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Archive for the ‘A Brush Full of Colour’ Category

A Sad Goodbye to Ted Harrison

Posted on January 17th, 2015 by pajamapress

Ted Harrison, Canada’s most iconic painter of the Yukon, passed away in Victoria, British Columbia, on Friday, January 16, after a long illness.

The artist, who was 88 years old, is known for his highly imaginative and vibrantly coloured interpretations of the arctic landscape. He was also the beloved author and/or illustrator of many children’s books, including A Northern Alphabet and Robert Service’s The Cremation of Sam McGee and The Shooting of Dan McGrew.

Born in County Durham, England, Harrison dreamed about the arctic as a child reading the works of Robert Service and Jack London. In 1968, after years of travelling the world, he realized his dream and settled with his family in the Yukon. Challenged and inspired by the landscape there, he shed the techniques of his formal art training in order to capture the wild wonder of the north.

While audiences were at first taken aback by Harrison’s bright colours and stylized images, he has since become one of our country’s most beloved artists. In 1987 he was awarded Canada’s highest civilian honour, The Order of Canada. In 2004, he was made a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and presented with the Order of British Columbia in 2008. In 1993, Harrison and his wife moved to Victoria, where he continued to paint. He also taught art workshops in classrooms across the country, dedicating himself to the causes of art and education.

“Art must be part of every child’s education,” he said. “Painting is the last great freedom. You can paint what you like.”

Pajama Press was privileged in 2014 to publish the picture book biography A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison. This project gave us the opportunity to work with two authors with personal connections to Ted Harrison: Margriet Ruurs, who was his neighbour for many years, and biographer Katherine Gibson, who spent four years interviewing him for her groundbreaking adult book Painting Paradise.

We are richer as a country for the legacy of Ted Harrison. He will be sorely missed.

“This is a must have.” Resource Links reviews A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison

Posted on January 13th, 2015 by pajamapress

“If you have a Ted Harrison book, this is a must have. A Brush Full of Colour tells the story of Ted Harrison from his birth in 1926 England and follows his development as an artist to the present day, living in Victoria. The book is full of Harrison’s paintings, including his earlier work before he developed his recognizable style. The text is easy to read, comprehensive, and interesting.

A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison. A picture book biography by Margriet Ruurs and Katherine GibsonThe text is divided into chapters: Childhood, Travelling the World, Life in the North, and A Full Time Artist. Each page is filled with colourful reproductions of his paintings, photographs, memorabilia, and artist sketches. Readers will be amazed to discover the influences in his work and the growth in his style. Harrison wrote the preface and several of his quotes are interspersed throughout the text. As a result, the reader gets a good understanding of who Ted Harrison is. The authors include questions below most of the reproductions to further guide the conversation. (“What do the ravens tell us about the weather that day?”)

A foreword by Ted Harrison, Table of Contents, and Index are included in this beautifully presented book. [It also includes] Acknowledgements, Sources and Resources.

Highly recommended for all Canadian libraries.”

Thematic Links: Art; Painters; Biography; Northern Landscape; Canadian Artists; Yukon
—Louise Sidley

A Brush Full of Colour “lively” and “accessible” introduction to Ted Harrison—Kirkus Reviews

Posted on December 10th, 2014 by pajamapress

ABrushFullOfColour_HR_RGB“… Abundantly illustrated, the generally lively text is accessible and well-paced, and (thankfully) the didactic asides and discussion prompts are relegated to the paintings’ captions. Backmatter includes a helpful index and related books, websites and films. A child-friendly introduction to an iconic, wonderfully accessible and quintessentially Canadian artist. (Picture book/biography. 5-8)”

Click here to read the full review.

A Brush Full of Colour in Victoria

Posted on December 4th, 2014 by pajamapress

This week Margriet Ruurs and Katherine Gibson travelled to Victoria, British Columbia, to present A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison at the Saanich Centennial Branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library. The event was organized jointly by the Victoria Children’s Literature Roundtable and Schoolhouse Teaching Supplies, under the able leadership of Pat Oldroyd, seen introducing the authors below. The night included a PowerPoint presentation about Ted Harrison; a raffle for a mounted poster and a copy of A Brush Full of Colour; book signings; cookies; and lots of fun.

Thank you to everyone who braved the cold weather to come out, with special thanks to Moira Gardener for sharing the pictures below.

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Victoria Children’s Literature Roundtable presents A Brush Full of Colour

Posted on November 19th, 2014 by pajamapress


A Brush Full of Colour at the North York Central Library

Posted on November 19th, 2014 by pajamapress

On November 15th, about fifty parents and children gathered at the North York Central Library to hear author Margriet Ruurs talk about the life and art of iconic Canadian painter Ted Harrison. After an engaging presentation, Margriet signed the library’s copies of the picture book biography she recently co-authored, A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison, and settled in to join the families in making art inspired by Harrison’s colourful style.

Click here to see our digital gallery of the beautiful Harrison-style drawings and colouring pages created at this event.

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This event was made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. OMDC-Web


Ted Harrison-Inspired Art Gallery

Posted on November 19th, 2014 by pajamapress

January 22, 2016

Students at an international school in Bamako, Mali, West Africa had some Yukon inspiration when painting these Ted Harrison-style landscapes

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Has your school made Ted Harrison-inspired art lately? We would love to see it! Send pictures or links to publicity [at] pajamapress [dot] ca or share it with us at

January 19, 2016

Some Ontario school children made this fantastic art after learning about Ted Harrison through A Brush Full of Colour.



November 15, 2014

Thank you to all of the kids and parents who helped us to make Ted Harrison-inspired art at the North York Central Library on November 15th, 2014. You can follow the links to see more about the library event or about Margriet Ruurs and A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison

Visit our Activities page to download your own Ted Harrison-inspired colouring sheets.

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A special thanks to Sharon Andic and her library volunteers. This event was made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. OMDC-Web

Family Event at North York Library with A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison

Posted on October 24th, 2014 by pajamapress


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A Brush Full of Colour an “outstanding biography”—CM Magazine

Posted on October 24th, 2014 by pajamapress

ABrushFullOfColour_HR_RGB“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.

Click here to read the full review.

Celebrate A Brush Full of Colour in Vancouver with Kidsbooks: November 6

Posted on October 14th, 2014 by pajamapress