Frederic Marlett Bell-Smith R.C.A.
Mist in the Rockies, c. 1887
The Canadian Fine Arts Gallery Ltd., Toronto;
Private collection, Calgary
Bell-Smith first traveled to the West after asking the Canadian Pacific Railway for passage to paint in the summer of 1887. It would be the first of over twenty trips for the artist, dubbed “the Premier Painter of the Rockies” by MacLean’s Magazine in 1912. Bell-Smith’s painting process in the mountains was noted by John E. Staley as almost entirely intuitive: Rarely Bell-Smith paints direct from Nature: his “Rockies” are too tremendous, but, at the same time, absolutely inspiring … A glimpse is sufficient for the execution of his scheme: he paints best with closed eyes—so to speak —in the dark room of his studio, for he paints there what he feels.” (1)
1. John E. Staley, The Premier Painter of the Rockies, MacLean’s Magazine, December 1, 1912