Community News

Learning and Supporting the Arts Community

October 26th, 2011

Via Oshawa Express 
October 26, 2011
By Jacquie Severs/Columnist

Developing artistic community is one way for artists to find fulfillment outside the scope of their own work. Through social interaction, artists expand and explore their ideas.

This in turn helps to support their artistic practices and can help further careers.
William Brymner (1855-1925) was an art teacher as well as painter of figures and landscapes.


The idea of artistic community was important to him, so he surrounded himself with his contemporaries. Brymner’s view of his contemporaries was not limited to only other fine artists. He also saw his contemporaries to be architects, writers, musicians, lawyers and others who shared a common interest in art, literature and culture.

His goal was to create places where those of similar values and ideals could come together and unite to defend their common interests. He encouraged the exchange of ideas, evolution in styles and new approaches. His involvement in numerous clubs, associations, and academies resulted in his widespread influence on the art scene of his day. This collaborative spirit and his encouragement of new styles is obvious in an exhibition titled William Brymner: Artist, Teacher, Colleague, which is being presented this fall at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery.

The exhibition, which opens November 5 at the RMG, includes more than 60 works of art from Brymner and his contemporaries, including Group of Seven member A.Y. Jackson, well-known Quebec artist Maurice Cullen as well as others such as Clarence Gagnon, Edwin Holgate and Horatio Walker. The works have travelled to Oshawa from Power Corporation’s collection in Montreal as well as the Agnes Etherington collection in Kingston.

As a teacher, Brymner believed in the importance of studying in various methods, as to avoid boredom for students. At the RMG this fall a workshop series is being presented in honour of this teaching philosophy.

For three Thursday evenings starting November 17, participants can first experience a lecture presented by a curator of the exhibition. The following week participants sketch in the exhibition, inspired by the works themselves. In this way they can mimic the “en plein air” style of artistic study. In the third and final week of the workshop, students paint in the RMG studio under the guidance of a painting instructor.

This three-step process of study is similar to the traditional artistic academic method of study that Brymner himself would have used. 

In order to encourage the development of artistic community, the RMG is presenting this workshop free to members, or for $35 for non-members. The $35 cost is, however, the cost of a membership so it is wise to join their community and enjoy all the benefits of membership while you learn and participate in this workshop series.

Building camaraderie between students was something that Brymner saw as an important element in keeping the learning process engaging.

Working among contemporaries allows for art students to learn not only from the teacher but also from peers, developing artistic ties and friendships that can last well beyond the classroom setting.

This experience can help build artistic communities, alliances and supports the goals and missions that William Brymner supported throughout his career.




Learn more about the The Academic Tradition Workshop

Exhibition: William Brymner: Artist, Teacher, Colleague

William Brymner on Wikipedia

William Brymner on The Canadian Encyclopedia




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