The Quebec Studio Club
( Originally Published 1907 )
SOME ten years ago a number of young ladies, who had been pupils of Miss Dawson in art studies, formed the Quebec Studio Club. They were just then beginning to understand their limitation but were fired by their love of painting to trust that in organization and mutual help they might in time aspire to rank among the guild of artists. They have faithfully adhered to the high ideals they then set for themselves, and their tenth exhibition is the proof of continued progress.
The association has been fortunate in having had as instructors such men as Walter Griffin, Robert J. Wickenden and others, if not continuously, at least at critical periods of its existence and its members were keenly alive to profit by such capable and clever masters. Every year the members select some place where as a club they work together in mutual helpfulness, yet with unsparing criticisms of each other as artists. For two summers past they chose Pont Rouge on the Jacques Cartier River as their field of operation, a charming spot for infinite variety of landscape.
The Studio Club occupies as its permanent quarters two large rooms on the fourth floor of the City Hall which were granted years ago by the civic authorities. These rooms command a superb view over city, river and mountains.
The list of officers and members is as follows: President—Miss M. E. Bonham. Vice-President—Miss Maud Pope.
Treasurer— Miss C. M. Sewell.
Secretary—Miss L. E. Russell.
Members—The Misses M. E. Shaw, Graddon, Mabel Sewell, May Home, T. G. Marsh, Champion, J. Brown, J. Joseph, Louise Amyot, B. Hall, Webb, Winter, Brown.
Aside from the active members mentioned above, the club has a list of associate members who are entitled to exhibit work, subject to the approval of the Executive Committee. Two of the associate members — Miss Strang and Miss Thom have this year availed themselves of this permission.
There were 127 pictures catalogued in the last exhibition and there were eight exhibitors. This is pretty plain proof that these young lady artists are very much in earnest, and have arrived at that advanced stage in their art where they can afford to take themselves seriously, and feel a justifiable pride in their exhibition work. Ten years of hard study, close application, and enthusiastic effort to find artistic expression must tell. And it has !
Landscape was the predominating note of the first collection of pictures, which were also almost entirely local, by which I mean the scenes were either in or about Quebec. And what a varied field for the artist,and are there sunsets anywhere else in the world more glorious than from Quebec, and sunrises and cloud effects that are the despair artists. We are all lovers of our blue and purple mountains, the lovely St. Lawrence Valley, the great river itself, and dear old Quebec and its quaint life.
No wonder then that the late exhibition showed the influences of the great charm of this beautiful northland of ours, which we are so justly fond of, run to landscape almost exclusively.
`I must confine myself to a brief notice of a few of the pictures that have left the most lasting impression on my memory.
No. 7, "Woodland Cottage," by Miss L. Russell, is a clever study, but painted at the greenery period which is the least interesting stage of all the seasons from the artist's point of view, yet it has its admirers among the public. No. I0, "Natural Steps," by Miss M. Bonham, is a charmingly selected arrangement of a most interesting subject, and its handling of rock, tree and tumbling waters shows that Miss Bonham possesses to a marked degree both artistic and technical skill combined with strength. She knows what she wants to express, and there is no uncertainty as to her metier. No. 16, " Barnaby Island, Rimouski;" by the same artist is a delightful rendering of cloud effect on the St. Lawrence. No. 19, "Willows by the Lake," by Miss Pope, introduces us to another lady artist who has made good use of her opportunities. This picture is very Daubigny in its misty and delicate treatment of tree, sky and water. No. 30, by Miss C. Sewell —"After the Sun Has Set" is very cleverly handled in drawing and composition and only fails to be convincing in the rather too high light of the sky. Yet it is a picture to turn to again, as it is one of the strong pictures in the exhibition. No. 39, " Sunset in the Chaud," by Miss Russell, is really an afterglow and is forcibly treated. Miss Russell's work is all of it characterized by individuality and a nice sense of harmony in the color treatment. She may be very justly ranked as among the leading lights of the Studio Club and this is no small compliment to her skill and ambition to produce good work.
Among the most enthusiastic members of the Studio Club, and one of the hard workers in out-door studies, is Miss France Graddon. She showed some 18 works in the exhibition, and among them were a number worthy of extended notice. Space at my command, however, prevents this, but I cannot refrain from a reference to No. i, "September", a breezy, early autumn effect. No 70 "Cap Rouge Beach" a fine treatment of a most interesting subject. Miss Graddon is at her best I think, in the three black and whites Nos. 31, 32 33. They possess capital illustrative effects, and in this direction I think she will yet make a name for herself. Miss M. Shaw, in No. 24 "The River Path," has daintily and feelingly portrayed a bright sunny sky and a roadway through flowering fields. No. 41. "The End of Summer," by Miss M. Sewell, is one of a number of interesting subjects by this artist, who also displays a high order of talent for landscapes. Miss D. Strang, in No. 103, "St. Louis Gate," has made a good study of a rather poor subject.