SAGA Document Collection

[Letter, Emily Carr to Ruth Humphrey, 1938-02-13] Carr, Emily, 1871-1945 Feb 13, 1938

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 316 Beckley St   Feb 13 [1938]   Dear Ruth,   Think I'll write a wee writ to you but beware I'm glumpsey (to H. with Dr Sedgwick) for no just cause or impediment save glumps but just because it is so and I'm not a nice person by nature -- goodness how we are as surfacy as varnish and halfway too lazy to prick down & investigate our own innards. Well, how's Africa? Have you sampled the Sahara yet? I long to hear if you did see Ethel. hardly time to hear yet & of course Ethel may have been. Grand child-visiting or you may have found it impossible to make it personally I have found friend's  friends a curse at times.   It's fine actually all day usually changes 1000 million times every day. Been to Sister's for lunch. Gee what a wonder of a woman - 4 living-in kids - not a bad bunch of kids this time. How she keeps up is a mystery. We old gikes ought to be sitting in the back row curious how we hate that backing down. I shall refuse to paint after 70. I think it is indecent, & folks say, 'Pore old thing, it amuses her, but of course. My painting *inclinations* have been punk last few weeks. I'm so sick of all my old sketches & just pine for new meat, out in the open. Silly old fool, I know I can���t get & it is indelicate to want beyond the possibility of get. I say to myself maybe it's the natural way for old folks to realize gradually that they are finished, and all sorts of new Youngsters are coming on to forge ahead. but somehow there seems so few earnest youngster or is it we don't understand them? for they do seem unstable - bitter & stilted sort of creatures but of course Victoria is about the most sleepily behind spot on earth for art. A fool female came the other day brought by Max. Max Maynard. & another "fooler" one who has come to take Vic. by storm (does art needlework and weak watercolors.) her idea is to get one of the (ministers) you know "government guys" not patrons to donate a house. (The one Dean Quainton lived in as a fact) for "artists" -- mainly herself to have studios in & take pupils. If you say the scorn under her hat (hideous red by the way) as she said = "*This* is your work room???" Now she said 'I'll see some of your work' an imperious condescending *command*. She looked round the sitting room walls as if her one desire was to burst. After six paper sketches I quit, frozen by scorn. ���There,��� she said, ���that one at least has a shack in it. I like houses. I must have *something* in a picture.���) She was dressed up in red all over, including a clashing shade of rouge. Before she stepped over the dogs at the door she told me she had *done Vancouver* -- a map in stitchery and the Hambers had bought it. Then she waited for me to fall face down on the mat. I told her of one or two in Victoria who painted. ���Have they won distinction? Press notices & that sort of thing?��� If not they are useless so she did not want their addresses. Art is terrible terrible rot Ruth. The now art is instead as being and outlet of expression it's an intake of flattery and dollars, grabbed for on the dead run.   Sometimes I feel I would like to give away all my old stuff, just to anybody who it would give one little bit of joy to, only it's so hard to find the people to distinguish between the ones who get them because they may (my doubts) rise in value when I'm dead -- or somebody else who likes them because another body who has a reputation thinks well of them. Suppose people who they really appeared to who got something out of them because they spoke to those of our big Canadian woods and rested them. Spose they being on hospital walls where sort of people were lying abed were some comfort to them - well that would be simply joyous to one (me) but spose they *were* on hospital walls. More than 9/10 of the people would not understand or want to -- they'd be furious & temperatures would go up with their mad, & they'd roar take 'em down." Some people (the type of my sister) would sleep under them & never even *observe* they were there, any more than the wall paper. Let's return to common sense and the studio. The sun has gone & the sitting room is cold. I want to do some typing on ���Chins Up���, Flora is coming on Tuesday & I want to have some ready. She is going to read, type, and spell and then I am going to type clean copies I should be able to do that if I am careful & patient (which am not) "Chins Up" well it's life in a San. Am trying to make the people tell it themselves & not have so much straight description its not very good. Though it ought to be. I don't think it is dreary. -- not intended to be In one way you can't criticize your own work & in another you are the only one who can do it is if you know how but forget your are not to. Struinh [??] work till next Sept. and there is always a trembling & chatter inside me for fear that right-be-person will snitch you at the last minute & whisk you off to Paris, Kartoumh, Siberia or Usk! (Where is Usk? It feels like a snitch place anyhow.) The next two weeks I 'maid hunt' Louise has burst into bluster at the thought of home, whistles & sings tunelessly," can scarcely wait. Dr McP has given me some pills for fat! Says my heart would not have stood it before so it must be better, Well, Spring! Gee whiz Spring!! Of course we'll have kick backs but it's good even to smell it coming.   As ever, M.E.   P.S. Keep out of jungle swamps. I see a man was cut out of a shark's stomach *alive* but unconscious -- a filthy experience.

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