Growing Pains

Growing Pains

The Autobiography of Emily Carr

eBook - 2009
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This autobiography by Emily has been called "probably the finest... in a literary sense, ever written in Canada." Completed just before Emily Carr died in 1945, Growing Pains tells the story of Carr&́#x80;™s life, beginning with her girlhood in pioneer Victoria and going on to her training as an artist in San Francisco, England and France. Also here is the frustration she felt at the rejection of her art by Canadians, of the years of despair when she stopped painting. She had to earn a living, and did so by running a small apartment-house, and her painful years of landladying and more joyful times raising dogs for sale, claimed all her time and energy. Then, towards the end of her life, came unexpected vindication and triumph when the Group of Seven accepted her as one of them. Throughout, the book is informed with Carr&́#x80;™s passionatate love of and connection with nature. Carr is a natural storyteller whose writing is vivid and vital, informed by wit, nostalgic charm, an artist&́#x80;™s eye for description, a deep feeling for creatures and the foibles of humanity--all the things that made her previous books Klee Wyck and Book of Small so popular and critically acclaimed.
Publisher: 2009
ISBN: 9781926685946
Characteristics: 1 online resource
data file, rda

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julia_sedai
Mar 06, 2020

Read this for book club and enjoyed it.

It was very interesting to read a book written by a famous artist, and one written when she was over 70 years old. She remembered a lot! She had a hard life, I think. However, this contributed to her work.

The book is about her early life and her later struggles as one of the only modern painters in Western Canada. No one appreciated her work until she was much older. I loved reading about old BC and of course, Emily Carr is BC's pride and joy so I can't help but feel proud of her. There were a lot of Canadian feelings, especially regarding the "Old World" versus the new.

One thing that surprised me was how many women artists there actually were at the schools. This is the late Victorian/early Edwardian age, and yet, there were a lot of female students at the art schools in San Francisco, London, and Paris. So her book and life is not so much about a struggle as a female artist, but more about being a Modern artist, and especially trying to bring that to Vancouver and Victoria. Reading about Carr studying Impressionism in France and then being in New York and seeing the new Abstract art movement was fascinating. These things have been around for a long time now, but they were all new to her, and had different impacts on her work. The Group of Seven was her saviour, and once she got to know them, her whole world changed.

She hardly writes about specific paintings. The only one really referenced was "The Indian Church" which is said to be her best work. She was unhappy about it because Lawren Harris said it was her best, and she didn't want to be at her peak.

After reading this, I had a new appreciation of her work.

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