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Toni Graeme

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The Father of Canadian Art
by Toni Graeme   

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Publisher:  T & T Enterprises ISBN-10:  97809773297409 Type: 


Copyright:  August 2009 ISBN-13:  97809773297409

Thomas Mower Martin immigrated to Canada in 1862 from his birthplace in the Inner Temple on the Thames, London, England. A year later he set himself up as an artist in Toronto, Ontario and painted full time for 70 years until his death at 96 in 1934.

Martin was a painter in oils of portraits, landscapes and wildlife, he also worked in watercolours. He was a passionate gardener, art teacher, an etcher, writer and speaker and travelled from east to west coasts in Canada, in the US he visited the Maine coast, Washington, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle. He was one of the earliest (1887-1910) Canadian Pacific Railway artist travellers in the 1880's. He painted glorious pictures of the Rocky mountains in BC/Alberta, Canada and scattered pocketsful of seeds from his own Toronto garden as he tramped through the mountains in search of grand views just waiting for him to paint them. Martin also helped artists start groups in Toronto and Victoria, BC to help them find ways to exhibit their works. He was a charter member of the prodigous Royal Canadian Academy of Artists (RCA). He was a life long follower and lecturer of the Swedenborg religious philosopy and established many groups in Canada and the US. He had nine children including 6 girls.     Excerpt
'In April 1863, their first child, a son, was born and the Martins were ready to leave Muskoka. It was with great bitterness that Martin's dream [to be a homesteader] was unrealized; he felt he had been duped when he discovered there was only swamp, no earth, where he could grow food. In June that year, after what now seemed like a wasted year as a settler, he and Emma sold almost everything but their clothes and headed for Toronto.
Some years later he saw a positive side and reflected. "The whole of my year's experience was useful to me, for I had studied both the fauns and the flora of the country, as well as rock formations, the beautiful beaver meadows, waterfalls and lakes.'

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