Elaine Harrison was born in Petite-Rivere in Nova Scotia, but moved to Prince Edward Island to teach in 1938. There, she and her companion spent their summers at ‘Windswept’, the 200 year-old frame-house on the red cliffs near Seacow Head, where they lived a simple life, and for over fifty years were involved in the intellectual life of the Island and beyond, playing host to numerous summer visitors and corresponding with some of Canada’s top writers.
In1968, retirement gave Elaine the freedom to turn to her interests: her poetry, the campaigning for favoured causes, but above all her painting. Inspired by the Group of Seven, she found her subject matter in the cliffs and waves at Windswept, the sunflowers in her garden, the trees of the local hardwoods, and latterly her own cats and kitchen. In the early days she frequently gave her paintings away to anyone who appreciated them, but from the 1970s she began to get the recognition and financial returns they merited. She died in 2003, but her work is still much-loved by Islanders.
South Shore Now Review by Lisa Brown
by Lisa Brown
A new book has been released about a famed Prince Edward Island artist with local roots.
Elaine Harrison was born in Petite Riviere and graduated from Dalhousie University, before moving to Prince Edward Island with her family in 1938. She taught there for 30 years and is remembered as in inspired teacher, receiving a medal for meritorious service to the education of youth and an honorary degree from the University of Prince Edward Island.
But "Elaine Harrison: I am an island that dreams" is a retrospective of her other passion - her work as an artist. It mingles her poetry and her painting with the story of her life and influences.
The title is taken from one of her best-known poems, published in 1974.
Ms Harrison was a self-taught painter, influenced by many including Van Gogh and the Group of Seven. Her main inspiration was her love of nature.
She died at her home on Prince Edward Island in 2003.
The book was written by Jane Ledwell, Kevin Rice and Douglas Sobey. It was published by Acorn Press.