In July of 1912, British Columbian artist Emily Carr
embarked on a six-week sketching trip
that took her from Vancouver to Alert Bay.
When she came home, she painted the landscapes
and the villages she had seen.
Carr’s palette reflected the local colours,
but also a new style
inspired by the painters
she had recently trained with in France.
In this painting, she used short brushstrokes
to apply warm yellows and browns
next to cool blues and greys – creating an illusion
of depth and a dramatic sense of atmosphere.
The Welcome Man features a darkly silhouetted totem pole from a village at Alert Bay.
It is framed against the yellow light of a setting sun.
The outstretched arms welcome guests
to the potlatch,
a traditional and ceremonial celebration
for West Coast First Nations communities.
Carr had a life-long interest in depicting
the landscapes of the West Coast.
This painting demonstrates her creative blend of
a documentary approach
with an expressive artistic style.