Beatty, John William
Winter, Bowen Island, B.C.
Along with artists such as C.W. Jeffreys and Fred Challener, J.W. Beatty may be thought of as a transitional figure in Canadian art history. He was one of the first to question the influence of European art on Canadian art making and to espouse the practice of painting in rugged northern Canadian locations. Beatty's artistic path was not a straightforward one. He worked for the Toronto Fire Department for eleven years, taking classes part-time from teachers such as F. M. Bell-Smith, William Cruikshank and George Reid, before turning full time to painting in 1900. Beatty travelled to Europe to complete his education, studying at the Académies Julian and Colarossi in Paris. Upon returning to Canada he slowly built a reputation and, following several years of poverty, was able to earn a living as an artist and art educator. Beatty later proclaimed his regrets on having gone to Europe to study, calling it a serious mistake for a Canadian artist. Winter, Bowen Island, B.C. is a late work by Beatty, which demonstrates the artist's compositional skill and his sensitivity to colour and tonal effects.