Franklin Carmichael was born May 4th, 1890 to Scottish-Canadian parents in Orillia, Ontario. It was here he remained until his 20th birthday when his love of art led him to Toronto and into the Ontario College of Art. During this time he took some classes at the Toronto Technical School. Franklin apprenticed as a commercial artist for an advertising agency. It was here that he met 7 others, they joined together to form a group of painters, and they began to study and work together on their careers as professional artists. On weekends they would travel to the countryside and sketch landscapes.
In 1913 Carmichael took at trip to Belgium to study painting, however he shortly returned to study with the other artists, due in part to the war. His mediums of choice were watercolor and oil which he used to depict scenes of northern Ontario landscapes.
Married in 1915 and spent most of his time with his family. By 1924, he was well back into painting.
In 1933 joined the Canadian Group of Painters. Despite being the youngest in the group, he was president of The Group of Seven from 1932 to 1934. During the late 1930s and 1940s, he branched out and worked on wood engravings and linocuts, all with the same precision and rhythmic quality of his paintings.
Franklin Carmichael taught at the Ontario College of Art from 1932 to 1945, and was appointed Head of Graphic and Commercial Art. He passed away suddenly on October 24th of 1945.