Back to lesson plan

Appendix: The Artist In Her Own Words

Drawing and Insubordination

I wanted to draw a dog. I sat beside Carlow's kennel and stared at him for a long time. Then I took a charred stick from the grate, split open a large brown-paper sack and drew a dog on the sack. My married sister who had taken drawing lessons looked at my dog and said, "Not bad." Father spread the drawing on top of his newspaper, put on his spectacles, looked, said "Um!" Mother said "You are blacked with charred wood, wash!" The paper sack was found years later among Father's papers. He had written on it, "By Emily, aged eight." (pp. 29–30)

The Outdoor Sketch Class

Of all the classes and all the masters the outdoor sketching class and Mr. Latimer were my favourites. Every Wednesday morning those students who wished met the master at the ferry boat. There were students who preferred to remain in Art School and work rather than be exposed to insects, staring eyes, and sun freckles. We sketchers crossed the Bay to some quiet spot and I must say people did stare. Thirty or forty men and women of all ages and descriptions done up in smocks, pinafores and sunbonnets, sitting on campstools before easels down in cow pastures or vacant lots drawing chicken houses, or trees, or a bit of fence and bush, the little Professor hopping from student to student advising and encouraging. (p. 46)

Rejected

My pictures were hung either on the ceiling or on the floor and were jeered at, insulted; members of the "Fine Arts" joked at my work, laughing with reporters. Press notices were humiliating. Nevertheless, I was glad I had been to France. More than ever I was convinced the old way of seeing was inadequate to express this big country of ours, her depth, her height, her unbounded wideness, silences too strong to be broken… (pp. 277–78)

Rejected

"Marius Barbeau, Government Anthropologist, told me about your work," said Mr. Brown (Eric Brown, Director of the National Gallery in Ottawa). "He heard about it from the Coast Indians. We are having an exhibition of West Coast Indian Art in the Gallery this autumn. Will you lend us fifty canvases?" We pay all expenses of transportation. Come over for the show. I can get you a pass on the railway. (pp. 283–84)

Emily Carr, Growing Pains: The Autobiography of Emily Carr. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2005.