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I live on the ocean, write women's fiction, love to read so much that it's an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it's a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Frederick Varley, Night Ferry Vancouver

An early member of the Group of Seven, Frederick Farley was born and lived in England for the early part of his life, then moved to Ontario, to Vancouver, to Montreal.

Because I'm trying to look at this group of artists from a slightly different perspective, I'm trying to choose paintings that aren't traditionally what we expect from the Group of Seven - no wild and beautiful landscapes - but buildings - or at least something made by the hands of man.

It was almost as difficult with Varley as it was with Thomson to find a painting that fit my criteria. It wasn't the landscapes that were the problem in Varley's case, he was a portrait painter as much as anything else and when you added the portraits to the landscapes, it was hard to find something else.

I picked this picture for two reasons - one because it is a Vancouver scene (both Macdonald and Varley lived in Vancouver for a time) and the other because I appreciate the way he transformed the ocean and the concrete into a scene that contains all the colors of autumn in a forest in Ontario, almost feels as if you could close your eyes and be somewhere else. And yet, for me, even though this painting was done in 1937, I still recognize my city.

That intrigues me - that despite the changes I see happening on a daily basis, something still remains about Vancouver that has been the same for 70 years. Great art like this captures an essence rather than a reality.


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