ideas and ah-ha’s for living creatively
and working with satisfaction and success.
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lessons from Emily Carr, pioneering Canadian artist
This newsletter will highlight five lessons,
from the biography of renowned
Canadian artist Emily Carr, for living
a courageous and fulfilling life.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I find myself
constantly on the lookout for engaging examples of skills and techniques
for living and working with satisfaction. After all, I’m a personal
coach and corporate psychologist and consultant! Many of my
observations find their way into my seminars and workshops as organized
activities or worksheets.
I see this newsletter as an informal
way to share these observations, insights, ideas and ah-ha’s — literally
my Discoveries — with my clients, friends and colleagues and with
website visitors in cyberspace who are just becoming familiar with my
work and that of my colleagues at Development Associates.
For my clients who are
seeking to enhance their personal and professional development, I often
suggest biographies as a way to become immersed in life of someone
else. It’s a way to step outside the envelope of familiarity and dive
into another set of challenges and triumphs, fine-tuning our skills
and learning from the strengths and insights of others.
recently poured over a fabulous novel on Emily Carr, a pioneering
Canadian artist (1871-1945) who overcame the confines of Victorian
culture to become a major force in modern art.
Susan Vreeland’s The
Forest Lover, a fascinating
piece of historical fiction, carried me back to times when women rarely
left hearth and home. It swept me into the life of an extraordinarily
creative, adventurous and eccentric woman.
Her life was a
quest for personal and artistic authenticity. She left us with some of
the finest representations of the native peoples and landscapes of
British Columbia before industrialization would change them forever.
ground-breaking life lessons
from a courageous woman
I gleaned five important lessons from
her life that I think you’ll also find useful:
1. She had a passion. From an
early age Emily Carr felt a deep desire to explore the beauty and
mystery of Native American cultures. She often hiked alone deep into
the forests and wilds of Canada to capture images of totem poles and
other sacred objects. She felt compelled to paint them before they were
What’s your passion? Even if it
doesn’t make sense to others, or even to yourself, what do you feel
‘called’ to do? When and how can you start?
2. She withstood disapproval and criticism
and even ostracism from her peers and family. Many derided her for
painting “savages and their idols” and using outlandish colors and
bizarre perspectives. While respectable women painters stayed in
their parlors painting flowers and still-lifes, Emily Carr set out on
adventure quests, rode mules, rented dug-out canoes, backpacked, and
hired native guides to take her to places where, except for occasional
missionaries, few white people, much less women, had ever been.
Have you let yourself be dissuaded or
influenced by others who don’t see the beauty or value of your dreams?
3. She continuously improved her craft.
Not satisfied being a competent realistic painter, she traveled to
England and later France, to study the modern painting techniques and
approaches of her day. Though her works were beginning to gain some
stature in Europe, she ultimately returned to the forests she loved so
well to paint them with new eyes and a bold, unusual approach.
Steven Covey talks about "sharpening
the saw." How are you continuing to hone your unique gifts and talents?
I have a client who used to love to
pursue her art but found that she lost a spark in her life when she gave
it up for the rigors and long hours of the corporate world.
This year I encouraged her to take the time to make her own Valentines and her family and
friends are still raving!
4. Emily Carr supported her passion and kept it alive.
Over the years she tried many other ways to earn a living and explore
her creativity, though painting was clearly her passion. In tough
economic times before her work was recognized, she kept herself afloat
teaching watercolor painting, breeding dogs, running a rooming house and
producing many other crafts such as pottery and rug-making. Eventually,
she came to be recognized as an author as well.
How else can you use your gifts? Many
actors make wonderful acting teachers and coaches. A good English
teacher might make an excellent website editor - or vice versa!
5. She kept her integrity. With her
diligent and respectful ways, she earned the trust and honor of a number
of the native tribes. Though she might have ‘sold-out’ when native art
came into vogue in Canada, she chose not to exploit or commercialize her
relationships or the sacred artifacts she longed to preserve. Her
distinctive work revealed a unique spiritualism and a special connection
to the land and its people. Today, you can experience her work in many
of Canada’s best-known anthropological and art museums as well as the
What will you do to ensure that your
unique voice or vision is heard?
Perhaps you’d like to do some research
on Emily Carr or other pioneers. Every culture has those who
demonstrate a unique vision or voice. Many pass on in obscurity, as
Emily Carr nearly did.
Hear 25 examples of clients who
found their passion in my soon-to-be-released CD! Learn the skills they used in
an audio-guided workshop with printable worksheets. SPECIAL
Tune-Up Your Career: Find YOUR Passion with the Career of Your