Over the six years that I lived in Victoria I walked past this lovely James Bay house many times, and while I always admired it I didn’t really appreciate how amazing it was to be so close to such a talented artist. It wasn’t until some years later that I really understood the significance of Emily Carr’s artistic and cultural contribution. It was this new appreciation (thanks to my friend Carol…) that inspired me to seek out Carr House on our last trip to Victoria and snap a few photos for myself.
Victoria has a special admiration for Miss Carr and her work, and rightly so. She was an ambassador for inter-cultural understanding at a time when that wasn’t important to very many people, and from everything I have read she was a kind and curious woman with an open mind and heart.
My children were completely entertained with the sculptures of the artist and her pets that occupy the corner of Belleville and Government – just across from the lights of the legislature buildings…
Our own Vancouver Art Gallery has some gorgeous paintings by Emily Carr in the permanent collection and it is worth the trip to see them in person to understand the depths of colour and feeling and the movement of this gorgeous Pacific Northwest landscape that she captured so completely…
Our Grade Seven class used to travel each Spring to the gallery and sketch with pastels to capture some of their own responses to her work… their pictures still fill me with joy.
“Trees love to toss and sway; they make such happy noises.” (Emily Carr)
“It’s wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw.” (Emily Carr)
“I sat staring, staring, staring – half lost, learning a new language or rather the same language in a different dialect. So still were the big woods where I sat, sound might not yet have been born.” (Emily Carr)
“I think that one’s art is a growth inside one. I do not think one can explain growth. It is silent and subtle. One does not keep digging up a plant to see how it grows.” (Emily Carr)
“There is something bigger than fact: the underlying spirit, all it stands for, the mood, the vastness, the wildness.” (Emily Carr)
“You will have to experiment and try things out for yourself and you will not be sure of what you are doing. That’s all right, you are feeling your way into the thing.” (Emily Carr)
“The artist himself may not think he is religious, but if he is sincere his sincerity in itself is religion.” (Emily Carr)
“Perfectly ordered disorder designed with a helter-skelter magnificence.” (Emily Carr)