The Forest Lover

Emily Carr’s paintings are some of my favorites. She captured the essence of the Northwest in her work, and I’ve been fascinated with both the art and the artist for quite a few years now. So for Sarah’s Art History Reading Challenge, I am reading Susan Vreeland’s The Forest Lover, based on Emily Carr’s life, and I just can’t get enough of this artist!

From the Emily Carr House web site:

“Emily Carr is one of Canada’s greatest and most loved artists. Feeling a spiritual connection with her subjects, Emily Carr painted both the landscape and native villages of Western Canada in a unique and modern style that was rejected during its time of production. After years of travel throughout the forests of British Columbia, failing health caused her to remain close to home where she wrote seven books based on her life. Today Emily Carr is highly regarded throughout the world and considered a national icon in Canada. Through reading her books and the study of her paintings ( in poster form, or original ) one is able to grasp just how incredible this woman was.” 

The Forest Lover, which is a nicely done historical fiction, just whets my appetite for more Emily Carr. Carr was a writer as well as an artist, and I really want to read some of her own books. One of them already on my shelf is Klee Wyck (This is the Indian name given to Emily by the First Nations People in Ucluelet; it means ‘laughing one.’ —Klee Wyck p. 8)

My husband and I have seen some of her work while we were visiting Vancouver, B.C. a few years ago, but we would very much like to go to Vancouver Island, visit the Emily Carr house and the museum in Victoria, and travel northward to see some of the places that inspired her!

There is something bigger than fact: the underlying spirit, all it stands for, the mood, the vastness, the wildness. (Emily Carr)
There are no words, no paints to express all this, only a beautiful dumbness in the soul, life speaking to life. (Emily Carr)

14 thoughts on “The Forest Lover

  1. Chris

    Wow…those paintings are BEAUTIFUL. I think you’ve mentioned her before on your blog. I’m going to have to go check out some of her stuff.


  2. Iliana

    The paintings and quotes by Carr are lovely. I just mooched this book and will look forward to reading it as I think Vreeland really does a good job with stories about artists/paintings. I don’t know much about Carr at all so looking forward to this!


  3. Lezlie

    I thought about this one, too, for the same challenge. I look forward to seeing what you think of it! Beautiful paintings!!!



  4. jenclair

    I found Growing Pains: The Autobiography of Emily Carr and discovered that the titles of some of Carr’s other books are intriguing, too. My goodness, the woman was prolific!


  5. Robin

    Chris, I’m really captured by her right now. I’ve loved her paintings for a few years now, but didn’t know very much about her. She was quite a character!

    Thanks, Iliana. I like Vreeland’s books on artists and paintings, too. I’ve been wanting to know more about this artist, because I lover her paintings, and this book has been a nice introduction to her life/story.

    Lezlie, I’ve been interested in this artist for quite awhile, and I’ve read other books by Vreeland, so it was perfect for the Art History challenge.

    Nymeth, the more I look at her work, the more I find to love.

    Thanks, Jenclair. She’s a very interesting person … quite a personality! And, yes, she was prolific, driven. I’ll look for that book…Growing Pains sounds very interesting, too.


  6. wereadtoknow

    Looks not only a great book, but some great artistry as well! I will say that I wish I could participate in the art history challenge, but I’m just not sure I’ll have time – and that makes me overwhelmingly sad!


  7. Robin

    Thanks, wereadtoknow! I’m really fascinated by Emily Carr and am looking forward to reading some of the books she wrote to see if I like her writing as much as her paintings! It’s frustrating not having the time to sign up for all the different challenges we’d like to do. I lost all my self-control and signed up for way too many in 2009, but we’ll see how many I’m able to complete. They just all sounded so good! And there are more I’d like to sign up for!


  8. Susan

    You’ve shown one of my favourite paintings by her, the one of the tree reaching up into the sky. I used to live in BC, and in Victoria twice, and her work always reminds me of the BC landscape. Oh, I think I’m a little homesick now! Her work is powerful and always been among my favourites too. I saw a retrospective of her work at our National Art Gallery 3 years ago, and it was amazing to see so much of her art together.
    thanks for your post, so much, Robin! Oh – read her biographies too, long ago, Growing Pains was a fascinating account of the formation and determination of a woman to be an artist and paint what she saw in the landscape.


  9. Robin

    Thanks, Susan. You were so lucky to see a retrospective of her work! We’re hoping to go to Victoria soon and visit her home and the museum there. We also need to head back to Vancouver. And I definitely want to read her books! Growing Pains sounds like a good one to start with.


  10. Robin

    Rhinoa, I love trees, too…which is a big reason that we’re living in the Pacific Northwest!

    Teabird, I can’t get enough of her now! I’ve just ordered two of the books she wrote, and I’m dying to go north to see some of her paintings in person!!



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