Yes, another trip. July has been a busy month. While most of the U.S. was sweltering Seattle remained cool but the day we went over to Victoria on the Clipper (a fast speed catamaran), we had bright sun and all was looking better, despite the wind and the forecast of gales. The sun stayed with us for the whole time we were there and the return back. Sunny and warm but not too hot. Victoria and Seattle at their best!
A wonderful ambience as we wined and dined with Ian’s brother and family. And also did a bit of sight seeing. I particularly enjoyed the special exhibition at the Museum of British Columbia. The exhbition was called The Other Emily. The Emily referred to was Emily Carr. A famous Canadian artist and writer and I think particularly famous here in the Pacific Northwest. I found it a fascinating exhibition – sort of an artist within an artist the way it was presented – a present-day artist using old photographs and original paintings to give a modern insight into Emily Carr’s life.
I like Emily Carr’s work, I liked the old photographs, and I also like the present-day artist’s take on Emily’s life and times and art work. What I didn’t like was the rather labyrinth way the exhibition was set out, the stale smell of popcorn which pervaded the area, and the dim lighting or lack thereof. I used the word labyrinth – I had a hard time finding my way out! Exits seemed to be labelled emergency when you actually got there – not finding a simple exit made me decide that I would ignore the emergency signs and just go out – it worked – then I negotiated my way (more or less in the dark again) past the big exhibit of woolly animals. I had seen that exhibit out of the corner of my eye when I found the Emily Carr one so I knew I was somewhere near the down escalator. Relief when I finally emerged into a brighter area and found my way out of the building. Museums shouldn’t make you feel like that but I think that experience was not uncommon.
The following photos are from the wikipedia entry for Emily Carr.
Emily Carr, 1871-1945 The dates for Emily Carr’s life roughly paralled those of 3 of my grandparents. So I felt I was getting a picture, not necessarily of the lives of my grandparents but a snapshot of the experiences of a person who lived at the same time.
The day before my visit to the Emily Carr exhibition, I found 3 books by Emily. 2 in Renaissance Books, a bookseller near Bastion Square, and the third in Chapters on Douglas Street.
Growing Pains – about the book from the back cover – “Completed just before her death in 1945, Growing Pains is Emily Carr’s carefully-crafted portrait of an artist; her girlhood in Victoria B.C.; her training as a painter; the initial rejection and eventual acceptance of her painting by the Canadian people. This autobiographical collection is invaluable for revealing the face she wanted to show the world and the rich texture of her life.”
Hundreds and Thousands: The Journals of an Artist – again quoting from the back cover of the book – ” Emily Carr chose to call her published journal Hundreds and Thousands after the minute English candies so small they need to eaten by the mouthful to be appreciated…….In her notebooks, she chronicled her philosophy of art, her criticism of her own work and others, her hopes and fears. She also wrote of the subjects she painted – the sea, sky and forests of British Columbia. A personal and passionate manifesto of an extraordinary artist.”
I look forward to reading each of the above in order to learn more about this remarkable woman. In the Seattle Public School system, at least in Whittier the school my Seattle grandaughters attend, they learn about Emily Carr when they are in second grade – I’ll try to keep one step ahead of them.
But what I really look forward to is exploring the parallels between Emily’s life and times and those of my grand parents. Watch for future installments.