Emily Carr–Victoria’s Georgia O’Keeffe

Emily Carr, the extraordinary modernist, lived in a house just catty corner from where I am staying at the James Bay Inn. In fact, she actually died in this very building, but I was reassured that her room was in what is now the pub, so I am unlikely to see her ghost on the second floor. CarrHouseEdited (photograph from the house’s website).

Carr dominates this terrain the way O’Keeffe does New Mexico–her images are everywhere. Last night I enjoyed a presentation on her work by Jacqueline Pearce, who has written two children’s books about the artist. We’ll be touring the house today, but I couldn’t resist a preview visit to the garden.

red peonies take
“no one else’s approach”
in this garden

220px-Emily_Carr_1928_Kitwancool

totem poles decay
at the edge of sleep
lost dream

Cubist vision–
square pretty house, vertical
far-away

200px-EmilyCarr_-_Odds_and_Ends

Victoria BC

There is little I like more than a ferry. And on the one from Port Angeles to Victoria, British Columbia the experience was enhanced by mist, snowy mountains, and the feeling of crossing from one country into another. Plus the perfect book–a Regency romance by Georgette Heyer–Frederica–with one elegant twist after another. And a bad cup of coffee. Perfect.
We didn’t make it to the famous gardens in Victoria, but were satisfied by the X-mas lights right on the harbor. Parliament looked made for the display.
The Empress Hotel is beyond classic–as iconic as Victoria herself. I always think of the great painter Emily Carr who lived in Victoria and liked the conservatory in the hotel–now madly decked out for X-mas.
An early modernist, and independent woman in the Georgia O’K mold, she painted the decaying totem poles in remote abandoned villages in a kind of cubism in the mist fashion.