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Artists as Writers: Artists Write About Their Own Art: Drawing/Painting

Genre: Artists Write About Their Art: Traditional Art

This section contains writing by artists who draw and paint, discussing the methods and ideas behind their own artwork.

Artists on this page:

Peggy Adam: Writing about her own art

Tchétchénie  n.d.  Published on Coconino World.
Artist statement about the comic Tchétchénie. Read online (click on Peggy's name, first on the list on the left).

Paul-Émile Borduas: Writing about his own art

"Propos d’atelier." Le Devoir, 9 June 1956, p. 3.
Also included in Écrits I (Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1987, p. 525-529.

"Questions et réponses." Le Devoir, 9 June 1956, p. 3 and 11 Juen 1956, p. 7.
Also included in Écrits I (Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1987, p. 530-37.

"Borduas parle." Liberté 4.19-20 (Jan-Feb 1962): 5-16.
Borduas writes (in French) regarding his teaching methods, relationships between student and teachers, how to judge a piece of art, on abstract art, about New York

"Lettres à Claude Gauvreau." Liberté 4.22 (Apr 1962): 230-51.
Letters Borduas wrote to Gauvreau between 1952-59 about exhibitions, artists, and art theory (in French)

"Les Automatistes." Barre du jour 17-20 (Jan-Aug 1969): 1-389.
This special edition of La Barre du jour includes an ensemble of automatistes writings. It includes Projections libérantes by Borduas and two letters from Borduas to Jean-Jules Richard (n.d.) and to Claude Gauvreau (1954)

"Communication intime à mes chers amis." La Presse, 12 Juiy 1969, p. 24.
Also included in Écrits I (Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal, 1987, p. 503-515.

Vers les îles de lumière: écrits (1942-1980). By Fernand Leduc. Ed. André Beaudet. Lasalle, QB: Hurtubise HMH, 1981.
Includes letters exchanged between Leduc and Borduas (in French)

"Hommage à Paul-Emile Borduas." By Robert Elie & Jean Ethier-Blais. Vie des arts 19 (Summer 1960): 18-31
This article comprises two texts; the second text is an interview of Borduas in his workshop, talks about his life & paintings

Emily Carr: Writing about her own art

"Miss Carr Replies." Vancouver Daily Province, 8 Apr. 1912.
A response to conservative 19th century pictorial painting lovers' criticisms after an exhibition with her work

Klee Wyck. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1941. Available at OCADU Library.
This wwas Carr's first book after visiting, living and painting First Nations communities & totem poles. It won the Governor General's award for non-fiction.

Growing Pains: The Autobiography of Emily Carr. Foreword by Ira Dilworth. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1946. Available at OCADU LIbrary.

Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of Emily Carr. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin, 1966. Available at OCADU Library.

Seven Journeys: The Sketchbooks of Emily Carr. Doris Shadbolt. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre ; Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2002. Available at OCADU Library.
This text details journeys between 1927-1930 with drawings and quotes from previously unpublished writings and letters by Carr.

Paraskeva Clark: Writing about her own art

"The Artist Speaks: A Statement by Paraskeva Clark." Canadian Review of Music and Art 3.9/10 (1944): 18-19.

"Paraskeva Clark." by Janice Cameron, et al. Eclectic Eve. [s.l.: s.n., 1974].
This chapter includes written quotes from interviews with Clark where she talks about her work and being a painter. Interview recordings are housed at the OCAD University archives.

Letters. Artscanada (Canadian Art). 03/1982, Volume 38, Issue 3. Available at OCADU Library.

Lawren Harris: Writing about his own art

The Story of the Group of Seven. Rous & Mann,1964.  Available at OCADU Library.

The Best of the Group of Seven.  Lawren Harris and Joan Murray.  Hurtig Publishers, 1984. Available at OCADU Library.

A.Y. Jackson: Writing about his own art

"Sketching in Algoma." Canadian Forum 1.6 (Mar 1921): 174-5. Read online from Internet Archive.

"Adventure in Art." Canadian Forum 8.86 (Nov 1927): 424.
About a trip to the Arctic.

The Far North: A Book of Drawings by A.Y. Jackson. Toronto: Rous and Mann, 1928.
Drawings by Jackson with descriptive notes. Introduction by Dr. F. G. Banting.

"Sketching on the Alaska Highway." Canadian Art 1.3 (Feb-Mar 1944): 88-92.
Jackson describes the landscape and military people he meets, and the routine he develops for making sketches while traveling on tours of the Alaska Military Highway through U.S. Public Relations.

"The Origin of the Group of Seven." High Flight. Ed. J. R. McIntosh, F. L. Barrett, C. E. Lewis. Toronto: Copp Clark, 1951, 106-62.

