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The Forest Lover (original 2003; edition 2004)
by Susan Vreeland (Author)
The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland (2003)
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I started this book, but my heart wasn't into it. I will return to it at another time.
Even though this book lacks a plot, and is repetitive it did pique my interest in Canadian painter Emily Carr. I am going to read her journals next.
I picked up this book in anticipation of seeing the Emily Carr exhibit at the AGO in Toronto. Although the writing itself is not inspiring, nonetheless, it has heightened my interest in seeing these paintings "in person." Despite her artistic training in England and France, she developed her own distinctive style. Though not in the famous Canadian Group of Seven, she shows an affinity with them and their love of the Canadian wilderness.
I hoped to learn more sbout the life of Emily Carr, one of Canada's early Impressionist painters, and I did but I found the book more superficial than I'd hoped. She was a fascinating woman, many years ahead of her time, attracted to native art and culture during a period when many whites were sending children to "residential schools" where they were pressured to give up the old ways and language and become "Christianized". What was it that so attracted her to this aboriginal culture? How was she introduced to it? She resonated with it in a way that very few whites did at the time. This is not explained in the book. Her family was British, and she was the only one to show an independent streak. Early on, her goal was to visit and paint as many of the totem poles and long houses as she could before they were lost to the elements, or taken away to museums. This was no mean feat. Traveling alone to remote villages was an adventure in itself. As time went on, and she was influenced by new impressionist movement, her work focused less on keeping a record of what was there and more on expressing the way the forest and the carvings made her feel. She is now recognized as one of Canada's great painters of the early 20th century, more remarkable by virtue of the fact that she developed her style in relative isolation, unlike the Group of Seven who collaborated closely with each other in Ontario and Quebec. All in all the book was enjoyable and I did learn a few things, but it left many unanswered questions.
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Wikipedia in English (1)
"From an early age, it is clear that Emily Carr is not like her sisters - not satisfied with the pious and rigid world she is expected to fit into. Her creative talent and fiercely independent spirit are far too strong to be suppressed by her father's wishes that she marry and settle down into polite white Vancouver society. Drawn to the danger and beauty of a vast wilderness and its people, Emily defies her family's better judgment, spurns suitors, and establishes herself as an art teacher, venturing off whenever possible to the wild coast of British Columbia. There she begins to paint the native tribal villages in an effort to portray the rich culture of these people, their canoes, totems, and artfully decorated communal houses before they are destroyed forever." "In Vreeland's novel, Carr's life becomes a meditation on the search for self and self-acceptance. Vreeland renders vivid portraits of Carr and the unconventional people to whom she is inevitably drawn: Sophie, a native basket maker; Harold, the son of missionaries who embraces indigenous cultures; Fanny, a New Zealand artist who spends the summer with Carr painting in the French countryside; and Claude, the French fur trader who steals her heart. From illegal potlatches in Mimkwamlis to prewar Paris, where her art was exhibited in the famed Salon d'Automne, to her emergence as a great artist compared with Georgia O'Keeffe and Frida Kahlo, Carr's journey to prove her ability as an artist to herself and the world around her is a vibrant, inspiring pleasure."--BOOK JACKET.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)813.54Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1945-1999
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