Emily Carr’s art will be on display in an exhibit titled “Picturing the Giants: The Changing Landscapes of Emily Carr” in Victoria, B.C., on Aug. 3 at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

Emily Carr’s art will be on display in an exhibit titled “Picturing the Giants: The Changing Landscapes of Emily Carr” in Victoria, B.C., on Aug. 3 at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

Behind-the-scenes look at Emily Carr’s life in Victoria set for Aug. 3

By Diane Urbani de la Paz

for Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — She was called Klee Wyck, “the laughing one” in the Chinook language: Emily Carr, artist and writer born and raised in Victoria, B.C., whose paintings are revered across the world.

Art lovers will have a chance to walk in the steps of the artist who lived from Dec. 13, 1871 to March 2, 1945, learn about her point of view and see a new exhibition of her art during a guided trip from Port Angeles on Thursday, Aug. 3.

Paint the Peninsula, the annual plein air painting competition and festival hosted by the nonprofit Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, has put the trip together.

Just 12 participants will take the MV Coho ferry to Victoria in the morning, and upon landing curator Jan Ross will take them on a stroll to the Emily Carr House.

The day will include visits to two major sites before returning on the ferry to Port Angeles.

The cost, including the guided tour, local transportation in Victoria and a contribution to the fine arts center, is $50, with reservations available at www.PaintthePeninsula.org — via the “Adult Art Education” link — and 360-457-3532.

“For this group, it’s a behind-the-scenes look,” Ross said. “We’ll be walking along the path that Emily would have walked thousands of times,” as a girl in Victoria.

The travelers will then arrive at the Emily Carr House, “an interpretive center for Carr’s art, her writing and her life … there are so many facets to her.”

This artist, who could be called Canada’s Georgia O’Keeffe, grew up in colonial British Columbia. When she was a young woman, she traveled, in small boats and canoes, far up the Canadian coast, sketching and painting the wilderness.

She also came to know the people who were then called Indians, and created images of their wind- and rain-washed totem poles.

Carr was a pioneer and a plein air painter, determined to see this wild world. She traveled, with her small dog, Ginger Pop, to mystical-sounding places such as Ucluelet, Cumshewa and Kitwancool, and visited the faraway Haida Gwaii, known then as the Queen Charlotte Islands.

The Emily Carr House tells the story of this complex woman, a free spirit who was, said Ross, “truly an artistic genius.”

Participants on the Aug. 3 tour will have time to explore the house, converse about Carr’s life and see a film titled “Bone, Wind, Fire,” about Carr, O’Keeffe and Frida Kahlo.

Next they will go with Ross to a new exhibition of Carr’s paintings at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (AGGV).

The freshly installed show, “Picturing the Giants: The Changing Landscapes of Emily Carr,” focuses on the painter’s relationship with the Canadian forest.

Carr’s influence is felt too in another AGGV show, “With Wings like Clouds Hung from the Sky,” an exhibition of work by her friend and fellow artist Lee Nam.

Carr, in her books and her paintings, gave us her lust for wilderness, and the creatures she met there.

“The liveness in me,” she wrote, “just loves to feel the liveness in growing things, in grass and rain and leaves and flowers and sun and feathers and furs and earth and sand and moss.”


Diane Urbani de la Paz is a freelance writer and photographer living in Port Angeles.

Canadian artist Emily Carr will be the focus of a guided trip to Victoria.

Canadian artist Emily Carr will be the focus of a guided trip to Victoria.

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