The Whitefish Hills, 1929
watercolour over graphite on wove paper
51.8 x 69.1 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 3949)
Carmichael's larger studio-produced watercolours are visually spectacular together. In them, contrasts of light and dark are heightened. Devoid of any human presence, these scenes allow us to hear the sounds of the wind and feel the changing temperatures as sunlight and cast shadows strike down on the hills and water below, and we are transported to the warm distant light. Often the horizons (as in "Grace Lake", 1934, no. 37) reveal earth and sky as one, an inseparable unity of material and immaterial form effectively conveyed through subtle shifts in the translucency of the watercolour medium. "The Whitefish Hills", 1929 (no. 36), was among Carmichael's first important studio watercolours of the region, and the National Gallery of Canada's second important Carmichael acquisition, purchased from their 1931 Annual Exhibition of Canadian Art.