Emily Carr (1871-1945), Wood Interior, 1909, watercolor on paper, 72.5 x 54.3 cm

Emily Carr (1871-1945), Wood Interior, 1909, watercolor on paper, 72.5 x 54.3 cm

Wood Interior

Monday, December 15, 2014

“Art is art, nature is nature, you cannot improve upon it… Pictures should be inspired by nature, but made in the soul of the artist; it is the soul of the individual that counts. - (Emily Carr, 1912)

Emily Carr is known for her renowned skill as a painter but also as a writer.  Carr was born on December 13, 1871 in Victoria, British Columbia.  Carr, a Canadian artist, was inspired from her home and family to create paintings of her landscape.  She was fascinated by the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast which led her to painting striking totem poles and forest scenes.

One of the main reasons I have such a connection with Carr’s work is our passion we share about nature.  I am constantly fascinated with the serenity and vulnerability of being in the woods.  It is my place where I escape in order to clear my head. Emily Carr also was able to escape with the spirit of nature.  Most of Carr’s paintings are centered and grounded by trees.  She demonstrated sweeping brushstrokes to demonstration how she was in keeping with the expansiveness of her environment.

Carr kept journals of her experiences throughout her investigations of the forest.  She believed that trees are much more sensible, steadier, and more enduring than people.  In her paintings, she attempted to display rhythmic movements and patterns to give each tree its own identity. With her gritty realism, her watercolor paintings of nature became my personal favorites. 

Carr is still known as an important figure in Canadian history being one of the first artists from the country to become recognized throughout the world.  There is a university located in British Columbia that offers training towards a Bachelor or Design, Fine Arts, or Media Arts Degree in her name. 

I found myself navigating towards Emily Carr’s artwork because of our shared respect for nature. How do you connect with your favorite artist?

—Michael Tarnowski


Michael Tarnowski is a graduate student at Buffalo State College in Technology Education. Tarnowski received his under graduate degree from the State University of New York at Oswego in Technology Education with a minor in Athletic Coaching.