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Harold James Mowat once described his work as: “My medium is a piece of white paper and a black pencil, sometimes a bit of dirt from the floor. When I work, I’m at it from morning until late at night. I haven’t known the meaning of true peace of mind for years, but I infinitely prefer the uncertainties and struggles of the illustrator to any other game on earth.”


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H.J. Mowat was born in Montreal, Canada in 1879. He studied art at the New York School of Art. He always preferred to work in black and white, most of the time obscuring much of the details but also highlighting other areas for an overall tonality. He never quite achieved the popularity of some of his colleagues like F.R. Gruger, Arthur William Brown, Raeburn Van Buren. None the less, he was well respected and admired by his fellow artists who acknowledged his dedication. Mowat did a lot of work for the major publications during his time, such as The Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home Journal, McCall’s, and Redbook. Mowat never became as popular with the public as did most of his more facile coworkers.

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The reason Mowat wasn’t able to attain the heights of other artists was the fact that he lavished so much time and expense on his models fees that he would barely brake even and the fact that he worked painfully slow.

Where it not for these I weaknesses I believe H.J. Mowat would have given the likes of F.R. Gruger, Arthur William Brown, Raeburn Van Buren and others a run for their money.

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H.J. Mowat passed away in 1949

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