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Bookends: Ted Harrison remembered in 91 images January 17, 2017

Posted by klondykewriter in Bookends, Whitehorse Star.
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Bookends: Ted Harrison remembered in 91 images

By Dan Davidson

harrison-collectedMarch 2, 2016

– 656 words –

 

Ted Harrison Collected

Introduction by Robert Budd

Douglas & McIntyre

112 pages

$19.95

 

“We should all try to spread a little happiness wherever we may be,” is one of several quotations from Ted Harrison that help to enliven the eight page essay with which Robert Budd introduces this colourful, signature bound, glossy paper, trade paperback edition based on the ninety-one prints in the serigraph collection which Harrison and his print making collaborator, Michael DeCourcey, produced during the period from 1980 to 2010.

Budd discusses Harrison’s philosophy of art and a bit of his transformation from English style monotone landscapes to the high energy, brilliantly coloured work that has so influenced other Yukon artists and, I am sure, some of the colour choices on a number of public buildings in my town of Dawson.

Harrison’s website (http://www.tedharrison.com), still maintained since his passing last year, expresses more of the artist’s feeling about life and his artistic choices.

“Life is a rainbow road, multicoloured with the most brilliant hues and contrasting with the darkest tones. It is illuminated by the light of success, and rutted by the tracks of failure. Tears of sadness and joy wash its surface while the clouds of doubt and insecurity dapple its course. As we traverse this highway we can reach the highest pinnacles or descend to the darkest valleys.

“Finally, when the end of the road is in sight, we may cast our eyes to the distant horizon where everything began; and say with conviction,

“That sure was one hell of a journey.”

Budd comments on some of the choices that influenced certain of the serigraphs, with easy reference to the page numbers on which they are found, and writes about Harrison’s relationship to animals and birds, especially the ravens that are so prominent in his work.

“Ravens are very meaningful to the Yukon,” Harrison said. “They are a friendly bird to me. They like people. They represent the Yukon.”

The artist’s decision to leave most of the people in his Yukon work faceless was because “I like to feel that people can imagine a face in. You know, they can pop their grandmother’s face in.”

All of those people are outside, walking, seeming to enjoy the outdoors, looking around at the multi-coloured buildings, the sky, the mountains, watching other people doing the same things but in different ways.

There is some discussion of the creation process for the serigraphs, though you can find a lot more detail about that on the website.

The book is available in both printed and e-book versions, though I really can’t imagine why anyone would want to enjoy these pictures on anything other than high quality paper.

 

The Full Moon at the Napping House

Written by Audrey Woodthe-full-moon

Illustrated by Don Wood

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

26 pages

$17.99 (higher in Canada)

 

Apparently there was a board book called The Napping House about 15 years ago. This much more ambitious illustrated book is sort of a sequel.

It’s delightfully painted in acrylics and has a look which is both cartoonish and realistic. It’s mostly set in grandmother’s bedroom, where everyone seems to be having trouble getting to sleep.

The text is one of those “house that Jack built” kind of cumulative rhymes, in which the granny is joined sequentially by a child, a dog, a cat, and a mouse, all of whom are playful and not at all ready to settle down in her bedroom, as the tag line on each page goes, “where everyone is restless.”

It seems like no one is going to get any sleep on this full moonlit night, until a chirping cricket catches all their attention and soothes them, one by one, page by page, until at last no one is restless any more.

It’s a lovely little book with lots of opportunity for having fun with little kids.

 

-30-

 

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