From the beginning, Canadian painters who participated in the Canadian War Records lived and worked closely with the armed forces, spending a great deal of time close to the front lines. Wherever they found themselves, they were expected to produce accurate images of fighting men, machinery, and the landscape of war. This they did by sketching in the field and later developing the sketches in watercolour or pastel. Only when they returned to their headquarters in London, or, after the war, to Canada, did they compose their studio works - the oils on canvas.

Operational Instructions

You should first prepare a plan to cover the activity you are going to record, with a time-table covering a week in advance.

The possible steps in formulating this plan might be:

(i) Perusal of training syllabus or operation orders, and explanation by an officer familiar with the activity. 

(ii) Study of the terrain: on the ground if possible, or from the map.

(iii) Selection of places and phases likely to lend themselves to pictorial work.

(iv) Preparation of time-table, allowing sufficient time to deal with subjects tentatively selected.

Section 8 suggests that:

"After field sketches and notes have been completed, lose no time in securing additional details of topography, uniform, equipment, weapons and vehicles portrayed; and arrange for participants to pose as models."

Featured Canadian War Artists

Pegi Nicol MacLeod
Aba Bayefsky Alex Colville
Charles Comfort Orville Fisher
Lawren P. Harris C. Anthony Law
Jack Nichols Jack Shadbolt
Carl Schaefer George Tinning

* All quoted material is from the Artists' files at the Canadian War Museum.