Painters are spending the next few months following in Emily’s footsteps through the West Shore. Emily Carr that is.
The West Shore Arts Council and Coast Collective gallery have joined forces to encourage artists to paint in locations across the region where Emily Carr created her art from the 1920s to the 1940s.
Elaine Limbrick, of the West Shore Arts Council, created Emily Carr, a guide to artistic & literary sites on the West Shore. The guide has a map of the 21 outdoor locations where Carr worked, based on Limbrick’s research.
“It’s wonderful to get people out to where Emily painted,” Limbrick said at Albert Head Lagoon in Metchosin. “Even people on the West Shore don’t know about all these wonderful beaches.”
The Coast Collective is calling all interested artists to join the project of creating a collection of art from the Carr locations, painted between April 1 to Oct. 25.
Marcela Strasdas, a director at Coast Collective, said they are working on creating a calendar of dates for each location so artists can meet and paint or create together. Artists can also go solo.
At the end of October, the Coast Collective will accept art for an exhibit at West Shore Parks and Recreation. The top three paintings will earn the artists cash prices of $300, $200 and $100.
Metchosin resident Frank Mitchell, a member of en plein air painting group Al Fresco, is excited to participate in the event.
With oil sticks in hand, Mitchell begins to sketch out a scene at Albert Head Lagoon. Throughout the next few months Mitchell hopes to paint at each one of the locations on Limbrick’s map.
One location Mitchell and several other artists are leery about it Leechtown in Sooke. It is at the end of the Galloping Goose trail and then the artist must hike in. “Some places you don’t know exactly where she was,” Mitchell said.
While Mitchell’s art won’t emulate the style of Carr, he has appreciation for her work.
“She did her own thing from the start, she did the First Nations stuff which wasn’t what people did back then,” he said.
Limbrick is pleased to see many of the landscapes Carr captured in her paintings haven’t changed much over the years.
“So much of this is still relatively preserved,” Limbrick said. “These artists will be looking at the landscapes with modern eyes.”
While the artists are painting at some of Carr’s favourite outdoor locations, they are not trying to recreate the icon’s work.
“I’d expect many of us won’t try to emulate or copy her paintings, but we may see some Emily Carr-type trees that we wouldn’t normally have,” Mitchell said. “You’ll have to come to the show to find out.”
Painters will also have to face the elements, as Carr once did.
“These are conditions that Emily had to endure. There was always wind. Everyday at three o’clock in Metchosin there is wind,” Limbrick said. “There was also the rain which Emily complains bitterly about in her writing.”
For more information on Following in Emily’s Footsteps go to coastcollective.ca and click on special programs.