ALFRED JOSEPH CASSON, O.S.A., P.R.C.A.
Private Collection, Toronto
Joyce Putnam, Seven Years with the Group of Seven, Quarry Press, Kingston, 1991, page 115.
Speaking about her good friend A.J. Casson (1898-1992), longtime art collector Joyce M. Putnam said “at last we discovered what he really liked, it was changeable weather, when there were piles of storm clouds approaching, or windy weather when the clouds raced across the sky...he liked it when nature was on the rampage, the sky was filled with violent patterns”.
The painting Poplar Grove, Lake Kamaniskeg demonstrates Casson’s passion for the capriciousness of weather. As a trained and dedicated watercolourist, Casson treated oils almost like this medium, using the paint thinly and without excessive texture, which he saw as being characteristic of the “old days” of oil painting. Despite applying the paint flatly and thinly, through the expert use of line and contrast, Casson imbues great weight and richness to the subject, adding further depth with the screen of golden trees in the foreground. Casson’s outdoor sketches provided the source material for his larger more finished canvases; yet his final pieces retain the same feeling of spontaneity as his preliminary work, and Poplar Grove is no exception.