Friday, December 5, 2014

Thinking about Emily Carr

I've been thinking about Emily Carr lately- for a number of reasons. There are a couple of new books out about Emily - one is for children ages 5 and up called "When Emily Carr met Woo"  by Monica Kulling with illustrations by Dean Griffins. I haven't seen the actual book but the picture in the advertising folder looks like fun. The choice of a monkey for a pet was an unusual one - but then she had a rat pet too- and she certainly was a person who marched to her own drum.  Another new book is "Emily Carr in England " by Kathryn Bridge who "takes a fresh look at the years that Emily Carr spent in England from 1899 to 1904,learning to become an artist" There are humorous illustrations and verses  as well as sketches by Emily herself and photographs. I'll be looking to see this as some of the time spent in England was far from humorous since she had a breakdown and ended up in a sanatorium. I read a novel based on Emily Carr's life - the love for art was captured but the book lost me when a sort-of love interest was added. There was no way that a person of her upbringing and outlook would have been visiting a bit of a vagabond on a boat in Coal Harbour!  I have her own books - Hundreds and Thousands- the Journals of an Artist and Growing Pains: An Autobiogaphy and I've been re-reading them. I had forgotten the bit where  a young Delisle Parker, newly returned from Paris, visited her studio. Later in his life, he was an art critic for a Vancouver newspaper and also taught at Saturday morning classes at the Vancouver Art Gallery. One year, he was my teacher and I remember him as a very dapper man who did not want to get chalk from children's art work on his clothes. We would gather around him as he would point, with his polished shoe, at art work spread on the floor. By that time, paintings by Emily Carr were on the Art Gallery walls.  Her own books really show her dedication to her art. It is really interesting to see the renewed interest in her and the attention  gained by the exhibition of her work at Dulwich Gallery in London.

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