Big Tree Art: Emily Carr

Lone Cedar

Post-Impressionist artist Emily Carr was born in Victoria, BC in 1871. At that time the early settlement was a few thousand souls surrounded by towering ancient trees. As can be seen in her art, they had a huge impact on her.

Among The Firs
Carr was fascinated with the coastal forest, and its original inhabitants. She spent much of her life in First Nations villages, and enjoyed the dark haunting forests, wild beaches and vast skies of Vancouver Island.

Odds and Ends

She enjoyed her adventures, and considered herself to be "the little old lady on the edge of nowhere" since many of her locations were, and still are, in isolated locations. Amazing artworks resulted from her repeated forest forays.

Painters and Painting
As Carr aged her focus changed from aboriginal themes toward landscapes, particularly forest scenes. Such scenes depict, probably better than any other artist, the grandeur, magic, and spirit of the coastal forest.

Tree In Autumn
Of her work, Carr said, "I glory in our wonderful west and I hope to leave behind me some of the relics of its first primitive greatness. Only a few more years and they will be gone forever into silent nothingness and I would gather my collection together before they are forever past."

Indian Church

Save Mary Lake Campaign

Emily Carr's words were prophetic, and her beloved and much-exploited forest is indeed fading into 'silent nothingness'. But small bits of the original forest hang on. The Mary Lake property is one such bit.

Carr is said to have frequented a cabin deep in the cool, ancient Douglas-fir forest next to Mary Lake, a short horse ride from her birthplace in Victoria. Here she found the solace and sanctuary required for her art.

This beautiful small lake, surrounded by 107 acres of forest, is currently slated for development, threatening the magic that provides inspiration for the artist within us all to this day.

Find out more about the Save Mary Lake Campaign by clicking on the image on the right.

We could consider saving Mary Lake as a gift to Emily Carr for sharing with us the special way she saw the trees and the forest. She knew how important they are to everything.


  1. Beautiful post! LOVE Emily Carr!! I feel physically ill when I see trees being cut down.

  2. Grooovygirl,

    Good to see you on VIBT. Glad you liked the post. Carr's work is inspirational, transformative, even. We must cut trees, but we sure could do it in a more gentle, respectful, and appreciative manner.


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