James Edward Hervey MacDonald is a painter, designer, artist, writer, poet and the major force and inspiration in the formation of the Group of Seven.
He was born in Durham, England sometime in 1873. He came to Canada with his family in 1887 and went on to study at the Hamilton Art School and the Central Ontario School of Art and Design. He started out as a graphic designer in Toronto while still going to school. He went to London, England for four years and in 1903 returned back to Toronto.
It was at Grip Ltd, a commercial art firm, where he met Tom Thomson. It was Thomson's art who inspired MacDonald and the other future painters of the Group of Seven. Soon enough he became the head designer at Grip and also designed some books.
It was in 1908 when MacDonald took up a passion for art and painting.
Lawren Harris saw one of his paintings at a gallery and persuaded him to take up painting full time. During this first phase of painting he focussed mostly on winter Toronto scenes and logging landscapes in northern Ontario. It was then when he painted the famed Tangled Garden.
MacDonald was fed up with the European styles of art representing Canada. He set out and was determined to replicate the feeling of the rugged Canadian landscape. To capture this he used rough brush strokes and stylized forms. He believes that through nature, man reaches a higher spiritual end.
In 1911, he moved his family to Thornhill, Ontario. At this time, he also quit his job and began to paint full-time, thanks to the advice Lawren Harris. He found inspiration in the country side and began to take trips up to Georgian Bay and Algonquin Park. This North appealed to both...