Experiment with color, line, and form with these easy Ted Harrison art projects for kids. In addition to his lively and cheerful paintings, the popular Canadian artist serves as a great inspiration for following your dreams and being authentic to your true self.
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A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison
Margriet Ruurs has written a great picture book biography about Canadian artist Ted Harrison. It includes many examples of his work and would be a wonderful resource to include alongside your study of Ted Harrison.
Ted Harrison is a famous Canadian painter, widely known for his abstract paintings of the northern landscapes. Full of vibrant colors, his paintings were meant to highlight the beauty he encountered after moving to the Yukon.
Despite his popularity, he was initially met with criticism early in his career. However, he wasn’t deterred. During his lifetime, he promoted authenticity and spoke about the importance of being true to who you are and persevering in the face of criticism.
What is Ted Harrison’s Style of Art?
Ted Harrison developed his own unique abstract style of art, where he experimented with color, line, and form. He was heavily influenced by nature. In an interview with author Katherine Gibson for her book Ted Harrison: Painting Paradise, he referred to his art style as “The School of Cheery.”
What Inspired Ted Harrison to Paint?
Ted Harrison spent many years traveling the world, first to India, then to Egypt and Kenya, followed by visits to Germany and Scotland, and then he accepted teaching posts in Malaysia and New Zealand before finally settling in Canada.
He studied the colors in the landscapes he visited, as well as the people. However, upon noticing much sadness throughout the world, he vowed his paintings would impart positivity. He noted, “There’s enough sadness and misery in the world without hanging it on our walls.”
How to Make Ted Harrison-Inspired Art
Making Ted Harrison-inspired art with kids is so much fun! In these projects, encourage children to experiment with bright, vivid colors and flowing lines. It’s also a great opportunity to introduce color theory.
3 Creative Art Projects for Kids Inspired by Ted Harrison
Ted Harrison Art Project: Landscape Painting
There are several wonderful tutorials showing how to make a Ted Harrison-inspired landscape painting. You’ll need just a few simple supplies, including watercolor paper; gouache, acrylic, or tempera paint; and paintbrushes.
Recommended Art Supplies
In some of Ted Harrison’s paintings, he chose to outline each block of color within his painting. You may choose to follow a similar style using either a paintbrush, an acrylic paint pen, or an oil pastel crayon.
Ted Harrison-Inspired Art Tutorials
Using a pencil, children should lightly sketch in their landscape design. My youngest child chose to begin painting her landscape at this point. My oldest child opted instead to use an acrylic paint pen to trace her sketch lines, and then she proceeded to paint her landscape.
Ted Harrison Art Project: Landscape Paper Collage
For our second Ted Harrison art project, I introduced paper collage to my kids. Using construction paper, scissors, stencils, and glue, this is a great hands-on opportunity for children to experiment with form.
Recommended Art Supplies
First, gather your supplies — construction paper, scissors, stencils, and pencils and/or pens.
Have children begin drawing a flowing line across one sheet of construction paper.
Cut out the landscape form.
Place the first landscape form onto your primary background sheet of paper.
Create more landscape forms using different colors of construction paper. Experiment with the layout. Use the stencils to create additional shapes. Here, one of my children wanted to add red snow onto one of her landscape forms.
When ready, help children glue their landscape forms onto their background sheet of paper.
Ted Harrison Art Project: Beeswax Crayon Drawing
If you’re looking for a Ted Harrison-inspired art project that’s super quick and easy, look no further than beeswax crayon drawings. These can also be used as a preliminary sketch prior to painting if your children choose.
Tools you’ll need
First, sketch a landscape drawing. Then fill in each landscape block using the beeswax crayons.
Next, use an acrylic paint pen or a marker to outline each block.
I like to offer my children smaller size sheets of paper, such as 2×3 and 4×6. Inspired by Ted Harrison, these beeswax crayon sketches have been really popular with my oldest child, who is currently in 3rd grade. With no clean up involved, these are a quick and easy art project.
I hope these examples of Ted Harrison-inspired art projects are helpful to you. He’s such a fun and inspirational artist to study as you explore Canada with your children.
We’d love for you to join us on our travels around the globe! Learn more about the Global Explorers Club and its first introductory unit on North America below.
The Global explorers club
Grab your passports and begin exploring North America with the Global Explorers Club, a family-style “Around the World” homeschooling curriculum designed specially for elementary-age children.
Together, you’ll learn about different peoples and their cultures and share engaging stories and folk tales from around the world. You’ll meet artists and musicians, sample global cuisine, create art, and play games together.