Novelized treatment of the life of Canadian artist Emily Carr. Carr somehow managed to escape both the narrowness of her upbringing and the bigotry of her time (late 1800s-early 1900s) and devoted herself to portraying the indigenous people and landscapes of her native British Columbia.
Anyone who has ever dipped more than a toe into waters of artistic expression will recognize the truth in Vreeland's portrayal of the frustrations of not being able to make an art piece "sing" - to achieve the vision in your head. Whether it's the limitations of your materials, your lack of confidence in your own ability, the doubts of others - I'm sure every artist has encountered them, and Carr's struggles to do justice to both her beloved Canadian surroundings and the disappearing art forms of the native peoples of the area were very realistic.
The edition I bought has a Q&A with Susan Vreeland at the end - very interesting, to get a look into her process: choosing which actual persons from Carr's life to include, merging others into a fictional composite for the book, etc. The book ends with Carr's recognition by the National Gallery for her contributions to Canadian art, after working for decades in obscurity.