Ted Harrison was one of Canada’s best known artists. Just like Kenoujouak Ashevak, though, his images are probably better known than his name.
Along with printmaker Michael De Courcy, he created over 80 limited edition serigraphs (silkscreen prints) that depicted northern and western Canada.
He is probably best known for his children’s books. In his tribute to Ted Harrison, Robert Amos quotes Ted’s business manager, “Ted doesn’t need any promotion. Every school child in this country knows him.”
His artworks worked well as illustrations for children’s books. His stylized landscapes suited the storybook genre. As well as books of his own, he colourfully illustrated the two Robert Service poems, The Shooting of Dan McGrew and The Cremation of Sam McGee, which was named a Best Book by the New York Times.
Winchester Galleries has a magnificent Harrison painting, Realms of Gold, currently on display…..and for sale. (It was still available the last time I checked!)
In 2009 at Painter’s Lodge in Campbell River, B.C. Ted Harrison said, “So my artistic life is just painting what the devil I like, and I usually start by drawing the lines–and they’re usually curved, which I got, I think, from the Maori. All their designs are curved lines. So I drew curvilinear lines and put colour in them.
So you could say my artistic life is just a waffle and a wiggle, but it’s all imaginary.”