Emily Carr: December 13, 1871 – March 2, 1945
Emily Carr has reached iconic levels of acclaim in Canada. She was born in Victoria, British Columbia, in 1871, a daughter of English immigrants.
I am presently reading her Journals, 'Hundreds and Thousands.'
I identify with Emily, insomuch as her journals tell of her struggle with believing in herself as an artist.
Wednesday: November 22. 1930.
On her visit to Canada's National Museum to see her premier national showing, she wrote"
"My work looked flat and lifeless."
Tuesday, November 15, 1930.
"I feel that the group will be dissastified when they see my work."
Saturday, November 27, 1930.
They asked me to design a cover for the catalogue (for the National Museum's showing of her works). "I made one. I made 2 ghastly mistakes. First with size, and another in print and could have cried with mortification.
On her show in Seattle Wa., USA.
"No word from Seattle. The show opened last night. Well forget it old girl. I guess your work is only humdrum - ordinary anyhow - just a little sideshow of the galleries of the month."
November 16, 1932.
A wire from Brown asking for 3 watercolours for the Royal Scottish Watercolour Society. "My watercolours are not so good. I have none spot fresh and someohow I cannot feel things done after 2 years ago are yourself today."
I have talked to artists who seem to be indifferent to their works, after they have completed them. Alex Colville reported once that once a work left his hands, he never thought twice about it. One artist, I know said that, after she completes a work, she loses all emotional response to it. Whether someone likes it or not is indifferent to her. A famous French artist, (Gaugin, I beleive), once said that if he had his way, he would call back most of the paintings he had painted and sold and walk all over them.
I have to fight, to keep to myself, my negative responses to many of my own paintings. If not, I find myself having to explain why I dislike them. And, this doesn't make sense, for what others see in my art, I seldom see. They bring to their viewing their own set of life responses and experiences. What's more, what right do I have to point out a perceived flaw in a painting that someone else may love?
As for Emily her candid remarks in her journals, give me hope, for I often find myself walking down the same hyper analytical, pathway.