The Sketchbooks of Emily CarrBook - 2002
Distinguished art critic Doris Shadbolt has chosen 85 drawings from Carr's sketchbooks, those which particularly reveal the wellsprings of her inspiration. In an introductory essay and commentary for each of Carr's seven journeys along the British Columbia coast, Shadbolt 's inspired text evokes the intimacy and immediacy of the drawings themselves, and takes us close to the heart of Emily Carr.
Emily Carr (1871-1945) was an extraordinary Canadian artist and writer who has become a national cultural icon. Among the collections of Emily Carr material at the British Columbia Archives is a special cache of thirteen small drawing books. The sketches in these volumes were done quickly to catch the features of a passing scene, to note the form and rhythms of a tree, as preliminary experiments in handling complex visual material. As indicators of a part of Carr's process of making art, and as notes of several significant trips made during a turning point in her life as an artist, they are fascinating and illuminating.
In that critical period, between 1927 and 1930, Carr made seven journeys -- several to isolated Native villages in coastal British Columbia, two to eastern Canada to meet fellow artists in the Group of Seven, and one metaphorical journey that was an intrinsic part of all the others -- to nature itself. On these travels and sketching trips, she used her drawings as part of the process of working out ideas, techniques and themes to develop the mature painting style that was uniquely hers.