Walter J. Phillips (1884-1963)
Sunset, Lake of the Woods, 1928
colour woodcut on paper (edition: 300)
18.2 x 21.3 cm

Printed on Goyu paper from six cherry-wood blocks, this is the seventh print in the 1928 portfolio of seven colour prints entitled The Canadian Scene. Phillips provided the following commentary:

It seems an anomaly that the smaller picture requires the most detail. A miniature is held naturally in the palm of the hand and examined closely, more closely indeed than a mural painting that decorates the dome of some important edifice. In the latter case, extreme breadth is desirable, for all detail is lost. For the same reason, small pictures demand brighter, purer colours. A landscape painter rarely paints a sunset; he prefers the more subtle colours of the eastern sky at the same hour, or the muted radiance of twilight.

A brilliant sunset is often garish and crude when drawn. The fact of a fragment of the whole dome of the sky being used, and that the brightest, suggests that the true proportions of colour in nature are not honestly represented in the painting. The same applies to all landscapes, of course, although it is often possible to compose colour schemes which do not blatantly travesty the natural order of things.

Here is a synthetic sunset, but I will not betray my craft by explaining exactly what I mean by that. The setting is Lake of the Woods, that delectable spot, and the island is off Bare Point, which appears on the left.

The colour and form here, may seem more intimate in arrangement than in the other subjects, but it is a fact that the process was no more lengthy nor the printing more arduous.