Emily Carr, the Writer

For our school’s Centennial celebration this week, the teachers have transformed their rooms into decade rooms.  In one of my classrooms, Anne and I were assigned 1910 – 1939.  We tried to recreate how the rooms might have looked seventy to a hundred years ago.  We also had the children recreate art in the style of Emily Carr, arguably Canada’s most loved artist.  

Her grave in Victoria reads: Emily Carr, 1871 – 1945, Artist and Author, Lover of Nature.

Here are some quotes that make me want to read one of her books this Summer:

More than ever was I convinced that the old way of seeing was inadequate to express this big country of ours, her depth, her height, her unbounded wideness, silences too strong to be broken – nor could ten million cameras, through their mechanical boxes, ever show real Canada.  It had to be sensed, passed through live minds, sensed and loved.  – Emily Carr, Growing Pains (The Emily Carr Omnibus, p. 437)

How badly I want that nameless thing!  First there must be an idea, a feeling, or whatever you want to call it, the something that interested or inspired you sufficiently to make you desire to express it.  Maybe it was an abstract idea that you’ve got to find a symbol for, or maybe it was a concrete form that you have to simplify or distort to meet your ends, but that starting point must pervade the whole.  Then you must discover the pervading direction, the pervading rhythm, the dominant, recurring forms, the dominant colour, but always the thing must be top in your thoughts.  Everything must lead up to it, clothe it, feed it, balance it, tenderly fold it, till it reveals itself in all the beauty of its idea.  – Emily Carr, Hundreds and Thousands (The Emily Carr Omnibus, pp. 671-72)

See God in it all, enter into the life of the trees.  Know your relationship and understand their language, unspoken, unwritten talk.  Answer back to them with their own dumb magnificence, soul words, earth words, the God in you responding to the God in them.  – Emily Carr, Hundreds and Thousands (The Emily Carr Omnibus, p. 675).


About pjsarahcollins

teacher, author, reader
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