Thoreau MacDonald

Thoreau MacDonald, illustrator, designer, painter (b at Toronto 21 Apr 1901; d at Toronto 30 May 1989). Thoreau MacDonald was self-taught but worked with his father, J.E.H. MACDONALD. Colour blindness forced him to work mainly in black and white.

MacDonald, Thoreau

Thoreau MacDonald, illustrator, designer, painter (b at Toronto 21 Apr 1901; d at Toronto 30 May 1989). Thoreau MacDonald was self-taught but worked with his father, J.E.H. MACDONALD. Colour blindness forced him to work mainly in black and white. His illustrations, particularly for the RYERSON PRESS and the magazine CANADIAN FORUM, typified a whole period of Canadian ILLUSTRATION in the 1920s and 1930s. Certain technical mannerisms characterized his work: skies are always a series of parallel horizontal lines; clouds are simplified amoeboid shapes; trees look like the skeletons of conch shells; and his animals recall the art of the ancient Near East, appearing full face or, more usually, in profile. In general his subjects recalled his father's, but he favoured Ontario farmland. He was one of the first artists in Canada to study factories and construction, but his work is most memorable for his delight in nature.