This mural is located on the south wall of Huntsville Civic Centre / Algonquin Theatre facing the parking lot on High Street. The Mural depicts a sketch, called White Birch Grove 1916, originally painted by Tom Thomson. This mural painted by John Hood is about 4 by 6 meters. This mural depicts birches in the late afternoon coloured different shades of oranges and reds in a winter landscape.
John began drawing avidly almost as soon as he could hold a pencil and has been drawing ever since. He was a relatively accomplished draughtsman by the age of around twelve when, with paint lent by his mother, painter Noreen Mallory, he attempted his first oil paintings, one of cartoon character Asterix and one of a diesel locomotive. Sadly these two important works have been lost to history (probably just as well) but the damage was done and John had got the painting bug for good.
Taking art electives throughout high school and college, John decided in 1983 to pursue painting training at Concordia University in Montreal. Working in the roomy studios at Concordia, his interest in doing large scale drawings on paper based on historical photographs led him naturally to murals as a chosen form of expression. By now, John had developed a solid sense of paint handling, and was working primarily in acrylics, which he found lent itself well to exterior mural applications.
John has fourteen large scale public mural commissions to his credit as well as numerous private and corporate commissions, both for murals and small works, and has experience in book illustration, editorial drawing, scenic painting and art teaching. Having worked on murals and easel paintings steadily for over ten years, John feels as though his understanding of the materials and methods of large scale painting is very well developed and he looks forward to continuing to strengthen his grasp of the philosophical aspect of mural and easel painting. He hopes to be able to develop more personal forms of imagery as he continues to gain in technical ability and expressive breadth.
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Thomas John Thomson (August 5, 1877 – July 8, 1917) was an influential Canadian artist of the early 20th century. Tom Thomson was largely untrained in painting, but in 1901, he had studied lettering and design in Seattle, Washington, and then worked at photo-engraving and commercial artwork for various area firms. On his return to Canada, he began to work in a commercial art studio in Toronto doing the lettering on graphic art. Many of the other men in the studio had studied in the academies of Europe, and in his early 30's, Thomson took up painting. On his holidays, he travelled with them to the wilderness of Algonquin Park, and he was like a sponge, absorbing everything he could learn from them.
By 1915, he was painting major works such as his Northern River, which now hangs in the National Gallery of Canada. The influence of Impressionism, Art Nouveau, and the work of the future members of the Group of Seven are evident in his work, but Thomson's natural talent made him a dominant figure in early 20th century Canadian art.
In 1917, Thomson painted what is probably the most famous of all Canadian images, a pine tree, standing battered but strong against the elements. For many, the painting is the quintessential image of the Canadian spirit. The picture vibrates with colour. Presumably lakes and the sky are blue, but his picture is pink, violet, green. And to make the colours even more vibrant through complimentary contrast, he allowed spots of the red under-painting to show through.
Unfortunately, Thomson's career was cut short in 1917, when he was drowned at the age of 39 in a canoeing accident. His impact on the future members of the Group of Seven and on Canadian art in general was out of all proportion to the few years that he was at work.
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