Monday, July 5, 2010

The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland

(In which one's love for art was once again proven to be worthwhile.)


Emily Carr’s penchant for painting aboriginal themes was inspired by boredom from city scenes. She was aware that the coast of British Columbia offers more marvelous landscapes and tribal villages. But once she gets into the lush, green forests and the artistic culture of the Indians and befriended a native, her preference was turned to passion - a passion strong enough to lead her to Paris and study a newer art genre in her desire to depict the totem poles more closely and with spirit; powerful enough to inspire her to paint amidst storms and an army of mosquitoes; pure enough to make her determined to save a memory of a culture threatened to be gone forever. And this passion is the self-same strong, powerful and pure thing that led her to greatness in art and history.

Susan Vreeland’s The Forest Lover isn’t just a mere art fiction. It is, for me, a book for artist by an artist. I was amazed by how Vreeland uses hue names and techniques as well as how strokes were made to create form without appearing to be trying hard. I understand that describing how artists paint is a challenging task especially if you’ve never painted before. But assuming that some writers of art fiction somehow tried to experience painting for writing’s sake, the challenge is in describing how a professional artist works. This, I believe, is one of the reasons why this work by Vreeland was especially liked by the artist in me.

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Photo sources:
The Forest Lover and Tuxedo Park