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Page Index of A History of Portage la Praire
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Portagers. A portrait of Postmaster Miller was on display in Mr. Rowe's gallery for a time and was greatly admired by all. Mr. McGee painted with both oils and water colors.
Another Portage artist of the early days was James R. Bryson.
The Chicago British-American, in a paper of 1893, had this to say about him: Quote - "Among the rising artists of Chicago none has come more prominently to the front in recent years than Mr. J. Ross Bryson, whose studio is now located in the Central Music Hall build ing. A Canadian by birth, Mr. Bryson had from his early childhood a love for the pencil and brush. At 17 years of age he was apprenticed to the house and sign painting business, and in a short time became an expert in the technique of the trade. His desires constantly went out after something higher, and after a time he went to study art in Montreal. From there he went to the United States and continued his studies in various cities.
Mr. Bryson has achieved great fame as a portrait painter, and among the fine works of art to be seen in his studio are portraits of James G. Blaine, Booth and Barrett, the great actors; the Rev. Dr. Herrick Johnson, the noted Presbyterian divine, and "tim" Scanlan, of City Hall and sidewalk fame. These portraits are masterpieces of the painter's skill. Mr. Bryson has also in his studio many fine marine, landscape and figure studies that display a delicacy of touch and beauty of coloring that at once arrests the attention and awakes the warmest appreciation of the connoisseur".
James E. Collier, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph E. Collier, was born in Vancouver, B.C. but came to Portage la Prairie with his parents when he was one year old. He received his education here and showed signs of artistic ability at an early age. People who have saved copies of the school yearbook, "The Tattler", have evidence of this, as the cover for several years was designed by him.
Jimmie (as everyone called him) started his art training in Detroit, U.S.A. in 1935, and after two years received a position with McKims Advertising Agency in Toronto. Working his way up in this organization, he attained the position of art director.
In 1940 he went overseas with the R.C.A.F. and served as a fighter-pilot through the war years, during which time he was awarded the D.F.C. He returned to Canada in 1945 and took up where he left off in art work.
Shortly after his return, he and two partners started what is now nationally known as A.D.S. (Art Design Studios) in Toronto, Ontario.