Thursday, October 27, 2011

Emily Carr - The Forest Lover

The Forest Lover is another book from Susan Vreeland that gives us an in-depth look at an artist's life. Emily Carr (1871- 1945) was inspired by the forests and the native culture of British Columbia.  At a time when potlatches were banned by missionaries and totem poles were sold to collectors or chopped up for firewood, Carr set out to document what remained.
 

Vreeland's book is the story of Emily Carr's obsession with painting and of the difficulties she faced. (Provincial and Victorian, British Columbia was slow to accept this bold, impressionistic art.)
It's also the sad story (once again) of the treatment of the indigenous peoples at the hands of the government and the missionaries. It' s ironic to think that Christians banned the potlatch, in which wealthy people gave away their worldly goods to less fortunate tribe members.

Many of Carr's paintings remind me of Georgia O'Keefe's work.
If you read the book, be sure to check out Vreeland's website where images of Carr's paintings are paired with the appropriate passages from The Forest Lover. Boy, the internet is great for this sort of thing!
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19 comments:

Ms. A said...

I had to look up potlatch, I didn't have a clue what it was. After reading, I did have a sneaky feeling that's where potluck came from and sure enough, it is.

Victoria said...

I read this book several years ago and loved it.

I studied both Carr and O'Keefe in college and their painting styles are slightly similar, but I think Carr is the superior artist; O'Keefe just had better press due, perhaps, to her association with Alfred Stieglitz.

Martin said...

Potlatch was new to me, too. It's a fascinating story, and I'll be heading over to Susan Vreeland's website later today.

Novice Naturalist said...

Love these paintings. Thanks for sharing them and the links.

Alan Burnett said...

Beautiful paintings - thank you for introducing me to her work.

Jean Baardsen said...

Thanks for sharing this! Beautiful artwork - I especially love the small white church against that vibrant green background.

Brian Miller said...

very neat with the passages being paired with the appropriate painting...i do like her work and would probably find the treatment of the indigenous very interesting as well...

Thérèse said...

Emily Carr: such beautiful paintings. I did not have any clue for the meaning of potlatch before, thks.

Barbara Rogers said...

How did my art education not include Emily Carr? Well, we know how women artists fared in AE in the 80's! The feminists were just pushing to have women studies programs, and maybe eventually their efforts made it across campus to art. I so appreciate finding out about another good woman artist. Thanks, Vicki!

Louise said...

Those pictures have such strength in them.

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

love this post and will check on her and her work... :-)

JJRod'z

Liz said...

I loved Girl in Hyacinth Blue - thanks for the recommendation.

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Hello Vicki

This is one book that will go on my"to read list."

I love the India Church painting.

Thanks for sharing!

Best
Tracy :)

Star said...

I'd never heard of a potlatch ceremony. How interesting and what a good idea. We have much to learn from indigenous people. What a shame they have been so persecuted over the years.

Anonymous said...

I read this book several years ago with one of my book groups and thoroughly enjoyed it! I think Canadians are much more familiar with Emily Carr's work than we Americans are.
She led an amazing life---I heartily agree with Vicki's recommendation.
BTW I'm looking forward to hearing Vicki read at Malaprop's on Sunday afternoon.
Deana the Queena

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Vicki, I have loved Emily Carr's work for years. Thank you for prodding me to go back to those amazing paintings. I can't say that I think, re Victoria, that Carr is the better artist, but no doubt she did have get more notice because of Stiegletz. I'm grateful for both of them. They have enriched my life--my vision.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

I should have mentioned O'Keeffe in my comment. Yes, there are similarities. Both are strong women, strong artists.
I draw strength from their paintings.

Vagabonde said...

I delighted in looking at your beautiful fall pictures in the mountains. So many hues in the trees. It looks like the scenery we saw in Ellijay – and I love it there. I look at all the gold leaves around our little forest and wish they would last longer – I also love the smell of the fallen leaves.

I am so sorry about the loss of your cows – that is really sad. The little Willa looks like a charmer.

I also cannot stop taking pictures of leaves. On our way back from Tennessee two days ago we took a detour via John’s Mountain Wildlife Management Area in the Chattahoochee National Forest – I declare it was one of the loveliest ride I have taken in a long time.

I have to get that book on Emily Carr now. When we went to Victoria the first time, years ago, we stayed at a B&B close to Emily’s childhood home. We visited it then I proceeded to get all the books she wrote and picture books of her paintings. She was such a great artist. There are many of her paintings in the Victoria and Vancouver museums.