I promise that all the women I paint in this series won't be artists....but I also can assure you that this list will contain several. It was through the work, lives and tenacity of these women that I wanted to become an artist. My biggest challenge with these portraits is getting the likeness that I used to be able to capture very quickly but I try not to be hard on myself as it has been many, many years since I've practiced drawing portraits. Plus I want these to be quick, not laboured, and to enjoy the process as I go.
So today my artist and hero is Emily Carr. I was first introduced to her work at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, along with the members of the Group of Seven (aka the Algonquin School) as, even though she was not a member, her work was supported by Lawren Harris of the group and was considered some of the earliest to represent the rugged Canadian landscape in a fresh, purely Canadian way.
Emily is well-known for her paintings of totem poles which she wanted to capture before they disappeared but it is the spirituality that feels so highly present in her forests that has always drawn me. I loved her feisty personality and her love of the Indigenous people and their way of being in this world. And the fact that she wrote as well as painted is an inspiration to me.