Carr was born in Victoria BC. After the death of her parents she persuaded her guardian to let her study art in San Francisco around 1888. She returned to Victoria in 1895 and set up a studio in the barn behind her home where she painted and taught art. During the period 1905-1910, she did many canvases in an Indian motif of her own style, portraying totem poles in their natural setting along the northern coast of BC. Carr went to Europe to study for two years and returned to Vancouver in 1912 where her new works were rejected. She was forced to return to Victoria, and having run out of funds she began making pottery decorated with Indian designs to sell to tourists. This kept her from painting for almost 15 years. After moving to the east and being influenced by some of the Group of Seven, Carr's style changed and she started painting various landscapes of the BC forests, using oil on paper. In 1936 Carr turned to full time painting and writing. She died in 1945. Her paintings are collected worldwide with a large collection at the Vancouver Art Gallery and another in the national Gallery of Canada.