Eighty percent of the Canadian War Museum’s 13,000 works of art are on paper, in the form of drawings, prints and watercolours. They date from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day, recording 250 years of Canadian military history.

The paintings presented in the exhibition Colours of War demonstrate the quality of work completed in watercolour during the First and Second World Wars, as well as the variety of subjects. Artists from Canada, Britain, and Belgium approached war in many different ways, often finding a tragic beauty in the human and material destruction they witnessed. Many were officially commissioned war artists or painted with specific military units as service artists. Others sketched in their spare time because they had been painters in civilian life.