"Recollections on my Seventieth Birthday." Canadian Art 10 (1953): 94-9.

"The Birth of the Group of Seven." Our Sense of Identity: A Book of Canadian Essays. Ed. Malcolm Ross. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1954, 220-230.

"From Rebel Dauber to Renowned Painter: A Self-Portrait of A.Y. Jackson." by A.Y. Jackson and Leslie F. Hannon. Mayfair 28.9 (Sep 1954): 27-9, 58, 61-4, 67.

"Box-Car Days in Algoma 1919-20."  Canadian Art 14.4 (Summer 1957): 136-141.

A Painter’s Country: The Autobiography of A.Y. Jackson. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Co., 1958.

"A Portfolio of Arctic Sketches." Beaver 297 (1967): 7-14.

The Arctic 1927. A.Y. Jackson with introductions by Naomi Jackson Groves & Dr. Frederick Banting. Moonbeam, ON: Penumbra Press, 1982.
The diaries and sketchbook of A. Y. Jackson, who describes a voyage he made to the Canadian arctic. The book is made up of two diaries Jackson kept, one of notes for himself, and a second, more like descriptive travel letters, for friends in Toronto

Paul Kane: Writing about his own art

Paul Kane's Frontier, Including Wanderings of an Artist Among the Indians of North America. Ed. J. Russell Harper. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1971. Available at OCADU Library.
A catalogue raisonné with biographical introduction edited by J. Russell Harper with reprint of Kane's Wanderings of an Artist, 1859. It includes appendix of excerpts from Kane's logbooks, letters & notes for painting.

Wiliam Kurelek: Writing about his art

William Kurelek: A Retrospective. Edmonton: Edmonton Art Gallery, 1970. Available at OCADU Library.
Writings by Kurelek, including an Artist's Foreword and commentary for each painting in the collection.

O Toronto: Paintings and Notes. Toronto: New Press, 1973. Available at OCADU Library.
Kurelek's paintings of Toronto accompanied by notes.

Kurelek's Canada. Toronto: Pagurian Press; Scarborough, Ont.: distributed by McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1975.  Available at OCADU Library.

The Passion of Christ According to St. Matthew. Niagara Falls: Niagara Falls Art Gallery and Museum, 1975. Available at OCADU Library.
Includes a foreword by Kurelek along with his paintings.

The Last of the Arctic. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1976.  Available at OCADU Library.
Kurelek's paintings of Inuit people and his personal notes.

"Development of Ethnic Consciousness in a Canadian Painter." in Identities: The Impact of Ethnicity on Canadian Society, ed. Wsevolod Isajiw. Toronto: Peter Martin, 1977. Available at OCADU Library.
Kurelek writes about about Urkranian ethnic heritage & art, religious convictions, and ethnic consciousness in addition to artistic development.

The Ukrainian Pioneer. Niagara Falls Art Gallery, Toronto: 1980. Available at OCADU Library.
Paintings of Ukrainian pioneer life with comments and narrative by Kurelek.

Kurelek's Vision of Canada. by William Kurelek & Joan Murray. Edmonton: Hurtig, 1983. Available at OCADU Library.
Includes Kurelek's "Reminiscences" and commentary about his artwork.

They Sought A New World: The Story of European Immigration to North America. Montreal: Tundra Books, 1985. Available at OCADU Library.
Paintings and comments by William Kurelek ; additional text by Margaret S. Engelhart.

To My Father's Village: The Last Days and Drawings of William Kurelek. Montreal: Tundra Books, 1988. Available at OCADU Library.
Includes correspondence, drawings, writing & reflections by Kurelek.

Kurelek Country: The Art of William Kurelek. Toronto: Key Porter Books, 1999. Available at OCADU Library.
This book includes excerpts of Kurelek's writings from his autobiography and correspondence.

Doris McCarthy: Writing about her own art

Eclectic Eve. [s.l. : s.n., 1974].
Includes short biography and two pages of McCarthy's own writings describing her art & working processes.

The good wine : an artist comes of age. Macfarlane, Walter & Ross, 1990. Available at OCADU Library.

A Fool in Paradise.  MacFarlane and Walter Press, 1990.  Available at OCADU Library.

"County Mayo." Canadian Art 16.3 Fall (1999): 52-55.
McCarthy recalls trip to Mayo, Ireland in Spring 1999 and her experiences of painting there.

Doris McCarthy: Ninety Wise Years. Second Story Press, 2004. Available at OCADU Library.

Doris McCarthy: my life. by Doris McCarthy; Charis Wahl.  Second Story Press, 2006. Available at OCADU Library.