Homer Watson…I Remember Him
Born in 1855, Homer Watson spent his early years preparing to become a successful artist. He made landscapes with his gravy and mashed potatoes and he spent more time drawing his teacher than listening to him. ”Remembering Homer Watson, Homer Watson House and Gallery, Kitchener, Ontario, Community Stories, Virtual Museum.CA.2019.”
Most anyone growing up in Waterloo county in the 1940s/50s was “surrounded” by the artistry of Homer Watson (1855-1936), a prize-winning local master painter. The popularity of natural settings and artful landscapes began in Europe with the sweeping tide of Romanticism near the end of the 18th century…a reaction to industrial expansion and revolution. The effects of the Barbizon School of painting in France (1830-1870) reached America and fostered the Hudson River School (1825-1870).
In Canada, Homer Watson, born in the bucolic setting of the village of Doon, Ontario (population: 200), roamed the countryside looking for scenes to recreate on canvas. Trees, forests, woods, brooks, grazing cattle became the favorite subjects of painters like Watson. He did for Ontario, Canada, what Theodore Rousseau (1812-1867) did for the French countryside and Thomas Cole (1801-1848) did for the Hudson valley in New York state.
Watson may have been the greatest stimulant for the Group of Seven painters in Canada (Kitchener Post, New Online Art Book Explores Kitchener-born, Canadian Artist Homer Watson, October 10, 2018). Brian Foss, author of Homer Watson, Life & Work, says this about his subject. “Despite his international travels, Watson always returned to his home in southern Ontario, where he painted the area around Kitchener’s Grand River with what he called ‘faith, ignorance and delight.’ ”
The Homer Watson House & Gallery (HWHG) is located on Old Mill Road in Kitchener. Tabatha Watson (no known relation of Homer Watson) was recently appointed Director/Curator of the HWHG.
Portrait of Homer Watson - National Gallery of Canada 1920