Woman of the Deep Woods © Maggie Vanderweit

Woman of the Deep Woods: Emily Carr

Maggie Vanderweit

Fergus, Ontario, Canada

Artist Statement

Emily Carr is my very favourite painter. I am moved to tears by her understanding of a beautiful, sentient universe – alive, dancing, swirling and breathing. Like her, I feel a profound reverence for First Nations’ art and culture. My children are Cree and Dutch-Canadian and I have lived in the north. I deeply admire her boldness, courage, talent and uncompromising style. Her trees and totem poles are particularly breathtaking.

As a child, I often went to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and was awed by the enormous totem pole that the central staircase wrapped around. When my husband and I traveled to the west coast a few years ago we were able to visit Sitka National Historic Park on a misty spring day. It is filled with Tlingit and Haida totem poles – some original, some recreated, all of them spectacular. I took many photos.

“Woman of the Deep Woods” is based on a detail shot of a feminine guardian of the deep woods, carved high into a totem pole. I made her eyes stand out to honour Emily Carr’s ability to see the world and create art in visionary new ways. I wanted the forest to move and dance.

On white cotton, I painted the figure using watercolours and the trees using Colour Vie Textile Medium. I machine quilted the outlines with black and invisible threads.

Woman’s Groundbreaking Accomplishment

Emily Carr was a Canadian author and artist, honored as the ”Mother of Modern Arts”. Her haunting, iconic paintings are richly spiritual, powerful and symbolic.

Techniques

Whole cloth, hand painted.

Materials

Cotton, watercolours paints, textile paint.

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