Alexander Young Jackson or Alex, as I called him. We first met in late November of 1913. He had recently arrived from Montreal and was at Lawren Harris’s studio at Bloor and Yonge. I knew of him, I had seen his work, Edge of the Maple Wood at the OSA Spring Exhibition.
At first, I was self-conscious and felt like a country school boy, because Alex had returned from the European Painting schools. All I had done were sketches and still-shoots (photos) up North. He didn’t think too much of my work. He thought it was a bit dull and muddy. Colours of Dutch landscape painting, but without the Dutch landscape.But he was impressed that I had only taken up painting seriously only the year before and of the passion I had for the North. He said my technique was good and he would only be too happy to show me some of the new colour theories coming out of Europe.
I owe much to Alex as his persistence to help me was greater than my stubbornness. If it wasn’t for him I would still be drifting between commercial art firms and living out my days in rooming houses. Dr. MacCallum had repeatedly offered me a year’s stipend to focus on my art and I repeatedly refused. But with Alex’s jibbing, I eventually accepted his offer. Soon Alex and I were sharing space in the Studio on Severn Street. We were both tight on money, but with the guaranteed stipend from Dr. MacCallum, we were doing exactly what we wanted and in a place where we exactly wanted to be.