War Art: 1812
War Art

Canada's War Art: 1812

The War of 1812 was the first and last time our southern neighbour invaded the territory that is now Canada. But it wasn’t just the British and Canadians at war with the Americans. Even before war was declared in June 1812, aboriginal nations pledged allegiance to Britain and they too fought and died in the conflict. As tensions heated up in North America, romanticism—the emotional art movement of the 18th and 19th centuries—was in its prime in Europe. Artists were painting canvases that idealized man’s relationship with the natural world, and the aboriginal people were perfect subjects for these expressive paintings. Printmaking was also becoming more popular and John Raphael Smith was one of the finest mezzotint engravers of his day. Born in Derby, England, in 1751, Smith was t...
The Canadian Forces Artists Program
War Art

The Canadian Forces Artists Program

Over the last 95 years, more than 200 artists have been charged with capturing the military history of our nation. With their brush strokes they recorded Vimy Ridge, the Somme, D-Day, Korea, Bosnia and Afghanistan to mention only a few. They sketched and painted amidst gunfire, explosions and death, and their work still has an immediacy that gets to the emotional root of war and conflict. Four programs have ensured there is a body of work that reflects our military history. The first program was the Canadian War Memorials, which began in the First World War, from 1916 until 1919, followed by the Canadian War Records, instituted from the middle of the Second World War in 1942 and ended in 1945. The Canadian Armed Forces Civilian Artists Program (CAFCAP) went into effect from 1968...
Doug Bradford
War Art

Doug Bradford

Doug Bradford is a barber. He has been cutting hair for 50 years in his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and in his spare time he paints. He never went to art school. His only teacher was his mother, who loved art and encouraged all six of her children to sketch and paint. She must have been remarkable, since two of them, Doug and his brother Kenneth, paint well enough to have their work collected by the Canadian War Museum. Bradford’s art is lively and bright and his fat, wet brushwork bleeds into the paper, creating lovely rivers of colour. Watercolour is his specialty. “I like the freshness and the immediacy, but I still have a fear of putting the colours on too bright,” he mused. “I love doing all aspects, landscape scenery, still life, love painting people, and I just always...
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