Euphemia McNaught AOCA


1902-2002

Betty from Beaverlodge, as she was known, was born in the small village of Glenmorris by the Grande River in Ontario in 1902. The youngest of six children she was always interested in art. In 1912 the family left Ontario and travelled west to Edson by train, then on to the Peace River country in an ox cart on the newly opened Edson Trail. They settled in a homestead near Beaverlodge where she attended Appleton School. She went on to high school at Lake Saskatoon and then studied to become a teacher at the Normal School in Calgary. Upon graduation, she returned to the Appleton School where she taught for two years. She would later buy the old school and have it moved to her farm where she used it as a studio.

After two years of teaching she decided that she would prefer to be an artist. She saved her money and on the advice of her brother John she enrolled at the Ontario College of Art where she studied under Arthur Lismer and J.E.H. MacDonald along with fellow Albertan classmate Annora Brown. She graduated in 1929 and moved to Calgary where she taught for two years at Mount Royal College. She exhibited with the Alberta Society of Artists in 1931 at the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. She went back to Ontario in 1935 to teach art at the Ontario Ladies College in Whitby, Ontario but returned to Beaverlodge after only a year following the death of her father. She spent much of her spare time travelling around the Peace Country sketching and painting and established herself as the most prominent artist of the region.

During the war, she and, her friend, Evy McBryan received permission from the Prime Minister of Canada, Mackenzie King, to document the construction of the Alaska Highway in paintings. From 1955 to 1958 she taught art classes for the University of Alberta Department of Extension in and around Grande Prairie. She frequently exhibited her works in solo and group exhibitions as well as illustrating a local history book "Beaverlodge to the Rockies".

She was a founder of the Grande Prairie Art Club the Beaverlodge Art Club, and an active member of the Peace Watercolour Society. In 1977 she was awarded the Alberta Achievement Award of Excellence in Art and later in 1982 the Sir Frederick Haultain Prize in recognition of a lifetime of service and exceptional accomplishment. In 1985 she became a lifetime member of the Alberta Society of Artists.

Working mainly in watercolour, oils, and pen and ink, her Peace Country landscapes and pioneer scenes which often depicted horses are found in many private collections in Alberta and around the world. Her work was exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa before her death at the age of 100 in 2002.