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Group of Seven Influencing Contemporary Landscape Impressionism

What Would the Group of Seven Have Painted if They Visited California?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Group of Seven was a group of Canadian painters that came into their own in the early 1900’s. The group consisted of artists who explored a variety of techniques over the years. However, one thing that tied this loose association of artists together was the influence of European impressionism. You can look over the art of anyone who was part of the Group of Seven or was associated with the Group and see this influence. Their genius was bringing impressionistic style to Canadian landscapes, and thereby becoming the most important Canadian artists in the first decades of the 1900’s.

Erin Hanson’s art has been compared favorably with art created by the Group of Seven and their associates. We can see their influence in her work by comparing many of her paintings with works by Tom Thomson, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Franklin Carmichael and others. When looking at these classic Group of Seven works, we can see a certain vibrancy and love of color now mirrored in modern impressionistic works by Erin Hanson. 

The Pool by Tom Thomson Erin Hanson painting Autumn in Gold
The Pool by Tom Thomson (Left)
Autumn in Gold by Erin Hanson (Right)

One thing that the Group of Seven has received both criticism and praise for is their depiction of well lived-in areas of Canada as untouched landscapes. In doing this they showed a new perspective on a region that was considered unpaintable. This makes us think about California, filled with about 39 million people. There is likely no stone or piece of landscape untouched in this well-loved state, but the natural areas are still filled with beauty that deserves to be painted.

Erin Hanson painting Mosaic Wildflower

Mosaic Wildflower by Erin Hanson

Many members and associates of the Group of Seven were noted outdoorsmen and women, their works thus inspiring others out into the Canadian wilderness. It could be imagined that, if the Group of Seven had the opportunity to paint here in California, they would have forged through our woods, climbed rocks, and explored the deserts just as Erin Hanson has. They would have sought out the many natural landscapes here in California and painted it with bold colors and broad brushstrokes. They would have seen the raw landscapes, and portrayed the beauty in front of them. 

Erin Hanson painting Mosaic Green

Mosaic Green by Erin Hanson

So, if the Group of Seven came to California, one could imagine much much of what Hanson has brought to life, vibrant paintings that show the joy natural landscapes can impart. We hope that, when you see the art created by Erin Hanson, you feel the fierce love she has for her home state – and you sense wisps of inspiration from those impressionistic painters of the past.

The Jack Pine by Tom ThomsonThe Jack Pine by Tom Thomson 

Other California Works by Erin Hanson  |  Learn More About the Group of Seven





Erin Hanson ArtistERIN HANSON has been painting in oils since she was 8 years old. As a young artist, she worked at a mural studio creating 40-foot-tall paintings on canvas, while selling art commissions on the side. After getting a degree in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley, Erin became a rock climber at Red Rock Canyon, Nevada. Inspired by the colorful scenery she was climbing, she decided to paint one painting every week for the rest of her life. She has stuck to that decision ever since, becoming one of the most prolific artists in history. Erin Hanson's style is known as "Open Impressionism" and is now taught in art schools worldwide. With thousands of collectors eagerly anticipating her work and millions of followers online, Hanson has become an iconic, driving force in the rebirth of contemporary impressionism.

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