Dreams and Raven’s Wings

EmilyCarrTheRavenByLauraUlrich

It has been a lifelong dream of mine to visit Haida Gwaii (also called the Queen Charlotte Islands), a group of islands off of BC’s northwest coast. It all started when I was 4, when my best friend (who was a couple years older than me) got to go for a youth film camp. The photos she brought back blew me away. I grew up in a green valley in the province’s interior, and often visited my grandparents in the rainforest of North Vancouver. None of that, however, compared with the lushness I saw in those photos.

I am writing this in an attempt to have the reality sink in; tomorrow, I am going to Haida Gwaii. For two weeks, I will be living in the communities of Masset and Port Clements, teaching kids’ at summer camp. That also means I won’t be posting anything new for a while, but you can look forward to many photos when I get back!

Now, onto the image accompanying this post. If I could meet anyone in history, it would be the Canadian impressionist painter, Emily Carr. I would absolutely terrified, however, that such a meeting would be like the movie “Julie & Julia.” I won’t spoil it if you haven’t seen it, but I will say that Julia Child was not pleased with Julie.

In grade 11, I did an art study of Emily Carr’s “Big Raven”. Much of her work was inspired by the Haida, and her style has shaped my own paintings (when not painting for science, that is). She worked in oils, which she thinned using gasoline in order to work with transparent layers. I can only imagine the stench of such a medium. Luckily, I worked in acrylic (thinned with water).

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