________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 8 . . . . October 24, 2014


A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison.

Margriet Ruurs & Katherine Gibson.
Toronto, ON: Pajama Press, 2014.
40 pp., hardcover, $22.99.
ISBN 978-1-927485-63-7.

Subject Headings:
Harrison, Ted, 1926- - Juvenile literature.
Painters-Canada-Biography-Juvenile literature.
Landscape painting, Canadian-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Reesa Cohen.

**** /4

Reviewed from f&gs.



"We should all try to spread a little happiness wherever we may be"

That has been Ted Harrison's life motto. Born and raised in England, Ted has travelled to and lived in many countries. While the scenery and cultures around him changed, one thing stayed the same: his desire to paint and paint he did. Combining what he learned in art school with the colours and forms he saw around he world, Ted developed his unique style, making him one of Canada's most recognized and popular painters.

Ruurs and Gibson trace this multi award-winning artist's life from his boyhood in a coal mining region of Durham, England, to his days in Art school, followed by a stint in the military, several teaching posts, travelling around the world and then settling in Canada. But it was in Harrison's youth that his early love of art was nurtured. He was first introduced to drawing by his father who, along with others in his childhood, encouraged his early talents. Learning was prized by his parents who wished for a better life for their children. For many years, his journeys to far off places as a soldier and as an art teacher allowed him to develop different techniques of drawing and sketching, always with a focus on presenting "positive images".

There's enough sadness and misery in the world without hanging it on our walls.

internal art      After his marriage, Harrison and his young family returned to England where he taught, but he felt his desire to be creative and daring were restricted. After his move to Canada in 1967 to teach in Northern Alberta, he developed a true love for northern images. And inspired by Robert Service's books as a child, he yearned to experience life in the Yukon. Teaching there, he became enamored with the way of life in the North, and the vibrancy of nature had a profound impact on his style. Colours and their use became important to Harrison. It was in the North that he began to form and create his dynamic well-loved trademark style, using bold, wild tones that were both rich and full of spirit. The authors devote many pages to Harrison's life there and its influence on his bright and engaging illustrations. Many of his early paintings are reproduced, and readers see how his imaginative form of using spectacular and unusual colours to represent Northern images slowly evolved, including his practice of often outlining his distinctive drawings in black. In 1981, Harrison retired to paint full-time and to illustrate a number of children's books. The incredibly talented man is also famous for designing stained glass windows for a cathedral in Whitehorse and the entrance to the Yukon Pavilion for 1986 Expo in Vancouver.

      This outstanding biography does more than just inform the reader of Ted Harrison's life in a well organized way. A Brush Full of Colour is indicative of the spirit and passion of its subject and richly illuminates a national treasure! It does justice to Harrison's artwork by including many reproductions from his early efforts to more recent drawings that are named, dated and commented upon as to the content of the drawing and its meaning. Many include a question posed to the reader. One of the highlights of this lovely book is a preface by Harrison where he refers to his art as "my simplistic artistic style". He also includes a lovely tribute to meeting, over the years, students and lovers of art that have influenced him. Harrison urges readers to "keep on reading, writing and painting".

      An index and bibliographical references are included.

Highly Recommended.

Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba, in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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