Thoreau MacDonald's Notebooks
Thoreau MacDonald's Notebooks
Edited and Introduced by John Flood
Foreword by Ray Nash
6 X 9 inches, 80 pages
'THE WORK OF THOREAU MACDONALD in black and white line, which he has made very specially his own, has never been equalled, and will not be. Brought up in the midst of the Group of Seven, he of course did oil painting or water colour or used any convenient means of expression in any size. He made block prints, stencils, was a master of lettering and layout, designed magazine covers, bookplates, and worked in many styles. But his great work was in small size and in that most difficult of mediums, black and white pen and brush drawing. In a way that seems simple and effortless he could express heat or cold, weather and the seasons, the growth of each kind of tree, the flowing of water, the movement or stillness of animals, the flight of hawks or owls, and the work of the men who cultivated the land. Living and working outdoors himself, he understood the things tools make—houses and barns, fences and wagons. He drew these things with inner knowledge, and with even more sharp understanding he drew the wild animals watching the work of men from a little distance along the edge of a field. The drawings are small windows through which we see, briefly stated things never expressed in words about the condition of man in the world, and of the wild creatures who live their own life alongside him.'
"... a rich mix of drawing, early diary entries, selections from 30 years of notes, reminiscences and a variety of letters to colleagues. The printing, typography and paper are all first-class and deserve a place in any collection of Canadiana."
THESE PICTURES are attempts to show the Harmony & Design of Nature in a small space. All Nature is united and harmonious but in part there are often faults & discords, & as a picture is so limited it is best to eliminate the unnecessary & attenuate the essentials.
The artist tries to show the character, the everlasting nature within Nature which is in people as well & is what they really see or remember.
They represent more the spirit & feeling of the place & time than the outer appearance.
It is the idea or thought of a place or tree which is the reality to us & these are the artist's thoughts or concepts of Nature expressed in the limitations of paintings.
—Thoreau MacDonald, Preface
See the companion volume, A Boy All Spirit: Thoreau MacDonald in the 1920s, edited by John W. Sabean.
See a biography for Thoreau MacDonald in the description for the book A Boy All Spirit.
Aside from being the busy proprieter and president of Penumbra Press, John Flood has penned two volumes of poetry of his own, The Land They Occupied (Porcupine's Quill Inc.) and No Longer North (Black Moss Press).
He was also the founding editor of two literary and fine arts magazines, Boral and Northward Journal: A Quarterly of Northern Arts, and the managing editor of The Literary Review of Canada. He presided over Carleton University Press from 1994 to 1998, where he now serves as an adjunct professor. And like many Penumbra authors, he is listed in the Canadian Who's Who.
He holds a B.A from Saint Dunstan's University (Charlottetown), an M.A. from University of Calgary, and a Ph.D. from University of Toronto. He specializes in Northern and Native literature through the critical lens of reader response theory. A professor of English language and Literature for twenty-four years at University de Hearst, which once appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest university in the world. Dr. Flood was the entire department of English.
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