Historic Art Instructional Booklets


I’ve been doing a major cleanup in my studio this week and, while going through my art books, came upon these gems. These booklets are undated but I believe they were produced during or just after the Second World War.

Each booklet is 16 pages and only 4 1/4 by 5 1/2″ in size. They were compiled for the benefit of members of the Canadian Armed Services. In this era of cutbacks and little respect for the arts, I doubt a project like this would even be considered.

Arthur Lismer and A. Y. Jackson are Canadian icons and were both founding members of the Group of Seven; artists who celebrated the landscape as their main inspiration.

These booklets are a pleasure to read. They are written with great personality and in a refreshing no-nonsense style. I wish I could reproduce them in their entirety for you to enjoy. Here’s an excerpt from the watercolour booklet by Lismer:

What Makes a Painter?
If you would make good sketches in water colours, you must be something like a child, full of courage, born of ignorance perhaps, uninhibited and unafraid of difficulties, but like a child, working with gusto.

The spirit of adventure, right materials, a keen eye, and a roving disposition are worth more than theories and data and all the knowledge of what has gone before.”


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5 Responses to “Historic Art Instructional Booklets”

  1. Sue McKee Says:

    “What Makes A Painter”? by Lismer is brilliant. This little bit of Canadian Art History, has made my day. Thanks, Barry, Sue McKee

  2. waterartways Says:

    What a treasure! Love the “What Makes a Painter? quote. Thanks for posting about these, Barry.

  3. Stephen Says:

    Hey Barry – that spirit of adventure quote is a word in season for me – thanks for sharing some of your treasure

  4. lindahalcombfineart Says:

    Wow! What a find…it would be a shame to lose these. Thanks for sharing the wisdom!

  5. Barry Coombs Says:

    Thanks for all of your comments. I’ll make sure I keep my little treasures in a safe place. Also, I plan to quote from them again in future posts.

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