Dorothy Knowles, Canadian landscape painter


Canadian landscape painter, Dorothy Knowles painting

Dorothy Knowles, Canadian landscape painter

Dorothy Knowles is one of Canada’s most prominent painters. Born  in Unity, Saskatchewan, in 1927, she is a  prolific artist with a devoted studio practice. Knowles has spent nearly 70 years at her craft, maintaining an artistic and intellectual dialogue with many established artists such as her late husband, Colourfield painter, William Perehudoff; and her friend and former art teacher, the late watercolourist, Reta Cowley.


Primarily known as a Canadian landscape painter, Dorothy Knowles is at ease with both large scale and small formats, and uses a variety of media, including acrylic, oil and water colour paint, charcoal and pastel.

Canadian Landscape painting

Dorothy Knowles history

After studying at the University of Saskatchewan, she attended Goldsmith School of Art in London, England, before marrying Perehudoff in Paris in 1951. It was at a 1962 Emma Lake Artist Workshop in northern Saskatchewan that the notable modern art critic Clement Greenberg encouraged Knowles to continue her focus on the landscape despite the modernist preoccupation with hard-edge abstraction. Since then, Knowles has developed a style that combines the classical traditions of composition with the loose brushwork evocative of pleine air sketches, transforming the Canadian landscape into works of pictorial and formal inventiveness that reflect her strong connection to ‘place,’ especially to Western Canada where she was born and still lives today.


In 2017 Dorothy Knowles was awarded the Canada 150 Medal. In 1987 she was given the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in
recognition of her contribution to the art and culture of the province. in 2012 she was a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and in 2004, she was awarded the designation of Member of the Order of Canada. 

Art collections

Knowles’ work is widely collected in public and private art collections all over North America including the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; the Boston Museum; the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, the Portland Art Museum; the National Gallery of Canada and many more.

Dorothy Knowles: Canadian Landscapes

Dorothy Knowles Shows Canadian Landscapes at Douglas Udell Gallery

This major exhibition of Dorothy Knowles’ Canadian Landscapes has been a long time in coming, and it’s finally ready to show itself off.

Scroll down for a sneak peak at what you’ll see at this show at the Douglas Udell Gallery in Edmonton opening later this month.

Dorothy Knowles: Canadian Landscapes opens: Saturday, October 25th. From 2-4 pm. Artist will be in attendance. The exhibition continues through November 8th.

Dorothy Knowles Canadian Landscapes Light on the Mountains
Light on the Mountains

Canadian Landscapes: Light on the Mountains

Light on the Mountains is a thinly-painted acrylic from 1987. Dorothy Knowles did many painting trips to the Canadian Rocky Mountains during this time with family and friends.

Though, at 6 feet by 9 feet, this large scale landscape painting would have been too big to have been painted outdoors, Knowles would have photographed the scene and done watercolours on the spot, then worked on it in her studio later – as she did with many of her large Canadian landscapes.


Canadian Landscapes Dorothy Knowles Leaning Trees
Leaning Trees

Canadian Landscapes: Leaning Trees

This painting above is a Dorothy Knowles 22″ x 30″ watercolour painting from 1997.  Most of Knowles’ watercolours were painted outside, en plein air, which gives the work an immediacy and freshness her watercolours and oils are known for.


Canadian Landscapes Dorothy Knowles watercolour painting
South of Duck Lake

Canadian Landscapes: South of Duck Lake

South of Duck Lake is even earlier. It’s a watercolour from 1983 and, as you can see, quite abstracted from the Canadian landscape it represents, though it was most certainly painted on site.

Over the years – and seasons – Dorothy Knowles’ style varies from quick sketches to complicated compositions, but all her paintings are taken from original experience, whether she painted, sketched or photographed on site.


Canadian Landscapes by Dorothy Knowles Pansies in Bloom
Pansies in Bloom

Canadian Landscapes: Pansies in Bloom

Knowles’ oil paintings tend to be thicker and she often paints them outside. This is 1992 oil of her garden in Saskatoon, a subject she has painted extensively over the years. Size is 32 inches by 42.5 inches.


Paintings of Canadian Landscapes
Blowing Trees

Canadian Landscapes: The Path to Murray Point

This is a large scale acrylic painting that Dorothy Knowles worked on for years – it was finished earlier in 2014. Thin washes of colour were used to create a soft atmospheric effect. The locale is one of her favourite Canadian landscapes to paint, Emma Lake up in northern Saskatchewan, a place which has a long history with art and artists.


Dorothy Knowles Canadian Landscapes Spruce River Reservoir
Spruce River Reservoir

Canadian Landscapes: Spruce River Reservoir

This is one of the most spectacular artworks in the show. It’s a dramatic black and white scene done in charcoal of a northern spot near Emma Lake in Saskatchewan called the Spruce River Reservoir. At four feet by six feet it needs to be seen for itself, and that’s one of the reasons we’re so excited about this rare Knowles exhibition.

For more information on the Dorothy Knowles: Canadian Landscapes exhibition visit Douglas Udell Gallery.

The Douglas Udell Gallery is located at 10332-124 St.
Edmonton, AB T5N 1R2
Telephone 780-488-4445